A lack of vigilance towards how our education system is developing is going to end up causing long term harm to a wide swathe of Indian society.
In the previous article on black money generated through the education sector, we discussed the amounts generated and the wide swathe of educational fields where this practise is prevalent. This trend creates distortions in Indian society and is detrimental to Indian economy. Following are some of the most glaring distortions caused:
1. Tax evasion – The Indian government loses out on tax revenue on these huge sums, and while black money could be as easily found in many other parts of the Indian economy, this is one black money generating machine that has the most wide-ranging effects on our future generations.
2. Money mopped from various regular individuals concentrates in a few hands. The desparation among the regular middle class people to get the best education for their children means that they are willing to shell out huge chunks from their legitimate savings to get seats in various colleges.
3. The money is either parked in real estate or stashed abroad. If parked in real estate, this supports the artificially hiked real estate prices and creates another loop that feeds inflation and price distortion.
4. If stashed abroad, the money goes out of the Indian economy to support economies in tax havens.
5. Students have come to consider this as an investment and look to recover it as soon as possible. This ends up promoting unethical practises in all related fields. For example, the medical profession has become un-regulated un-accountable mafia, where most of the doctors involve themselves in unethical practices to recover their so-called investment.
6. When the student has paid money, he treats the degree as an entitlement and not something to be earned. This effects the quality of the students input and the graduates that we educate.
7. It is speculated that some of this money is deployed in stock market and commodities exchange market. The commodities exchange has been responsible for commodities inflation especially of food grain. The money is also used for hoarding of commodities, thus give raise to inflation. All this is possible only with tacit political support.
8. This money is about 73.5% of gross budgetary support to Ministry of HRD, Govt of India. If only one years collection is used for primary education and Ekal Vidyalayas (one teacher schools, a successful experiment in over 40,000 tribal villages by Vanvasi Vikas Kendra and Van Bandhu Parishad), primary schools with better facilities can be opened in all villages in India.
Challenge before Current Government
1. HRD Ministry – How to stop this loot? Make policies and channelize energies to improve education infrastructure, better teaching and quality education?
2. Health Ministry – How to break this eco-system from capitation fee till doctor’s loot mafia and provide better medical facilities to masses.
3. Finance Ministry – If nothing can be done by HRD and/or health ministry, at least make this loot official and collect tax on it. At a corporate rate of 33%, the tax will be about Rs. 16,000 crores per year. Then use it for educational purposes.
4. Prime Minister – This is a big challenge before Mr Modi. If he can tackle this menace, he can control many distortions in the society and economy.
We often find our academicians, politicians and economists waxing eloquent about India's demographic dividend. With the kind of higher education culture we have fostered in India, the dividend will soon become a curse. It is high time that the government took a hard look at how higher education is being monetised in India.
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Education sector's link to black money
India faces formidable security challenges and the only way to address them is to re-work the framework under which our services operate
India's armed forces are rightfully held in highest esteem and respect by citizens. They are brave, patriotic, highly disciplined and dedicated towards their duties. How can a soldier whose family is economically distressed guard our borders and fight with enemies to secure our lives?
In fact a separate and dedicated pay commission should be formed for fixing their remuneration, privileges, facilities, perks and post retirement benefits and to provide for the families of martyred.
The serious and highly neglected problem of obsolete arms (Almost half of the fighter planes have been lost in crashes during training in the last three decades, warships and submarines are aging, old Russian made tanks are deployed and no fresh procurement of modern heavy guns since 1984 when Swiss bofor guns were bought), shortage of ammunition and bullets, which is reportedly just enough to fight for a maximum of three weeks need to be addressed on priority. This task of procurement should be handed over to an autonomous constitutional body and implemented by a separate ministry under the direct charge of Prime Minister.
The long pending issue of appointment of a senior five star officer to head all three wings of the armed forces for proper, effective, quick and timely coordination is difficult to solve. The government is apprehensive of creating such a powerful post to avoid any chance of mutiny, although in our country such an event is nearly impossible. The viable option could be to appoint a coordination committee comprising of one senior most officer of four star rank from each wing, with the chairman being a retired chief of one of the services, with a system of collective decisions based on majority view.
The existing 26 different Acts on this subject should be simplified and consolidated in to three Acts:-
(A) “INDIAN ARMED FORCES ACT”; in substitution of the following Acts:
• Indian Reserve Forces Act, 1888
• Indian Rifles Act, 1920
• Indian Soldiers Litigation Act, 1925
• Assam Rifles Act, 1941
• Armed Forces (Emergency duties) Act, 1947
• Air Force Act, 1950
• Army Act, 1950
• Army & Air Force (disposal of private property) Act, 1950
• Commander-in-Chief (change in designation) Act, 1
• Reserves & Auxiliary Air Forces Act, 1952
• Indian Naval Armament Act, 1923
• Naval & Air Craft Prize Act
• Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958
• Armed forces (Punjab and Chandigarh) special powers act 1983.
• Armed forces (J&K) special powers act 1990
• Works of defence act 1903
• Fort William act 1881
(B) “INDIAN BORDERS SECURITY ACT”; to subsume and consolidate the following Acts:
• Border Security Force act 1968.
• Coast Guard Act 1978.
• Indo Tibetan Border Police Force Act 1992
• Territorial Army Act 1948
(C) “INDIAN INTERNAL SECURITY FORCES ACT”; to subsume the following Acts:
• Central Reserve Police Force Act 1949.
• National Cadet Corp Act 1948
• Civil Defence Act 1968.
• Central Industrial Security Act 1968/1999
• Railway Protection Force Act 1957 /1985
A constitution body named the “Internal Security Management Commission (ISMC) should be set up to preserve, oversee and control the internal defence of India with the following duties, functions and powers:
• To prevent, detect and combat terrorists and spies, both external and internal.
• To requisition and take the services of police, CRP, paramilitary forces and if required of Indian armed forces at it’s sole discretion.
• To detect, prevent and/or to crush communal and caste based riots. To detect and arrest people attempting to destroy public and government property.
• To crush Naxalism completely with full forece, by directly coordinating with police and armed forces, in the event that Naxalites remain adamant in their unreasonable and unacceptable demands and refuse to have a peaceful settlement with the Central Government.
• The institution of ‘Intelligence Bureau’ should be disbanded and its officers and staff should come under ISMC and the latter will also select and recruit it’s own intelligence officers. It will post at least 4 officers in each district and in adequate numbers in cities and towns.
• The DGP and head of CID of every state should submit a monthly report to ISMC by covering briefly, every important news and acts affecting internal security.