Nitish, Arvind and Mamta

I and many were having a lot of expectations from and big hope in, Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamta Banerji when they became chief ministers because of the contemporary and local reasons.

Nitish took the route of allying with the then major opposition party, BJP to win clear cut majority. BJP was good enough to play a subservient role and allowed Nitish to do whatever he liked. I had another weak reason to consider Nitish to be different, as he was engineer by qualification from a good enough institute. Nitish started well, particularly with road construction and law and order that was in shambles by the loot and misgoverance of Lalu and his clan for a long time. Many things improved, but at grassroots nothing changed in Bihar. The bureaucracy remained corrupt from top to the bottom. Many doable steps lost its priority. Corruption and quality of teaching in primary rural school remained where it was or got worse. Things went further downwards after Nitish broke his alliance with BJP and pushed them out. But much before that Nitish had made up his mind to become the only messiah of Bihar. Nitish thought with his yatras he can market himself sufficient enough to win the voters positive and unilateral response for him only. But it did not happen. Modi wave in last general election of 2014 swept him out. Nitish went to join his hands with Lalu and Sonia’s Congress. And then Nitish nominated a character named Manjhi as stop gap chief minister. It proved his flimsy faith in democratic system. But Nitish followed Sonia. If she could nominate PM, why can’t Nitish chose his CM? Nitish lost the great opportunity of lifting the living standard of the people of Bihar. Bihar remains the worst in education and prosperity even after a decade of Nitish control over everything in Bihar. Still today, the maximum number of Biharis go for higher education and special medical care outside the state. One can appreciate the poor condition of higher education in Bihar by one recent report. As reported, India Inc looks today to a large number of smaller towns- Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam, Baroda, Raipur, Nagpur…..- to bridge growing skills gap. But none of these are in Bihar. Should not Nitish Kumar take himself as responsible? While the states such as Andhra, Odhisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan are moving fast enough to join the league of developed states, Bihar remains at the bottom on every parameters of human development and its political leaders elected by the people are solely responsible for that. The people of Bihar must understand that its leaders, over the years and even today don’t want the grassroots to be better off. Only some goons and mafia members do get better living with such leaders.

Arvind was also a great hope as chief minister from whom I thought Delhi will become a model small state. His fast rise from when Delhi saw him as successful organiser of Anna movement against corruption to the responsibility of chief minister of Delhi, was just wonderful. I, here again, had a special reason for my expectations. Arvind is from IIT, Kharagpur, my own institute. But all that he did including the resignation and the contesting of huge number of parliamentary seats and its results on ground is just a history. I am neither an astrologer not political pundit, and I do not know what all Arvind will achieve in the long life. But I certainly hate his going to Dubai and New York begging for collecting funds from NRIs there just for his forthcoming assembly election for Delhi.

I was in West Bengal during the whole of my professional career in responsible positions of the biggest industrial units of the state when the Leftists took over from Congress and continued for record more than three decades with their misrule that killed all the industries of the state. I was very happy to see Mamta winning the great majority through exemplary perseverance even after many assaults on her by leftists. I knew she was finicky and unreliable. But still somewhere I was praying that she would select a great team and good advisors from the large store of intellectuals from Bengal in various fields to run her government and allow them to run the government rather expecting everyone to follow her dictates. But unfortunately, she has picked all bad tricks of leftists and is making the people at large restive. Her party men are resorting to all sorts of gimmicks as major obstructionists to stop the present government to come out with major reform measures for growth of the country. Bengal will have to wait to see a right change. Modi is the only enemy for Mamta today, and her men in Delhi are doing their best get noticed by her.

All three persons had all the potentials for contributing in great way to the country by taking care of the states they were destined to head. But unfortunately, Nitish, Arvind and Mamta, all failed the people and shirked their responsibility. At least, the first two could have been PM too, but now I think every one will dislike my prophecy. Nitish is again in forefront in a new grouping of all so-called socialist parties with leaders such Mulayam, Lalu, DevGowda and others. I am sure God and Indians at large will save this great country.

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Narendra Modi: Campaign Mission

Modi is campaigning not only for election but for transformation, for change, for inspiring different sector of the community to make India great, developed, prosperous; to make India and its villages swachh (clean), to build India as a manufacturing power. Modi talked to industrialists, to students, to those in ITIs, and ……

I wish Modi to connect to engineering and science students and their teachers too who must shake off their traditional age-old ways and grow as real professionals, innovate products, and make India respected in every branch of science and technologies, grow as globally known great professional scientists and technologists. Let each institute base its entrance on the aptitudes of the individuals rather than based on ranks attained. Let each institute train the future teachers out of the mass of students with the interest in it. Let there be a ranking system and sufficient incentive for improving it. Let all the top 200 institutes be totally autonomous.

I also wish Modi to connect all IAS officers and enthuse them to contribute their best without any fear of getting punished by the state government for political reasons. A Swachh Bharat, clean Ganga, Rurban, housing for all or for that matter all the development projects will be easier to achieve in a time frame, if IAS officers cooperate. How can an authority such as one running the administration of Noida under a number of IAS officers be allowed to be just a den of corruption?

And another group that needs to be talked with are the CEOs and the senior officers of all PSUs. All the PSUs must perform as the most competitive organisations or just perish. None should be allowed to perpetuate its nonperformance. Particularly, the manufacturing ones must grow as global giants and become major exporting units. Can there be a single good reason for the poor performance or death of company such as HMT, BSNL or ITI? Today no company worth a name can survive with protection and on just domestic market. If it is not possible, the government must come out from the business of somehow running them at huge national cost.

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Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana is the other Modi’s dream that can be a landmark along with Swachh Barat Yojna. Each MP will take the responsibility of developing physical and institutional infrastructure in one village by 2016 and in three villages by 2019. The participation of people will be the basic requirement for its success. It is also likely to have a “viral” effect and development would permeate in other villages also.

With nearly 800 MPs and each developing three villages each, nearly 2,500 villages will be developed. If the states use its MLAs, then India can have 6-7000 more villages as the developed ones.

But what will a village look like after the completion of the Yojna?

1. Will each one be a Swachh one with no open defecation and every household using their toilets?

2. Will every village school be functional providing quality education using if necessary digital means? It will require the plan under digital India to reach these villages? Will a group of interested guardians monitor the working of the schools?

3. Will each of these villages have a primary health care centre with a facility for telemedicine, and an ambulance to cater to their emergency requirement and no delivery without a trained personnel?

4. Will each of these village have a local market and a creativity centre where the locals can produce something after some focused training in skill?

5. Will the village have 100 percent financial inclusion through Jan Dhan Yojna?

6. Will the MP responsible and if necessary, one of his peer be able to spend a night in the villages without any problem of power outages and other essential infrastructure?

I wish all IAS officers with five years of experiences right up to the secretary levels participate in Adarsh Gram Yojna besides the MPs, and should spend six-seven days in villages of India to accelerate the development there.

Even the India Inc must be encouraged to get into adopting one or more villages through their CSR.

Rural India is not going to tolerate any discrimination with the rising aspirations of younger generations.

It appears, India is going the right way.

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Swachch Noida

Today I sent an e-mail to CEO, NA:

Sub: Swachch Noida
Every sector has gone filthier over last 16 years that we are here. As per media report, Noida is going to be a Smart City. NA, I hope. certainly endorses PM Swachha Bharat Yojna. I request you to depute one officer working in NA to monitor the programme in one sector, as extra volunteered assignment. All Senior executive officers must move around rather than be in office. Noida must be clean and green as it was the main logo when I came here.

1. For dismal power, I request you to make the installation of roof top solar system for residence and factories with plug-in facility to electricity distribution ( to get the benefit of power taken by grid to the individual producer, thereby reducing the power bill) as mandatory.

2. All new houses must have integral garage for vehicles with no vehicles on road.

3. All bill boards in the markets must be of uniformly one type and sizes. Those pasting posters and bills in all odd places must be punished.

The waste disposal must be mechanised and removed on daily basis. Why can not we improve the filthy surroundings of all the markets, temples?

4. If we can not eliminate the open defecation and urination from Noida, how can we do that from a slum town or a rural habitation?

5. Let any new building construction not use the road as store for building materials causing filth and inconvenience.

6. Please get grasses planted on all open places. Noida must reduce the generation of dust through design of system. It must ban plastics.

I hope you shall not take this appeal otherwise. You are an IAS and we all wish you to provide the example.

Please acknowledge the letter and respond to my mail. As my credential, I am an IITian of 1961 batch.
I RSharma

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2014 in US: What I Read This Time

This was my fifth periodic long-break in US after retirement. Books become the second best things to keep me busy. Browsing for news and articles and blogging or writing on Facebook remains the prime engagements after the time spent for household work. Yamuna prepares our lunch and I help her in all possible manners. I got interested in kitchen gardening too this time. But let me talk about the books that I read this time during my stay there.

1. I had bought and brought with me a book ‘Somanatha-The Many Voices of a History’ written by the distinguished historian Romila Thapar from India to keep my self busy. As we know and read in our school days, Mahmoud Gajnavi attacked Somanatha sixteen times or so, broke the huge Shiva linga and parted with huge loots of gold, silver, and diamonds along with elephants and slaves. The book of Ms Thapar deals with many sources and a lot of analysis based on popular ballads, inscription, etc. However, as I proceeded with the book, I got more and more confused. I do not understand what we or posterity will gain from such a presentation.Romila does not consider Mahmoud Gajnavi as the sole plunderer or perpetrator of Somanatha.

2. I had perhaps in 2010 brought ‘The Hindus-an alternative history’ written by Wendy Doniger to US and left it with Anand in Cary. I had not read much that time and even thereafter, as I hardly found it interesting then. Next time, I got busy with completing my photo autobiography ‘Over the Years’. Last year, there was a lot of hue and cry about the book because of an old man called Dina Nath ….The publisher in India shredded all the book. I was curious and wanted to read myself to find out the reason causing annoyance to the old man and his followers. I went through almost the whole of the voluminous book. I think if anyone goes through all the scriptures, epics and books of ancient India that reflects on the concept of Hinduism as connected stories, one in all likelihood will be confused. It will be more so for an westerner who has not read those as written in the language of the time. Wendy’s book is compilation of large many facts, stories, anecdotes, and myths too. She has talked again and again about dogs, horses, elephants and so many things influencing Hinduism. However, the book is certainly not for common readers. It may confuse the most about the religion.

3. Anand has a special interest in Tesla Motors and Elon Musk. I never knew that Tesla was a person’s name. Tesla was a great scientist and contemporary of Thomas Edison and a great inventor himself credited with alternating current electricity.Musk has named his car company that has earned a lot of name for its power source, electricity from battery-pack, after the name of Tesla. Anand read somewhere that the best written book about Tesla is ‘Tesla-Man Out of Time’ by Magaret Cheney, and got it through as usual. Tesla would have died much richer if he would have had business acumen too like Edison. Tesla was just a scientist of extraordinary talent and perhaps much ahead of his time. Interestingly, Tesla just as Jagdish Chandra Bose worked on the invention of radios much before Marconi, but for which Marconi has been credited.

4. I also got the book on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose written by Sugata Bose on Kindle through Anand. Sugata believes in the story given by the Britishers that Bose died in air crash. It is an interesting reading. I had heard him on TV channel too. He was impressive. However, I could not understand why he entered TMC of Mamta. May be, it was perhaps to carry on the legacy of his elders.

It gives me a great pleasure when I find my sons loving the books in many contemporary fields of knowledge as well as those of their profession. Anand has a very good library in his house.

Books still remain my best companion.

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US Schooling: My Take

During my stay in Cary, I have regularly walked with Emma and Zach to drop them to their elementary school nearby. At the end of the school, I had been bringing them back too. It gave me that immense pleasure what a grandfather gets. I saw many children getting accompanied by one of their parents. So time around 8.40AM and 3.40PM had been a quality one. Some other things also impressed me while in US this time. I wish the schools and teachers in India take a note of it. Quite a large number of students in Emma’s school do also come from distant places. Some one in the family drops them just outside the school entrance. The vehicles of the parents queue up till the siren for the start of school goes, and then it start moving on one by one.

1. Volunteers: I enjoyed watching the kids who work as volunteers outside the school entrance opening the car doors and receiving the students with nice verbal pleasantries such as ‘good morning’, ‘good day’ or just ‘bye’ to the parent. The same thing happens again when the school ends at 3.40PM, this time for seeing off the fellow students in the vehicles of their parents. Some teachers are also present at critical points helping the traffic movements for safety. The volunteers also mount and unfurl the national flag along with those of the state every day morning. Why can not all the schools in India too unfurl our national flag that will certainly be a nice inspiring routine act?

2. Teachers’ salary in US is comparatively pretty poor. Certainly, they have their grievances too. But they appeared to be very involved in teaching and doing their duty diligently. Mostly Americans as well as the NRIs put their children in the government schools near the community unlike that in India. Even the family decide the purchase of their houses based on the ranking of the government schools. One can know about the accreditation and other details of the school on its websites. I have visited the sites of all the schools my grandchildren were and are attending in California, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. I wish the programme Digital India covers every school as priority, and in the next five to ten years all educational institutions and schools of all types get accreditation from a credible agency and an active website of its own. With increasing penetration of Internet and use of various electronics gadgets such as laptops, smart phones, tablets, the schools will have to be on web and cloud to make the life easy for guardians.

3. Reading and maths are the only two subjects that are taught in primary school, that is up to class V. Emma is in grade 2. She has other activities- art class for painting, computer lab, music, library and physical education that have allotted hours once in a week. The design of activities make the children love the school hours. All teachers know their students and the family, mothers in particular. Many of the simple and very cheap fixtures built by the school authority and teachers make the school hours interesting along with imparting certain discipline, healthy life and knowledge too.

4. The education is fully free. Unprivileged ones get many other benefits. Interestingly, the class teachers request the parents who can afford, to arrange some supplies such as writing papers, clear files, or pencils for the use by the children or in the class. I found Shannon preparing a special T- shirt for each student of Emma’s class. She prepared a sweet dish one day for the class of Zach. Teachers are innovative and keep on working for making education a fun rather than a burden, arrange number of programmes involving the students and interested parents.

I could not even dreamt of the knowledge that Zach in KG and Emma in Grade 2 have, though naturally their mother has contributed too.

I keep on contemplating how the millions of kids in schools of rural and urban government school in India will reach a respectable standard in reading and math.

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Manufacturing India: Where India missed?

I was reading a blog of some one from the Lab Media of MIT visiting and writing on the ecosystem of manufacturing in Shenzen in China that must be read by our PM and all his men who will like to live up to his dream of making India a superpower in manufacturing.

It was perhaps sometime in 1970s, an employee working for me sold a two-in-tape recorder with a ‘National’ brand tags for my children in hind Motor. Soon I could realise or perhaps an well wisher of mine pointed me out that the recorder was a pirated one. Delhi and Ludhiana were the source of the electronics items in those days. I don’t think there if they still exist. Perhaps, it do not.

While working in HM, I also came to know about the machine tools used extensively in engineering industries that were being made in those days in Punjab. However, in good company such as ours, those machines were considered as one of very poor quality and capability. If the government and the nation’s R&D facilities would have assisted and supported those hilarious entrepreneurs, and the users would not have looked down upon them, India would have become a manufacturing nation today as China is.

Even today, I find the same situation and mindsets. We hardly promote and support the capital goods manufactured against all odds. We all including the government agencies, have love for everything that comes as import even from China.

The sector in my mind at this time is the agricultural machines, implements and appliances. While in my native village in Bihar and all around it, I come across huge harvesters and combines, all made in Punjab. Indian manufacturers can very easily become the significant or may be globally the most competitive players in its manufacture and exports to all the developing and developed countries and underdeveloped Africa. The same may go for many items that already manufactured or has a good potential for getting manufactured in the country. Unfortunately I doubt if the manufacturers are getting the right support to become a global brand. The world knows only few known manufacturers in agricultural machineries such as M&M or TAFE and that too only for tractors. Will the sector get the attention of Modi’s government and bodies such as FICII and CII to make India a global player?

There are many areas where our men have wonderful knowledge and skill in manufacturing. We all know about the illegal manufacture of small arms in certain pockets of the country. Sometimes, we come across about their wonderful quality through media reports. One certainly may not support the illegal work being done by some of those craftsmen But we should not overlook the high skill of these people. Can’t the administration think of a way out for using these human resources?

Finally, I shall like to quote a portion of the blog for those who can not or does not want to take the pain of using the internet:
“We started in the section of the market where people were taking broken or trashed cellphones and stripping them down for all of the parts. Any phone part that conceivably retained functionality was stripped off and packaged for sale in big plastic bags. Another source of components seemed to be rejected parts from the factory lines that were then repaired, or sheets of PCBs in which only one of the components had failed a test. iPhone home buttons, wifi chipsets, Samsung screens, Nokia motherboards, everything. bunnie pointed to a bag of chips that he said would have a street value of $50,000 in the US selling for about $500. These chips were sold, not individually, but by the pound. Who buys chips by the pound? Small factories that make all of the cellphones that we all buy “new” will often be short on parts and they will run to the market to buy bags of that part so that they can keep the line running. It’s very likely that the “new” phone that you just bought from ATT has “recycled” Shenzhen parts somewhere inside.
The other consumer of these parts are the people who repair phones. Phone repair starts with simple stuff like replacing the screen to full-on rebuilds. You can even buy whole phones built from scrap parts – ”I lost my phone, can you repair it for me?”
After this market where phones were “recycled” we saw equivalent markets for laptops, TVs, everything.”

The great policy makers of the country must realise that every great nation of the present era starting from the great power USA, the miraculous Japan and today’s indomitable manufacturing power China, have gone up through piracy at the initial stage. Today, if India wishes to be a manufacturing power and supplier of consumer items all over the world as China, India will have to go all out starting with manufacturing for local markets, refining, innovating, patenting and capturing the world market through manufacturing units located all over India, perhaps in every household with 3D printers. If Modi wishes to make India a manufacturing power, he must not be wasting the national resources on keeping many of the manufacturing PSU units just breathing.

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