Nation
Lok Sabha passes Bill to set up six new IITs
New Delhi : The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which seeks to set up six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) including one at Jammu.
 
The other new IITs are to come up in Tirupati, Palakkad, Goa, Dharwad, and Bhilai. Several members supported the bill but opposed the fee hike at the premier engineering institutes.
 
Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, who had while moving the Bill, said that the government is focussing on improving the performance of the institutes and quality of education, in his reply to the debate, tried to assure the members on the fees, saying that the government is keen only to garner fees from who can pay.
 
"Education must be inclusive. To ensure equity it must be affordable also. But those capable of paying must pay. You should not oppose when rich are being asked to pay," he said.
 
He said in three years, the government will mobilise Rs 20,000 crore for IITs.
 
Javadekar also sought to dispel the notion that the funding in IITs have declined, noting that the central government has allocated Rs 4,035 crore to the IITs this fiscal as against Rs 3,855 crore in previous year.
 
The government has formed High Education Financial Agency (HEFA) to upgrade the infrastructure, he said, adding that the Narendra Modi government is committed to "Sabko Shiksha Acchi Shiksa (Good Education to All)."
 
On the fee structure, something which was flagged by several members including Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress, Javadekar said students from the ST and SC communities, from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and physically challenged have full waiver of fees in the IITs and NITs.
 
Families with income below Rs 9 lakh per annum also can get zero per cent education loan, he said adding affirmative steps can certainly change the scene of higher technical education in the country.
 
The debate was initiated by Congress member Gaurav Gogoi, who stressed on the need of quality of education and research.
 
The Bill also seeks to bring the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, within the ambit of the Act.
 
Javadekar also addressed the concern about coaching classes for entrance exam and said said the government has started online programme IIT-PAL, under which aspirants can get free tutorials, exams, and homework.
 
Among others, Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena), and R.K. Jena (Biju Janata Dal) supported the bill.
 
Jayadev Galla (Telugu Desam Party) said government should set up a central university and a tribal university in Andhra Pradesh, while Communist Party of India-Marxist's M.B. Rajesh suggested that higher technical education should be made more inclusive.
 
Satya Pal Singh (BJP) suggested that government should ask at least one IIT to focus on rural technologies with a view to promote inclusive development.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Reforming India's bureaucracy: There is no easy solution
As someone with first-hand experience of how babudom (bureaucracy) functions in India, I am often amused, and at times distressed, by people's assessment of how to cure the many ills of our bureaucracy.
 
It is understandably difficult for the outside observer to pin down the crux of the problems - of corruption, lethargic decision-making and general inertia that are evidently keeping this institution from delivering. It is clearly frustrating for the average Indian to pay taxes to sustain this huge, apparently useless institution whose members seem to only abuse power and enjoy perks and do no good, or not enough, at any rate.
 
Various analysts have narrowed down the problem to low salaries, fear of the vigilance and audit machinery, lure of post-retirement jobs, general lack of ethics in society and the like. The difficulty is that there is no easy formula to tackle these problems.
 
I heartily agree with Anja Manuel that India needs "a comprehensive ethics and education campaign in schools and the news media would shift cultural norms away from seeing graft as an inevitable part of life." This brings me to the next oft-touted solution.
 
I agree, only partially, with those who blame the 3Cs (Comptroller and Auditor General, Central Bureau of Investigation and Central Vigilance Commission) for the resident inertia of the Indian bureaucracy. The truth is that we desperately need these institutions to do their job well. The trouble is that more often than not, the resources of these bodies are being misused to settle scores and wreak revenge.
 
Very often decisive bureaucrats, who are the epitome of diligence and honesty, are subject to malicious inquiries (initiated by unscrupulous and the dishonest) to teach them a lesson and to reign them in or even as convenient scapegoats. It is up to the government to rehaul these bodies and to severely punish those found to have abetted the harassment of upright bureaucrats, either deliberately, or because of their sheer indifference or carelessness.
 
A little digging would often reveal crooked fellow bureaucrats behind bogus complaints or audit paras and the complicity of the staff of these bodies lies at the root of the manipulation of the 3Cs. The careful selection of officers who man these bodies must be given utmost priority.
 
The need for a genuine understanding of policy and programme implementation rather than a pedantic, hyper-technical or policing mindset is of utmost importance if these bodies are to concentrate on curtailing dishonesty. Only when this happens will this country set free the bright, honest bureaucrat who truly wants to serve his/her country and is willing to work day and night to deliver.
 
One idea of giving bureaucrats the option of branching into the regulatory stream after the age of 55 is a good one. He has stated that "those interested in regulation should be allowed to continue till 65 years, while others follow the direct line operations till 60 or, in exceptional cases, 62 years".
 
However, how this will solve the "malleability" of regulators is not clear. In a liberalized market economy, the professionalism and autonomy of the regulator is critical and regulators who are at the end of the day political appointees may necessarily exhibit these traits.
 
What is needed is more transparency and accountability in regulation. The actions of a number of regulators are still cloaked behind an opaque or at least translucent wall that hides regulatory capture and worse. The public should have a right to know the rationale for all government and regulatory decisions.
 
One of the ways of achieving this is proper enforcement of the RTI, including the requirement of proactive/suo moto public disclosure which is only being given lip service so far. The public too needs to wake up and demand more from the government. Further, they must stop paying speed money and using political patronage to manipulate the system. In general, Indians need to practice what they preach as desirable conduct from their fellow Indians in the bureaucracy. Not easy? Blame the system? It is a chicken-and-egg dilemma, indeed!
 
Bringing in lateral entrants at higher levels of bureaucracy can instil fresh ideas and professionalism provided one can ensure the integrity and autonomy of these experts. This too leads right back to all of the above.
 
Finally, there is a need to pay well to attract talent. It has been rightly said that, "if you throw peanuts you will get monkeys" This country does not need a bunch of rapacious monkeys to manage its affairs. The paring down of the lower level bureaucracy and digitalization of government services must be coupled with a large enough higher level bureaucracy consisting of the country's best brains, who are rewarded well for work.
 
The Singapore model, where the government selects and trains the best students for bureaucratic positions on a renewable contract basis, is one worth emulating. They also punish severely for corruption, which acts as an effective deterrent.
 
All these issues are intricately interlinked and difficult, but not impossible, to tackle provided, that is what Indians really want.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

4 months ago

Its' nice to read, but tough to implement because majority of Politicians r not that educated but Elected on MONEY & MUSICAL power with fewer intelligent Group of Politicians as we look at LOKSABHA or RAJYA SABHA on TV then what can expect from,Our youth have no time to fight repeatedly and no one understand like in Maharashtra only understand Marathi and no other language they reply also in Marathi the language HC/SC do not understand no chance of improving system we r suppress to PAY bribe and get our job done.

REPLY

MG Warrier

In Reply to manoharlalsharma 4 months ago

You meant MUSCLE POWER. When we depend on software to do spell-check, this happens...

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

4 months ago

A collection of jurassic minds, refusing to shed it's predatory tendencies, waiting to be swept away, by the deluge of blockchain technology.

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

4 months ago

Switch from fixed manning to fixed gross wage budget for each administrative head, then all evils of ever bloating bureaucracy, and ever irrational roundabout work procedures will shrink itself to elimination, like an ulcer starved of nutrients.

REPLY

MG Warrier

In Reply to Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan 4 months ago

We are almost there...Via outsourcing and so on.

Simple Indian

4 months ago

I have always wondered how officials (from top levels to the beat constables or those who directly interact with the public) in certain countries, like Singapore or Scandinavian ones, are upright and committed to their official duties and largely non-corrupt, while those in India are corrupt by default. There are different reasons for top bureaucrats being corrupt or dishonest and those at low levels. Yet, this malaise has spread so deeply in our bureaucracy over the years that it's impossible for one to be honest, sincere, and not be corrupt in any govt office, while most colleagues are corrupt. This is more so in certain departments like the police, octroi, licensing, etc. where the general public interacts with the officials directly, and there is hence a scope to demand bribes for even doing what these officials are paid hefty salaries (even before 7th Pay Commission scales). One reason is definitely general erosion of public morality and corruption no longer seen as a 'bad' thing. The Govt can't bring about social changes to reverse this and it's responsible citizens in civil society who have to take the lead to usher in changes in public morality to ensure everyone does their job sincerely and without seeking bribes or favors in cash / kind.

REPLY

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

In Reply to Simple Indian 4 months ago

In reply to Simple Indian
Aravind Kejriwal, one among the ordinary public, is doing it. Let's not search for the spectacles, that is right on our nose.

MG Warrier

In Reply to Simple Indian 4 months ago

“The Govt can't bring about social changes to reverse this and it's responsible citizens in civil society who have to take the lead to usher in changes in public morality to ensure everyone does their job sincerely and without seeking bribes or favours in cash / kind.”
Very true. But, unfortunately, corruption is not about ‘bribes’ alone. Corrupt behaviour includes immoral acts, cheating, not paying a ‘living wage’ to employees, misbehaving, ill-treating others, not paying taxes when due or tax-avoidance, wilful default of loans and other dues and a host of other things. We see corruption in a very narrow sense, most of the time relating it to lower level government employees!

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

In Reply to MG Warrier 4 months ago

and not eschewing subsidies too

Guntupalli Rameswaram

4 months ago

The bureaucracy is a continuation of British system and there is nothing Indian in it. The issue is to totally dismantle the system and find lean system which is accountable. It is very complex as got entrenched so deep in our set up. A thorough overhaul is required well thought out, and it is not easy.

MG Warrier

4 months ago

The issues raised here are much wider to cover in this short piece. HR management, corruption, governance issues arising from political interference, inadequacy in skill development, irrational career progression, a host of wage and compensation issues, retirement age…many things contributed to the sad state of affairs. It is easy to blame political system, bureaucracy or for that matter judiciary or audit or financial regulators. But rarely we see people taking forward ideas which can better the situation.

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COMMENTS

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4 months ago

Am going to try it out

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