Nitish visits ruins of socialist shibboleths – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Nitish visits ruins of socialist shibboleths – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to achieve many goals at the recent rally in Delhi, but the portrait of the ambitious leader that emerges is not very flattering. As we shall see, his objectives, statements, and demands lack any novelty; any chief minister of any state could have said similar things 10, 20, or 30 years ago. It is an open secret that Kumar aspires for the office of Prime Minister, something that is being viewed with expectation by ‘secular’ parties, including the Congress. There were enough hints of Kumar’s ‘secularism’—many Muslim supporters sitting in the front row, an Urdu prayer, a placard thanking the Bihar government for providing land to the Aligarh Muslim University, and so on. The dominant theme, however, was his reiteration of the demand for the special status for Bihar. Unsurprisingly, histrionics were the hallmark of his address: “We are not begging for special status. It is our right.” In a bid to elicit support from Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Orissa and Rajasthan—the states which have earlier sought special status—Kumar said, “We are happy that UPA government has agreed in-principle to grant our demand. But now we want it to be implemented soon. Do it now or it will be inevitable after 2014 elections. Only he who holds the hands of backward states will sit in Delhi.” Kumar’s bombast and symbolism emanate from his dirigiste ideology. The basic premise of this ideology is that only a few divinely ordained Wise Men and Women in New Delhi know what is good for the country and the people. They are in-charge of all the resources; in their wisdom, they distribute or redistribute these resources to states which, in turn, have their own Wise Men and Women. Growth, development, progress—everything is a function of the wisdom of these divinely ordained beings. Problems do arise because of the differences among Wise Men and Women, despite their divinity. But these problems, according to the dirigiste canon, can be resolved by fine-tuning the terms of engagement. The fundamental flaw of this ideology is that the supposedly Wise Men and Women happen to be politicians, bureaucrats, and hangers-on; and one has to be gullible to expect wisdom...

On the language policy of the Civil Services Examination 2013 – Aaditya Gore

On the language policy of the Civil Services Examination 2013 – Aaditya Gore

The Union Public Service Commission announced its Civil Services Examination notification dated 5th March 2013. The new policy vide the notification made it compulsory for a candidate to have graduated in the medium of the language other than English or Hindi in order to avail of the option of taking the Civil Services Main examination in that particular language. It also made it compulsory for there to be a minimum of 25 candidates opting for taking the examination in that language to be able to exercise the choice, failing which the candidate would have to take the examination in English or Hindi. The notification also made the hitherto qualifying English language paper a scoring one among the other papers which led to protests from all over and this move was criticized as as being insensitive towards the weaker sections. After a furore in the Parliament, the language policy regarding the Civil Services Examination is put in abeyance[1], according to Hon’ble Minister of State for Personnel and Training, Mr. V. Narayansamy. The recommendations of the High Level Committee headed by Prof. Arun S. Nigavekar, former Chairman, UGC with a view to making the Civil Services main examination ‘more relevant to the present day,’ according to the Hon’ble Minister[2], were approved by the government[3]. Although some of the reforms in the new pattern include greater emphasis on General Studies, that has hardly been a contentious issue in this case. The real bone of contention lies in the conditions laid down for a person to be able to take the Civil Service Main examination in a language other than English or Hindi. Some of these conditions, according to the 2013 EXAMINATION NOTICE NO. 04/2013-CSP DATED 5.03.2013[4] are cited from the notification : “(iii) Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and English précis) in English or Hindi. If the candidate has had his/ her graduation in any of the following language mediums using the particular language medium for qualifying the graduate level examination, then he/she may opt for that particular language medium to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and...

Is this the Budget we want? – Pankaj Bhatiya

Is this the Budget we want? – Pankaj Bhatiya

This budget has once again amply proved the fact that with changing economic scenario the annual budget has lost its prestigious status as the most important annual event in terms of economic policy announcements by the government. Nowadays it is just a mere briefing on income expenditure statement of the government in current and coming financial year. On one hand the economic value of budget is going down, the political value is becoming much more significant. How else can we explain the over emphasis on the women in this budget after the inhuman act in national capital few months back? The victim’s family in this case is yet to get the due justice but the central government seems to have already done its part by naming the proposed Rs. 1000 Cr fund for women security & safety after Nirbhaya. Was the Delhi gang rape case a result of insufficient funds allocated for women security in India? Even a lay man can answer this correctly. Another women centric announcement of setting up India’s first women PSU bank with a capital of again Rs. 1000 Cr in the same budget is clear indication that the congress party is trying hard to retrieve its much battered image after Delhi gang rape as otherwise there is no viable economic reason behind this announcement. Shouldn’t lot of other more pressing issues in banking sector have got precedence over a Mahila PSU bank?  Are women of this country not getting desirable banking services by existing so called male dominated banking sector? Is the fairer sex being discriminated in access to best banking services? We are living in an India where some of the biggest private sector banks are being successfully headed by women and there is no dearth of women in senior executive ranks in PSU banks as well. Moreover all these banks are there in market for the business and to make profits (I assume this is true for PSU banks as well in changed competitive scenario) and why and how the hell any of these banks would like to discriminate on the basis of gender. One of the major cheer factors of this budget is the containment of...

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