Recent announcement of Jaat reservation in OBC by cabinet elicited varied reactions. Jaats are termed as ‘dominant caste’ in North India by noted sociologists like M N Srinivas and have assumed position of ‘bullock capitalists’ in post-green-revolution era. They have, for long, dominated the political arena in state of Haryana where Jaat reservation movement gained utmost momentum in recent times. Recent announcement regarding reservation has also raised some fundamental issues vis-à-vis reservation policy itself. Many have argued about the very notion of reservation and its efficacy in past 65 years. Reservation may be a symbolic victory, but its benefits are likely to be reaped by a small section of the purported beneficiaries. Benefits percolate to the bottom of pyramid in a community too slowly and it might well be a time to reflect upon this policy afresh. Some other rational criterion like ‘economic criteria’ may be pondered upon in a re-engineered model of social empowerment to implement concept of reservation.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
There are classes in HIPA from morning to evening on various topics including revenue laws, social laws, rules and regulations and other para-administrative issues. Some of the officer trainees (OTs) find college life hangover too difficult to shed-off and are tempted to bunk classes here too. However, their attempts are deftly foiled by a vigilant Mr Mohinder Singhji who been an astute Qanoongo before his retirement and has been given responsibility of ensuring full attendance in classes. Classroom training is a great opportunity to assimilate many theoretical aspects of administration as well as to interact with other fellow trainees who later become lifelong colleagues in career services. Sometimes training become a bit staid and proxies and counter-proxy measures act as refreshing ingredients of training curricula. Punctuality is the greatest asset of an officer and is one of the crucial factors that makes or breaks the image of an officer. Class-room training is a great opportunity to imbibe this quality which all of the OTs will appreciate.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Haryana Institute of Public Administration or HIPA is the institute for training of Haryana Civil Servants. Preparations for state PCS is also a bit hectic and those who were through HCS exam were drafting plans of making most of the 6 months long HIPA class room training. Enjoying the warmth of quilts in December cold was one of the key items on 'Chilling-out-at-HIPA-plan' of trainee officers. Their worst nightmares came true when they learned that they will have to do compulsory PT @ 6 am in the morning in the biting cold (which was relaxed to 7 am amid heavy protests). PT instructor Mr Rana was formerly at LBSNAA Massouri whom our DG brought to HIPA to make Haryanvi officers look more like 'officers'. Its been almost 2 months in training and everyone now appreciate that physical fitness for an officer is as important as professional competence as it increases efficiency manifolds and imparts smartness in an officer. Given the growing hectic work-culture in government offices and increasing life-style diseases, morning PT can be a good stress buster and a great fitness tool. Inculcating this habit early in career will surely pay huge dividends towards the fag end of the career as well as life.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by UPSC is gateway to the elite government services in India. Three years back, UPSC introduced comprehensive changes in the scheme of CSE preliminary examination. Many students demanded that since changes were comprehensive, they be given relaxation in terms of age and attempts as was done on earlier occasions also. UPSC on the other hand reasoned that 4 attempts are more than it would like to allow and various committees had already argued in favor of reducing number of attempts and age limit. Unlike other entrance examinations, CSE follows a painfully protracted process and traps the aspirants into a vicious cycle of preparation which ends only after 4 grueling attempts are exhausted and 5 precious years of life are gone. Worse, as the age of the aspirant ripens, the unsuccessful aspirant finds himself or herself in a pitiable position where other career prospects also become bleak. On the other hand, given the growing loss of moral values in civil services, UPSC might be rightly thinking of promoting younger minds by reducing age limit and number of attempts as young minds are more amenable to be moulded in a desired moral frame. However, it must also be ensured that those coming from rural backgrounds are not put in a disadvantaged position as they are the ones who face an acute awareness deficit in terms of career prospects and tightening the eligibility norms may further handicap their chances.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
It is agreed that power to maintain law and order is one of the fundamental prerogatives of a state. 'State' itself is sometimes defined as an entity which has monopoly over use of violence. Police or army in modern times is the agency which facilitates it. Depriving the provinces of this fundamental aspect of governance tantamount to creating an imbalance between accountability and power. While the Delhi government is answerable to the popular will, it currently has little control over police and hence in areas of maintenance of law and order. However, the Delhi NCT is still left with sufficient tools of development and it can well utilize those to bring change in governance. So, instead of crying foul over what it doesn't have, it should focus on what it has and deliver on its promise of good governance.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Recently, a fundamentalist cleric from J&K issued a fatwa against the first all girl rock band from the valley. Before that, the band also faced threats on their Facebook page. It was heartening to learn that state Chief Minister himself reacted promptly on Twitter against those involved in these acts, but more needs to be done. Freedom of Speech and Expression ( under Article 19) and Right to Life and Liberty (under Article 21)are guaranteed as fundamental rights in our constitution. Further, such incidents put India in a bad light which as a liberal democracy is striving towards a uniform civil code under Directive Principles for all its citizens irrespective of their race, religion and creed. State should deal with such self-styled moralists with tougher hand so that it doesn't paint itself as a mute spectator and in turn indirectly encourage fanatics to repeat their misdeeds.
Friday, February 1, 2013
Anna yesterday reiterated that he won't support Kejriwal's party. Millions others also think like him. They would love to support movement of Kejriwals, but not their political party. The reason - politics is dirty and by corollary, those who are in (or want to enter) politics must also be dirty. This misplaced reductionist approach is surely hurting the honest reformist efforts of a few spirited people who have dared to challenge the stalwarts of Indian politics. It's the gross skepticism of masses that stereotypes torchbearers like Kejriwal. Bigger challenge before nation is not corruption, nepotism or dirty politics, but lack of enthusiast nationalist who can champion the cause of nation, rise above their narrow self interests and decide what is good for nation as a whole is good for them also.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Recently, Kamal Hasan threatened to leave Tamil Nadu after much heartburn over disruption of release of his movie and subsequent apathy of state government and antagonism of some fanatics. In India, over-powering of state institutions by vested interest groups has almost become a fashion. Statutory bodies are found to kept hostage illegally by such groups and state remains a mute spectator. In such a frustrating situation, one may find approaching judiciary as the only way out, but doing so in a frequent manner raise questions about the very existence of statutory bodies and their competence. Government should put its foot down in wake of such sundry protests and should refrain from taking a soft stance so that such acts are not encouraged in future.
Monday, January 28, 2013
One of the Delhi rape accused who is barely a few months short of being a 'major' has been declared a 'minor/juvenile' by the Juvenile Justice Board. This has enraged the whole nation, but at the same time highlights another contentious issue of the definition of the word 'minor' itself. In India, more than 10 different legislations define 'Child' or 'Juvenile' in as many different ways. While labor laws consider only the ones who are below 14 years as children, armed forces take this age as 16 years for enlistment. Indian Penal Code on the other hand under section 83 considers anyone above 12 years as fit for taking criminal responsibility, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act even mentions different ages at which one becomes an adult depending upon sex (18 & 21 for females and males) and to cap it all there is no defined age anywhere in law for sexual consent!!! This is not peculiar of definition of 'minor' alone. Our country has zillion of overlapping and contradictory archaic laws which have complicated the justice delivery mechanism. Simplifying such a web of laws is also one of the recommendations of Justice Verma Committee and the various law commissions in past as well.
Friday, January 25, 2013
गणतंत्र दिवस or Republic Day signifies the day we declared our nation as the one which is ruled by its people. After adoption and enactment of constitution on 26th November 1949, India was declared a republic and constitution was put into full force on this day in 1950. A 'Republic' is different from a 'Monarchy' (as in UK) or other form of polity as head of state is directly or indirectly elected by people themselves. Will of people is supreme in a republic. Today, however, will of people has been marginalized and a few power-mongers are calling the shots in every sphere of socio-political life. Oligarchy is becoming the de-facto governing system. Time is ripe for reclaiming the republic character once again. Jai Hind!!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Last year a Mumbai based businessman purchased a few memorabilia of Gandhiji from an auction in UK. A few days back the items arrived in India (which also include Gandhiji's blood stained grass and soil). But the irony is that these items were declared taxable by government even after the businessman declared that they are only for public purpose. The items were later handed over to social activist Anna Hazare and will be displayed all over the country in tours to promote Gandhian Philosphy. This also cannot deter taxman and Rs 20 Lakh worth of duty had to be paid before the belongings of Gandhiji could be showcased in his own country !!
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Sangam or the confluence of the three rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and the now extinct Saraswati - is one of the most sacred places of Hindus where Maha-kumbh mela is organised after every 12 years. Today, these rivers need to be protected from a different demon altogether - the demon of pollution. PM on inception of the mela declared that polluters will be stringently punished. However, it is ironical that he himself chairs the supreme authority NGRBA (National Ganga River Basin Authority) that is responsible for keeping the holy river clean and he has convened its meet only three times since it was formed in 2009 when Ganga was also declared as 'National River'. Similarly, earlier Ganga Action Plans, precursor to NGRBA, and Yamuna Action Plan had also failed to impress despite draining thousands of crores literally. Pollution is a threat to not only the fauna of rivers, but also to the health of pilgrims.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Though ceasefire has been declared by both sides on Kashmir border, Pakistan has violated the sanctity of agreement more than 100 times in past one year alone. Its acts reached to their nadir when its soldiers intruded into Indian territory and brutally murdered two brave soldiers of Mother India and one of them was beheaded by Pak soldiers. India had adopted a softer stance since past couple of years even in wake of Mumbai attacks and repeated cross-border firings. This incident has shocked and angered the whole nation and this is the time for government to have a re-look at its Pak-policy and act as one retired Lt General quoted 'reply to Pakistan in its own currency which it better understands'.