All posts by NIKHIL KUMAR

*Newbie Writer* / Author on International Journal of Research/ "जीवन: एक संघर्षगाथा {poetry}"- StoryMirror/ LITERARY CAPTAIN and Writer on StoryMirror/ My contents are available on the International Journal of Research and StoryMirror.

Benchmarking in the Healthcare System

The right to health has so far not been accorded the status of a Fundamental Right to the Indian citizens. It is not even a statutory right, unlike education.

Moreover, health is a subject which is assigned to State Governments as per our Constitution. This is reflected in the way we finance it, with about two-thirds of the total governmental expenditure on health coming from the State Governments and the balance one-third being provided by the Government of India. Despite this, it is also a reality that the Government of India has significant influence in the policy space with pathbreaking schemes such as the National Health Mission (NHM) and Ayushman Bharat, with its twin prongs of the Health and Wellness Centres to deliver comprehensive primary health care and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).

India is also a signatory to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, whereby it has committed as a nation to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all”. In the last decade, millions of Indians have escaped from extreme poverty because of the rapid economic growth. As would be expected of rapidly growing economy, the health system and population level health outcomes have also improved significantly albeit at a much more gradual pace. Despite notable gains in improving life expectancy, reducing maternal and child mortality, and addressing other health priorities, our health system needs a lot of improvement judged by the rather modest benchmark of countries with similar levels of economic development. Furthermore, there are huge variations across States in their health outcomes and health systems’ performance. It is unfortunate that by and large, health has not received the kind of political and administrative salience that this vital sector deserves. With the federal compact among the Central and the State Governments having been clearly defined in the Constitution, the key questions that motivated the team involved in the design of Health Index were as

follows:

a. Can we develop a tool to bring health into greater political focus to ensure that what gets measured gets done?

b. Can we benchmark the performance of the health system of various States which can be put forth in the public domain in a timely manner? Is it possible to capture the diversity and yet ensure that high performing states do not get complacent and the low performing States are not discouraged?

c. Can appropriate instrument or incentives be put in place that can nudge the States to try and radically improve their health system performance? Can this be done in a manner that respects the federal compact and allows autonomy to individual State Governments to make policy choices to achieve the specified benchmarks?

d. What are the parameters that could credibly capture the complex story of health system performance? Can those parameters capture outcomes at the system level rather than merely tracking inputs such as budget, number of facilities or outputs such as number of OPDs/IPDs? Is data relating to those parameters available from third party source? Is the data of reasonable quality and available at least annually? What is the emphasis (weights) to be provided on each of the individual parameters? The answer to these questions– admittedly imperfect-was to craft a Health Index – a journey which NITI Aayog embarked upon in 2017 in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the World Bank. It is the firstever systematic exercise for tracking the progress on health outcomes and health systems’ performance across all the States and Union Territories (UTs) in India on an annual basis. The Health Index is a weighted-composite

Index based on select indicators in three domains:

(a) Health Outcomes;

(b) Governance and Information; and

(c) Key Inputs and Processes, with the health outcomes carrying the most weight across the different category of

States/UTs. For generation of ranks, the States are classified into three categories (Larger States, Smaller States and UTs) to ensure comparability among similar entities.

A range of indicators such as the neo-natal mortality rate (deaths occurring in the first 28 days of life), full immunisation coverage, treatment success rate of confirmed tuberculosiscases, stability of tenure of key administrators, vacancy of doctors and specialists in health facilities, and functionality of primary health centres, first referral units and cardiac care units, are included in the Index. In February 2018, the first round of the Health Index report on ranks and scores was released which measured the annual and incremental performance of the States and UTs over the period of 2014-15 (base year) to 2015-16 (reference year). This was followed by the second round of Health Index that tracked performance for the period 2015-16 (base year) and 2017-18 (reference year). The same set of indicators and weights were used for the first two rounds.

The Health Index is a useful tool to measure and compare the overall performance and incremental performance across States and UTs over time. It is an important instrument in understanding the variations and complexity of the nation’s performance in health. The critical factors that contributed to the success of the Health Index include: a) Timelines of the report so that it stimulates action and not merely academic discussions; b) Provision of financial incentives based on the annual incremental performance of states under the National Health Mission; and; c) Verification of self-reported data by states by a third party, independent verification agency to enhance credibility. However, there are limitations to the Index as no single index can purport to comprehensively capture the complex story of the evolution of the health system. Also, due to constraints of availability of quality data critical areas such as non-communicable diseases, mental health, and private sector service utilisation could not be captured. Thus, the Health Index is a work in progress and continuous refinements will be made as additional quality data becomes available and data systems improve.

COLD WAR: Meaning and Its Origin

The concept of the Cold War, born in 1945 after the end of the Second World War, is a fact of international relations that exposes the mutual relations between the US and the Soviet Union. This is a new chapter in post-World War II international relations. It can also be named a new international political development.

The new chapter of friendship between the US and the Soviet Union began during the Second World War, which ended after the war, the mutual differences and feeling of disharmony between the two superpowers grew deeper and the two tried to humiliate each other. Started doing This effort led to a conflict situation rather than cooperation in the diplomatic, cultural, political and social fields in both countries. On the international stage, the two powers went on to accuse each other. In an attempt to prove their supremacy in the international world, both the superpowers started looking for new ways to bring most of the states of the world to their side. This created an atmosphere of unrest all over the world and eventually, the world was divided into two powerful factions – the capitalist bloc and the communist bloc, in which the first led the US and the second led the Soviet Union.

Meaning of cold war

As is clear from its name, it is not a war of arms and weapons but a war confined to threats. There was no real war in this war. It was limited to indirect war only. In this war, both the great powers were dominant in their ideological differences. It was a type of diplomatic war that was based on the efforts of the superpowers in narrow selfishness.

The Cold War was a type of speech war that was used in paper rounds, paper-magazines. Even radio and publicity tools were fought. In this war neither any bullet was fired nor anyone was injured. In this, both the superpowers fought indirect wars in most parts of the world to maintain their suzerainty. All measures to prevent the war from turning into an armistice were also used, it was only a war by diplomatic means in which the two superpowers continued to resort to all measures to degrade each other. The purpose of this war was to strengthen its position by involving the Allies in their respective factions so that in future each could easily cut off the moves of their opposing factions. This war was the final culmination of the mistrust and doubt that arose between the United States and the Soviet Union after World War II.

Jawaharlal Nehru defined the Cold War as saying that “this war was a war of suspended capital punishment atmosphere that was more terrible than a heated war.”

Thus it can be said that the Cold War was a speech war between two superpowers based on diplomatic measures. It was a direct expression of the tension created between the two superpowers after World War II. This was more terrible than the actual war, being an ideological war.

Origin of the Cold War

The symptoms of the Cold War started appearing during World War II itself. Both the superpowers were fighting the war keeping in mind their narrow interests and showing the spirit of mutual cooperation. The spirit of cooperation that was visible during the war was beginning to end after the war and the symptoms of the Cold War had begun to emerge, with the two factions becoming stronger complaining of each other. There were some strong grounds for these complaints. These mutual differences were the main causes of the Cold War.

The main reasons for the origin of the Cold War are-

  1. The Soviet Union not following the Yalta Agreement.
  2. The Soviet Union and America’s ideological differences.
  3. Soviet Union’s emergence as a powerful nation.
  4. Soviet Intervention in Iran.
  5. Soviet intervention in Turkey.
  6. Communist spread in Greece.
  7. Second Front Dispute.
  8. Appeasement policy.
  9. The Soviet Union ignores Balkan Agreement.
  10.  America’s nuclear program.
  11. Conflicting publicity.
  12. Termination of land-lease agreement.
  13. American support to fascist forces.
  14. Berlin controversy.
  15. Repeated use of veto power by the Soviet Union.
  16. Narrow national interest based on narrow nationalism.

JUSTICE AND ITS TYPES

Justice is an important concept in politics, philosophy, law and ethics. Different philosophers have analysed the concept in different ways. The quest for justice began with the beginning of human thinking. Justice has been understood differently in different contexts. There were many wars, struggles, revolutions, and social movements which were changed with the change of time and circumstances. It is closely associated with religion, morality, equality, liberty, property, law, politics and economic system. The criterion for judging each social concept is justice. In different social systems, there are different conceptions of justice. 

Meaning of justice: It is impossible to give a specific meaning of justice. Whenever an effort to define justice has been made, it has led to problems. The Greek philosopher Plato tried to define justice as a virtue in action.

The main difficulty in defining justice is that it is not an independent concept. Justice is closely associated with the system of values and the norms of social systems. Rawls writes “…. The nature and aims of a perfectly just society is a fundamental part of the theory of justice.”

Every system is governed by certain norms and values, in turn, determine justices. Thus, justice is not an absolute but a relative concept. Justice is related to values legitimacy and ideals.

Types of justice

  1. Distributive Justice: Distributive justice also known as economic justice is about fairness in what people receive, from goods to attention. Its roots are in the social order and it is at the roots of socialism, where equality is a fundamental principle. If the people do not think that they are getting their fair share of something, they will seek first to gain what they believe they deserve. They will also seek other forms of justice.
  2. Procedure Justice: The principle of fairness is also found in the idea of fair play (as opposed to the fair share of distributive justice). If people believed that a fair process was used in deciding what is to be distributed, then they may well accept an imbalance what they receive in comparison to others. If they see both procedural and distributive injustice, they will seek restorative and/or retributive justice.
  3. Restorative Justice: The first thing that the betrayed person may seek from the betrayer is some form of restitution putting things back as they should be. The simplest form of restitution is a straight forward apology. Restoration means putting things back as they were, so it may include some act of contribution to demonstrate one is truly sorry. This may include action and even extra payment to the offended party. Restorative justice is also known as corrective justice.
  4. Retributive Justice: Retributive justice works on the principle of punishment although what constitutes fair and proportional punishment is widely debated. While the intent may be to dissuade the perpetrator or others from future wrong-doing, the re-offending rate of many criminals indicates the limited success of this approach. Punishment in practices is more about the satisfaction of victims and those who care about them. In such a case, ‘justice’ is typically defined emotionally rather than with intent for fairness o prevention.

Climate Forcing

Climate “forcing” are factors in the climate system that either increase or decrease the effects to the climate system.

• Positive forcing such as excess greenhouse gases warm the earth while negative forcing, such as the effects of most aerosols and volcanic eruptions, actually cool the earth.

• Atmospheric aerosols include volcanic dust, soot from the combustion of fossil fuels, particles from burning forests and mineral dust.

• Dark carbon-rich particles such as soot from diesel engines absorb sunlight and warm the atmosphere.

• Conversely, exhaust from high-sulphur coal or oil produce light aerosols that reflect sunlight back to space, producing a cooling effect. Aerosols that form naturally during volcanic eruptions cool the atmosphere. Large volcanic eruptions can eject enough ash into the atmosphere to lower temperature for a year or more until the sulfate particles settle out of the atmosphere.

Altering the Energy Balance

• The power of a process to alter the climate is estimated by its “radiative forcing,” the change in the Earth’s energy balance due to that process.

• Some climate forcings are positive, causing globally averaged warming, and some are negative, causing cooling. Some, such as from increased CO₂ concentration, are well known; others, such as from aerosols, are more uncertain.

Natural Forcing:

• Natural forcing include changes in the amount of energy emitted by the Sun, very slow variations in Earth’s orbit, and volcanic eruptions.

• Since the start of the industrial revolution, the only natural forcing with any long-term significance has been a small increase in solar energy reaching Earth. However, this change is not nearly enough to account for the current warming.

Human-Induced Forcing

• Climate forcing can also be caused by human activities. These activities include greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions from burning fossil fuels and modifications of the land surface, such as deforestation.

Human-Generated Greenhouse Gases

• Greenhouse gases are a positive climate forcing; that is, they have a warming effect. Carbon dioxide emitted from the burning of fossil fuel is presently the largest single climate forcing agent, accounting for more than half of the total positive forcing since 1750.

Human-Generated Aerosols

• Burning fossil fuels adds aerosols to the atmosphere. Aerosols are tiny particles in the atmosphere composed of many things, including water, ice, ash, mineral dust, or acidic droplets. Aerosols can deflect the Sun’s energy and impact the formation and lifetime of clouds. Aerosols are a negative forcing; that is, they have a cooling effect.

Causes of Climate Change

• While natural forcing do exist, they are not significant enough to explain the recent global warming. Human activities are very likely responsible for most of the recent warming.

Estimation of Each Gas

Each gas’s effect on climate change depends on

three main factors:

Concentration of each gas

Concentration, or abundance, is the amount of a particular gas in the air. Greenhouse gas concentrations are measured in parts per million, parts per billion, and even parts per trillion.

One part per million is equivalent to one drop of water diluted into about 13 gallons of liquid (roughly the fuel tank of a compact car).

Amount of time they stay in atmosphere

Each of these gases can remain in the atmosphere for different amounts of time, ranging from a few years to thousands of years.

All of these gases remain in the atmosphere long enough to become well mixed, meaning that the amount that is measured in the atmosphere

is roughly the same all over the world, regardless of the source of the emissions.

Strength of their impact

Some gases are more effective than others at making the planet warmer and “thickening the Earth’s blanket (green house gas)”.

 For each greenhouse gases Global Warming Potential (GWP) has been calculated to reflect how long it remains in the atmosphere, on average, and how strongly it absorbs energy.

WHAT IS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED (GE) TREES?

The proponents of biotechnology industry claim that trees that are genetically altered grow faster and yield better quality of wood in extreme temperatures. Thus they are a boon to forestry in dealing with climate change.

Historical background

The first field trials of GE trees were started in Belgium in 1988, when researchers began to develop poplar trees that were herbicide resistant and that could grow faster. In 2002, China established commercial GE poplar trees plantation as a strategy to address the issue of deforestation. Initially GE trees were established in 300 hectares, and now China has embraced the GE technology on a large scale, integrating this into forestry sector. Latin American countries like Brazil and Argentina, the forerunners in GM food crops are also working on GE trees to enhance the production of pulp and paper.

Is GE trees safer than GM crops?

For: The proponents of the technology claim that GE trees are safer and there is no need to fear about negative consequences. Already the United Nations has approved plantations of GE trees as carbon sinks under Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism. With this stamp of approval, many countries would like to adopt the technology and establish GE plantations.

Against:

Environmentalists state that this technology poses as serious a threat as GM crops. The trees are perennial, that live longer than agricultural crops. The changes in the metabolism of trees may occur many years after they are planted, and trees are wild, undomesticated. This makes it difficult to decipher as to how the introduced gene will behave in natural environment. This fact implies that the ecological risks associated with GE trees are far greater than the agricultural crops. It has also been documented that the tree pollen travels a distance of more than 600 km. The probability that the GE tree pollen is likely to contaminate vast expanses of native forests with a wide variety of destructive traits may be a threat to ecological balance and the existing biodiversity of the tropical forests in global south. The contaminated pollen might pose threat to honey bees, adversely impacting pollination in the wild and on agriculture crops.

Who are behind developing GE trees and why?

It is ArborGen a subsidiary of Monsanto, oil companies like British Petroleum and Chevron that are investing in this technology. For these companies GE trees offer a viable alternate to fossil fuels as GE trees could produce ethanol, a green fuel. As the ethanol produced from food stocks came under attack, the companies see bright future in non-food cellulose feedstock like GE trees.

In INDIA

The first experiment with genetically engineered tree was with rubber tree developed by the Rubber Research Institute in Kerala. The GE rubbers are better adapted to drought resistance and increased environment stress tolerance. This will help to establish rubber in non- traditional areas where the conditions are not favourable. Ironically the field trials for GE rubber trees were approved by the then environmental minister (Mr. Jairam Ramesh). Ministry asserted that the genetically modified trees posed lesser threat in comparison to the food crops. This assumption is baseless as the seeds of rubber tree are used as cattle feed, that gets into the food chain through milk. Similarly, Kerala is one of those regions that produce large quantity of rubber honey from rubber plantations. Kerala, a GM free state worried about the implications of GE rubber on biodiversity, has voiced its concern about bio safety issues. Now the rubber trees are being experimented in Maharashtra.

These developments show the predominance of the western forestry science that lays emphasis on forests as a commercial entity to produce wood and pulp. Diverse forests were simplified by the removal of multiple species and establishing monocultures that had commercial value. Already the country’s landscape is scarred with millions of hectares of teak and eucalypts monoculture plantations. This approach has had negative consequences for the environment, biodiversity and the local indigenous people. The same trend will be reinforced with the establishment of GE tree plantations, leading to further devastation of the natural environment and forests.

The Importance of Real-Time Monitoring for Development

The use of real-time monitoring (RTM) to support national systems strengthening is growing, primarily due to the ubiquitous penetration of mobile phones into global audiences. According to the International Telecommunication Union, in 2011 alone, there were six billion mobile subscribers–with 79 per cent of them in the developing world (Abaza and Marschollek, 2017). This has been a boon in countries and regions where mobility and physical connectivity challenges can affect the diffusion of knowledge of key issues, which can stymie progress against key health and socioeconomic indicators. India is no stranger to RTM systems, having been one of the early adopters of mobile and digital technology in the low-and-middle-income world. It has 1.16 billion telecommunication subscribers in the world, as of March 2019 (TRAI, 2019), and has been adding nearly six million subscribers per month (TRAI, 2019). The Ministry of Health’s National Health Portal has shortlisted a whopping 72 monitoring platforms that have been authorised to track indicators from health records in hospitals to mapping water supply sources (2020).

Development programmes are actively embracing RTM approaches across a range of sectors; from maternal health to nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)- to improve planning, monitoring, and decision making efforts. During this COVID-19 response, it has become an even greater priority to invest in RTM models that adhere to physical distancing protocols. Caseloads are increasing rapidly with shorter doubling times and countries are scrambling every day to better understand what is influencing the outcomes as quickly as possible. Plus, given the transmission model, traditional monitoring efforts such as door-to-door assessments come with high risks for health and community workers. Real-time monitoring that allows low-touch data collection and dissemination would, therefore, be best in this context, as proven before during the Ebola and H1N1 outbreaks, both of which had similar contact restrictions.

The practice of real-time monitoring for strengthening national monitoring systems has been employed by UNICEF and government partners to strengthen health, education, water and sanitation and social protection systems around the world. As of 2019, 77 UNICEF country offices including India’s are using real-time approaches enabled by the use of information and communication technologies which enable faster retrieval and analysis of data and information, than paper-based or other traditional systems.

When using real-time approaches, data and information is provided more rapidly than before and allows stakeholders to monitor progress towards goals by rapidly accessing and reviewing data and information, seeing trends, and identifying corrective actions required based on informed evidence-based decisions within a day, or in some cases, within a few hours. Therefore, it is an efficient solution to monitoring needs and objectives. Just as important to keep in mind is that RTM approaches are only effective where the capacity to utilise frequent data and insights is sufficient and responsive; otherwise, the approach may have a negative effect of creating extra data collection burden without commensurate response.

When implemented, RTM integration helps to:

Provide a monitoring platform for communities and governments to track progress towards shared goals

Identify supply, demand and bottlenecks in service delivery chains

Increase accountability of government to the rapid delivery of services

Improve service delivery to hard to- reach communities through informing corrective measures

Assess and educate consumers and beneficiaries on relevant knowledge, practices and attitudes.

Various Types of Democracies

In Modern times, democracy seems to have triumphed. Most countries today either are or pretend to be democracies. Their political system may vary, but they all claim that system may vary, but they all claim that these are based on popular sovereignty. It means that the authority of the state belongs to the means that the authority of the state belongs to the people who are citizens of that state. The different types of democracies discussed below.

Direct Democracy: – In this form, the right to make political decision rests in the entire body of citizens, unmediated by a political organization such as parties. The examples of direct democracy can be found in Greece of the 5th century BC and contemporary Switzerland. Indirect Democracy, citizen involvement or participation is personal but in a representative democracy, it is through people chosen by them, to speak for them.
In Modern times some states have combined representative democracy with measures of direct democracy, in that they refer certain matters to the vote of the city as a whole be a referendum. Thus direct democracy can be practised in the form of a referendum.

Representative Democracy: – It is a form in which citizens elect their political representatives through periodic, popular elections, who then represent the people in the government at national (in a parliament) or local (in local authority or city council) level. In this form of democracy, the people have no direct power.

Deliberative Democracy: – It is a form of democracy which stress on the participation of the people in collective decision- making through a process of rational and considered deliberation. In simplest terms refer to the conception of democratic government secures the central places for reasoned discussion in political life.

Liberal Democracy: – Liberal democracy is a form of representative democracy where the political power of the government is tempered by a constitution which protects the right and freedom of individuals and minorities.

Illiberal Democracy: – It is a political system where democratic election exists, and the govt. is not constrained from encroaching on the liberty of individuals, or minorities. Some critics of illiberal regimes now suggest that the rule of law should take precedence over democracy, implying a de facto western acceptance of what are called ‘liberalized autocracies’.

Participatory Democracy: – It is an alternative label for direct democracy. However, it does have a slightly wider connotation because participation need not necessarily mean ultimate decision- making power. Thus if there is a much greater degree of citizens participation in a political system, though the ultimate decision making and law-making functions are given to a small body of elected representatives. It is known as a participatory democracy.

Social Democracy: – It is a label used to indicate a reformist and non-Marxist left-of-centre party. Many social democratic parties in the world are inspired by socialism that for ideological or pragmatic reasons opted for a strategy of gradual change through existing institutions. Social democratic parties may also work for liberal reforms before introducing more profound social change. Social democrats reject the sudden revolutionary change. A social democratic party is likely to favour higher proportional direct taxation for a more equitable distribution of wealth and a social net for the weak and the vulnerable.

Let’s Stop Worrying

Live in “day-tight compartments”

 Thomas Carlyle said, “Our main business is not to see dimly at a distance but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

The main cause of worrying is that we thought a lot about our decision made in past and the result of that decision in future. From the above quote, Thomas Carlyle tried to say that we have to try to live in present rather than thinking about the past and uncertain future.

Christ’s prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Remember that prayer asks only for today’s bread. It doesn’t complain about the stale bread of yesterday that we had to eat; and it doesn’t say: “Oh God, it has been pretty dry out in the wheat belt lately we may have another drought and then how will I get bread to eat next autumn. Or suppose I lost my job, then how could I get bread ?”

Accomplish one job at the time

“Every day is a new life for a wise man.”

From this line, a person can live only one day at a time. If you are trying to live past, present and future all a time. Then you can fail to live anyone of them. As we know we can’t sail on two boats at a time, if we try then we can sink into the river.

I want you to think of your life as an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grains of sand in the top of the hourglass. And they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing you or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass. When we start in the morning, there are hundreds of tasks which we feel we must accomplish that day, but if we don’t take them one at a time and let them pass through the day slowly and evenly, as do the grains of sand passing through the narrow neck of the hourglass, then we are bound to break our own physical or mental structure.

Analyse the problem of worrying and thinking of what the worst can happen?

Rudyard Kipling said: “I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew) their names are what and why and when and how and where and who.”

First of all, I analysed the situation fearlessly and honestly and figured out what was the worst that could happen as a result of this failure. After figuring out what was the worst that could happen, I reconcile myself to accepting it, if necessary.  From that time on, I calmly devoted my time and energy to trying to improve upon the worst which I had already accepted mentally. And try to reduce the loss. Here one example of how a student can overcome the fear and worry which is eating them from inside.

For eg,  First of all, a student can analyse the problem that what they want like they apply for an entrance exam, they either selected or not selected. And they can think of the worst that could happen i.e, they are not selected. This will help to release their mental pressure and lead to improving the worst cases. And help them to concentrate on the studies rather than thinking of the result.

Dr Alexis Carrel said: “Businessmen who don’t know how to fight against worst die young.”

India and Knowledge Society

Let knowledge come from all sides. (RIG VEDA):

Knowledge has always been an essential and distinguishing characteristic of human society, for human beings are unique among all species in their extended capacity to formulate, systematize, preserve and consciously transmit organized bodies of knowledge from one individual, community, generation and location to another. That is the essence of all that is known as education.

There is almost universal recognition that knowledge as a product and as an instrument will be the basic foundation for competitiveness of individual business and of nations in the 21st century. Robust research findings suggest that knowledge as a factor of production explains a substantial proportion of economic growth internationally.

 Historically, Indian society is a hierarchical society and its knowledge base has always been elitist. Whether it is the caste based system or the colonial education system, access to knowledge has primarily been the privilege of the few. But such a system can never lay the foundation for a holistic development strategy. Therefore, all socio-economic and political
ideas have to be focused on inclusive growth and socio-economic equality in the real sense

The recent focus of good governance is to enable inclusive growth and development. India has come a long way from the hierarchical society and its exclusive educational system which we imbibed from our cultural and social heritage, as well as our colonial past. The thrust of the envisaged changes in the society calls for knowledge for all and a shift towards an inclusive
knowledge based society.

“If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us” said Adlai E. Stevenson. This is the idea behind the concept of an inclusive society based on free and easy access to knowledge for all.

Knowledge Society consists of practices and policies for using intellectual assets to support key economic objectives and to reduce vulnerability gaps, and in the process of social transformation strengthening national security .Knowledge management deals with the knowledge as a corporate resource. Knowledge culture is necessary for survival and success in the modern world of business.

Knowledge is only one input to the development process, but it is an absolutely essential one. Without adequate knowledge all the other essential inputs-land, infrastructure, factories, capital, technology, administrative and social organization-cannot yield full results. Enhancing knowledge generation, dissemination and application is the fastest, most cost-effective means of increasing the productivity of all these other resources and accelerating national development.
Development depends on four knowledge processes:

  • Knowledge generation and acquisition through scientific discovery, R&D and transfer of technology.
  • Knowledge adaptation through innovation to particular fields, needs and operating environments.
  • Knowledge dissemination through formal and informal channels from knowledge developers and adapters to those responsible for applying the knowledge in society.
  • Knowledge application through skilled action in fields, factories, classrooms, hospitals and every other field of activity to achieve practical results.

The competencies that would count in the emerging Knowledge Age are intelligence, knowledge, good formal educational qualifications and skills in communicative English-we are abundant in it.

Knowledge is important not only for the rich but also for the poor. This is all the more relevant in a country such as India where the gap between the rich and the poor is enormous. Thus India has to closely link economic development with social development .Technology can assist in the development of the social sector. The anytime-anywhere and death-of-distance paradigms of technology enable better leveraging of scarce resources. Computerized learning aids, cyber classes and e-education are instances of use of technology in education. Knowledge is the key driver in the race for economic leadership. A key imperative today is for the government to collaborate with the private sector and industry in building knowledge infrastructure. This includes partnership for developing talent, formulating conducive regulatory framework, creating bandwidth and providing affordable computing power.

It is suggested that Indian policy makers and organisations consider focusing on the following areas to prepare for a knowledge-based economy and society.

First, good quality institutions, a reasonable degree of contestability in the economy and in polity, and an outward-orientation are essential for creating, diffusing and adapting knowledge in India; efforts should be made to deepen and institutionalise economic and governance reforms.

Second, strong education and training in technology and science are essential as knowledge cannot be absorbed unless some basic knowledge is already possessed. Reforming education policies and regulations, particularly those designed to increase supply and quality, should be an urgent priority. India must preserve traditional knowledge and subject it to scientific enquiry and application.

Third, capabilities to take advantage of international conventions such as converting product and process knowledge into patents and intellectual property rights must be developed. Commoditisation of traditional knowledge by more resourceful countries needs to be addressed through cooperation among developing countries, which have similar interests.

Fourth, private and public sector firms and organisations of developing countries must be open to new ideas. There is no more insidious colonisation than colonisation of the mind. In most Indian organisations, the desire to reform traditional methods of administration and delivery of government services is essential if the efficiencies arising from the knowledge-economy are to be realised.

Fifth, multiple sources of new ideas and experiments, including rural technology innovations, need to be cultivated. If such sources of ideas are combined with encouraging social entrepreneurship, i.e. meeting social needs with capitalist means, and with effective public private partnerships, application of knowledge-economy to diverse areas can be facilitated.

Sixth, a great deal of knowledge is organisation, context or location-specific. The challenge is to use it to address specific economic and social needs. India’s heterogeneity can be used to great advantage in discovering and diffusing location specific knowledge to develop more sustainable, relatively less elaborate, production and supply chains.

These, in turn, may help increase resilience of local economies to external shocks.

The National Knowledge Commission (NKC), an advisory body set up in 2005, has five focus areas, namely easy access to knowledge, emphasis on education at all levels, creation of knowledge, application of knowledge to all sectors, and better delivery of services in all sectors. The NKC however has not received strong political support. Its recommendations have been blocked by petty political and bureaucratic rivalries. Unwillingness or inability to assert strong political leadership by the Prime Minister in this area has contributed to the erosion of his authority, while constraining India’s future options and prospects.

Many believe that those representing Indian institutions will have the capacity to push for a level playing field on the world scene as far as access to technology and the relevant knowledge bases are concerned at the same time as they foster the development of local knowledge and ICT applications. However, this will depend on other factors such as international trade relations and whether the government and other stakeholders can avoid becoming victims of the ICT fetish. India’s resilient features and strengths in terms of its social organisation, its cultural resources and its vast reservoir of knowledge workers should not be frittered away as a result of greater than necessary participation in the global knowledge society.

India was a knowledge force in the ancient days. Let us again restore this status to Bharat again. Let us draw inspiration from our great wise men of the past and the intellectual leadership of the present and make the world exclaim, “The Wonder That Is India.”

India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last word, she lives and has still something to do for herself and the humankind. (AURBINDO GHOSH)

The Indian Parliament: Performances and Challenges

As the central legislative body in India, the Parliament has four main roles—it makes laws, it holds the executive to account for its actions, it allocates government finances, and represents the interests and aspirations of citizens. The Parliament is also a constituent body in the sense that it can amend the Constitution.

Functioning of Parliament

Over the years, the Parliament has been meeting for a fewer days. Figure 1 shows that the number of sitting days has declined from 125-140 in the 1950s to about 70 days in the last twenty years. Also, disruptions have further reduced the amount of time available for discussion in Parliament.

An important casualty is Question Hour. If the House is disrupted, it often sits late or through the lunch hour to make up for lost time. However, the time lost in Question Hour is never made up. As a result, only a few questions listed for oral answers are actually answered on the floor, and the rest get a written.

The shortage of time has also affected discussion on bills. Every bill is expected to go through three readings at the stage of introduction, consideration when there is a detailed discussion on each clause, and passing. The Parliament rarely discusses any bill at the first or third reading. Many bills are not discussed at the consideration stage either,

Areas of Reform

There are some structural issues that need to be addressed to improve the effectiveness of Parliament. These include the repeal of the anti defection law, recording all votes on bills and major debates, referring all bills to committees and strengthening the support system for committees.

The Anti-Defection Law
Anti-defection law when it was passed, it aimed at bringing down the political defection but due to ever increasing political dishonesty and corruption this law never developed properly and now a question arose that ‘whether achieving the goals of this law a reality or a myth ? ‘Politicians found loopholes in this law and used it for their own benefit. It is high time that a watchdog should be provided to our Parliament and there is a need for our constitutional pundits to revisit the issue to combat the menace of corruption and defection which has eroded the values ​​of democracy.

Committee System

Committee System has following disadvantages:

  1. High Cost in Time and Money
  2. Indecisive Action
  3. Compromising Attitude
  4. Dominance of a Few
  5. Suppression of Ideas
  6. Splitting of Responsibilities
  7. Political Decision

Departmentally Related Standing Committees

Of course, there is no one right answer about the benefits of standing committees. But, I do have a bias against standing committees that have been around forever without revisiting their purpose.

What is the purpose of the committee? Is their charge clear? Is it defined in terms of outcomes that benefit the organization? What has the board delegated to this committee and is the board providing oversight to assure that the assigned work is getting done? If you have a current strategic plan, is the committee assigned strategies and outcomes that support advancement on that plan?

Committees that have a long history frequently, but not always, end up acting independently of the organization’s envisioned future and strategic direction. That committee’s work may or may not support the current strategic plan. There is a comfort zone for individuals who have been on a committee and in a position to define their own work and see it as somewhat independent of the rest of the organization.

If this is true of the standing committees of your organization, it might be worth an investment of the board’s time to review all committee charges (purpose statements, commissions, whatever you want to call it) and determine how those committees can best support the strategic plan and strategic initiatives. It may mean rewriting or refining the current committee purpose statement in terms of outcomes. In my experience, when the delegation of work to a committee changes from what the committee has comfortably done over the past many years, the folks on the committee will grumble and then, when held responsible for the outcomes, will either jump in and contribute or leave.

If you decide on investing in revisiting the objective statements of all committees, it may also help the board identify the right person to be the next chair – someone who is on board with outcomes and board oversight.

Committee on Subordinate Legislation

● No parliamentary deliberation – Parliament does not get a chance to debate rules, regulations, etc. made by the executive. These are made in the ante-chamber of the bureaucrat and the benefits of parliamentary deliberations are lost.

● No prior publicity- Whereas drafts of bills are often published for public comment and criticism, prior publicity is not always possible in case of rules and regulations and the benefits of public discussion are criticism is lost.

● Not enough publicity- Everyone is supposed to know the law because statutes are, generally speaking, easily accessible. This is not so in the case of delegated legislation, where the mass of rules, regulations, bye-laws, orders, etc. often lie buried in the files of bureaucrats. Antecedent publicity, that is, publicity before enactment is often missing in delegated legislation.

● Lesser research- Since statutes are normally given greater publicity than rules and regulations, the former can reach out to a greater number of citizens.\

● Possibility of overreach and or overlapping – as delegated legislation can often be confusing, complex and difficult to understand. Moreover, it can be different (and at times, contradictory) in different states, thus leading to confusion and lack of uniformity.

● Possibility of poor drafting – Delegated legislation may not be well considered or drafted by legislative experts and may thus suffer from infirmities due to poor drafting.

● Possibility of confusion- Experiences show that delegated legislation can often be confusing, complex and difficult to understand. Moreover, it can be different (and at times, contradictory) in different states, thus leading to confusion and lack of uniformity.

Conclusion
Parliament plays a central role in the Indian system of representative governance, affecting all aspects of lives of citizens. It has done a remarkable job for nearly seventy years, helping manage internal tensions of perhaps the most diverse set of people in any country. Many social reforms and economic progress have been led by Parliament. However, there are ways in which its effectiveness can be improved. These include revocation of the anti-defection law, making recorded voting mandatory and strengthening the committee system