Economics & Development

Indian Nationhood thrives amid diversity

Despite regional differences and identity quests, the strength of Indian nationhood persists, supported by a dedication to constitutional values and productive conversations

There is much talk about the nature of change in all aspects of Indian life, as is natural in changes envisaged at such a large scale. There are bound to be differences of opinion, multiple articulations, and an attempt to project one’s point of view. This is how it should be. This is amplified by the Sanskrit dictum “Vade Vade Jayat Tatva Bodhah” (through discussion one arrives at the truth). However, discussion must follow a protocol. This protocol is often unwritten and is a bedrock of any civil society. It has some enduring principles. The first and foremost of which would be that it cannot be and must not be abusive. 

The right to civil disagreement in a civil manner is the foundation of a civil society. Thus, it is that mutual respect and agreeing to disagree are required as essential to civil discourse. 

One can add to it, for good measure, certain other attributes and certain attributes of the mind. These attributes recognise the need to not only listen but honestly weigh the merits of another person’s point of view […]

By |2024-02-28T14:48:10+00:00February 23rd, 2024|Columns, Economics & Development|Comments Off on Indian Nationhood thrives amid diversity

Establishing meaningful educational priorities

The intricate balance between practical demands of commercial relevance and scholarly aspirations within management education reflects the ever-changing nature of academia

A lot of management text and advice is common-sensical. It is common sense if one agrees that the basic objective of management is a propulsion of commercial interest. That this proposition may itself be in doubt is another matter altogether. There is no substantial reason to see commerce as the domain of all management activities. If the purpose of management efforts is business management, then to some extent, it can become an extenuative logic because, at least, the assumption there is to focus on the optimization of business.

However, there is business and business; manufacturing can be a business but has a veneer of its own. It does not cover the business of ideas, and the business of ideas can be a specialization of its own, especially when it comes to being focused on education, financial exchanges, the exchange of news, and indeed exchange of money in stock exchanges. Thus, it is that business management has many forms of focus and interest. To cover all of it is difficult in a simple MBA program spread over 1200 to 1300 contact hours.

This […]

By |2024-02-28T14:51:45+00:00February 9th, 2024|Economics & Development|0 Comments

Holistic national educational outlook

India’s education system faces critical challenges, particularly in postgraduate education, and raises questions about policies’ coherence

Education in India is passing through, once again, a seminal phase in its growth. Since 1947, it has passed through several phases of change and each phase has had its own tale to tell.

Generally, education is seen in three phases: school education, college education and postgraduate education. School education is broadly divided into three areas, classes 1 to 5, generally known as primary school; classes 5-10 middle school, and classes 10-12, secondary school. These are not rigid levels but are loosely used for classification and easy communication.

The college-level education is from 1st year to 3rd year, which leads to a bachelor’s degree and 4th year and 5th year, which leads to a postgraduate degree. The doctoral education could thereafter follow. Institutions are known to specialise amongst these various segments and acquire a brand for that. In school education, some do offer class 1 to class 12 education, and there are others who also offer pre-class 1 education which can be termed as a nursery stage.

Postgraduate education, especially after a master’s degree has been normally followed by at least 1 year pre-Ph.Dwork and at least 2 […]

By |2024-02-28T14:54:20+00:00January 18th, 2024|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments

Paradigm shift in management learning

The interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary character is the crux of management education. Different tools are needed in different use cases

The issues in the growth of management educational institutions are many. To begin with, it is on account of varying understanding about the nature of ‘management’, as a discipline. The subject area is itself relatively recent and it found a place in educational institutions between the two world wars. The research traditions are, also, relatively young and area-wise variations in the methods of research are many. Many who have a management degree were at the best taught to be managers and those skills are not always the same as what may be needed for teaching management.

There are also variations on account of the nature of the management of educational institutions. Management has been attempted to be taught in general education institutions, agricultural sciences institutions, medical institutions, single discipline institutions and other types of institutions. The antiquity of such institutions, their administrative structure, their market-relatedness, their brand pulls and more are of varying nature.

It is generally believed that management education, in its original incarnation, began as ‘labor studies’. ‘Leadership’ was then not a fashionable area of research or teaching. As it so happens […]

By |2024-02-29T10:20:07+00:00December 11th, 2023|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments

Enmeshing AI with human intelligence

Left unattended and not embedded in the inevitable ‘human’ context, Artificial Intelligence can be dangerous and misleading, to say the least

Artificial Intelligence’ is the flavour of the season. There is a competitive pitch in making a bid for it, claiming expertise and establishing one’s felicity in this area. Everyone feels the need to establish a claim to the slice of the pie. It is understandable because that is how fashions go.

It is difficult to fight fashions because it establishes primacy, gains resources and tends to set the norm. ‘Artificial Intelligence’ somehow has come to denote a higher and upgraded level of existence, cognition and expertise. The point that needs to be paid attention is that artificial intelligence is not ‘auto-generative’. At best, it is based on certain felicity to combine and recombine elements and building blocks like codes. It cannot ‘think’, in a manner of speaking, in an ‘original manner’. Combining or recombining constituents depends upon the strength and potential of the algorithm on which it works or is constructed.

This makes it look ‘original’ when in reality, as noted above, it is only the outcome of various permutations and more essential building blocks. This by itself is an achievement. It […]

By |2024-02-28T17:11:47+00:00September 2nd, 2023|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments

Now is the Need For a Reality Check

Now is the Need For a Reality Check

Almost all of the global women’s movements have dried up in the dreary desert sand of disinterest

There are many ways in which decision-making can be structured or planning can be done.There are many ways in which the struggle for the control of the decision-making processes takes place. Ultimately, those who emerge victors in the various competing ways of doing something carry the day. The articulate in the group become cheer leaders and those who care or dare to oppose are either eliminated or left to languish or perish. This happens in matters big and small. The last few weeks have seen the emasculation of an army which was proclaimed to be one of the finest equipped in the world. The current ruling elite in Afghanistan have made no bones about their distaste for matters such as democratically elected governance. They are in control and some of the mightiest powers in the world are ready to encourage this regime. Clearly the jury has not even convened, let alone ‘be out’ for a decision. The international system has yet again proved its ineptness in sufficiently holding out values and making worthwhile moves to […]

By |2021-09-20T10:36:57+00:00September 16th, 2021|Columns, Economics & Development|Comments Off on Now is the Need For a Reality Check

Incomprehensible digital world

Information technology wizards often coin new words and their jargon is confusing. Much of these await handling in a statesman-like manner

We are living in the age of digitisation and now the pandemic has made it much more universal and in a much lesser span of time than would have been otherwise possible. The multiplication of online platforms and transactions of almost every variety has almost divided the world community into categories, depending upon their facility with this process and medium. The “traditional” mom-and-pop set-ups, dealing with maintenance and services, have been speedily eliminated in favour of the do-it-yourself (DIY) culture and by online instructional videos. There would be nothing to grudge that if two things were ensured. First, the basic infrastructure for online communication as and when needed. Second, credible skills at the responding digital end to diagnose the problem and articulate it in comprehensible terms. Both of these clearly need far more attention than currently seems to be the case. This is not to find fault but to emphasise an essential pre-condition for digital maintenance services. The proposition of both infrastructure and skill take time to reach a level of maturity, making them amenable for use. If it is […]

By |2023-10-22T14:03:55+00:00November 23rd, 2020|Columns, Economics & Development|Comments Off on Incomprehensible digital world

Grasp the situation

Political rhetoric may be understandable but when it ignores fully the realities of life, it only sharpens the pangs of distress

Staying positive is not the same thing as the inability to read the writing on the wall. The first is as necessary as oxygen is for life. Experiencing the second, is, not recognising the fact that ignoring the obvious can only lead to a roadblock. The situation is compounded in an endemic environment of anxiety about health and receding frontiers of income and opportunity.

Pointing this out is necessary because if debt repayments are necessary for survival of intermediary financial institutions, approaches which are likely to push firms into bankruptcy can be equally dangerous. Under such circumstances, topping it all up with understandable but untenable social objectives is only going to make confusion worse. Consider the situation of ordering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with less than 100 workers to pay full wages. On the face of it, this appears to be a laudable approach, yet there is a flip side to it. From where will the SMEs find the money to pay when they are not earning anything themselves? If they go bankrupt, the employees will not even get what […]

By |2020-12-18T18:31:39+00:00August 17th, 2020|Columns, Economics & Development|Comments Off on Grasp the situation

Some pertinent questions

Why should a taxpayer subsidise IITs when there is no correlation between the outcome of his investment and the welfare of the average Indian?

The world of education is huge. It is one of those few areas where one can enter almost without credentials and claim to be an expert. People still listen to such individuals not because they have any great credentials but because they hold positions of influence and patronage. With these qualifications, it is easy to find admirers. There are always hopes of pay-offs by ingratiating the powerful. It is also equally true that the route adopted by people to gain the attention of icons is sometimes quite the opposite and that is one of denigration. By throwing stones at the powerful one can also gain prominence. In essence, the choice of the route to gaining attention of the powerful is a personal one.

For the sake of a feasible, focussed discussion on the learning-teaching process, which is the foundation of education, it may be useful to focus on one segment. The choice of higher education as the segment of attention may be useful. It is also attractive because that is where the so-called intellectuals are. Plus, in the […]

By |2020-12-18T18:31:01+00:00July 20th, 2020|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments

Picking up the pieces

The writing on the wall is clear. The paradigms of not only growth and welfare but of survival and safety have to be rewritten  

The last 13 weeks or so have been exceptional and unprecedented in experience, reflection and all that goes with it. The dominant theme has been of worry, anxiety and the strange feeling of helplessness, should one be unfortunate enough to be infected with the Coronavirus. The fear of the unknown, coupled with the pressure of several confusing containment operations, cushioned marginally by some precautions, can be a very difficult process to go through. That may be another story for a different day.

The coping experience is yet to be clearly comprehended to be articulated here. A reflection on the time frame mentioned above triggers some thoughts which are a potpourri of notions and emotions, sometimes verging on exasperation. There have been a spate of webinars and obviously this has lubricated the business of communication platforms. They have seldom had it so good. The disinfectant and the medical palliatives industry is booming, the latter particularly on the promises of increasing immunity and giving reserves to combat the dreaded disease. Both the narratives are inductive and in the absence of […]

By |2020-12-18T18:30:34+00:00July 6th, 2020|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments
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