The Indecency of Decency

Ravi Shanker Kapoor That intolerance has become the defining feature of the governance becomes evident, if any more evidence was needed, from the so-called advisory the Information & Broadcasting Ministry recently issued to TV channels regarding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Independence Day speech this year. It may be the first ‘advisory’ in history that is accompanied with the threat of “penal provisions.” The ‘advisory’ said that “it had come to the notice of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that certain TV channels attempted to denigrate the Office of the Prime Minister of India by constantly trying to compare the speech of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India with the speech of other political leaders on 15th August, 2013.” The charge is based on two assumptions. First, “the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India” is a heavenly figure whose utterances need to be grasped in a state of reverence, while other political leaders are lesser mortals. Second, comparison is denigration. While the first assumption is anti-democratic, the second one is outright arbitrary. The prime minister is not a celestial creature with a divine right to rule. Therefore, the Ministry’s contention militates against even the suppositions of the government. And it surely is an affront to basic principles of democracy: the prime minister is one of us and is elected by us; he enjoys the high office so long as we, the people of India, deem him fit to rule the country; he derives his powers from our consent, and not from gods as many kings claimed to do in the past. As for the second postulate, equating comparison with denigration is as idiotic as it is arbitrary. In fact, it is nothing but an abuse of language, just as calling a threat an ‘advisory.’ The operative part of the Ministry’s advisory was in the third paragraph: “…as per Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, read with Rule 6(1 Xa) & (i) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, as amended from time to time, no programme can be transmitted/re-transmitted on any Cable Service which contains anything [that] offends against good taste or decency; and criticizes, maligns or slanders any individual in person or...

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...

Awakened from a deep slumber- is it enough to hold the ship up in bad weather? – Abhimanyu Naruka

Awakened from a deep slumber- is it enough to hold the ship up in bad weather? – Abhimanyu Naruka

At the dawn of the 20th century India moved briskly towards a free market economy and increased financial liberalisation. With these initiations things have improved in our country, especially sectors related to infrastructure, medical, education and services. Now the question here is, are these actions good enough to stand with world top economies, considering the fact that globalisation has increased the interdependence among all the major economies. The global economy is presently going through some rough phase post the American recession and the on going Euro zone crisis has had its effect on our economy, especially on our exports. This in turn is reducing the income of our nation and putting a counter effect on our Balance of trade. In simple words our nation’s income is reducing, but on the other hand side we just cant let the expenditure fall on important sectors in our country, thus presently our country is facing the problem of Fiscal deficit. Since august it seems the finance ministry team has woken up from deep sleep because we have seen a barrage of economic reforms in last three months, the most debated one FDI. Obviously these reforms seems to provide a fresh lease to our economy and as far as the FDI decision is concerned it is the responsibility of  the administration to look after the interests of the retailers specially in the rural and small town sections. But as the saying goes we need to work on these reforms and get the interest of the Investors going on our country otherwise we are going to leg behind China and Brazil. In past decade or so our country has seen massive urbanisation, though standard of living in urban areas has improved, on the same side there is little difference in the life of rural population. Rural issues are dying day by day, we still have infrastructure scarcity in these areas and a lot of agricultural issues are still unresolved. Government needs to take some dire actions with regard to this problem. One another trend which seem to have emerged in past decade or so is our rate of saving is going down, Urban India is playing a major role...

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