Thursday, 20 January, 2022
HomeThoughtShotBoria Majumdar says Ind-Pak matches 'one-sided', civil service appointments 'diluted'- Satyananda Mishra

Boria Majumdar says Ind-Pak matches ‘one-sided’, civil service appointments ‘diluted’- Satyananda Mishra

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They may party at Manchester’s curry mile, but India-Pakistan cricket has become overhyped spectacle

Boria Majumdar | Leading sport scholar, television commentator and author
The Times of India

Majumdar writes about the Indian cricket team’s recent victory over Pakistan at the ICC World Cup match and calls it another example of a “one-sided contest”. In short, India-Pakistan cricket matches have lost sheen because of the neighbor’s poor performance. He says for the India-Pakistan cricket face-off to “retain its charm”, “we need a better Pakistan” whose cricket team can “stand up and compete”. He believes that the issue with the Pakistan team “starts at the top” i.e. with captain Sarfraz Ahmed who does not have any control over his team. But, Majumdar says, Ahmed does not need “criticism” from fans or experts but “needs help”. He says it is not clear yet where the “India-Pakistan rivalry” is headed and whether the “political significance” attached to this can propel things forward. On the latter point, Majumdar writes that people watch India-Pakistan matches because “there is something more than cricket attached to the contest”.

A coup and a crisis

Bhaskar Chakravorti | Author and Dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School at Tufts University
The Indian Express

Chakravorti starts by making references to pressing economic issues such as low GDP growth, high rate of unemployment, and then shifts attention to a more urgent concern – how well is an “ordinary Indian” performing on the “well-being” context. He mentions how India came last in the “perception of well being” category at Gallup’s 2018 World Poll of 150 countries. Only three per cent Indians had said, in 2017, that they were “thriving”. This, Chakrovorti thinks, is a “genuine crisis”. He suggests some measures that Modi 2.0 must take in this direction. Firstly, he suggests, fix the economy but also make improvements in non-economic factors that affect an individual’s daily routine: for instance “set the tone for a more, civil, compassionate and generous society”. Secondly, “much work remains undone” in providing quality healthcare. Thirdly, the government should adopt a “systems perspective” as issues plaguing people every day are “inter-connected” and therefore it must make “systemic interventions”.

The key to ensuring good and clean governance lies in appointing the right officers

Satyananda Mishra | Former secretary, DoPT and former chief information commissioner of India
Hindustan Times

Mishra, recounts his own experience as a government official and writes how the process of appointing officers and civil servants has been “diluted” over the years. He reflects on the late 1980s when appointments to several positions were made “strictly as per norms” in various ministries and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). Comparing those appointments with the ones made in 2006 and later, when Mishra was back in DoPT, he says the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) “had relaxed the rules” and let ministries demand “specific officers” for various postings. Such a process would have been “unaccepted under earlier rules”. He writes that this dilution was “wrought” by a “coalition of unlikely partners”. Civil servants who had secured their respective posts with “ministerial help had lost their moral authority to protest or prevent”, he writes. Mishra believes that “the key to good governance”, therefore, can be ensured only when there is no dilution in the “impregnable processes and systems”.

What a $5 trillion economy would look like

Pulapre Balakrishnan | Professor at Ashoka University, Sonipat and senior fellow of the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
The Hindu

Balakrishnan says that in order to realise Modi’s target of a proposed $5 trillion Indian economy by 2024, the government will have to bring about a “quantum leap in the size of the economy” which is possible only through proper “design, funding and governance”. The writer gives special attention on the failure of the “Make in India” initiative and explained how a “scaling up of investment” that was required to make it a success was absent. He says that the economy today should be evaluated “in terms of how much it contributes to our ease of living”. Some characteristics of a “valuable economy” that Balakrishnan lists are – “access to quality health and education for all” where Indians should be able to “feel empowered about the economy”, “equality of opportunity” (i.e. “equalising capabilities across individuals”), “presence of natural capital” through conservation of nature.

For effective regulation of the country’s education system

Anurag Behar | CEO of Azim Premji Foundation and also leads sustainability initiatives for Wipro Ltd
Mint

In this piece, the author addresses some issues which have been raised in response to the draft New Education Policy (NEP). On NEP’s proposal to raise government spending on public education from the present 10 per cent of national public expenditure to 20 per cent in 10 years, the author suggests that the associated fiscal and financial challenges are the responsibility of the states.

On the usage of terms such as India and Indian in the NEP, and the apprehension these have generated, the author questions: “How could it be otherwise? After all, this is an education policy for India”. He further elaborates that there is nothing more to such usage than a “commitment to know, understand and value our own society”.

He ends by saying that it is important to suspend judgements and disbelief and test the policy on the basis of its implementation.

Jio or Let Others Jio, India Wins

Dinkar Ayilavarapu | Partner in Bain & Company, New Delhi
The Economic Times

Ayilavarapu discusses the nature of competition and operational strategies in the Indian telecom market. Calling Jio a digital and a non-traditional carrier, since it “serves its customers disproportionately through digital channels,” he argues that this strategy allows Jio to have a lower cost structure. Jio has two revenue streams – connectivity and digital. While the latter is still not very high, the possibility of its rise in the future will enable Jio to keep connectivity revenues down, thereby putting further cost pressure on other players, says the author.

The author further says that other telecom operators are wasteful in their expenditures. Even though their primary product is their network, they only spend 30-50% of their costs on it, and the rest is wasted in stores and call centres.

If Jio wins this competition, it will create a new template of digital players owning their own networks. If the other players succeed, they will also become more cost-efficient.

On the path to good jobs

Atisha Kumar | Research scholar at Columbia University
The Financial Express

The author argues that the PLFS unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent in itself does not capture the complexities of India’s labour market. She says that to understand India’s employment, it is also important to look at other indicators such as quality of jobs and their distribution across sectors.

Even though a lot of progress has been made, she says considerable challenges still remain. For instance, while the number of workers in India’s informal sector has dropped from 72.5 per cent in 2011-12 to 68.4 per cent in 2017-18, “in absolute terms the informal sector still accounts for more than two-thirds of all the employment”. Similarly, while workers are moving away from agriculture towards industry and services, this movement is happening at a slow pace.

To solve some of these problems, she suggests scaling up of India’s enterprises, and reforming its labour laws which at the present constrain firms from expanding.

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