The Devaluation of the Academia Prabhat Patnaik

We are about to witness a major change. Academics are going to be marginalized in the process of decision-making relating to academic matters. An implicit marginalization has been going on for some time, but now it will get the imprimatur of a parliamentary legislation. A legislation drafted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development seeks to abolish the University Grants Commission altogether. Its fund-distributing role will be taken over by the Ministry itself, while its supervisory role will be implemented by a newly created Higher Education Commission of India. The composition of this proposed Higher Education Commission will be as…

The Proposed Abolition of the UGC Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government is bringing in legislation in the coming Monsoon session of the Parliament to abolish the University Grants Commission. The UGC has two important roles at present. One is the distribution of funds to colleges and universities; this will now be handled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The other role is a regulatory one, which will now be taken over by a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). This Commission however will have no funds to distribute. The proposed set-up will immensely increase political control over the academia. The fact that the distribution of funds will…

The Importance of Dissatisfaction Prabhat Patnaik

In a slave society, one can argue, the interest of the slaves lies in keeping the slave-owner happy, for otherwise he is likely to flog and whip them mercilessly which would cause them great agony. Likewise in a caste society, one can argue, the interest of the dalit lies in being as inconspicuous as possible, in not “polluting” the upper castes through his presence, for otherwise he is likely to be beaten and lynched. Such behavior however appears “rational” only if we adopt exclusively a perspective that accepts the system that sees no possible existence outside of it. The same…

Financing Education Prabhat Patnaik

The Draft National Education Policy unveiled by the central government puts forward a bizarre line of reasoning. Education, it is argued on the basis of a long-held and honourable belief going back to the Kothari Commission, should have an annual expenditure of around 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product; we have come nowhere near this figure even after so many years and cannot do so on the basis of government effort owing to our stretched budgetary resources; hence, to realize this target, which most right-thinking persons in the country would accept, we must draw the private sector into the…

Southeast Asia: From Miracle To Debacle Jomo Kwame Sundaram

The World Bank and other influential international financial institutions and development agencies have been touting Southeast Asian (SEA) newly industrializing countries as models for emulation, especially by African developing countries seeking to accelerate their development transformations. But these recommendations are usually based on misleading analysis of their rapid growth and structural transformation. Sub-regional differences Typically, various cultural and other justifications are offered to justify recommending SEA, rather than Northeast Asia (NEA), as the better sub-region for emulation. Consequently, important lessons from East Asian experiences have been misrepresented, drawing erroneous lessons from the region's undoubtedly impressive economic performance during its high…

Review of the 2004 World Development Report “Making Services Work for Poor People” Tim Kessler

On September 21, 2003, the World Bank unveiled its annual flagship publication, the 2004 World Development Report, entitled "Making Services Work for Poor People." The WDR's main premise is that basic services - primary education, basic health care, water and electricity services -fail to reach the poor because too many governments lack sound and representative institutions of governance. Ironically, the report expresses strong confidence in the ability of these same unaccountable governments to regulate private service provision. In addition to deficient institutions, the WDR attributes failing public services to regressive budgets (that benefit mostly the middle class), petty corruption, and…