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Rural Areas, Education etc.



A few points brought up in a couple of mails

1. Teachers, Doctors avoiding rural areas.

I think the solution here is not to force or give
incentives to those going to rural areas. The
solution is to develop these rural areas and
urbanize them so that life is comfortable in
these areas and people prefer living in such
places out of their own accord.
A related news I saw was Indian Airlines 
opposing the entry of Tata Airlines on the
grounds that IA has been contributing to the
integrity of the nation! (Among other reasons
given was that internet, fax and e-mail had
allowed companies to bypass couriers cutting
into the revenue of IA!)
It seems the people of Northeast feel alienated
and so IA flew on some loss making routes.
If the people of NE feel alienated, it is not
because aeroplanes don't fly there but because
of the policies which made NE a zone where it
is not worth flying planes to.
The solution should be to develop these areas 
and make them commercially viable.
Why do we need to be a rural country? We need
hundreds of cities peppered all over the country.
By cities I do not mean that the population is
bloating but that consumer companies go out of
the way to woo the people.
Satellite towns are fine to relieve the stress
on major cities but we need more cities so that
every place in India is within 50 km distance
of a decent city. No place should be commercially
useless. We need more cities like Chandigarh.
Leave it to private builders. Government can play
a role in populating these cities by posting
around 5000 government employees. That will 
attract the rest. Begin the construction work!

2. Chain of Institutes?

Do we need this sort of chain? Shouldn't higher
education ideally be taken care of by the private 
sector? If at all government contributes to research,
it must be for research in fundamental sciences,
economics and possibly agriculture. Even in case of
agriculture, I think the farming community who
wish to avail of the research should be made to pay
a small annual fee. Even a fee of Rs 10/- per year
from 3 crore farmers should fetch 30 crores.
As for degrees like B.Sc and LLB being useless
to find a relevant job, I agree. We do not have 
colleges in india - we have degree mills.
The day students register for a course, they also
register for a course in shorthand and typing.
The culprit is none other than the Government
which asks for a degree as basic qualification.
IAS officers should be picked up right after 
class XII and trained like it is done for defence
officers. The requirement for a degree or even
favouring those with a degree for clerical jobs
should be done away with (I am not sure if it is
the case now) Colleges should be for academics.
Government can support primary education, maybe
at least the salaries of primary school teachers.

3. Two medical systems?

Why do we need to encourage two medical systems?
Those who want to practise any of these are free 
to do so. If at all encouragement is to be given,
there must be just one system - the best from
each. In any case, government should not get into
research funding for technology and medicine -
there is enough commercial use and it is possible
to sustain it through private participation.

4. Asian values and modernisation

As for asian values, I think the phrase a couple
of decades back refered to the strong family ties.
(Someone old enough correct me if I am wrong)
Right now, they refer to the way business is run!
The people here also claim that the success is
due to this way of running business. What this 
way is, nobody explains. They don't go beyond
the phrase. That is why Chris Patten pooh-poohed
it. He is correct in doing so.
Why didn't they modernise the institutions in
SE Asia? Technologically they did but the 
management techniques were not modernised. The
reason in one word is nepotism. That was also the
reason for fixing the currency rates. It suited them to
get good rates for themselves. When the crisis came,
this fixing the rates went against the country.

-Arvind

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