The Indian Economy Blog

May 14, 2006

Imagine No Reservations

Filed under: Education — Atanu Dey @ 5:25 pm

Shortages and Nehruvian socialism go hand in hand. Just take scooters, for instance. You could not just take scooters some years ago, actually, thanks to the quota permit license control raj. You had to wait for years before you could lay your hands on one. You could jump the queue if you paid with “hard currency” or paid a premium (black money) to someone who had the foresight to book one years in advance with a view to capture some of the rent that arises out of shortages.

The situation today would have been unthinkable then. Now dealers of two-wheelers practically drag you off the street, give you a cold drink, and by the time you have finished it, they have arranged financing and you roll out the door on your new bike clutching your free gift of a toaster oven. Then your choice was severely limited to four or five models; now a reasonable estimate must be a hundred different makes and models of two-wheelers.

There is no shortage of examples of shortages, some of which persist till date. One plausible answer to why these artificial shortages were engineered is rent seeking by those who were in charge of handing out the licenses and quotas. Where the government was the monopoly provider (as in air and rail transportation, telephone services, etc), shoddy quality, inadequate quantity, high prices, high costs, commercial losses, and institutional corruption was the norm. In those instances where private sector providers were allowed, the entry was limited and rent extracted by introducing competition for the market. When firms have to compete for the market, competition within the market is limited and results predictably in low quality, high prices, and shortages.

Here is a thumb rule to figure out if the government is involved in a particular endeavor. Is it characterized by poor quality, shortages, high costs and prices, and corruption? If yes, then the government is involved; if no, then the government is most likely not involved in that business. Let’s apply the rule to electrical power since I am sitting here on Sunday afternoon with no grid power, a regular feature of daily life in Pune. The backup generator is on.

Poor quality: check
Severe shortage: check
High price: check
Corruption (“T&D losses”): check
Null hypothesis: government not involved
Empirical evidence: null hypothesis rejected

I leave it to the interested reader to apply the rule to other instances and test it. The cumulative effect of government involvement in all those sectors gave the Indian economy what I call the “Nehru rate of growth” with a long run annual average of 3 percent or so. India’s poor economic performance—and the resulting poverty—is due to poor economic policies. India is poor out of choice.

For now, I will move on to education in general, and in particular the matter of reservations in higher education, a matter we have visited before here. By the 12th standard, the drop out rate reaches an astounding 94 percent. Of those who finally graduate out of college, only around 15 percent (or, one percent of the those who enter grade one) are employable, leading to a severe shortage of qualified college graduates. The sheer economic waste of human resource is the greatest scandal that very few people pay any attention to.

The fundamental problem with the Indian economy is that the education system is one of the most flawed systems in the country. If there is one sector which is in dire need of reform, it is that education system. The most urgently required reform is to get the government out of it—lock, stock, and barrel. The recent move by the government to further increase quotas in the so-called elite institutions with a view to social justice is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. No, I take that back: it is akin to scuttling the lifeboats even as the ship is sinking.

I have heard the claim that the Indian education system must be wonderful because the IITs produce so many wonderfully successful NRIs (non-resident Indians), especially in the US. They bolster their argument with the specious reasoning that it is harder to gain admission into IITs than into Ivy league schools, and that Narayana Murthy’s son had to use an Ivy league school as a safety school.

Sure it is harder to get into the IITs than into the top American schools. That does not mean that the IITs are in any way better than those American schools. It is a Herculean task to get into a Mumbai local during commute hours, compared to which using the Paris Metro is a piece of cake. Congestion is not an indicator of quality. When supply is severely limited relative to demand, there will be a mad scramble to get some.

On average, fewer than two out of every one hundred who appear for the entrance exam for IITs get admission. If you were to choose the top two percent of any population, the average quality of that group will be a few sigmas higher than the population average. The IITs turn out good students because those who get in are good to begin with. Then for four years, these way-above average kids compete fiercely among themselves for grades. Finally, from this bunch of super-achievers, those with the highest grades and potential are snapped up by the best American universities. By the time these graduate out of the American universities, they are the crème de la crème who have self-selected themselves for intelligence, drive, ambition, and vision. We read about them as the Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires, and pat ourselves on the back for having a wonderful educational system.

That is most definitely not so. The dysfunctional Indian education system is the saddest and costliest example of governmental ineptitude and malfeasance. The solution to the problem of the Indian educational system has to have at its core getting the government to let go of its chokehold on the system.

The question then is: what exactly is the problem with the government? My answer is that it is a mentality of scarcity and poverty. It does not believe (and here I am guilty of anthropomorphism) in abundance. It treats the citizens as if they are incompetent children who will not be able to work out solutions for themselves without the patronizing paternalism of the socialistic control of every aspect of economy.

There is one apparent paradox: if the government does not allow economic freedom, why does it allow political freedom? Would it not make more sense to restrict the latter and relax the former? I believe that the paradox is solved by the realization that most of India is abjectly poor and illiterate. Lack of economic freedom over generations cause poverty and that leads to illiteracy as well. Poor, illiterate people cannot meaningfully use their political freedom. Indeed, it is easy to politically manipulate very poor illiterate poor people for electoral gains. Promise them free electricity, free TVs, free land, and they will vote you into power. I am not making this up since I am neither that cynical nor that imaginative.

Is there no role for the government in the education sector? Yes, there is, but it is severely restricted to three functions:

  • First, funding (but not the provisioning) of universal education up to high school level
  • Second, providing an independent regulatory authority for the higher education sector so that private firms can compete fairly on a level playing field
  • Third, providing educational loan guarantees to banks

Sufficiently poor people cannot afford to send their children to school. The total cost to them includes not only the direct cost of going to school but also the opportunity cost of the lost earnings of the children. But since the total life-time benefits of a high school education must exceed the total cost of that education, there is a role for the government to subsidize the education of the sufficiently poor. But the government should not run primary schools. It should leave that to the competitive private sector. Give vouchers to the poor which they can use to pay for the private schools. This is not rocket science and pretty much all possible problems can be anticipated and proper mechanisms designed to fix them. (I will be happy to do this separately.)

The role of the government in higher education is simply to ensure that private providers of education compete fairly. The government must empower an independent regulatory body. Independence is important so that politically motivated interference into higher education is minimized.

There must be no subsidies for higher education. Higher education, for all intents and purposes from the point of view of an individual, is a private good. That is, the private benefits of higher education exceed the private costs. Sure higher education also has positive externalities (and therefore has public good characteristics), but that externality does not have to be internalized by subsidizing higher education for those who are rich enough to afford it.

But what about those who cannot afford higher education even though they are qualified for it? The answer is that they have to be given loans by banks and these loans have to be guaranteed by the government. The basic point is simple: the credit constraint that the poor face with regard to higher education can be released with little effort. This the government must do and if done competently, it will take only one generation for the every poor family to become non-poor.

Let’s see how this would play out in the case of a hypothetical “sufficiently poor” family. Abhi and Anu’s parents are daily wage earners who need the Rs 10 each kid earns every day to keep the family going. So sending them to school where the tuition fees and other school related expenses are Rs 400 per month per child is out of the question. Their total cost of sending a child to school is Rs 400 plus the foregone earnings of Rs 300 per month.

So the government gives vouchers that Abhi and Anu use to pay for the privately run school in their neighborhood that they attend. And on top of that, the government gives the parents Rs 600 every month as long as the kids continue in school. Net cost to the family: zero.

All the way to finishing high school, Abhi and Anu continue to receive free schooling and the parents are given an incentive to continue to keep the kids in school. By the time they finish 12th grade, both Abhi and Anu are as properly schooled as any other kid from a middle class family who are not poor. As it happens, Anu is the bright one and she wants to go to engineering school. She appears for the entrance exam and clears it. It is not an entrance exam to select only a small percentage of a huge pool of qualified students. It just ensures that the student has the required motivation and skills to study engineering. She is bright and is well prepared and she gets in. That is not surprising because about 75 percent of those who apply do get to study their subject of choice. Her brother, Abhi, is into medicine. Same story as his sister: a simple entrance exam to test for eligibility and he is in.

But then they are still poor. So they go to one of the several banks and show proof their acceptance and the bank gives them the loan that they need to go to college. When they graduate from their professional courses, they will pay off the loans with interest. Their children will not be requiring support from the government at all. Only one generation needs help.

Not just that, no one is even remotely interested in knowing the caste of anybody. If you are qualified, you get to go to college. If you are poor, and have admission, you get a loan.

Imagine there is no reservation; no one cares what caste you are; no one denied a chance to study and learn because of lack of money. (Sung to the tune of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”)

Imagine if I stopped here for now. And carry on some days later. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

25 Comments »

  1. In a recent programme on tv, suhasini mani ratnam was saying that giving free cycles to young girls in TN villages actually proved very liberating. the girls had a way of escaping eve teasers and also a freedom to move about that they had been deprived earlier.
    So maybe not all freebies are a bad thing.

    Comment by ila — May 14, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  2. Ila

    :-)

    Atanu,

    It is indeed sad that the government severely limits expansion of educational opportunities at the higher levels. Can you imagine a state of 65 million with only 390 open quota medical seats ? Yes, that is the state of the evere shortage of medical seats in TN.

    You might wonder, why is no private player coming up to open medical colleges ? Good question, there are many proposals lying on the governments tables for years now. One of the most glaring example is proposed sankara medical college – at state of the art hospital and college on the outskirts of chennai. This medical college is ready and fully constructed, waiting for something called an essentiality certificate (EC) for three years now. Isnt it obvious that more colleges are essential ? The government is openly denying 400 young medicos an opportunity – and nobody talks about it !!

    Comment by realitycheck — May 15, 2006 @ 12:08 am

  3. The most dumbest article I have ever read. I suggest you rethink on your ideas.

    Comment by Krish — May 15, 2006 @ 12:45 am

  4. @Krish,

    When did you stop reading your own articles? Do they bore you so much? Heh!

    Ok, sorry. Could not resist.

    Comment by confused — May 15, 2006 @ 6:40 am

  5. I believe the govt already is providing scholarships to the so called disadvantaged students. Is the voucher is something similar to the scholarship ?

    Comment by vital — May 16, 2006 @ 9:05 am

  6. Atanu,

    Nice article. I have a few comments on it.

    1. Your characterisation of Indian government run services as
    “poor quality, shortages, high costs and prices, and corruption” is very true.
    India has suffered a lot from these poor govt run institutions.
    But, i am not convinced that the solution is to get the government completely
    out of it. If we look at most first world countries, like U.S, Western European
    countries, the govt. provides basic services like education, healthcare,
    transporatation, etc. Even though they
    may not be perfect institutions, I think the quality and availability is quite good.
    So, i think an alternate solution is to reform the government services i.e
    (corruption, bureaucrazy, accountability, etc) and make them like the first world
    country services. It maybe the case that, for India’s scenario like huge population, this may be difficult and privatisation maybe better. But i think a thorough study
    of first world countries govt system, and why they are good, ought to be done and analysed if we can acheive it in India.

    2. Regarding the education system, I like the idea of guarenteeing loans for higher
    education, giving monetary incentive to keep the children in school instead of work.
    This way you provide equal opportunity to everyone right from class 1.
    And for colleges, if someone has merit, but is poor, loans can be used.
    I like the way you illustrated the above in a simple way using a example.

    Now, should the schools be govt. run or private? I am not convinced that govt.
    run schools cannot work. Note, I agree with you that the current Indian educational system is completely dysfunctional. But, i think that it can be reformed.
    My main argument in saying that govt run schools can work, is that first world
    countries have made it work. Now, one can argue that private institutions
    will be even better than govt run ones, but one has to provide evidence for it.
    Note, that in first world countries, the society still favors government run schools.

    3. I dont fully agree with the point you made about IIT education.

    I agree that there is scarcity and also, that the input into IIT is good students.
    But claiming that IIT’s turn out best students just bcos of above is far reaching.
    I think the IITs add more value (measured by increase in knowledge, exposure, skill, etc)
    compared to other institutions. If this is not the case, why should the best students
    compete fiercely to get into IIT? They prefer IITs exactly bcos thay think it provides
    the most value among the various options. Do you really think if the same set of good
    students who entered into IITs, go into college XYZ instead, they would turn out just as good. I dont believe so.

    Comment by Sathish — May 16, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

  7. [...] a meritocratic India free of the curse of caste, where the disadvantaged are helped using sound economic principles such as better primary education and easy student loans. T [...]

    Pingback by The Chaoszone Weblog » The Fifteen Percent Solution — May 17, 2006 @ 3:28 am

  8. Satish,
    People compete for IIT because IIT is better than other colleges. But that does not mean it is as good or better than western education institutions – which I think is Atanu’s point.
    Coming from IIT Delhi, I can tell you that you are right, IITD was nicer than most colleges in India. Teachers used to come on time for lectures, janitors never went on strike, hostel wardens were not involved in politics, students were too sissy to engage in any violence and consequently exams happened on time and the system worked.

    But by no stretch of imagination were we studying anything ground-breaking in any classes and the teachers were not exactly Nobel laurets. Compared to most institutions in the west; we were still studying pretty primitive stuff and don’t even ask about the quality of research at our premier institutions.

    Comment by tarun upadhyay — May 17, 2006 @ 4:40 pm

  9. Atanu,

    In re : “This is not rocket science and pretty much all possible problems can be anticipated and proper mechanisms designed to fix them. (I will be happy to do this separately.)”

    I liked the parentheses (its a bit like fermat’s scribble, with just as many details to work out).

    In re:
    What is the evidence that a) “the total life-time benefits of a high school education must exceed the total cost of that education, there is a role for the government to subsidize the education of the sufficiently poor”?

    First, are you speaking about the benefits to the individual or the society? If the former, I’m sure there are sources that must tell you this but I havent seen these, and I’m not sure what the returns to education look like in India (in a number of countries it’s convex, and so the returns to a primary education may be low in comparison to the returns from higher ed).

    But the government should not run primary schools. It should leave that to the competitive private sector. Give vouchers to the poor which they can use to pay for the private schools.

    Somewhere in here, you seem to be saying that its not a demand problem, its a supply problem and that the government is constraining supply in education. Again, what is the evidence? In Bangalore, where I’m from, there appears to be a ton of new private schools which have opened up in the last ten years (not only in the urban center, but along the peripheries).

    I think you severely underestimate the problems arising from the demand side. Duflo and Bannerjee had a paper where they argued that the costs to achieve universal primary education was astronomical (based on a study of India) because of the steepness of marginal costs as we added the poor. They dont give a reason for this, but I think its because the returns to education are very low, and possibly negligible in many areas which makes the whole enterprise less worthwhile for students and teachers.Better monitoring seems to help (Kremer et al on this), but unless either a) education is seen as an important good to have in itself (maybe not an aside, how did Kerala achieve what it did?) or b) the private returns to primary education for the vast majority exceed the costs perceptibly.

    I also admire your touching faith in the private solution here. It would be nice to have some successful historical examples where the government was not involved in funding (and provisioning)of primary education. Equally, it might be good to have examples of vouchers working on a large scale..

    best

    Arjun

    Comment by Arjun — May 18, 2006 @ 3:34 am

  10. Well written. Beautiful.

    As an ex-IITian I agree with you all the way. I think one way out of the horrible mess is complete and unconditional freedom to the states in all educational matters. A bit of competition within ourselves will only do us good, in the long term.

    Private funding for education is a very feasible solution, if we ONLY LET the damn thing evolve and stop the government trampling all over the sector.

    Comment by Abhinay — May 18, 2006 @ 7:16 am

  11. I’ve been having a horrible thought – will increased reservations lead to an increase in student suicides? from what i know most of the suicides are from middle class families who will probably be the most affected by the shrinking number of general category seats (assuming that the middle class comprises mainly of forward castes). will these children be under greater pressure ?

    Comment by ila — May 18, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

  12. Another point to ponder : what explains the village schools of yore where the Narayan Murthys and Pramod Mahajans studied that delivered a decent quality of education ? Werent those teachers also poorly paid govt. employees ? I wonder if Mr NRN would share his views on what he felt was the chief difference.

    Comment by ila — May 18, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

  13. I read your comment about the NRIs as evidence of how good the Indian educational system with interest.

    I was talking to a second-generation Indian friend of mine, and mentioned that I would like to live in India, as every Indian I’d ever met was intelligent and hardworking. He laughed, and pointed out that every Indian I’d ever met was either here on scholarship or was the child of someone who had come on scholarship–very special people indeed. He assured me that the average Indian was probably as mediocre as the average American.

    This has a practical result in American politics…when you see resistance to Outsourcing, remember that it is influenced by the fact that many Americans think of Indians as some kind of supermen–the 1% we knew when we were in college. Americans are afraid to compete with Indians because we are comparing the 99th percentile Indian with the 50th percentile American.

    Comment by Bristlecone — May 19, 2006 @ 3:26 am

  14. Also, your comment about buying the votes of the poor is one we also face in the US…Even the Romans, 2000 years ago, provided “bread and circuses” for the amusement of the voters.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m glad to know it is an absolute across cultures.

    Comment by Bristlecone — May 19, 2006 @ 3:31 am

  15. # 13 Bristlecone says I was talking to a second-generation Indian friend of mine, and mentioned that I would like to live in India, as every Indian I’d ever met was intelligent and hardworking. He laughed, and pointed out that every Indian I’d ever met was either here on scholarship or was the child of someone who had come on scholarship–very special people indeed. He assured me that the average Indian was probably as mediocre as the average American.

    Bristlecone — you’re right on. Actually, the average Indian is likely to be far worse educated than the average American — and hence, will likely be nowhere near the average American in terms of productive output or creativity.

    This has a practical result in American politics…when you see resistance to Outsourcing, remember that it is influenced by the fact that many Americans think of Indians as some kind of supermen–the 1% we knew when we were in college. Americans are afraid to compete with Indians because we are comparing the 99th percentile Indian with the 50th percentile American

    Again, right on. I’ve made this very point ad nauseam — in formal presentations and talks, and in casual conversations. Just recently, had dinner witht a friend, a Dutch economist at the IMF in Washington, DC. All the Indians he’s met are overachievers (starting w/ his boss, or his boss’s boss, the IMF Chief Economist to his graduate advisor in Princeton) — his half-facetious comment was that he was tempted to give up… how could he possibly compete? However, I pointed out that these were people from the top 0.5% of Indian academia…

    Comment by Prashant Kothari — May 19, 2006 @ 9:02 am

  16. Promise them free electricity; free TVs, free land, and they will vote you into power. I am not making this up since I am neither that cynical nor that imaginative
    In Re:
    Very well written blog, but the content, it follows one-dimensional logic (that’s what your HARVARD/MIT friend wanted to say… Too much intellectualism)… its very appealing because logic has this strong pull to drag you along with it… agreed our politicians are in involved major in vote bank politics but then you cannot dismiss this just because of their motives .. Mid day meal program started by NTR in Andhra Pradesh to attract votes, reduced school dropout rates and malnutrition. Now Mid day meal program is accepted by the most of the state governments. Probably TV might expose and sensitize them to the latest issues, rights and Information.

    Our educational system is definitely in bad shape… Its not just reservations but there are lots of other issues… and your solution seems like an oversimplification without taking multitude of factors involved in any socio-economic problem, into the account…First of all, privatization of primary education wont solve the problems… the primary motive of private organization is to make money (which will seriously destabilize the education. For Instance not so profitable school in some village would be immediately shut down). Besides it s a responsibility of our constitution to provide free education and that’s a ideal way to be. But primary education is not given enough importance, not just in India but all over the world. Europe spends s more on their dog food than the entire world on primary education. Most of the primary Govt schools are really understaffed (in fact some schools are run by an individual). Probably India can increase its budget on Primary education from current 0.6 % to match our expectations.

    Also your idea of vouchers is logical but not so practical. Reservations were not a big success in India mainly because people actually deserve it don’t even know about it. And most of them will be ignorant about this new policy. There are people in India who doesn’t even know that Indira gandhi died.

    In conclusion your solution to the education crisis is an oversimplification.

    Comment by Goutham Mehta — May 20, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

  17. [...] of higher education. I have expressed some of my views here (see Indian Reservations, and Imagine No Reservations). This piece is an elaboration of the basic theme. My assess [...]

    Pingback by The Indian Economy Blog » Blog Archive » Reservations about Reservations — May 20, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

  18. Goutham Mehta: “First of all, privatization of primary education won’t solve the problems… the primary motive of private organization is to make money (which will seriously destabilize the education. For Instance not so profitable school in some village would be immediately shut down). Besides it s a responsibility of our constitution to provide free education and that’s a ideal way to be.”

    In re: Agreed, that the primary motive of the private organization is to make money. But why can’t an institution both make money, and provide world-class education? They would provide quality education, just because they want the money. To take an analogy, can private firms provide good medical care, when all that they are interested in, is money? Well, some of the best hospitals in India are private ones – Apollo, and MaxFort, to name just two. Similarly, the best universities, and hospitals, all over the world, are privately funded.

    But yes, it is difficult for most people to believe that private firms, working for money, can provide education better than what the govt does. Also, a valid point would be, why would a private firm start a school in some corner of some Indian village, where they wouldn’t make profits? (The answer to the latter would be, for the same reason that firms like HLL and Pepsi provide their goods in almost all corners of the country.)

    Even then, this might not be true in the case of education. So in that case, let both private and govt schools flourish. If both are in the “business of educating”, then the govt can tend to those who are neglected by the private. Since the govt is not working for money, this shouldn’t be an issue, correct? Why control the entry of private schools?

    In Delhi for example, parents stand in queues for hours, just to get a form. Their 4-yr old will soon be giving interviews at least 5-6 different schools. Why? There is a relative scarcity of good schools here, as compared to the burgeoning population. The politicians who control and regulate education, who refuse the entry of private schools, where do their children go? Rahul Gandhi is known to be a product of Doon School. AB Vajpayee’s foster grand-child studies at Sanskriti.

    Let in private players in education. If you have doubts about them, let them function along with the present govt institutes. Within 4-5 years, we’ll be in a position to make an informed decision.

    Comment by myfriends6 — May 21, 2006 @ 11:01 am

  19. But why can’t an institution both make money, and provide world-class education? They would provide quality education, just because they want the money. To take an analogy, can private firms provide good medical care, when all that they are interested in, is money? Well, some of the best hospitals in India are private ones – Apollo, and MaxFort, to name just two. Similarly, the best universities, and hospitals, all over the world, are privately funded.
    In re:
    apollo and maxfort serve only the riches .. there are no efforts whatsoever from these hospitals to provide world class facilities to any disadvantaged people.. On the other hand, Madras Medical College attached hospitals provide state of the art facilities to all of the deserving patients probably better than Apollo or maxfort both in expertise and facilities(except nursing facilities). The question here is whether private sector can serve poor area better than the govt initiatives?
    The Govt of india doesn’t control the entry of private institutions at least in primary education … they control the substandard primary schools by setting up some guidelines.. but still you wouldnot find a good school in a distant rural area.. capitalistic forces doesnot allow that to happen.. and if they could pay, we wouldnt be discussing this now..

    Comment by Goutham Mehta — May 21, 2006 @ 11:29 am

  20. Privatization of education seems a good but a long term solution. Just look at the way fees have gone up in engineering and medical colleages across India. Rs 250,000 – Rs 500,000 per year is indeed unaffordable and beyond reach even in case of middle class.

    On CNN – IBN yesterday I heard Dr Raja of CPI of talking about Education for All. But by having quotas, aren’t we depriving a student with 85% who may not get an admission now because he has to make way for some one with 45%. Is this justice?

    Some others also argued that merit should not be the only criteria for admissions. Students coming from weaker sections of the society also have potential and hence there should be quota. However, how do you guaranteee that someone with 65% from weaker sections of the society has more potential than someone with 85% coming from general category.

    Its a complex issue. Reservations could be a short term solution though. However, a combination of economic and social criteria should be considered while formulating reservation policy.

    Cerebral Wanderer
    http://cwanderer.wordpress.com

    Comment by Cerebral Wanderer — May 21, 2006 @ 5:23 pm

  21. hey krish. grow up or get lost.

    Comment by Peebz — May 21, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

  22. referring to Goutham Mehta statement. Life is real and all are are not born with the same opportunities. While you believe that openaing arguments are too intellectual – lets face it, there are as many millionaires born daily basis in India and competing effectively against those in the global markets (albeit with increased difficulties from bureaucracy/politics). We are close to becoming a trillion dollar economy. We dream of soon having world class infrastructure (while the private sector is already having those resources for expanding their businesses).

    So what is intellectual. Look at the development around you. Auto industry, Oil & Gas industry, Telecommunications, Postal, and many more all of which have benefitted the citizens of India at a cost that is affordable. But one has to allow a suitable time frame to get to masss orientation. The government is definitely never yet lived to its promises.

    What i am trying to say (along lines of Atanu) is that if we can privatise and allow abundant supply of education to all concerned, markets will find opportunities to ensure all are educated – and that will reflect equality of people.

    Lets not make mountains of molehills. Majority of people are illiterate and at best low education in the traditional sense. Many cant fathom the developments even if provided for free. So lets join hands and contribute in whatever way to over come the localised difficulties rather than make statements that anyway dont seem to be having a solution – not in the last 50 years.

    Comment by Peebz — May 21, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

  23. Hi peebz
    You have probably misunderstood me when I said ‘too much intellectualism’… All I wanted to say was we cannot follow one dimensional logic… Social systems are not like maths /physics where you can base your entire theory on a priori… They follow much complex system, perhaps chaos.

    “Look at the development around you. Auto industry, Oil & Gas industry, Telecommunications, Postal, and many more all of which have benefited the citizens of India at a cost that is affordable. But one has to allow a suitable time frame to get to mass orientation. The government is definitely never yet lived to its promises”

    That’s right… the govt has never lived to its promises but only govt can make a difference in current India s situation… I am not talking out of defeatist attitude but its not fair to completely blame the government… “Supply abundance of education in primary school” through privatization, but I have told you that why its not possible in a poor rural area. Privatization of Medical education did happen in Karnataka, Tamil nadu and Maharashtra.
    - Their fees are exorbitant and affordable only by upper-class elite.
    - As opposed to competition theory, the quality of education in this private institute is worst possible. (Probably because of demand being very high). In reply you can argue that then increase the private institutes, but there are already 26000 doctors coming out of Indian medical schools every year with only around 6000 specialization opportunities.

    Also you were talking about the development all around you… ok let me introduce you… I am a doctor from a govt hospital… The main indicator for development is Infant Mortality Rate… IMR in India is around 70 per 1000 live births as opposed to America 7 (blacks 14), Japan 4 and Europe 5. The development u are talking about might have improved the life of a crore(rough estimate) but still 30% in India is below poverty line (BPL is decided based on the calorie requirement of a moderate manual worker.. Rupees required to buy the cheapest local food which can fulfill this calorie requirement is our Poverty line. There are no provision of shelter, health or clothes), which is around 311 Rs per person per month. The development you are seeing is just a facade and I hope u see through it. There are patients who cannot afford 10 rs to get a life saving drug which is not available in the hospital. More children die of malnutrition in India than in entire Africa, unbelievable but true. The riches of few cannot be called as development, can it be?

    Comment by Goutham Mehta — May 22, 2006 @ 8:21 am

  24. [...] of doubt over this reservation matter. Elsewhere: Gaurav speaks on the evils amendment 104 Indian Economy muses about no reservations [...]

    Pingback by Caesarean Rhapsody » Blog Archive » Karan Thapar unmasks Arjun Singh — May 22, 2006 @ 11:56 am

  25. Hi

    It was good from lot of young Indians about the system, knowledge. since the tendency of the people is to go where everyone are rushing, that’s why Indian’s get screwed always, we don’t have great leader’s in field of economic’s, human resource and other basic necessary department’s to control and share the knowledge. I totally disagree about that only IITians are millionaire and created a value of India by having NRI tag. just consider yearly nearly 3lakh engineer’s churn out every year, half the college’s owned by politicians and their relatives. No one is bothered about what they are getting and how , only want the institute to be running and money should be kept flowing,as on present day each student spend more than 40K for payment seat. so what he get’s the text book and exams in 90% of the engineering college’s, wherein IIT lot of public private funding comes from the companies as they want their investment in safe returns, that’s total economics. see no one would invest 10crore in a project funding if the company doesn’t get returns. and what’s the amount of student they need to handle is may be total all IIT;s 15000 of four year’s and only final year student doing project and new gadget’s , consider university handling more than 1.6lakh student per year so quality comes at price and what public funding, private company how they can invest for the project’s, that’s make lot of difference, every one are talented in some field, only we need a proper channel’s to make student’s expose to newer technology, there are engineering college’s which are running on just 10 room’s what amount of exposure they can get in technical field. where in IIT’s individual blocks and lab room exist which gives exposure to them and competation is severe between student’s which bring’s best talent.Forget competation college’s aren’t able to give proper direction for their projects.whyn’t IIT handle some college’s where atleast people can get seat, which reduces the friction
    in life of student who’s been trying to get seat in IIT. There are lot of factors why student get crunched at the later part after engineering. if he doesn’t get job is not due to bad score, but the amount of confidence he/she has that they can do the job, if they are shortages of manpower whyn’t IIM open more campuses in India why singapore, whyn’t IIT takes charge when they can now, it’s way a messy state already education system is facing in india,see I’m not against IITians but comeon only IIT’s doesn’t make india run right, they are other institute also which offer’s much facility only short being is they face is amount of exposure, if u rub a diamond with diamond what would u get brighter and clear crystal of diamond right , that’s it if 3 lakh people prepare for IIT then 3 lakh are genious what’s the amount of seat IIT provide 3500 so what should be percentage. very meagre, not even 2%, India carry population of 110 crore and 2% of 3 lakh comeon, you may be getting right opportunity but don’t make Indian’s so negative .that all hold’s good position when given equal space. IITians should sponser if they are millionarie whyn’t a government engineering institute for new gadget’s and better new facilities and lab, ok accounting if u are ready to sponser people are ready to take in charge , as people are supportive in India, cause their alma matter’s, whyn’t consider ur Indian, if I can help a good institute more good student’s would come out, u know the truth that how hard is to get into IIT, so why not chose a college or department where u can help by considering more towards nation, tendency of Indian’s are very common brandname if people are pouring money in their project’s why ,IIT that’s it, if u were ready to do that in other college’s like NIT and government engineering college’s they would give u better result’s, u can create brand name through that also. it’s true the frog story, why Indian’s lag instead creating a ladder everyone jumps on each other where hardly anyone can reach top to get out of the box.

    WOULD HAVE MADE LOT GRAMMITICAL MISTAKE

    Comment by arun — May 22, 2006 @ 11:49 pm

  26. I am sorry I disagree with you all the way. I hope that I am not being too cynical but the way I see it is that
    if the two childern are given money by the goverment to attend school so that the family does not lose the income that
    that the two childern could have earned by not going to school, the family will simply find a way to show that
    their childern are in school while at the same time having them work. This will substantially increase the income
    of the family beyond what they would have earned had they not initiated this program. Government officials who may obo
    object to this will simply be bought off. Your idea is too utopian and will never work. Most poor do not see
    education as a way out of poverty.

    Comment by Rahul Singh — July 31, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

  27. That’s right… the govt has never lived to its promises

    Comment by John Pitaloka — April 26, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

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