25 November 2017

UPSC Allows Candidates To Raise Objections On Exam Questions. The candidates now will be given a time frame of 7 days to raise their objections

UPSC Allows Candidates To Raise Objections On Exam Questions.
The candidates now will be given a time frame of 7 days to raise their objections
In a latest notification published on the official website of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the public sector recruiter, has come up with a time frame for the candidates to make representations on the questions asked in the papers of a certain examination.
In a latest notification published on the official website of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the public sector recruiter, has come up with a time frame for the candidates to make representations on the questions asked in the papers of a certain examination. The candidates now will be given a time frame of 7 days to raise their objections. A section of civil services aspirants have approached the Supreme Court recently against the conduct of the Civil Services preliminary examination of 2017, accusing the Commission of non-transparency and of framing ambiguous, incoherent questions.
UPSC conducts recruitment exams to various union services like, Civil Services exam, Medical Services exam, Economic an Statistical Services and Engineering Services.
"For each Examination, a time frame of 7 days (a week) i.e. from the next day of the Examination Date to 6.00 p.m. of the seventh day is fixed for the candidates to make representations to the Commission on the questions asked in the Papers of that Examination," said the notification.
"For Examination conducted on two or more days, the dates on which the Paper(s) of that Examination are held, will be the crucial reckoning date for making representation on the questions appeared in those Papers. For example: if Paper(s) of an Examination is/are conducted on 1st March, then a candidate can make representation by 6:00 p.m. of 8th March," added the notification.
The UPSC notification also said that such representation must be submitted online only (by email at email Id examination-upsc@gov.in) and no representation by post/hand will be entertained. It also said that no representation will be entertained under any circumstances after this window of 7 days is over.
Publishing the answer keys to the competitive and entrance examinations is a general practice in the country.
The Supreme Court has in August dismissed a plea which sought grace marks or removal of alleged wrong questions given in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 2017 preliminary examination.
A bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, then said the court does not perceive any merit in the petition and is, hence, dismissed.
The bench, also comprising justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, noted that the petitioner who gave the exam had not given any representation to the UPSC claiming there was a question with more than one correct answer.
More than 4.6 lakh aspirants had appeared for the UPSC prelims exams held on June 18, 2017.

US author #GeorgeSaunders wins 2017 Man Booker Prize for novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo'.

US author #GeorgeSaunders wins 2017 Man Booker Prize for novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo'.
George Saunders’s surreal, experimental first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday, marking the second year in a row that the prize has gone to an American author.
The novel unfolds in a cemetery in 1862, where a grieving Abraham Lincoln visits the crypt that holds the body of his 11-year-old son, Willie, who died of typhoid fever. At the graveyard, Willie’s spirit is joined by a garrulous, motley community of ghosts who exist in the liminal state between life and death. At times, the narrative feels more like a play or an oral history than a novel, with dialogue among the ghosts, interspersed with scraps of historical research and snippets of contemporary news accounts that Mr. Saunders gathered, or in some cases invented.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Saunders said he was encouraged that the judges had recognized such an unconventional novel.
“For me, the nice thing is that the book is hard, and it’s kind of weird and it’s not a traditional novel,” Mr. Saunders said. “I didn’t do it just to be fancy, but because there was this emotional core I could feel, and that form was the only way I could get to it.”
At a news conference in London on Tuesday, Lola Young, the chair of judges, said that the novel was “unique” and “stood out because of its innovation, its very different styling; the way in which it paradoxically brought to life these almost dead souls, not quite dead souls, this other world.

Most awaited test series schedule for civil services prelims exam -2018 (in dehradun)

Most awaited test series schedule for civil services prelims exam -2018 (in dehradun)
if you have prepared a topic very well,then check out what kind of question upsc has asked earlier ,what are critical concept,how to understand twisted question,how difficult is the language of questions.This all can be done only when you have prepared very well.Preparation of topic is very important at first instance.if you have not prepared very well,you does not have conceptual clarity ,test series will not help you and vice versa you have prepared well but didnot practice that may also reduce your chance to qualify pre. so first prepare the subject very well and then practice through test series.
यदि आपने एक विषय बहुत अच्छी तरह से तैयार किया है, तो देखें कि किस तरह के प्रश्न upsc ने पहले पूछा है, महत्वपूर्ण अवधारणा क्या है, twisted सवाल कैसे समझ सकता है, प्रश्नों की भाषा कितनी मुश्किल है। यह सब तब ही किया जा सकता है जब आपने तैयार किया हो बहुत अच्छी तरह से।
विषय की तैयारी बहुत महत्वपूर्ण है। यदि आपने बहुत अच्छी तरह से तैयार नहीं किया है, आपके पास वैचारिक स्पष्टता नहीं है, परीक्षण श्रृंखला आपकी मदद नहीं करेगी और इसके विपरीत आपने अच्छी तरह से तैयार किया है लेकिन अभ्यास नहीं तो यह आपके मौका को भी कम कर सकता है
पहले विषय को बहुत अच्छी तरह से तैयार करें और फिर परीक्षण श्रृंखला के माध्यम से अभ्यास करें।
Everything that you can think for @Rs 4500/,candidate having written upsc/ukpcs mains then fees Rs 3000/ only.

A first step: On Multi Commodity Exchange

A first step: On Multi Commodity Exchange
With the introduction of a new financial instrument, India is a step closer to building a vibrant market for commodities. Success in the long journey, however, will require avoiding some policy mistakes of the past. The Multi Commodity Exchange has introduced gold option contracts for the first time in India. The derivative instrument allows investors to enter into contracts to either buy or sell gold some time in the future at a pre-determined price, thus allowing investors to hedge any volatility in the price of the metal, for a price. The fact that options usually also turn out to be cheaper than binding future agreements will help in the wider participation of investors in the realm of commodity speculation. As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated during the launch of the derivative at the MCX, gold options will also help bring into formal channels more of the gold that is traded. Notably, the introduction of gold options is in line with the government’s announcement last year that it would take steps towards introducing new varieties of commodity derivatives in the market. MCX, in fact, has said it might seek permission to write options contracts on other commodities which, based on their current futures trading volumes, satisfy rules set by SEBI. To improve market efficiency, the market regulator is also mulling the entry of mutual funds and portfolio management services into the business of investing in commodity derivatives.
Naturally, some concerns have been expressed over financial speculation. The benefits of well-regulated commodity speculation, however, are likely to outweigh the potential systemic risk from asset bubbles. Options, like other financial derivatives, allow price risks to be transferred between market players in an efficient manner. The business of anticipating prices in the future is left to professional speculators while their clients benefit from the prospect of stable prices. In the process, financial derivatives can facilitate the conduct of real economic activity in higher risk segments — including in agriculture and industrial activity — that would not happen otherwise. Confusion over this has led to an unjustified hostility towards financial speculation, as well as some hasty policy measures. Almost a decade ago, a rapid increase in food prices pushed the government to impose a blanket ban on any speculation on agricultural products. While it may have been relevant for the specific circumstances, the wide-ranging nature of the move slowed the development of a healthy market for commodity speculation. The government should now resist similar temptation and focus instead on real-time monitoring systems. Apart from the standardised derivatives approved by SEBI for trading in exchanges, a framework that promotes over-the-counter products will help improve the scope for risk mitigation. The debut of gold options should be seen as a step towards greater reforms.

Toxic farming: on insecticide regulation

Toxic farming: on insecticide regulation
Reports of farmers dying from pesticide exposure in Maharashtra’s cotton belt in Yavatmal make it evident that the government’s efforts to regulate toxic chemicals used in agriculture have miserably failed. It is natural for cotton growers under pressure to protect their investments to rely on greater volumes of insecticides in the face of severe pest attacks. It appears many of them have suffered high levels of exposure to the poisons, leading to their death. The fact that they had to rely mainly on the advice of unscrupulous agents and commercial outlets for pesticides, rather than on agricultural extension officers, shows gross irresponsibility on the part of the government. But the problem runs deeper. The system of regulation of insecticides in India is obsolete, and even the feeble efforts at reform initiated by the UPA government have fallen by the wayside. A new Pesticides Management Bill introduced in 2008 was studied by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, but it is still pending. At the same time, there is worrying evidence that a large quantum of pesticides sold to farmers today is spurious, and such fakes are enjoying a higher growth rate than the genuine products. Clearly, there is a need for a high-level inquiry into the nature of pesticides used across the country, and the failure of the regulatory system. This should be similar to the 2003 Joint Parliamentary Committee that looked into harmful chemical residues in beverages and recommended the setting of tolerance limits.
It is incongruous that the Centre has failed to grasp the need for reform in the regulation of pesticides, when it is focussed on growth in both agricultural production and exports. Agricultural products from India, including fruits and vegetables, have been subjected to import restrictions internationally for failing to comply with safety norms. It is imperative that a Central Pesticides Board be formed to advise on use and disposal of pesticides on sound lines, as envisaged under the law proposed in 2008. This will strengthen oversight of registration, distribution and sale of toxic chemicals. There can be no delay in updating the outmoded Insecticides Act of 1968. A stronger law will eliminate the weaknesses in the current rules that govern enforcement and introduce penalties where there are none. Aligning the new pesticides regulatory framework with food safety laws and products used in health care will make it broad-based. After the recent deaths, Maharashtra officials have hinted at the loss of efficacy of some hybrids of genetically modified cotton in warding off pests to explain the growth and intensity of pesticide use. The responsible course would be to make a proper assessment of the causes. It is also an irony that the Centre has failed to use its vast communication infrastructure, including DD Kisan, the satellite television channel from Doordarshan dedicated to agriculture, to address distressed farmers. A forward-looking farm policy would minimise the use of toxic chemicals, and encourage organic methods where they are efficacious. This will benefit both farmer and consumer.

Saving child brides — on SC ruling on sex with minor wife

Saving child brides — on SC ruling on sex with minor wife
Not the reasoning but the implications of the ruling on child marriage are a cause for worry
By ruling that marriage cannot be a licence to have sex with a minor girl, the Supreme Court has corrected an anomaly in the country’s criminal law. Under the Indian Penal Code, it is an offence to have sex with a girl below 18 years of age, regardless of consent. However, it made an exception if the girl was the man’s wife, provided she was not below 15. In other words, what was statutory rape is treated as permissible within a marriage. By reading down the exception to limit it to girls aged 18 and older, the court has sought to harmonise the various laws in which any person under 18 is a minor. Overall, the judgment is in keeping with the reformist, and indisputably correct, view that early marriage is a serious infringement of child rights. The judges draw extensively on studies that demonstrate child marriage is a social evil that adversely affects the physical and mental health of children, denies them opportunities for education and self-advancement, infringes on their bodily autonomy and deprives them of any role in deciding on many aspects of their lives.
As a move to strengthen the fight against child marriage and help stricter enforcement of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, the judgment cannot be faulted. But the practical implications of the judgment are worrying. Are all men married to girls between the ages of 15 and 18 to be condemned to face criminal cases as rapists? Given the prevalence of child marriage in this country, it is doubtful whether it is possible — or even desirable — to implement the statutory rape law uniformly in the context of marriages. What, for instance, does this mean for those married under Muslim personal law, which permits girls below 18 to be married? The age of consent under the IPC was raised in 2013 from 16 to 18 to bring it in line with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. However, the age above which marriage is an exception to rape was retained at 15, as fixed in 1940. POCSO criminalises even consensual teenage sexual activity and the latest ruling has brought this into the domain of marriage. A teenager could be prosecuted for a sexual offence under POCSO even if he was just a little above 18. In the same way, a teenage husband may now be threatened with prosecution for rape. Significantly, if boys under 18 but over 16 are charged with penetrative sexual assault under POCSO or rape under the IPC, which can be termed ‘heinous offences’, they could face the prospect of being tried as adults, according to the juvenile law as it stands now. Treating all below 18 as children may be good for their care and protection, but whether 18 is the right age for consent in this day and age remains a moot question. The state’s argument that given the widespread prevalence of child marriage it is not possible to remove the exception may be flawed from a formal standpoint, but its concerns about the implications of the verdict must not be underestimated.

Towards transparency — on judicial appointments

Towards transparency — on judicial appointments
Supreme Court collegium’s decision to disclose the reasons for its recommendations marks a historic and welcome departure from the entrenched culture of secrecy surrounding judicial appointments. The collegium, comprising the Chief Justice of India and four senior judges, has said it would indicate the reasons behind decisions on the initial appointment of candidates to High Court benches, their confirmation as permanent judges and elevation as High Court Chief Justices and to the Supreme Court, and transfer of judges and Chief Justices from one High Court to another. This means there will now be some material available in the public domain to indicate why additional judges are confirmed and why judges are transferred or elevated. A certain degree of discreetness is necessary and inevitable as in many cases the reasons will pertain to sitting judges. At the same time, it would become meaningless if these disclosures fail to provide a window of understanding into the mind of the collegium. It is important to strike the right balance between full disclosure and opaqueness. The collegium has suggested as much, albeit obliquely, when it says the resolution was intended “to ensure transparency, yet maintain confidentiality in the Collegium system”. It is to be hoped that this balancing of transparency and confidentiality will augur well for the judiciary. The introduction of transparency acquires salience in the light of the resignation of Justice Jayant M. Patel of the Karnataka High Court after he was transferred to the Allahabad High Court as a puisne judge, despite his being senior enough to be a High Court Chief Justice.
Going by the decisions disclosed so far with regard to the elevation of district judges, it is clear that quality of judgments, the opinion of Supreme Court judges conversant with the affairs of the high court concerned, and reports of the Intelligence Bureau together form the basis of an initial appointment being recommended. While district judges of sufficient seniority and in the relevant age group are readily available for consideration, there may be some unease about how certain advocates and not others come to be considered. Given the perception that family members and former colleagues of judges are more likely to be appointed high court judges, it is essential that a system to widen the zone of consideration is put in place. There are 387 vacancies in the various High Courts as on October 1. The mammoth task of filling these vacancies would be better served if a revised Memorandum of Procedure for appointments is agreed upon soon. A screening system, along with a permanent secretariat for the collegium, would be ideal for the task. The introduction of transparency should be backed by a continuous process of addressing perceived shortcomings. The present disclosure norm is a commendable beginning

The birthday of Himalayan explorer Nain Singh Rawat

The birthday of Himalayan explorer Nain Singh Rawat
Rawat, born 187 years ago, was the first to survey Tibet
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 187th birth anniversary of Nain Singh Rawat, a 19th century mountaineer and one of the first to explore the Himalayas for the British. Rawat was the first to survey Tibet, determining the exact location and altitude of the Tibetan capital Lhasa, and mapping the Tsangpo river.
Created by paper cut artists Hari and Deepti Panicker, the doodle is a silhouette diorama illustration with Rawat (a tripod placed in front depicting his ‘day job’) looking out at the horizon, a majestic lake below, and the sun in all its glory behind the mountains.
Born in 1830 in Milam, a Shauka tribe village in the valley of Johar in present-day Uttarakhand, Rawat as a young man visited Tibet with his father and picked up the local language, traditions and customs, which would later come in handy.
In the early 19th century, European explorers were fascinated by the Central Asian terrain and wanted to understand the local customs. But given the challenges, they realised they needed trained locals to help them in their quest. Rawat was one among the select group of local explorers.
As Europeans were not welcome everywhere, these explorers had to go under cover. Disguised as a Tibetan monk, Rawat walked from his home in Kumaon to places such as Lhasa, Kathmandu and Tawang. He would cover one mile in 2000 steps and measured each of them using a rosary. And in order to maintain the secrecy, he hid a compass in his prayer wheel and disguised travel records as prayers.
Rawat’s first exploration trip was with the Germans between 1855 and 1857. He travelled to the Manasarovar and Rakas Tal lakes and then further to Gartok and Ladakh. He then furthered his knowledge of surveying at the Great Trignometric Survey office in Dehradun, where he trained for two years. It is said that his greatest journey was from Leh in Ladhak to Assam via Lhasa, from 1873-75.
Rawat was the recipient of awards by the Royal Geographic Society and in June 2004, a postage stamp was released dedicated to him.
1. Rai Bahadur Nain Singh Rawat was born in a Shauka village located in the valley of Johar in Kumaon Hills, which is famous for being the home of Bhotia explorers from the British Era.
2. After leaving school, Nain Singh helped his father and visited different centres in Tibet with him. In the process, not only did he learn the Tibetan language, but also comprehended the customs and mannerisms practised by the local people, which would prove to be extremely beneficial in years to follow.
3. In 1855, a 25-year-old Nain Singh was first recruited by German geographers, the Schlagintweit brothers. The German scientists had approached the office of the Survey of India, which reluctantly allowed them to proceed with their survey.
4. Following which, along with three members of his family, Nain Singh set afoot on his first exploration trip between 1855 and 1857 and travelled to Lakes Manasarovar and Rakas Tal and then further to Gartok and Ladakh.
5. After the exploration with the German brothers, Nain Singh Rawat joined the Education Department and was appointed as the headmaster of a government vernacular school in his village at Milam from 1858 to 1863.
6. In 1863, Nain Singh Rawat and his cousin, Mani Singh Rawat, were selected and sent to the Great Trigonometrical Survey office in Dehradun where they underwent training for two years. This included training on the use of scientific instruments and ingenious ways of measuring and recording and the art of disguise.
The legendary explorer, Nain Singh Rawat. Source: History Nuggets.
7. Being exceptionally intelligent, Nain Singh Rawat quickly learned the correct use of scientific instruments like the sextant and compass and could easily recognise all major stars and different constellations easily.
8. Part of the secret ‘spy’ exploration mission, he had donned the guise of a Tibetan Monk and walked from his home region of Kumaon to places as far as Kathmandu, Lhasa, and Tawang. He was trained to maintain a precisely measured pace, which included covering one mile in 2000 steps, and measuring those steps using a modified Buddhist rosary or mala.
9. Several other ingenious methods were devised, where the notes of measurements were coded in the form of written prayers, and these scrolls of paper were hidden in the cylinder of the prayer wheel to escape notice during the secret missions.
10. Collecting intelligence under the most testing conditions, he travelled closely with the local population in caravans and thus followed some of the most fascinating accounts in the history of exploration, which led Nain Singh to map the vast expanses of Tibet and its river systems.
11. In 1865, Nain Singh left the Trigonometrical Survey and head out for Nepal with Mani Singh. While Mani returned to India soon, Nain went on to explore Tashilhunpo, where he met the Panchen Lama, and later Lhasa, where he met the Dalai Lama.
12. During his stay in Lhasa, his true identity was discovered by two Kashmiri Muslim merchants. Interestingly, they not report him to the authorities and on the contrary, lent him a small sum of money against the pledge of his watch.
13. On his second voyage, in 1867, Singh explored western Tibet and stumbled across the fabled gold mines of Thok Jalung. He was also blown away by the humility of the workers, who only dug for gold near the surface, as they believed that digging deeper was a crime against the Earth and would deprive it of its fertility.
14. His last and greatest journey was completed between the years 1873 and 1875, where he travelled from Leh in Kashmir to Lhasa, by a route more northerly than the one along the Tsangpo that he had taken on his first journey.
15. In recognition of his stupendous feats of exploration, Nain Singh was presented with an inscribed gold chronometer by the Royal Geographic Society (RGS) in 1868. According to Colonel Henry Yule, “his explorations had added a larger amount of important knowledge to the map of Asia than any other living man”.
16. Nain Singh was also conferred with the award of the Victoria or Patron’s Medal of the RGS in 1877 along with an inscribed watch by the Society of Geographers of Paris. In recognition of his fabulous achievements, the erstwhile government of India honoured the man with a land-grant of two villages.

Turning the poor’s assets into capital

Turning the poor’s assets into capital
Using blockchain to secure land titles will integrate more citizens into the formal economy
The Indian judiciary is crumbling under the weight of pending cases. More than 28 million cases are pending in the country’s district courts. Of these, more than 7.5 million are civil cases, and Bengaluru-based NGO Daksh’s data shows that more than 66% of the civil cases are related to land or property. Not only is the judiciary overburdened, the poor litigants are also losing Rs1,300 on average per day of court hearing in litigation costs and foregone business. In this context, the Andhra Pradesh government’s steps to use blockchain technology for land titling are a laudable development.
Blockchain technology is at the forefront of a technological shift called disintermediation; the removal of intermediaries in exchange processes that enables people to transact in a peer-to-peer fashion based on the trust provided by blockchain.
At present, land ownership data is stored with the government in centralized ledgers (records). This means that the data can be accessed and modified only by the government. This is a problem because if this data is erroneously entered, lost or forged, the ledger will no longer represent the true ownership of assets. Blockchain allows the government to maintain a public ledger of asset-ownership in a distributed fashion. The data is stored on a network of devices and there is no central point of failure. It ensures trust by being transparent—it is visible for everyone to verify. At the same time, it ensures privacy for the owner by ensuring that the ownership of the asset only changes hands after authorization.
At present in India, trading an asset requires an enormous effort just to determine the basics of the transaction: Does the seller own the real estate and have the right to transfer it? Will the new owner be accepted as such by those who enforce property rights? What are the effective means to exclude other claimants? Such questions are difficult to answer. For most goods, there is no place where the answers are reliably fixed. That is why the sale or lease of a house may involve lengthy and cumbersome procedures of approval involving all the neighbours. This is often the only way to verify that the owner truly owns the house and there are no other claims on it. Blockchain has the potential to change this by representing what is economically meaningful about any asset—size, location, use-restrictions, etc.—linking it to the owner unambiguously, and tracking all future exchanges.
Secure land ownership will prove immensely beneficial for India’s poor. The prosperity of Western nations can be traced to the security provided to property by the formal legal system. The poor in India do own things, but they don’t have a way to represent their property and create capital. They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation. They produce all kinds of things—from clothing and footwear to leather bags and wrist watches. But due to missing documents of ownership, they are pushed into the unregulated sector of the economy—unable to access credit and public utilities like water and power. These enterprises of the poor are very much like corporations that cannot issue shares or bonds to obtain finance and investment. In the words of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, without representations their assets are “dead capital”.
With a trustworthy asset ownership system, millions of people will move out of the anonymous mass of citizens and become individuals with property interests. By intractably linking themselves to a property, they will become identifiable and have to forfeit their anonymity. Thus, people who use goods and services and don’t pay for them will be identified and charged interest penalties; contract violations will be traced; and legal infractions can be more easily prosecuted. On the other hand, they will be able to save and invest, avail of credit and maintain credit histories, and benefit from lower insurance premiums. Buildings are always the terminals of public utilities like power, water, broadband service, etc. But legal property transforms them into accountable and responsible terminals. The threat of forfeiture will discipline households and erstwhile unserved citizens will be treated like responsible members of society whose engagement is backed by a pledge of property.
Blockchain has the potential to end the days of large-scale property-related litigation; it will free the assets of the poorest Indians to create capital and enter the formal economy. However, recognizing the present owners of the lands is a huge task in itself. In 2013, Action Research in Community Health and Development (ARCH), Liberty Institute and some other NGOs helped tribal farmers in Gujarat use GPS technology to mark their lands on government maps and secure their property. Something similar must be done for the vast swathes of India’s countryside. There is enormous value locked in the assets of India’s poor. One can hope that the government will take swift action given the potential gains for them.
Do you think more Indian states should use blockchain for giving land titles to the poor?

Queen of Thumri’ Girija Devi dead

Queen of Thumri’ Girija Devi dead
Doyen of the Benaras gharana
Eminent classical singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away at a city hospital here on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. She was 88 and is survived by her daughter.
Considered as the queen of thumri and fondly called Appa-ji, Girija Devi was admitted to the city’s BM Birla Heart Research Centre earlier in the afternoon with cardiovascular ailments, She was put on life support, her family sources said.
Girija Devi’s condition was quite critical when she was brought to the hospital. She was admitted to the CCU and was under constant watch. But she passed away around 8.45 p.m.,” a hospital spokesperson said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled her death, saying the singer’s music appealed across generations and her pioneering efforts to popularise Indian classical music would always be remembered.
“Saddened by demise of Girija Devi-ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers,” he tweeted.
A legendary singer of the Benaras gharana, Girija Devi was awarded the Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016.

Going back to the basics

Going back to the basics
It is unconscionable that so many children are still out of school
On page 115 of the World Development Report 2018, the World Bank’s new report which focuses for the first time on education, are two powerful images. They are MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) images taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh, of the brains of two infants aged two-three months. The growth of one infant was stunted while the other was not. The images show the stark difference in brain development between the stunted child and the one who is not stunted. The fibre tracts in the brain of the child who is not stunted are denser, and the connections more elaborate, than those in the brain of the stunted child. This is an example of how intense deprivation can hinder the brain development of young children.
Impact of malnutrition
The report, titled “Learning to Realize Education’s Promise”, focusses on education. It is the first of the Bank’s annual reports in four decades to do so. There are six main points to note about the report. First, it is good to see that it makes a moral case for education, with a rights-based approach, and sub-sections titled ‘Education as freedom’; ‘Education improves individual freedoms’; ‘Education benefits all of society’.
Decline in investment in secondary education in India: World Bank
Second, one of the most important sections is not about education but about early childhood development. And rightly so, for the report discusses the far-reaching impact of poverty and chronic malnutrition on the physical and mental development of children.
Poverty undermines a child’s learning. “Severe deprivations—whether in terms of nutrition, unhealthy environments, or lack of nurture by caregivers—have long-lasting effects because they impair infants’ brain development.” The effects of stunting in the early years on physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development prevent children from learning well in later years. “So even in a good school, deprived children learn less.”
Childhood stunting
The report points out that in low-income countries, stunting rates among children under-five are almost three times higher in the poorest quintile than in the richest. The effects of childhood stunting remain into adulthood. If early childhood development programmes are to compensate for poor children’s disadvantages, they need to be scaled up and resourced for nutritional inputs, along with a focus on antenatal and postnatal care, sanitation, and counselling of parents for effective early child stimulation. Reduction of child stunting should be one of the major moral imperatives before nations today.
Third, it is good to see that technology is not regarded as a panacea in itself but as something that has the potential to enhance learning — and that the teacher-learner relationship is at the centre of learning. “Technological interventions increase learning — but only if they enhance the teacher-learner relationship.”
Written-off in the hinterland
Fourth, the report acknowledges firmly that on the issue of public vs private schools, the results are still mixed: “There is no consistent evidence that private schools deliver better learning outcomes than public schools, or the opposite…In some contexts, private schools may deliver comparable learning levels at lower cost than public systems, often by paying lower teacher salaries. Even so, lower teacher salaries may reduce the supply of qualified teachers over time.”
Fifth, while the focus on learning is welcome, a wider and more nuanced exploration of the reasons for the learning crisis would have been useful. While school enrolments have increased significantly, massive teacher shortages persist. Further, beyond reading and arithmetic, any meaningful assessment of learning should also consider aspects such as comprehension, problem solving, critical thinking, and innovation. Beyond merely increasing assessment (“Just weighing the pig doesn’t make it fatter,” as the report itself remarks), it is equally important to fund the sector better; improve teacher training; support the continuing professional development of teachers; and help teachers to help the poorest children to learn.
The way forward
One would have liked to see greater focus on the continuing problems of access and equity, which are still the biggest problems in education. If there is one aspect of education which needs to be quantified and measured in order to make our education systems function better for all children, it is equity. How fair and equitable are education systems? Where are the greatest gaps? Which kids suffer the most from inequitable systems? These questions should be asked as part of an ongoing process of assessment for equity.
As for access, over 260 million children across the world – equal to a third of the population of Europe – are not even enrolled in primary or secondary school. “In 2016, 61 million children of primary school age —10% of all children in low-and lower- middle-income countries—were not in school, along with 202 million children of secondary school age.”
And in a world fraught with conflict, schooling suffers. “Children in fragile and conflict-affected countries accounted for just over a third of these, a disproportionate share.”
It is unconscionable that in the twenty-first century, so many children are still out of school.

Should robots be nationalised?

Should robots be nationalised?
What robotisation can offer to the future of work in India
As we ask ourselves how employment is threatened by technology, we should look at how labour has changed in recent decades. Before we get so attached to the current job market, and feel we must defend it from an eventual robot takeover, we should examine how unfair the labour system has become and how robotics could contribute to change that.
If properly managed, the robotic revolution could be a chance to free millions of people from a system of exploitation of labour which is unprecedentedly inhumane. Or not.
In ancient Rome, a slave worked a maximum of six hours a day. A third of the year was spent in festivities. European workers in the Middle Ages had a six-hour work day and spent 150 days in religious celebrations — almost half the entire year off!
Nothing close to the 13 to 14 hours put in by the average, always-on entrepreneur of our times. Or the 10 hours a regular employee often clocks in, which explains why overwork is causing so many deaths across Asia.
The Industrial Revolution and the continuous automation of work have morphed us into becoming increasingly less human workers. This is the central premise before looking into what robotisation can offer to the future of work in India.
Is there also a continuing percolation, in India, from the agricultural sector, through urbanisation and its consequences, into the service and manufacturing sectors? Certainly.
‘Robotics revolutionising labour market’
Could this happen in a more humane way, as easily automated jobs are slowly stolen by robots? Is farming also destined to be substituted by Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Could we then envision a future of a widely urbanised class with more leisure time thanks to robots? Utopia.
But there may be a way to go in that direction, if we think about the advantages of robotisation being equally distributed among those who will lose their jobs.
A socially sensitive policy should consider this a chance for the government to gather advantages from higher robotisation and distribute them to the work force by creating job alternatives. Or by providing subsidies and employment systems with less working hours — such as part-time and work from home. Finally, robotised work should distribute earnings to those who will permanently lose their jobs. And this could be done in very specific ways.
A kind of exploitation
First, we should consider how to capitalise from the current market. The premise for doing so requires a radical change of perspective.
When we read that in a town in Andhra Pradesh, an AI company hires women and youth and spends some of its profit on education and drinking water for the community, we should not be humbly thankful. We should be worried.
But what is passed for bringing employment to underdeveloped areas is neo-colonial exploitation at its best. Workers are paid peanuts to build the very same AI that will render them obsolete. This is not explained to them. So they are thankful for an extra little water and infrastructure, in exchange.
This trick is fooling Western underprivileged people as well. To refine conversation skills, a digital AI assistant needs to be told over and over when it has failed. There are plenty of American college students spending 10 to 30 hours a week, for $10 an hour, on phones or computers as AI supervisors, evaluating search results and chats through sites such as Clickworker. If they understood the ramifications of their work, they might demand to be paid much more.
Robots that steal human jobs should pay taxes: Bill Gates
This is policy recommendation number one: enforce a high international minimum wage for all data-entry and data-supervision workers. Help people who are “feeding the machine” be better paid for contributing to coding reality into its virtual version.
There is a more serious issue in the Indian job market. In 1810, the agricultural sector was 90% of the U.S. economy. In 1910, it was down to 30%. In 2010, it was 2%.
Is this what’s in store for India, where agriculture is still occupying half of the work force? Will it happen faster here? How do we retrain farmers? And where are they to relocate?
What will happen to “the rejected” as Pope Francis called them, “the forgotten,” as U.S. President Donald Trump labelled them during his campaign?
A new era
More interestingly, will we move into a “humanistic intelligence” era in which we transform our workers, first with wearable computers (smartwatches and Google glasses are a beginning, the new smartphones operating according to moods, gaze and gestures are the next step), and then with deeper integration, like the Swedish company Biohax, implanting chips under the skin of their employees’ wrists?
It is called “shortening the chain of command”— from the smart screen era, to the cyborg era.
At first, technology might not immediately take all our jobs, it will take over our bodies. Of course, it’s already doing that. For example, I wear a hearing aid. Would I wear a bionic eye for sensory and visual augmentation, or for, say, drone operation? Maybe.
Is this how humans will compete with robots in an intermediary phase? What does it mean for society and its sense of identity, our relationship to our bodies?
There might be a lot of jobs for our new cyborg selves out there, in what is called the aug-mediated reality. Humans, some argue, are not to be defended, but expanded. So, will we be become transhumanistic, pimped-up cyborgs, with mechanical elements expanding our physical limitations? Isn’t this already happening? Is this the Nietzschean Übermensch we are supposed to become? Shouldn’t policy regulate that as well?
The focal question here is: as labour is being transformed at its roots, should economic forces be the only thing that matters? Aren’t we in front of an ethical and political, rather than an economic, question? And what if the answer is simply that everyone must benefit from the capital generated by robotisation?
Shouldn’t we begin to think of an alternative form of ownership of the robots? Shouldn’t they be public property, since they are objects that occupy and operate on public grounds, impacting public economy and nation-wide employment?
Shouldn’t they be owned by everyone? Should India consider nationalising robots? As ludicrous and anachronistic as it may sound in the post-neoliberal zeitgeist, it is something at least worth opening up for reflection.
Or could robots owned by private companies be allowed to operate only by purchasing a costly state licence, benefitting society at large or, specifically, displaced workers, thus funding unemployment?
Is it conceivable to create “job permits for robots” so that 30% of the revenue they raise with their work goes directly to finance the pension funds of the workers made redundant by robotisation?
This may not be the specific solution, but discussion should begin on these topics, as one of the ways to avoid famine and death possibly brought on by massive unemployment in a relatively short time.

bharat mala infographic

bharat mala infographic
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Sister Nivedita: The offered one

Sister Nivedita: The offered one
On her 150th birth anniversary, a tribute to Sister Nivedita, the Irish educationist and Vivekananda disciple who became one of colonial India’s towering personalities
Born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, 150 years ago today, in Northern Ireland, the teacher, social worker and thinker who would come to be known throughout India as Sister Nivedita, loved and served the country in a manner few have. Noble was famously inspired after hearing Swami Vivekananda lecture in London, and at the age of 30 she decided to make India her home. Until her death, only 14 years later, she lived and worked among Indians.
Nivedita made a series of diverse contributions to the national project: women’s education and empowerment, helping foster a sense of Indian nationalism, reviving some art forms, promoting science, propagating civic virtues and working on humanitarian relief during epidemics and famines. She was a true champion of India, its finest minds, its achievements and its culture.
An inquiring mind
Noble came from a family of Wesleyan ministers. Her maternal grandfather was a respected member of the Irish national movement. Yet Noble’s early life was spent in considerable deprivation—she lost her father when she was only 10 years old, studying thereafter at a charitable boarding school in northern England. At 17, she began working as a teacher to take care of her mother and younger siblings. By 25, she had started her own school in Wimbledon. She acquired a reputation as an experimental educationist, influenced by ideas popular in continental Europe at the time, including those of Friedrich Froebel, father of the kindergarten concept. Her success brought her in touch with London’s intellectual crème de la crème, and in November 1895, in what proved to be a pivotal moment in her life, she was invited to a private gathering to hear a 32-year-old “Hindu yogi” who had acquired a considerable reputation in America in the preceding two years.
At the gathering, Swami Vivekananda’s words seemed to speak directly to Noble’s own beliefs about the best in human nature. His words were a call to action: to serve suffering humanity, to sacrifice one’s life for the good of others, this was what the Earth’s best and bravest were born for. Vivekananda recognized that Noble could be of huge assistance in his efforts to uplift Indian women. Noble knew she had found her true calling.
She recounted later: “I had recognized the heroic fibre of the man, and desired to make myself the servant of his love for his own people. But it was his character to which I had thus done obeisance.
The citizen ideal
Noble arrived in India in January 1898. For nine months, she received intensive training from Vivekananda, who opened the magical maze of India to her. In March that year, Noble received diksha (initiation) into a life of spirituality and service. She was given the name Nivedita—“the offered one”. They, along with a few others, also undertook a five-month journey across the northern and western parts of the country, during which Vivekananda spoke on religion, history, geography and ethnology. In India, she found her soul’s home and destiny.
Nivedita noted that her mentor was fascinated with every phase of India’s long history, and with all the diverse elements that were interwoven in its tapestry. In The Master As I Saw Him, she wrote of her guru:
“In these talks of his, the heroism of the Rajput, the faith of the Sikh, the courage of the Mahratta, the devotion of the saints, and the purity and steadfastness of noble women, all lived again. Nor would he permit that the Mohammedan should be passed over. Humayoon, Sher Shah, Akbar, Shah Jehan, each of these, and a hundred more, found a day and a place in his bead-roll of glistening names.”
After this initial phase of learning and exposure, Nivedita settled in the Bengali neighbourhood of Baghbazar in north Calcutta (now Kolkata), an area Europeans hardly ventured into. In November, still in her first year in the country, she started a school at her home, 16, Bosepara Lane, for girls from orthodox families, where child marriage was widespread and girls were hardly educated. She believed that education for Indian girls should combine traditional Indian values—epitomized by the “family ideal”—and the development of a world view through the study of history, geography, and science (she considered these subjects to be the foundation of modern education), forming the core of the “citizen ideal”.
As time passed, Nivedita increasingly felt that Vivekananda’s teachings were so vast and sweeping that she needed a definite reference point in order to put them into action. Nivedita realized that India’s regeneration most urgently required the self-awareness of being one nation, the desire to take control of her own destiny by freeing herself from foreign rule.
Man-making to nation-building
Vivekananda died in 1902. As Nivedita thought about the future direction of her work, she decided to translate Vivekananda’s concept of “man-making” into “nation-building”. She began channelling her efforts into introducing a conception of “nationality” (the term she used) to India, instilling it in the hearts and minds of people. Her definition of nationality meant people would feel for this land as their spiritual home, identifying with it, making it an essential part of the citizen’s self-concept, an extension of the self. To her, this was the highest form of nationality, one that did not rely merely on the political view of the nation based on the citizen-state dynamic.
Nivedita wrote profusely on Indian nationhood. She argued that India was a synthesis, and that the story of its analysed fragments, racial, lingual, or political, could never be the story of India. She believed the British were quick to understand the underlying unity of the country and used this knowledge to place it under a common administration, relentlessly attacking the idea that it was the British colonials who had united India. In a lecture given in December 1902 in Madras (now Chennai), she wrote: “If India had no unity herself, no unity could be given to her. The unity which undoubtedly belonged to India was self-born and had its own destiny, its own functions and its own vast powers; but it was the gift of no one.”
She plunged into a whirlwind of activity, contributing towards myriad aspects of national awakening. Nivedita’s Baghbazar quarters became a rendezvous of sorts for eminent Indians of the time, such as Rabindranath Tagore, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Aurobindo Ghosh. Her young admirers included revolutionaries as well as budding artists and intellectuals. Though she was not much in agreement with the mild petitionary methods of the Moderates, she maintained close friendships with nationalist workers across the spectrum. To meet her, in Gokhale’s words, was “like coming in contact with some great force of nature”. The great Tamil nationalist poet Subramania Bharati, who met Nivedita only once, considered her his guru, writing that she “showed me the form of Bharat Mata in its completeness and taught me to love my country.” She also imprinted on his mind the ideals of conjugality and womanhood, which helped Bharati become a champion of women’s empowerment in his later years.
In 1905, the cataclysmic partition of Bengal galvanized the national consciousness. Through her writing and lectures, Nivedita gave full support to the swadeshi campaign, urging people to go all out in swadeshi-sadhana. She was one of the first practitioners of the idea of worship of the nation as mother. Following the Bengal partition, when the government prohibited the singing or chanting of Bande Mataram, Nivedita continued it as part of her school’s daily routine. She passionately advocated the idea of worshipping the nation-mother. She held Hindus and Muslims to be children of the same Mother, and in her writings and speeches, exhorted them to together create the Indian nation of the future.
She was possibly the first person to have conceived and designed an emblem and a flag for the Indian nation, way back in 1905. She chose the vajra (thunderbolt). Nivedita’s design of two crossed vajras was meant to signify the coordinated and selfless actions of multiple individuals, acting in effect as one national organism. Nivedita had this design embroidered by the girls of her Calcutta school and it was displayed at an exhibition organized by the Indian National Congress in 1906 in Calcutta. Eminent Indians like J.C. Bose (who later made it the emblem of his Bose Institute in Calcutta) started using it, and this idea was also later reflected in the design of India’s highest military decoration, the Param Vir Chakra.
Art, science and literature
Nivedita was a great champion of the Tata Institute, which would later become the Indian Institute of Science, in Bengaluru. She wrote about it extensively in the Indian as well as English press, meeting high officials and rallying the support of some of the world’s best minds when the British government, under Lord Curzon, scuttled J.N. Tata’s proposal of founding a research institute of science and humanities in India. But her more direct contribution was to the career of the pioneering Indian scientist J.C. Bose. She helped him for more than a decade, organizing a steady stream of funds for research, editing and assisting him in the writing of four important books that took his explorations to a world audience, at a time when he faced serious discrimination from the British scientific establishment.
Nivedita played a crucial role in inspiring Indian artists to rediscover the roots of their own artistic traditions at a time when their practice was largely informed by the traditions of the West. In this, her efforts, along with those of E.B. Havell (principal of the Government School of Art in Calcutta) and Abanindranath Tagore, that led to the flourishing of what came to be known as the Bengal School of Art. A new generation of young painters grew, and some of the best-known today, like Nandalal Bose, were particularly inspired by her. Nivedita was at the forefront of the movement attacking the then prevalent Western claim that Hellenic art had inspired Indian art, and that there were no real Indian artistic traditions before that.
Nivedita was a prolific writer who published more than half a dozen books in her short lifetime, on themes of Indian history, Indian womanhood, education, nationhood, art and mythology. She also published an astute study of Vivekananda, several booklets, and scores of articles in the Indian as well as British press. This writing, now available in five volumes titled The Complete Works Of Sister Nivedita, is a rare insight into her brilliant mind.
Nivedita’s work as a humanitarian was also remarkable. She put her own life in significant peril on several occasions of great calamity, such as during the plague outbreak in Calcutta in 1899 and the great East Bengal famine of 1906. After her stint in the famine-struck countryside of East Bengal, she contracted a severe form of malaria; it took her months to recover. The malaria impaired her health, eventually leading to her premature death. Rabindranath Tagore, who had seen her from close quarters and “felt her tremendous power”, referred to her as “Loka-Mata” (Mother of the People).
Like Vivekananda, who died at the young age of 39, Nivedita too exhausted herself. She died in Darjeeling on 13 October 1911, a fortnight before she would have completed 44 years. “Drunk with India”, as a friend described her, she was known to repeat “Bharatavarsha” on her rosary beads. She had once written: “My life is given to India. In it I shall live and die.” Her guru had set her course with the blessing: “Be thou to India’s future son, the mistress, servant, friend in one.” Nivedita spent her whole life as an attestation, as it were, of the trust Vivekananda had reposed in her.

A bold step in bank reform

A bold step in bank reform
With India’s economic growth faltering in the last couple of years, the government has been casting about for ways to galvanise the economy. Last November, it tried demonetisation. It was a bold move but its economic benefits will be long in coming while the short-term disruption has been very real and demoralising. This year, it pushed through the goods and services tax (GST). Again, this is hugely positive over the medium term, but is painful in the short run.
Cheering the markets
The government seems to have realised that a simpler, more effective remedy is at hand: recapitalising public sector banks (PSBs) and enhancing the flow of credit. The proposal to recapitalise PSBs to the extent of ₹2.11 trillion (₹2.11 lakh crore) is a winner by any reckoning. It is, perhaps, the most effective way to provide a much-needed fiscal stimulus to the economy and revive growth. Small wonder that the markets have given the move a rapturous welcome.
To understand the significance of bank recapitalisation, we need a little primer on bank capital. Regulation requires that banks hold assets only in proportion to the capital they have. ‘Capital’ is a combination of equity, equity-like instruments and bonds. For a given balance sheet, there is a certain minimum of capital that banks must hold. This is called ‘capital adequacy’. The higher the capital is above the regulatory minimum, the greater the freedom banks have to make loans. The closer bank capital is to the minimum, the less inclined banks are to lend. If capital falls below the regulatory minimum, banks cannot lend or face restrictions on lending.
When loans go bad and turn into non-performing assets (NPAs), banks have to make provisions for potential losses. This tends to erode bank capital and put the brakes on loan growth. That is precisely the situation PSBs have been facing since 2012-13.
‘Stressed advances’ (which represent non-performing loans as well as restructured loans) have risen from a little over 10% in 2012-13 to 15% in 2016-17. This has caused capital adequacy at PSBs to fall. Average capital at PSBs has fallen from over 13% in 2011-12 to 12.2% in 2016-17. The minimum capital required is 10.5%. An estimated 10 out of 20 PSBs have capital of just one percentage point above the minimum or less. Inadequate capital at PSBs has taken its toll on the flow of credit. Growth in credit has fallen below double digits over the last three years. Between 2009-10 and 2014-15, annual credit growth was in the range of 15-20%. In the ‘India Shining’ period of 2004-09, credit growth had been over 20%.
Some observers ascribe the deceleration in credit growth to poor demand. They say that corporates have excessive debt and are in no position to finance any investment. This may be true of large corporates. However, it is not true of enterprises in general. One study, which covered over 4,000 companies, showed that the debt to equity ratio fell below 0.8 (which is a low level of debt) in 2008-09 and remained low until 2012-13. (J. Dennis Rajakumar, ‘Are corporates overleveraged?’, Economic and Political Weekly, October 31, 2015).
Moreover, demand for investment finance may have decelerated but demand for working capital remains strong. If anything, the introduction of GST has increased small business demand for working capital. Low growth in credit is confined to PSBs. Private banks have seen loan growth of 15% this year.
Evident since 2014
The government has realised that there is a problem with the supply of credit. It has to do with PSBs’ inability to lend for want of adequate capital. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government should have recognised the problem when it assumed office in May 2014. At the time, stressed advances were already 10% of the total. The NDA government should have moved swiftly to recapitalise PSBs.
Government to transfer ownership in PSU banks to a new holding company
Instead, it chose to sweep the problem under the carpet. Market estimates had placed the requirement of government capital at a minimum of ₹2 lakh crore over a four-year period. In 2015, under the Indradhanush Plan, the government chose to commit a mere ₹70,000 crore over the period.
The dominant view in government at the time seemed to be that PSBs had messed up in a big way, so putting more capital into them was simply ‘money down the drain’. Their role needed to be shrunk through consolidation or by selling strategic stakes to private investors.
This is a mistaken view. The bad loan problem at PSBs is not entirely the result of mismanagement. There have certainly been cases of malfeasance and poor appraisal of credit. However, as the Economic Survey of 2016-17 made clear, these are not responsible for the bulk of the NPA problem. The problem is overwhelmingly the result of factors extraneous to management.
PSBs, unlike their private sector counterparts, had lent heavily to infrastructure and other related sectors of the economy. Following the global financial crisis of 2007, sectors to which PSBs were exposed came to be impacted in ways that could not have been entirely foreseen. Blaming PSBs for the outcomes and starving them of capital was not the answer.
The failure to quickly recapitalise PSBs has adversely impacted the economy in many ways. First, it has come in the way of adequate supply of credit. Second, it has hindered the effective resolution of the NPA problem and kept major projects from going through to completion. Resolution requires banks to write-off a portion of their loans in order to render projects viable. They cannot do so if they see that write-offs will cause their capital to fall below the regulatory minimum. Third, corporates are stuck with high levels of debt and are unable to make fresh investments.
The government’s move to recapitalise banks changes the picture. Of the ₹2.11 trillion package, ₹1.35 trillion will be towards issue of recapitalisation bonds. PSBs will subscribe to these bonds. The government will plough back the funds into banks as equity. Another ₹180 billion will be provided as budgetary support. The remaining ₹580 billion will be raised from the market. Analysts believe the package should enable banks to provide adequately for NPAs and support modest loan growth. Once PSBs have enough capital and are in a mood to lend, they can liquidate excess holding of government securities and use the cash to make more loans.
Analysts worry about the fiscal impact of the recapitalisation package. International norms allow borrowings for bank recapitalisation not to be counted towards the fiscal deficit. In the past, India has used this accounting fudge. The proposed recapitalisation bonds are likely to add to the fiscal deficit unless the government resorts to other fudges such as getting the Life Insurance Corporation of India or a separate holding company to issue the bonds. The government should not worry unduly about missing the fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of GDP. The markets will understand that the fiscal stimulus is well spent.
Getting the record straight
Analysts also fret over repeated bailouts of PSBs and the costs to the exchequer. They seem to think that bank bailouts have to do with government ownership and inefficiency and the answer is to privatise some of our PSBs. They couldn’t be more wrong.
The overwhelming majority of bank systems worldwide are privately owned. And yet these systems are prone to periodic bouts of bank failures. The International Monetary Fund has documented 140 episodes of banking crises in 115 economies in the world in the period 1970-2011. The median cost of bank recapitalisation in these crises was 6.8% of GDP. India’s cost of recapitalisation over a 20-year period is less than 1% of the average GDP during this period.
The Modi government has shown courage in opting for substantial recapitalisation of banks. This is not something that fits into the ‘reform’ mantra whereby private is good and public is bad. Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel has welcomed the move in effusive terms: “The Government of India’s decisive package to restore the health of the Indian banking system is in the view of the [RBI] a monumental step forward in safeguarding the country’s economic future.” Indeed. The government’s recapitalisation move promises to do more to quickly usher in ‘acche din’ than any other single measure it has initiated during its tenure.


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