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Scrutiny
  
Why we do what we do
In other words, the reasons for our super-obsession with criticising India!
18/09/2008

The arguments were intense. Half of our editorial team was arguing for running a purely national Scrutiny section, as opposed to covering international stories too. And half was arguing against the premise, debating that we should cover even international stories. The only problem was, they were the same halves! In other words [if you’re not thoroughly confused already], while one half was arguing for and against the same issue, the other half was thoroughly disinterested in having to do anything with it! Well, we were tickled breathless – we kid you not, it’s the same case with India. While one half of us Indians are busy inanely arguing for and against issues without understanding what stand to take, the other (illiterate?) 600 million odd half is busier organising the daily meal, finding out a place to defecate, ensuring that the girl child & lady of the house don’t get raped, and of course, ensuring death doesn’t become a family issue this week.

India, as a noted foreign economist put it, is a stale mistress few would like to wed, and sadly, fewer to bed. Change today, in India, is a word privy more to private corporations than to government bureaucracy. Many of those who are opposed to change often swear by the Constitution to rationalise their opposition, without realising that even the Constitution has been amended a smashing number of 93 times – vindicating the fact that what was of relevance in the past needs to change its dimension for the future. The context in which we mention this is that India is galore with organisations that in some sense are past their prime, but can play stunning change agents to bridge the ever increasing rural urban divide. For example, while the Indian government is gearing up to open up the banking sector to foreign companies, what it doesn’t realise is that many of India’s homegrown problems [like the fact that more than 50% Indians don’t have access to banking] can be solved by homegrown solutions like converting, say, the India Post into a separate bank, thereby at one go creating nearly 130,000 bank branches for rural India!
Similarly, corporatisation as well as structural reforms in the Indian Railways can make it the real catalyst for unleashing economic revolution across India by making railway stations act as commercial hubs. In the same league, doing away with the typical sickening License Raj that is plaguing the education sector and replacing it with a professional and visionary education (regulatory!?) authority, which pro-actively motivates private players, can do wonders!

In the last seventeen years, India has witnessed many an ‘economic’ reform, but few ‘structural’ ones. To simply disregard the potential that governmental organisations have, is easy. But the cup, my dear mistress, is as empty as your imagination or character wants it to be. Well, I am not Victor Hugo, but I still ended up with three lovers – poverty, illiteracy and disease. Look how imaginative I am Helen, look how imaginative...

By:- Pathikrit Payne
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