Science is what scientists do! Science is holy and great but scientists need not be that pure, which is the problem today. Science tries to understand nature. Today scientists try and teach nature a lesson or two!
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis”— Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
This reminds me of the yesteryears’ Teller-Pauling, Drexler-Smalley, Platt-Pickering, and many other debates between people who are “projected” to be great but were in fact, made of feet of clay. All those debates, including the present media debate between the two “giants” in the Indian space arena, were based on wrong understanding of the basic problems. If one understands human action instead of hating it, laughing at it or weeping at it, one can easily solve most problems sans tears! Let us look at the whole arena dispassionately.
Of course, the Antrix deal rakes in corruption. Who would give away 90% of the bandwidth to one private company without any auction after having spent millions of taxpayers’ money to build the satellite in the first place? As in all such deals, all of which are murky, the truth about who pockets the bulk share is anybody’s guess. The technologists named and shunned today might not have got any money but someone in India has got it for sure. The pity is that these technologists (they are not scientists in the true sense of the word) did not have their MBA degree where one is taught to make “profit in every deal irrespective of consequences,” and still appear to be very respectable in the eyes of the world.
Methinks that most of us, me included, are not educated in India. I find some of our rural folk, with whom I interact as patients, are better educated than I am. Education should be a process which trains a human being “to act justly, skilfully and magnanimously under all circumstances of peace and war.” If each of us were to cross our hearts and look within, we very quickly realise that we are not educated in the above sense. In effect, education must aim at making healthy minds, and not just wealthy careers, although the latter follows good education. Justice and magnanimity would have put an end to the present debate long before it even started. Many countries, including the UK, had a binary system of education which continues even now in the Netherlands; although in the UK conversion of polytechnics into universities ended that system some years ago. “Binary systems are compared to unitary systems where higher education is delivered in one type of institution (usually universities). Non-university higher education institutions includes: technikons, polytechnics, Fachhochschulen, hogescholen and colleges of higher education, and community colleges in the USA. In some countries the binary system operates between traditional universities and universities of applied science.”
India urgently needs this dichotomy as all our universities have become vocational training institutes which do not give education at all. Maybe that is what our industrial honchos want done, anyway. India was the best country in the world in the field of education as per the statement of James Babington Macaulay who destroyed it to make India a colony of Britain. “……I have seen in India, such high moral value, people of such high calibre, that I do not think we will be able to conquer that country unless we break the very backbone of their nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace the old and ancient educational system…” (House of Commons 2 February 1835) He succeeded fully. Even after our political independence many of our leaders at the helm of affairs were “British in thinking and morals but Indian in blood and colour,” exactly what Macaulay wanted. Our own such netas further destroyed the Indian educational system whose main aim really was to make healthy minds filled with humility (vidya vinaya sampannah). In every sphere of activity most of us are slaves of western thought including in science although the West now thinks all science originated in ancient Indian wisdom! How I wish the warring groups had Indian education which would have kept their blood pressures under control for sure.
The best thing for future would be to ban any governmental assignments to anyone who retires from government service and gets pension. This would put an end to lots of sycophancy during their tenure in top posts. Today the ‘aye’ sayers who bend all rules in service to help their bosses to collect black money and store it in safe havens get cushy jobs even after retirement. If they connive with the vested interests abroad they get posted in UNESCO, WHO, World Bank, etc to get pension benefits in US dollars. Some of them manage to get themselves parked in palaces, called the Raj Bhavans—a sheer waste of precious resources which could have gone to feed the dying malnourished children instead. Among the lot, the craftiest are the bureaucrats who know where to pull the wires to climb up the ladder or get a parking lot in the palace of their choice after retirement. If my suggestion about the post-retirement ban comes into effect debates like this would not arise at all. None of them obviously is educated to act justly and magnanimously under times of peace. They even do not hesitate to humiliate our brave army men who give their lives to keep us in peace. The army chief’s age controversy is one such example. Let us have universities meant to give real education like arts, humanities, pure science, mathematics and liberal arts. Let us have professional bodies to produce doctors, engineers, technologists, business managers and what have you. But all those that want to go to the latter stream must have a basic degree in humanities to make them human and humane.
The common man sees a halo around anyone calling himself a scientist. The word scientist is applied to everyone. Technologists and engineers who build rockets and satellites are not true scientists. They apply scientific principles to their work. Science is just a method of understanding nature. Any of us, if we try, could be a scientist. Even the so called father of science, Sir Francis Bacon, was only a trained lawyer! We need not attach a halo around scientists which makes them automatically arrogant and uneducated. Indian science establishments, as of now, to the best of my information, are not the best. Some years ago the Indian government had appointed a one-man commission to suggest changes needed in our science laboratories across the country, which eat up a large chunk of the poor tax payers’ money. The commission was led by late professor Rustum Roy, one of the greatest scientists this world had ever seen. He had told me that the situation was very bad and needed complete overhauling! I do not think any follow-up action was taken. Most of our research is only repetitive “copy-cat” variety. True refutative research that takes knowledge forward rarely happens here. Scientists are measured by the number of papers they write and the capacity to garner funds for their work. Both of these criteria have been found to be of no use in assessing their worth. Indian science must focus on making the life of our poor millions a wee bit better, to help improve our general nutrition and to find inexpensive methods of sickness management. On the contrary, what we are doing is what the West wants us to do. Less said about medical research the better. India is becoming the field trial area of new drug molecules of western drug companies! That is what we call research. We still do not grapple scientifically with human consciousness!
Need for justice and magnanimity in science and technology arena is more important than in other areas. To give one example—the Moon Mission. We were the 69th country trying that. There was no immediate advantage to the poor masses from going to the moon. They would much rather go to their neighbour’s house with a smile on their faces instead of quarrelling with the neighbour for some petty reason. The total budget was, I am told, one hundred thousand crores of Indian rupees which would otherwise have gone to feed all the malnourished children, 67 million in all, who die at the rate 218 per hour today! Where was the hurry for the moon mission when millions of our own children were dying? Where was magnanimity? Where was justice? Ultimately, the spacecraft went towards Mars, which is explained by science as Butterfly Effect! Heads I win and Tails you lose philosophy! A Dutch scientist calls today’s science as: “Wotenchap is whot wotenchoppen doen.” Science is what scientists do! Science is holy and great but scientists need not be that pure, which is the problem today. Science tries to understand nature. Today scientists try and teach nature a lesson or two!
“A multitude of causes unknown to former times are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and unfitting it for all voluntary exertion to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor”—William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society’s Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former vice-chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])
Nifty may move sideways in the range of 5,100 and 5,215 with a downward bias
Gains in banking and realty stocks, supported by positive cues from the global arena, helped the market settle higher today. As we had mentioned yesterday that the downtrend has begun, we continue to maintain the same outlook. The Nifty may now see a sideways move in the range of 5,100 and 5,215 with a downward bias. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded with a volume of 75.40 crore shares today.
The domestic market opened higher, tracking gains in the Asian region in morning trade following reports that European leaders on Monday supported plans for greater fiscal integration in Europe. The Nifty started trade at 5,125, up 38 points and the Sensex gained 103 points at 16,966. The opening figure of the Sensex was its intraday low while the Nifty fell a tad lower to 5,120 at its low.
The indices were sideways for most part of the morning trade. A pick-up in buying activity in subsequent trade saw the market inching marginally higher in the noon session. Spurred by State Bank of India’s announcement that the government would infuse funds amounting to around Rs7,900 crore into the state-owned lender and ICICI Bank’s better-than-expected third quarter results, the banking sector was the top gainer today.
A positive opening of the key European markets kept the momentum steady in post-noon trade. The benchmarks hit their intraday highs towards the end of the session with the Nifty scaling 5,215 and the Sensex touching 17,239.
The market closed marginally off the highs of the day. The Nifty gained 112 points at 5,199 and the Sensex jumped 330 points to settle at 17,194.
The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 1201:579.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index surged 1.99% and the BSE Small-cap index climbed 1.41%.
The BSE Bankex index (up 3.84%) was the top sectoral today. It was followed by BSE Realty (up 3.51%); BSE Auto (up 2.37%); BSE Metal (up 2.24%) and BSE TECk (up 1.85%). There were no red ticks in the sectoral space today.
Hindalco Industries (up 6.65%); ICICI Bank (up 5.87%); DLF (up 5.29%); Tata Motors (up 4.06%) and Bajaj Auto (up 3.58%) were the top performers on the Sensex. The losers were led by Coal India (down 2.99%); Maruti Suzuki (down 1.10%); Hindustan Unilever (down 0.76%); NTPC (down 0.09%) and ONGC (down 0.05%).
The top performers on the Nifty were Hindalco Ind (up 8.07%); Reliance Communications (up 7.31%); Sesa Goa (up 7.12%); IDFC (up 6.39%) and Axis Bank (up 6.02%). Coal India (down 2.31%); Siemens (down 1.86%); Punjab National Bank (down 1.19%); Cairn India (down 1.08%) and Maruti Suzuki (down 0.98%) settled at the bottom of the index.
Markets in Asia closed higher on hopes of a pact would be reached that would enable Greece avoiding a debt default. Besides, a 4% surge in Japanese factory output in December also supported the gains.
The Shanghai Composite rose 0.33%; the Hang Seng surged 1.14%; the Jakarta Composite gained 0.68%; the KLSE Composite climbed 0.51%; the Nikkei 225 added 0.11%; the Straits Times advanced 0.64%; the Seoul Composite was up 0.79% and the Taiwan Weighted closed 1.48% higher. At the time of writing, the key European markets were trading with gains in the range of 0.69% to 1.24% and the US stocks futures were in the green.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities totalling Rs201.71 crore on Monday and domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks amounting to Rs533.69 crore.
Tiles maker Somany Ceramics on Tuesday said it has entered into an agreement with Italy’s Fiandre Group for marketing and distribution of the latter’s Active range of tiles in India. Under the agreement, Somany will start selling the premium tiles which are priced at Rs350-Rs450 per sq ft at its stores in all major cities. The stock jumped 5.17% to settle at Rs38.65 on the NSE.
Wind turbine maker Suzlon has bagged an over Rs 600-crore contract from CLP India, the Indian subsidiary of Hong Kong-based power company CLP, for setting up a 100-MW project in Rajasthan. The project, which comprises 48 wind turbines, is scheduled to be commissioned by January 2013. Suzlon settled 6.45% higher at Rs28.05 on the NSE today.
Starbucks Corp, the world's largest coffee shop company, will open its first cafe in India in August through an equal joint venture with Tata Global Beverages. The venture, Tata Starbucks, will spend Rs400 crore initially and open 50 Starbucks cafe across the country by the end of the calendar year. Tata Global Beverages soared 10.52% to Rs108.20 on the NSE today.
“If you go by the past share price of SBI, it (the price of preferential allotment) is likely to be somewhere about Rs1,800 to Rs2,000. If that is the range that is going to happen, then the government’s equity share will go up by 2%-2.5%,” SBI managing director Diwakar Gupta told reporters
New Delhi: State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, today said the government’s stake in the bank is likely to increase by up to 2.5% following the capital infusion of Rs7,900 crore, reports PTI.
“If you go by the past share price of SBI, it (the price of preferential allotment) is likely to be somewhere about Rs1,800 to Rs2,000. If that is the range that is going to happen, then government’s equity share will go up by 2%-2.5%,” SBI managing director Diwakar Gupta told reporters here.
At present, the government of India holds a 59.4% stake in SBI.
Mr Gupta said the preferential allotment would be governed by the guidelines of market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which is the higher of the six-month average or 15-day average share price of the bank.
The capital infusion by the government will raise the Tier-I capital of the bank to about 8%.
He said SBI would need about Rs15,000 crore of additional capital and the infusion could happen by way of qualified institutional placement (QIP), a follow-on public offer (FPO) or a rights issue.
“We would be needing about Rs15,000 crore of additional capital. For the current year, the calculation is closer to Rs8,000 crore for Tier-I,” Mr Gupta added.
He said SBI has submitted a rough plan of its capital requirement for the next five years to the government. “The total capital required over three years is Rs28,000 crore.
The Rs15,000 crore is part of that,” Mr Gupta added.
SBI had raised over Rs16,000 crore through a rights issue in 2008. In the last SBI rights issue, the government’s contribution to the bank was in the form of bonds, rather than cash.
As of September 2011, the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of SBI stood at 11.4%. Of this, Tier-I capital stood at 7.47% at the end of second quarter against the minimum 8% level desired by the government.