Tuesday, October 9, 2007

5 Contentious Issues - Reservation, SEZs, Disinvestment, Sting Operations Terror Laws

My Views on these issues –

1. Reservation-
I am against current reservation policy.
Reservation was a well meaning Affirmative Action by State to bring about socio-economic change for underprivileged sections of the society. However, now it has become a vote gathering tool for all political parties.
The situation has become so bad that every caste wants to be included in the list of underprivileged castes. It has become a race to the bottom now. It is really sad.
Our reservation policy has divided this nation on caste and religious lines. Merit has taken a back seat and we are producing unqualified professionals in the name of social justice. This will impede national progress and hamper economic growth.
Poverty has no caste and hence reservation should be based on income criteria. Reservation should be limited to education alone and applicable only to the first generation in any family. Having provided access to quality education through reservation, employment should be provided only on merit or else we will become a nation full of unqualified, under performing mediocre. Imagine being operated upon by an unqualified doctor or board a flight piloted by a sloppy captain.

2. PSU Disinvestment -
I am in favor of selective disinvestment on a case-to-case basis.
I see no merit in government running bakery shops, selling vegetables or managing hotels. However it would be unwise if we let private monopolies dictate terms in areas of national and strategic importance where geopolitical factors are in play and market forces do not operate effectively.Every PSU should be evaluated on the following parameters before taking a disinvestment decision – 1. Is the PSU operating in an area of national interest or strategic importance – space, defense, strategic infrastructure etc.2. Is the PSU helping market competitiveness and restricting private monopolies.3. Is the PSU serving a constitutional obligation where no alternate means are available.
If the answer to all the above is YES, then we should not disinvest and must support the PSU.
1. Provide short term financial support to bring it back to health, in case of sick PSUs.
2. Give incentives to attract talent to effectively compete with private enterprises.
3. Reduce political interference and appoint a professional board to run the PSU.
4. Accord operational autonomy (Navaratna status) for effective decision making.

3. SEZs -
I am against land grabbing by in the name of SEZ.
I also do not support small SEZs – few strategically located large mega SEZs should be encouraged.
SEZ policy was meant to encourage private enterprise by way of fiscal and tax incentives to invest in long term infrastructure and attract global investment and industries.
However SEZs have become a historical land grab opportunity for private businesses with help of the state governments where state forcibly acquires fertile land for private profit, depriving farmers of their livelihood and dignity, in the garb of serving national interest.
SEZs, as small as 25 acres, are mushrooming in every nook & corner. It is hard to imagine as to what kind of strategic infrastructure and facilities can a 25 acre SEZ provide. It is nothing but duty exempt cheap land for the developer and tax free heaven for companies who would simply relocate to these so called SEZs.
This is a short sighted approach and needs a mid-term course correction. A better approach would be to follow China (Shenzen) or UAE (Dubai) model and promote Mega Multi-product or Specialized SEZs using PPP model in suitable locations and make concerted efforts to attract global investment. A PPP model will ensure that fair and equitable benefits accrue to all involved and national interest is served.

4. Sting Operations -
I am in favor but ethical norms must be followed.
Press is the fourth pillar of our democracy and investigative journalism is an integral part of any free and democratic society. As history stands witness, a lot of public good has been served and democratic institution have been strengthened due to courageous and hard hitting investigative journalism by few brave hearts – whether it was Iran-Contra affair or Tehelka episode. Investigative journalism has the power to change the governments and alter destiny of nation states.
Investigative journalism puts fear in the hearts and minds of corrupt and powerful. They are made accountable and face consequences of their actions and misdeeds.
However, now sting operations are being carried out to sensationalize trivial issues and to settle corporate and political rivalries. In modern day commercial journalism where TRPs and Eyeballs have become success mantras, common sense and ethical values have taken a back seat.
This is in bad taste and people will not approve of it. It is in the best interest of the press to desist from meaningless and motivated sting operations.

5. Tougher Laws to Tackle Terrorism –
Yes they are needed, but security agencies need to be sensitive in their application. It is tough call.
Laws are made to be implemented in letter and spirit and to deliver justice. Unfortunately it does not always happen in real life. Tougher terror laws are supposed to deter people from committing an act of terror or joining a terrorist organization due to fear of harsh punishment. Unfortunately religious terrorism is ingrained in faith and hatred for which terrorists are willing to sacrifice their lives. Fear of punishment or even death may not be an effective deterrent for many.
On the other hand, it is very likely that knowingly or unknowingly innocent citizens end-up on the wrong side of the law. Tougher laws make them suffer in silence with no recourse to justice. In the process they end-up alienating from the mainstream and an easy recruitment target for the terrorist organizations.
It is a tough call. Better intelligence network, sensitizing our security agencies and humane implementation of terror laws is the only possible solution.


  1. five issues are ok......but your line of approach to tackle them is not listed...come out with some ideas.

  2. http://ebullientajit.blogspot.com/
    sir.i m ur great fan..i also want to write like u i want ur comments its a small one .please comment on it

  3. Sir,i fully agree with your opinion about five issues i.e. reservation,PSU disinvestment,SEZ,sting operations,tougher laws to tackle terrorism. But please clear it that how long we have to face these problems.

  4. awesome and very informative post thanks for sharing


I encourage you to share your views.