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A few un-related but important things:
a) India: A Divided Nation?
Don't have much time at the moment to dwell on this issue, but was
glancing thro' the book, "Legacy of a Divided Nation: India's Muslims
Since Independence," by Mushirul Hasan, 1997. I have had it next to me
since over six months, but not yet spent time on it. Always thought that
religious issues are less important than economic.
But Prof. Roy's repeated insistence that we look at this issue, plus the
fact that many others seem to revert to these issues, makes me believe
that we MUST find out and then portray the basic statistics of India's
religious past and present for all to see on the WWW. There are many
myths which circulate in this area, and I know personally of some myths
which were exploded for us as young civil servants by N.C. Saxena, who
had carried out detailed studies on communal riots.
This book is loaded with excellent data; but more than that it seems to
be a rather interesting look at the problems of India from a rather
secular Muslim perspective. The author seems to have unfortunately got
enmeshed in some controversy. If anyone else has read this book and is
willing to send the tables/ charts in a digital format, pl. do so.
Also, a summary would be welcome. We
will put up these charts for all to see. Also, we might benefit from
having the author on board.
Also came across this organization called Sampradayitka Virodhi Andolan,
which has a flyer stating some interesting things:
"The Report on the Status of Women in India (1975) shows that the number
of polygamous marriages was greater among Hindus than among Muslims.
5.06% of Hindu marriages were polygamous and 4.31% of Muslim marriages
(1 out of 25) were polygamous."
If we can get hold of this organization and get its reps on board, that
would be nice, too.
I mentioned once that Xiaobo Lu is from Harvard. He is actually from the
Department of Political Science, Columbia University, New York, and is a
specialist in corruption in China and Russia.
c) Request to folk from Singapore:
(don't know if I already sent in this: if I did, please excuse the
We have a bunch of people here who live in Singapore. Prof. Asher,
Srikumar, John Rozario and Arvind was there too a short while ago. I
would be very grateful if one is enlightened not only about the salaries
drawn by politicians and bureaucrats but also about the qualifications
that are required for various positions.
My understandipinng is that Ph.D. is required in many positions, as well
a strong industry experience, before being allowed to take economic
decisions for the country.
In India, we are very happy with the ancient British ICS system where a
B.A. in English coupled with links in high places is considered the best
qualification to take economic decisions for India. That system had one
merit of course; because ICS officers were so well paid, they at least
were not corrupt.
That is the key to good governance: competence + compensation.
We do not want to increase the compensation to Singaporean levels
without at the same time insisiting on the highest possible standards of
academic qualification and industry experience. However, data on
Singapore will be very highly appreciated. I hear a lot about it, but I
do not have personal knowledge of the qualifications expected for
Also, finally: there must be a rather easy system to fire a bureaucrat
for incompetence, and not merely for corruption. We have in some states
(e.g., Assam) some real bad cases: we have a senior officer who comes to
office drunk, drinks while in office, and takes decisions while drunk.
He is not kicked out of the job since we have made these positions
sinecures, and people are too sympathetic toward incompetence.
d) Clearing House: Corporation for Enterprise Development
We, on IPI, are essentially, "incentive reformers" for India. We are
trying to design good incentives for all sectors of India.
In a regime of true liberalization, it is not for the planning
commission (which will be dismantled by then) that will do this
allocation of businesses to various states, but the states themselves.
The Chinese model is particularly relevant for India in this context and
the American models of log-rolling, etc.
The USA has started a project to study how policy makers and businesses
can interact with each other to ensure a 'best' deal for the business
and the state/city. The project is called Clearinghouse.
I like this idea very much; having a clearning house in India where
businesses can check out incentives, if any, and the position of labor
laws, etc. The system could be a kind of 'auction,' where businesses
such as Tatas could propose to set up a plant somewhere and the states
could 'bid' for the project by offering whatever it is that they want to
offer (particularly law and order).
This will help people from states like Assam which are shunned by
businesses (how many Tata executives have been kidnapped/ killed in
Assam?) to realize that the world is not sitting somewhere to do a favor
to them, but that they have to PAY a price to get the best brains into
that state. Today, I know that many of the best brains of Assam are
leaving the state en-masse. The same prevails perhaps in Bihar and other
The concept of Clearning house perhaps needs to be built into the policy
statement for IPI. It is something that the Indian Govt., the CII, and
others should be doing RIGHT NOW!
October 30, 1998
As you well know, the competition between state and local governments to
recruit new companies or to retain existing ones has never been more
intense. Annually, states and localities across the country spend
hundreds of millions of public dollars on a variety of tax incentives
and spending programs whose use has fueled a new incentives' "arms race"
among the states. Since our publication of Bidding for Business: Are
Cities and States Selling Themselves Short? and Improving Your Business
Climate: A Guide To Smarter Public Investments in Economic Development,
the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and its allies have
been seeking to hold business incentives to a higher standard of public
accountability. Recently, the Ford Foundation has awarded CFED a grant
to continue this work by creating a "Business Incentive Reform
Clearinghouse." Its specific goals include:
* Serving to strengthen the ties between policymakers and the best
academic research on incentives design, reform, administration, and
* Creating a forum for dialogues between reform experts,
researchers, policymakers, journalists, and the informed public;
* Exploring new federal, state, and local reform options; and
* Tracking the latest reform alternatives and the latest case
studies of unaccountable incentive uses.
The Clearinghouse will use the following methods to accomplish the above
* Conducting timely and relevant research;
* Publishing a regular electronic newsletter, Accountabilty: The
Newsletter of the Business Incentive Reform Clearinghouse.
* Organizing dialogue on the most significant incentive reform and
* Developing and managing an accessible, yet thorough web site;
* Running a speakers' bureau.
However, if we are to succeed in establishing an effective vehicle for
disseminating timely, accurate, and user-friendly information about
reform best practice, we need your help. Now and in the future, could
you please send us:
* News clippings about incentive reform debates and current
competitions to attract or retain corporate facilities;
* Bibliographies or citations of good technical or journalistic
articles on the topic;
* Examples of new legislation;
* Evaluations of earlier reform tools, such as sunset reviews,
performance-based contracts, disclosure legislation, etc.;
* New reform proposals and ideas; and
* Anything else that you think would aid incentive reformers.
With your help, we hope to have the Clearinghouse fully operable early
in 1999 at www.cfed.org. For more information, contact: Matt Hull or
Bill Schweke at the Corporation for Enterprise Development 123 West Main
oStreet, 3rd Floor, Durham, NC 27701 (phone: 919-688-6444; fax:
919-688-6580. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Senior Program Director
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