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HomeThoughtShotBibek Debroy on GDP estimation and Devi Shetty on improving medical education

Bibek Debroy on GDP estimation and Devi Shetty on improving medical education

The best of the day’s opinion, chosen and curated by ThePrint’s top editors.

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Transform Indian healthcare

Devi Shetty | Chairman and founder, Narayana Health
The Times of India

Shetty calls for transformation in medical education by adopting the western model of problem based learning (PBL). Constructing new hospitals is costly but Shetty suggests introducing undergraduate medical education (MBBS) in private and trust hospitals. Even if 100 seats are introduced, it will automatically create 30,000 more seats. “The most attractive part of this project is that all the 30,000 medical seats are owned by the government… and the tuition fee is fixed by the government” he argues. According to Shetty: “The advantage of PBL is the early exposure of students to clinical settings and patients, which makes them better doctors.”

Large hospitals will not have to make significant infrastructural changes to adopt this method. All practising doctors with more than eight years of clinical experience can be recognised as teachers. Adopting a PBL model is not a novel innovation. “Today most medical schools in the US, Europe and Asia (except India) have adopted it,” he says.

No one can discount military power

D.S. Hooda | Former general officer commanding-in-chief of the Indian Army’s Northern Command
Hindustan Times

Hooda hopes that new Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will help India tackle various “security challenges”. He mentions trade disputes between US-China, US-Iran tensions, India’s balancing act with US and Russia, “threat of transnational terror” and India’s relationship with Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday bombings. He maintains that a “strategic competition with China” is the most pressing security challenge and urges India to bridge its “capability gap” with the former. He also feels Kashmir remains the “biggest internal security challenge” and says labeling Kashmiris anti-national will only alienate them as well as help terrorists radicalise the youth. Hooda believes military power is an important component of a country’s ability to “defend its national interests”. He asks the defence minister to draw lessons on defence from the NDA-1 government and work towards crafting “reformist, long-term steps” to stability.

Democracy can die in daylight too

Krishna Prasad | Former editor-in-chief, Outlook and former member, Press Council of India
The Hindu

Taking on the media for its coverage last election season, Prasad argues that certain “influential sections” have turned into “undisguised, unthinking and unquestioning mouthpiece” of the “reigning ideology” . Making media “abandon its core tasks” of investigation and verification had proved to be a “vital weapon” for the Modi government to manufacture consent for the “Gujarat model”, he argues. By 2014, Modi was successful in positioning himself as an “incorruptible, reformist Hindutva icon”. He also says that the 2019 elections show how Modi was able to “alternately emasculate and weaponise media”. There was only a “PRO” and no “media interface” in the PMO. Prasad believes that “subtle and brutal” tactics were used to replace “scrutiny” with “hagiography”. Coverage of scandals in “Aadhaar, Electronic Voting Machines, Doklam, Pulwama or Rafale” also lay buried, he argues.

GDP estimation: System not perfect, but it’s better than one based on annual surveys

Bibek Debroy | Chairman of the economic advisory council to the prime minister
Financial Express

Debroy talks of former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian’s argument that India’s growth was overestimated by 2.5 per cent points annually since 2011-12, after it shifted to a change in methodology for GDP estimates. “There was a switch from GDP at factor cost to GVA, with GDP at market prices now derived from GVA,” he writes, adding the changes has brought India’s national accounts ” into conformity with international practice.” He also writes that an advisory committee on national accounts statistics has recommended changes, including on the use of MCA-21 database.

India’s economic data: reliable statistics or curated artefacts

Himanshu | Associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University
Mint

Himanshu writes on the current debate over India’s GDP data. He points out that implications of growth overestimation is just not an academic matter and data is a crucial input to better understanding the health of the economy. He also argues how all economic indicators show that the crisis of low demand is far from over. Himanshu speaks about the interference of the political establishment in GDP estimates and employment data. He adds that “challenge for the statistical system” is not just to produce credible and robust national account estimates, but to also insulate itself from the political system.

The infrastructure action agenda

Vinayak Chatterjee | Chairman, Feedback Infra
Business Standard

Chatterjee writes on the the 10 infrastructure priorities that can shape a new India.

He suggests monetising state assets by transferring proceeds from it to a separate national development fund. To encourage greater private investment, he also suggests the creation of a government owned special purpose vehicle that secures all requisite permissions for infrastructure projects before bidding them out to private developers.

He also proposes a national power procurement and distribution company, coastal economic zones and the need to expedite work on linking of rivers. He suggests the need to develop finance institution for infrastructure and raising funds through municipal bonds.

With inputs from Rachel John

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