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Cool Bihari: September 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Indian Democracy Debate:II

I really appreciate the thoughts put in by Amitabh for suggesting some novel ideas.Now here’s my take on his comments.

( Political parties should have a set of duties, Tasks, in Tangible terms for them to be registered as a political party.)

· Political Parties have different roles to play. Unlike other professionals their Key Result Areas can’t be demarked. No where in the world do we have this kind of criteria’s. However as Political Parties there are certain norms to be followed for being recognized as a national or regional party but in terms of quantifiable work there is no such rule.

· Regarding the idea about impartial institutions judging the performance of political representatives it’s slightly difficult because that will destroy the basic tenets of democracy. Institutions corruption is the worst kind of corruption and at the best we can think about a comments or evaluation for their work performance and that can be circulated amongst the candidates which will help them make better choice when they go to vote.

· We can even think about an institution which has representatives from all walks of lives and they prepare an impartial annual performance report of democratically elected representatives. This institution’s role has to be advisory in nature and just as you have credit rating agencies and ATP ranking for players we can have an objective assessment just like a performance appraisal for our representatives.

Now as far as the success of Indian Democracy is concerned I would say YES it’s a great success for the following reasons.

Look at the challenges we had to face and let’s be a little reasonable we had a whole lot of challenges like poverty, illiteracy and poor infrastructure. However I think the key lies in creating the right educative environment which will make the citizens truly aware of their rights and duties.

I slightly differ with you on the issues of literacy being the reason behind the partial failure of democracy. In fact on the contrary I feel that it is the poor of the country who have kept the democratic values alive. These are the people who brave the odds cast their votes. These are the poor souls who believe that yes they can bring about change by casting their ballots.

I strongly believe that it’s the poor and the uneducated mass which pins their hopes on democratically elected representatives to meet their basic aspirations and needs of good road, electricity, law and order and subsidies. The banes of the democracy are the results of the haves and not the have not’s of the society. The rich and the middle class is only concerned with its own benefit and tax relief, they are least concerned about their elected representatives. In fact the so called educated ones need to be educated about democratic values and institutions rather than the poor and have not’s.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Indian Utopian

Here's what Amitabh has to say about my last post....

IT was really nice to know your views on Electoral reforms.
Bt dont you think the Political parties should have a set of duties, Tasks, in Tangible terms for them to be registered as a political party.

The idea may seem vague but that's how rest of the working strata is set up right!

Eg. U need to be a graduate to be an I.A.S ( I am not talking abt qualification).Its like a party or a candidate before being given a status of party or candidate should have certain pre determined set of achievables judged not by masses but by some independent impartial institution, ( we still have a few in our Country..Isn't it).

Though, it might sound autocratic, but democracy is difficult to be practiced in a country where literacy rate barely touches 50%. In my opinion a country should be made ready for democracy over a period of time and the total Parliamentary democracy should be brought in force.

would you say Indian Democracy has been successful in terms of guarding the int rest of the have nots of the society.Pls don't misunderstand me,I know Democracy is the best known way of giving able leadership, maximum representation and governing a state. But to enforce it in totality certain ground work is required. In terms making people literate and aware enough to choose the right person.

Aristotle's Utopia doesn't work in reality. just think on these lines.............Is it Possible
May be..????

Amitabh Sahay

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

The will to change

I got few comments from Mr. Sandy Sinha on my previous post.
Here's my views on his comments

The very fact that you are concerned about the state of affairs in Bihar is one such positive step in changing the perception about the state, which will lead to structural ,social and economic changes.

As you said that you were impressed by the changes taking place and new infrastructure coming up,but my real concern is that people who have the intellectual and economic capability to resurrect Bihar are happy being bystanders and are not really willing to put their feet on the ground when it comes to real actions.

Secondly the state of affairs is bad cause it follow simple rule of Economics called Gresham's Law"Bad money drives the good money out of market".Similarly today things are turning bad because ;
  • You don't have real will and character in the citizenery.
  • You don't have role models from your state.
  • You don't have any inspirational stories to quote from real life in Bihar.
  • You don't have political and social leaderships in any walk of life.
  • You have institutionalised corruption from top to bottom.
  • You have political patronage for criminals.Or rather you have dreaded criminals as Politicians.

Now I can go on to quote many such reasons but you must also remember the brighter side of things.

We have trained manpower,ample opportunity for developing green field projects,abundance of natural resources,good soil productivity,cheap labour and conscious middle class.But the only thing which can converts these potential into reality is real action which we must try and initiate on our own individually and also collectively.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Are we truly Democratic

Assembly Elections are round the corner and once again there is lot of hullabaloo and noise about the challenge of conducting free and fair elections in the state. The Election commission is once again trying its level best to ensure free and fair polls in the state. However its time we assess the true nature of our democratic setup. Are we really having a popular government representing the majority of our citizens?

I was going through a report on electoral reforms in British Colombia and came across some valuable inputs which will do a world of good for the present electoral reforms in the country.

Here are some of the relevant points:

Fair Election Results through Proportionality

Democracy is “rule by the people,” therefore, the results of an election—the number of seats won by each party—should reflect the number of votes each party has earned from the voters. The results—votes to seats—should be “proportional.”

No electoral system does this perfectly, but that does not reduce the importance of proportionality. Proportional election results are the fairest election results. The preference of voters should determine who sits in our legislature. That is fair.

Effective Local Representation

Each community has a distinct personality; each makes its own unique contribution to our provincial life. To be effectively represented, each community needs the opportunity to choose the people who speak for it in the legislature, and to hold them accountable in democratic elections.

Effective local representation has long been a principle of our democratic tradition. It is central to our electoral politics. Strengthening local representation should be a test of any electoral reform.

Greater Voter Choice

As citizens, we all are responsible for the health of our democracy, and therefore we must have the fullest possible opportunity to choose the candidates that best represent our interests. Our choice in elections should include choosing among party candidates, as well as across all parties. To give voters a stronger voice, greater voter choice should be part of our voting system.

In addition to these values, two issues were consistently highlighted in our discussions on choosing an electoral system.

The Voter and Political Parties

There is a groundswell of opposition in this province to the current imbalance of power between voters and parties. Indeed, some of the submissions we received called for banning parties on the grounds that they so dominate electoral politics that local representation is undermined by party discipline and practices, and voter choice is stifled.

While concerned about this imbalance, we recognize that parliamentary government depends on parties to conduct elections, organize the work of the legislature and carry out the business of government. We believe that the solution lies in adopting an electoral system that encourages voters and politicians to work together in a balanced partnership.

The Voter and Majority, Coalition and Minority Governments

Most often—parties that form majority governments earn much less than half of the vote, but take well over half of the seats. These are called “artificial majorities.” Nonetheless, we are so familiar with single-party majority governments that we easily assume they are the natural outcome of elections.

A majority government, real or artificial, will claim a mandate and act on it. And it can easily be held accountable at the next election. However, we are convinced that the simple nature of majority governments should not override the basic values of fair election results, effective local representation, and greater voter choice. Most other successful western democracies do not depend on majorities, yet have stable and effective governments, governments that often are both inclusive of different interests and consensual in making decisions.

We believe that our electoral system should not override fairness and choice in favour of producing artificial single-party majority governments.

To read the complete report click here

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The IIT-JEE Riddle

The ministry of HRD has brought about significant changes in the examination pattern and eligibility criteria for IIT-JEE exams.Some of the changes are radical and may also affect the future of large no. of IIT-JEE aspirants from the state of Bihar and UP.
The eligibility criteria of 60% minimum marks in +2 is one such change which will surely affect large no. of aspirants who appear from Inter council and other state boards.Also in a way this will lead to natural closure of all inter level colleges as most of the aspirants will try and maximise their marks % by joining CBSE and ICSE boards.
However the biggest confusion will be for those aspiarnts who have passed their +2 in the year 2004 and are planning to appear for IIT-JEE,2006.
I feel that although the new changes are good but it needs to be properly timed and an official version of the changes must come from the IIT's themselves Their has been hell lot of confusion and despite the changes being introduced for better it appears as if the HRD ministry is under hurry to implement the same.
Also I believe that the changes related to the no. of attempts (maximum 2) and % of marks(60% minimim in +2) should not be clubbed together.As far as removal of the screening exams is concerned its a welcome move but at the same time I feel that these moves are ill timed.If at all the changes were to be introduced then it should have been made in the month of May or June itself.
However lets hope that some sanity prevails in the minds of those responsible and the changes are made applicable from the next year exams.
But the larger question which I still fail to understand is that in the last few years their has been continous tinkering with the exams pattern which does little to improve the level of inatake but one thing it does for sure is to add confusion in the minds of aspirants.
Although internationally the multiple choice objective type test is considered to be the standard pattern in india we are still struggling to come up with a standard pattern of conducting exams.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Growth Engine

After discussing the importance of industries in the state of Bihar it's time we identify the potential areas for growth.We all agree that the sole factor which can accelerate the wheels of growth engine is the role of Industries .We have seen that States like Jharkhand ,Orissa ,Madhya Pradesh have registered positive growth simply by following the model of developing new industries and adopting new technology.

In the past we have seen certain industries being set up in various parts of the state.Although most of these industries were agro based but none of them have been able to carry the role of flag bearer in heralding a new age of prosperity and progress.Probably part of the agony lies in the fact that they were established with the socialist notion of serving the vote bank rather than efficiency and profitability.

Now the question is can we afford to modernise these industries or should we focus on bringing in new industries and technologies,which will lead the new age of industries.

I feel that IT,Agro-based industries, Health Tourism, infrastructure Development Activities are some of the initiatives which must be taken for the change to happen.

In my next post I'll be talking about the initiatives we need to take for rural development.

Do keep sending ur views....

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Love me or Hate me But Dont Ignore me

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The Man We Love To Hate

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Right Time :II

Once again I thank Gautam for taking the initaitive for discussing the issue.
Now as far as the process of development is concerned we all would agree that everyone wants to have a good quality of life and somehow this feeling has creeped into the minds of our generation that one can't have a good carrer in his own state.
Actually every individual first tries to serve his own personal ambition rather than being concerned about the state.Let me take this group for example I have had discussions with some members on this issue and generally they fell that they will never be able to have the kind of lifestyle which they may have at any other place.
Secondly, I also believe that one need not stay in his homeland to serve that state.
Let us take the general Indian examples .In the early 60's ,70's and 80's thousands of Indian talent from best institutes migrated to USA,Britain and other countries for greener pastures and better work exoposure and research work.
Now 25 yrs later we find that this contingent of Indians have become the best Brand ambassadors for the country.
You have many such names ,Vinod Gupta,Vinod Dham,Kanwal Rekhi, Bose, Rana Talwar,Jagdish Bhgawati,Indya Noori, Deeak Chopra, Meghnad Desai, Booby Jindal, Gururaj Deshpandey,L N Mittal, and many more. Now these people have some of the best success stories to tell and consequently when they have reached the top everyone listens.This carries lot of good will and they have ensured that the world listens to what they feel.
I am sure all of you will agree that even Biharis today have migrated to other states and countries in search of better opportunities.So I am very sure that the time will come when all of us will pool our knowledge ,Skills and resources for the development of the state.
Now the most important thing is that you also need some homegrown success stories like those of Infosys ,TCS,and Wipro to attract talent and people's attention.You know the most imporant thing is that one must have firm belief and conviction about one's action.
So I fully support the idea of setting up industries , having quality institutions and quality healthcare to start this process.

The Right Time

Development of Bihar needs instant and continuous action on a personal level. An action which does not wait for a category of`The Right Time' to arrive, and which is not dependent on Government machinery, or for that matter, some sort of help from anybody else.
Believe me nobody can help us. We are the only ones who can help us. Bihar's progress needs concrete action plans which involve and benefit both the rural and the urban inhabitants at the same point in time.
An environment where the citified co-relate with the village residents and vice-versa will go a long way in the improvement of the state. Working at the grassroots level, and at the same time not failing to remember the latest technologies of our fields, and arming and ornamenting our cities with the same is the key to speedy success. We will definitely succeed if we are determined and are united.
But, success at a faster speed than the normal, can only be achieved by the implementation of a strategy which reflects active involvement of both the villages and the cities at the same time, in every single project; be it related to agriculture, education, information technology, animal husbandry, biotechnology, manufacturing, building & road construction, hospitality, tourism, health & medical services, or for that matter any progressive movement.
I am not opining that our motherland is asking her able daughters & sons to just execute `Samaj-Sewa' for her development. I am a total believer of the fact that one can actually contribute and bring about some potential change if one is technologically aware, socially united, financially sound, and heartily willing to do so.
So I considerately initiate, showing concern for the rights and feelings of others; and would cordially suggest and request that all those who in reality are willing to build up our adored state should unite right now to do some economic activity and generate employment and enterprises in different zones of the state.
This is the `The Right Time', this is `The Right Group' of people and this is the `The Right Platform' to do something for Bihar.
If we set up a business enterprise in Bihar itself, and do not go out looking for trade and services, this will heavily generate employment and would improve the economic condition in the territory.
I do acknowledge that at the same time concerns like lack of infrastructure, bribery, inefficient bureaucratic and administrative procedures, unwanted political involvement and domination, crime, are only a few of the numerous things which do boggle us before even thinking in the direction of setting up some business in the state.
But we do have to unite, sit together, talk and reach a decision as how to actually fulfill our impassioned vision. So let's do it right away, right now. At least come together and discuss & debate about working in that long-awaited direction. I believe we can be exemplary.

Views By Gautam

Friday, September 02, 2005

Post from Patna -II

We will We will Rock U

Its not Mumbai......
Dare to win...I call my own shots.....

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Post from Patna

Some pictures from Bihar

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Bihar's Image in mass media

Topic of the Month:

"Bihar's image in mass media and common man's perception of our State".

What needs to be done to improve the situation?

How can we play a role in changing media's and common man's perception about Bihar?

What efforts needs to be taken to create a Brand called "BIHAR-The Land of Opportunities"

I invite suggestions on these lines and then at the end of the debate we'll finalise the key points and try to have an action plan involving all members.

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  • From Houston, TX, United States
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