Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, August 27, 2009

education announcements - good and not good

kapil sibal coming into heading the MHRD has seen an extended level of noise in the education space. which is good.
and the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2008 was passed in early august in the midst of all this euphoria. which is not good.

and yesterday, we are bombarded with 3 new announcements:
1. Std 10 board exams optional for CBSE students. which is a great concept but not good (cos i feel that there has been little public debate on this).
2. 7 new IIMs are being planned. which is not good (cos their track record with the new IITs is abysmal)
3. Tamilnadu government to combine the various education boards. which is very good.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

weddings - double bill

back to back weddings starting this week. both brothers.
that is 3 days of celebrations with extended families...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

budget largesse to the rich

sainath blasts the UPA government over their budget allocations and in the same breath takes on the mainstream media in his excellent Aug 15th 2009 opinion piece in the hindu.

the price rise warning due to impending/ongoing drought...
The price-rise-due-to-drought warning is a fraud. Of course, a drought and major crop failure will push up prices further. But prices were steadily rising for five years since the 2004 elections, long before a drought. Take the years between 2004 and 2008 when you had some good monsoons. And more than one year in which we claimed “record production” of foodgrain. The price of rice went up 46 per cent, of wheat by over 62 per cent, atta 55 per cent, salt 42 per cent and more. By March 2008, the average increase in the prices of such items was already well over 40 per cent. Then, they rose again till a little before the 2009 polls. And have risen dramatically in the past three months.
taking on those who whined over the farm loan waiver on 2008...
Remember the great loan waiver of 2008, that historic write-off of the loans of indebted farmers? Recall the editorials whining about ‘fiscal imprudence?’ That was a one-time, one-off waiver covering countless millions of farmers and was claimed to touch Rs. 70,000 crore. But over Rs. 130,000 crore (in direct taxes) has been doled out in concessions in just two budgets to a tiny gaggle of merchants hogging at the public trough. Without a whimper of protest in the media. Imagine what budget giveaways to corporates since 1991 would total. We’d be talking trillions of rupees.
Simply put, the corporate world has grabbed concessions in just two years that total more than seven times the ‘fiscally imprudent’ farm loan waiver. In fact, it means that on average we have been feeding the corporate world close to Rs. 700 crore every day in those two years. Imagine calculating what this figure would be, in total, since 1991. (Er.., what’s the word for the bracket above ‘trillion?’) Ask for an expansion of the NREGS, seek universal access to the PDS, plead for more spending on public health and education — and there’s no money. Yet, there’s enough to give away nearly Rs. 30 crore an hour to the corporate world in concessions.
and to his ardent critics who say that he does not offer solutions...
It could launch, among many other things, the pond-in-every-farm programme. It could restructure farm loan schedules. It could start getting the idea of monsoon management into its thinking. It could curb forward trading-linked speculation that was driving one of our worst price rises in history long before the drought was on the horizon. And it could declare universal access to the PDS. That cost could probably be easily covered by, say, cancelling the dessert from the menu of the unending corporate free lunch in this country.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

green GDP

this concept is gathering steam across the place in indian media circles.
jairam ramesh says GDP = green domestic product.

tehelka's latest article espouses this concept in detail.
Green GDP seeks to evaluate and place a monetary figure for a country’s environmental resources. Simply put: if you know the cost of something, you will value it. If you don’t have a cost for something, you are happy to throw it away. Says Pavan Sukhdev, founder of the Green Indian States Trust (GIST) and pioneer of the Green GDP concept in India, “The traditional GDP simply does not measure the value of forests in national economy. In that sense, it is not a true reflection of wealth at all. The GDP must be made to to take into account the value of natural capital that is being destroyed — forest losses, degradation, declining water quality, etc. — and the creation of human capital in terms of education.”
on an absolute level, i am averse to putting a cost on anything, let alone forests, etc.
monetary value has become the most easily understood construct in our society.
a sad reflection of how we understand things, i must add.

i had written about david suzuki's explanation of costing the value of the services rendered by our mother earth at USD 33 trillion.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

inspiration = gandhi

many reasons, but this preface that accompanies each of his books and writings is a gem of the highest order:

I would like to say to the diligent reader of my writings and to others who are interested in them that I am not at all concerned with appearing to be consistent. In my search after Truth I have discarded many ideas and learnt many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment, and therefore, when anybody finds any inconsistency between any two writings of mine, if he has still faith in my sanity, he would do well to choose the later of the two on the same subject.


Harijan. 29-4-'33. p.2

am currently reading the book which transformed gandhi - Unto this last.
thanks to nipun for pointing.

Monday, August 03, 2009

chilling encounter killing

tehelka captures a chilling daylight murder on camera.
the manipur police commandos seem to clearly bump off chongkam sanjit in broad daylight in front of teeming public.
see the photos and read the accompanying police report.

jungle raj are there.
i pray for for sanjit, the commandos who were ordered to pull the trigger and pray that such rage will be countered by the force of love.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

tested spine - its holding

almost 2 years since i had a spinal surgery, i put it to its first test yesterday.
a trek from lonavla to rajmachi fort.

we could not make it up all the way to the top of the fort (footwear malfunctions), but we saw superb scenes like this and this. and the famous duke's nose. awesome.
thanks to all the enthu trekkers+bloggers for the photos.

so we covered around 20 kms (8 hours of walking up and down hilly tracks).
and reporting safe, sound and only a little achy-shaky.

thanks dr. rajasekaran of ganga hospital.