Basic incompetence

Expressing his frustration, Rajan Parrikar wrote saying that Indians appear to be experts in losing. . .

…on every front. For three days as the Mumbai terrorist drama unfolded on American TV screens, there was not a SINGLE official Indian representative offering the Indian perspective. The Pakistani ambassador, on the other hand, went on several channels proclaiming Pakistan’s innocence and telling Americans how his nation was an innocent victim instead!

Then there was Ms Zain Verjee, the CNN International anchor and a muslim, who did not let a single opportunity go without telling Americans how disaffected the Indian muslim youth are in India and how opportunities for India’s muslims are slim. Nobody talks about India’s Hindu poor (600+ million) and their travails. I guess Hindus don’t count since we are “secular.”

Where in the world was the Indian ambassador to the United States hiding? Doesn’t he know anything about public relations in the middle of an event of so singular a dimension and extent?

The only Indian presence of any significance came in the form of that charlatan Deepak Chopra. His first order of business was to drop his pants and crap on India. Are Indians truly programmed to be losers or what?

I don’t know if I will characterize all Indians as losers but the guy who heads the government is certainly one. He is, besides, a medical wonder — who appears to function normally despite the lack of a brain and a spine.

An Inflection Point?

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai may mark an inflection point in the war against India by Islamic forces. Over centuries of terror — and tens of millions of innocent victims — India has been reduced to dhimmi status. Whether or not India has been finally pushed to wall is the question. Will the collective grow a spine or will it continue to just total up the lives lost while meekingly submitting to Islam’s avowed goal of claiming India as dar ul Islam? Is there some hope that India will finally turn the corner and defend itself instead of cowering in the corner?

The signs are not hopeful. The Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, as usual made his empty threats of going after the terrorists — like he always does following each attack. But then he backpedals furiously with an eye on his vote bank. If the Indian voters don’t kick out the UPA in the next elections, I think that they deserve every bit of the continued rain of terror they suffer.

It is all karma, neh?

Employment, Employability and Education

{Follow up to part 1 and part 2.}

I think that anyone who is not horrified at the terrible state of Indian education is not paying attention to what’s going on in India. One person whom I met recently clearly gets it. Manish Sabharwal was one of the speakers that impressed me at the TiE-ISB Connect ’08 a couple of weeks ago at the ISB in Hyderabad. He started TeamLease in 2002, India’s leading staffing company.

TeamLease Services is India’s leading staffing company and provides a range of Temporary and Permanent manpower solutions to over 1000 clients.

The Temporary staffing group establishes a co-employment relationship with clients and takes responsibility for all compliance, HR and administrative of employees on assignment. The Permanent staffing group undertakes turnkey and recruitment mandates for permanent fulfilment. We view ourselves as a liquidity provider that enables better matching of demand and supply in labour markets.

I consider the function of a company like TeamLease to be what I call an intervention in the second best world. A state of the world without any distortions is a first best world. In the case of the labor market in India, distortions are introduced by the government in terms of labor laws that retard employment. This is a second best world of employment and employability. To improve the functioning of the labor markets then requires additional effort. As Manish points out, his business is “illegal.” A significant portion of his time goes into trying to influence public policy.
Continue reading “Employment, Employability and Education”

Links for Nov 23rd: The Lion Sleeps Tonight edition

In the jungle, the the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight . . . no not that lion (lyrics) but this lion.

Contrast the Prime Minister’s callous indifference [to the alleged torture of the sadhvi] with the sleepless nights he spent when the Australian Police were interrogating Dr Mohammed Haneef for his links with the Glasgow bombers.

Here is an item that handily qualifies for the “Idiotic Statements of the Year Award”: Indira Gandhi’s vision saved us from current financial crisis: Sonia Gandhi

Prudence implies ensuring an economic system that imposes clear, fair rules and rewards those who play by them, Gandhi said.

It implies a system that insists upon transparency in all economic transactions, and accountability on the part of those who conduct them, she added.

Transparency International should be alerted that India must be elevated in their rankings because Ms Sonia Gandhi has said so. Hush my darlings, don’t fear my darlings, the lion sleeps tonight. (Hat tip: Kaushal Desai.)

Moving on, John Pilger writes about what “change” in America really means. The American people continue to sleep tonight. (Link thanks to Jayant.)

It’s not all doom and gloom. For comic relief, you can ask Sri Sri Ravi Shankar questions you always wanted to know the answers to but were never able to answer. Not ordinary questions such as whether the lion sleeps tonight but profoundly deep questions such as “I work for a charity. Does working for charity help one become spiritually enlightened?”

Don’t neglect to watch the featured short videos of people asking profound questions. (Hat tip Sudipta Chatterjee.)

That IBNLive feature helps one understand the meaning of the word “retard.” I got an email this morning from a follower of SSRS. I will spare you the pain and not quote the long email. But let me give you an illustrative sample of gross inanity from it:

. . . someone one asked Sri Sri a question (and I was there listening to this being asked btw) : “Why should I consider that you are my Guru? ” to which Sri Sri replied with his characteristic quick-wit “A Guru does not need a disciple , a disciple needs a Guru. So I am not asking you to make me your Guru. You are the one considering it. Think about it”

Ah so impressive! I really do believe that some of the followers of SSRS are really clueless retards if they get bowled over by vacuous answers and shopworn homilies. The email writer did ask that I don’t reveal her identity.

Moving on, here’s a link to a piece on Islam Watch, a site where ex-muslims scrutinize Islam: Islam Never had it this Good.

We live in strange times; only a few decades ago nobody with interest in Islamic matters could have predicted the scale of the Islamic resurgence that has swept the world. Today, Islam is a truly global religion that is no more confined to the Muslims’ countries but has reached all corners of the world. Islamic words like jihad, sharia and hijab have become parts of all languages. Nowadays, on daily basis, Muslims practice terrorism, which they call jihad, on daily basis and seem to get away with it, or even get praised as peace loving people.

Don’t fret my darlings. The world sleeps tonight.

Hi from Berkeley, California

For me, visiting northern California is like returning home. I arrived here on Saturday evening and feel like I never left this place. This journey to the San Francisco bay area was one of the nicest that I have ever had, thanks to the excellent Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to SFO via Shanghai. That’s a first for me — traveling to the US via China.
Continue reading “Hi from Berkeley, California”

It’s education, stupid

Nicholas Kristof in an op-ed in the New York Times asks:

Quick, what’s the source of America’s greatness?

Is it a tradition of market-friendly capitalism? The diligence of its people? The cornucopia of natural resources? Great presidents?

No, a fair amount of evidence suggests that the crucial factor is our school system — which, for most of our history, was the best in the world but has foundered over the last few decades.

As I wrote in 2001, “The most devastating impact of our dismal educational system is that we are condemning ourselves to a future of exceedingly low economic development. If there is one thing that growth and developmental economists have learnt, it is this: education is the most important factor in economic growth. Education has more impact on economic growth than natural resources, foreign investment, exports, imports, whatever. Neglect education and you may as well hang yourself and save yourself the pain of a slow miserable death.” [Link.]

Do the movers and shakers of the Indian state understand that fundamental point? Apparently not because precious little is being done about it. Instead of sending silly probes to the moon, the nation should be dedicated to figuring out what to do about the education system. Anyway, barely educated people cannot be reasonably expected to fully comprehend the value of education.

Indian Reforms

Pranab Bardhan on why any Indian government’s claim that it supports reforms is not credible:

. . . it is anomalous to expect reform to be carried out by an administrative setup that for many years has functioned as an inert heavy-handed, corrupt, over-centralized, and uncoordinated monolith. Economic reform is about competition and incentives, and a governmental machinery that does not itself allow them in its own internal organization is an unconvincing proponent or carrier of that message.

India’s Colleges are Suffering

One of the persistent themes of this blog is the dismal failure of the education system. There is a direct relationship between the excellence of the educational system — human skills — and the broad performance of the economy. So even without knowing much about an economy, if you find the economy in dire straits, you can as a reasonable hypothesis maintain that the educational system may be dysfunctional.
Continue reading “India’s Colleges are Suffering”

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