Civilian administration had always remained in Indian hands, even under the Mughals, as part of a deliberate policy of assimilation. But the British saw themselves as a superior race and, seeking to impose colonial rule for commercial gain, considered it necessary to man their administration at all senior and strategic levels with their own personnel.
The question of the “Indianisation” of the civil service in India thus directly arose for the first time after the assumption and gradual consolidation of administrative power by the East India Company, and subsequently by the British government. The rule of the Company was sought to be legitimised by the concept of the British “civilising mission” in India. So, a policy of exclusion was put in place. Race became an important category and identity in the future. It was inevitable that this would be challenged, As the Crown consolidated its power over the subcontinent in the latter half of the 19th century, opposition against its hold over the administration intensified and the question of Indianisation of the higher civil services became the most important “national” issue of the ensuing nationalist struggle against the British Empire in India for the next 50 years.
Ironically, the first demand and recommendations to include Indians in the civil service came from the most prominent and far-sighted of the Company’s officials in the early 19th century like Elphinstone and Munro. This was first recognised in the Charter Act of 1833, whose clause 87 declared that no person could be disqualified for any place in the Company’s service by reason of caste, colour, creed, or place of birth. Merit would be the basis of employment. However, there was some increased employment of Indians only in lower judicial posts of “Munsifs” and “Sadar Amins” and later deputy collectors and deputy magistrates. The clause remained symbolic. This period coincided with the unfurling of the “renaissance” in Bengal. As colleges and universities were established and education spread, the aspirations of Indian youth also grew. In 1854, the British parliament accepted the principle of competitive examinations for selection to the Service. The removal of patronage allowed Indians to compete for higher posts on merit. Consequently, the main debate became to provide a level playing field between Indians and the British in the examinations, which made the questions of where it would be held, what should be the syllabus, and age limits very important.
The British recognised the superior intellect of the Indians and perceived a high risk of failure if competition was fair. Curzon much later expressed concern that “higher posts…reserved for Europeans are being filched away by the superior wits of the native in the English exams” terming this as the “greatest peril with which the administration is confronted.” The examination was thus held only in London; the maximum age was kept at a low 22 and the syllabus had lower marks for Sanskrit and Arabic. Indians opposed all these consistently and in particular raised the demand for simultaneous examinations to be held in India to overcome the obvious difficulties which Indians would face in going to London. But this was resisted throughout and only acceded to in 1922. The British consistently opposed Indianisation by giving different arguments—that Indians were “bookworms,” effeminate, of low morals, corrupt and inefficient and “simply did not possess the governing and administrative abilities and character.” The hypocrisy between proclaimed principles and actual policy was demonstrated repeatedly.
The epochal event took place in 1864 when the first Indian, Satyendra Nath Tagore, qualified for the Indian Civil Service (ICS). Immediately, the marks of Arabic and Sanskrit papers, which had been increased in 1860, were reduced back to 375 from 500. The maximum age was further reduced to 21 from 22 making it more difficult for Indians to compete. Salisbury reduced it to 19 in 1876. The Indians who succeeded in joining the ICS became living embodiments of the ability of Indians to out-compete Englishmen at a time when the very basis of British rule was a claim of racial superiority. In view of these cumulative restrictive policy measures Indians constituted only 4.24% of the ICS by 1900. Most of them were shunted to judicial posts.
Two trends started around the 1880’s both strengthened after the first world war. Provincialisation gradually became a recurring theme so that Indians did not join the ICS proper and “Indianisation” could flow to provinces and to subordinate services. The British policy of divide and rule also started with discussion regarding possible discrimination against the Muslims since other communities were likely do better in a competitive examination.
This demand for Indianisation had started, perhaps for the first time, a nationalist movement against British rule with this as the main demand. Public meetings were held across the country and memorials submitted by Indian associations. The Indian National Congress voiced these demands through successive Resolutions, 17 in number. This phase of nationalism, led by the newly emerging urban western educated middle class, did not have freedom from colonial rule on the agenda but a desire to secure greater representation of Indians in administration and provincial councils. The approach was soft and the language “gentle and cautious” and thus not very effective.
After the first world war and Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa, the nature of the freedom struggle underwent a transformative change. The demand shifted to self-rule and Indianisation of the service became secondary. Ironically enough, however, this started in right earnest as it now became more difficult to recruit Europeans. The efforts of the British Government now focussed on getting more Europeans and select more Muslims from amongst the Indians.
In August 1917, Montague declared that Indians were to be included increasingly in the administration of the country. It was decided that Indians should have 33% of the posts to be increased annually by 1.5% for 10 years to reach 48%. The long-expressed demand for simultaneous examinations in India was also conceded in 1922.
The Non-Cooperation movement had almost brought the British Raj to its knees. There was also a dramatic decline in British aspirants for the ICS. The Government became greatly concerned about its ability to face the continuing “challenge to orderly administration.” In order to encourage more Britishers to apply and dispel feelings of insecurity, prime minister Lloyd George spoke in the British parliament on Aug. 02, 1922, about the “steel frame” which built the British Raj and was not about to go away. In 1924, the Lee Commission recommended considerably raised emoluments and improved service conditions, described by Congress leaders as the “Lee loot.” The British recruitment to the ICS immediately shot up from 3 in 1924 to 20 in 1925 and 37 in 1927. It also recommended that the ratio between British and Indian officers should be 50:50. Forty percent of each should be recruited through the examinations or nominated and 20% should be filled up by promotion of Indians from the provincial services and the bar. In 1925, the British pledged that Muslim candidates would be nominated to keep balance with Hindus. Eighty-seven Muslims were recruited during 1922-43, of which 58 were nominated. In the late thirties, continued shortages of British candidates necessitated even their nomination from amongst university graduates. In 1907, there were only 52 Indians in the ICS rising to a paltry 78 out of 1255 in 1919. By Jan. 01, 1940, there were 625 Indians as against 575 Europeans. The Indians were finally in a majority.
The “Indianisation” of the services during this period allowed Indian ICS officers to experience a working relationship with Indian nationalists. It reflected the capacity of Indians gaining entry into the service on merit competing with Europeans, and also displayed their ability in discharging administrative responsibilities in the traditionally efficient and impartial manner. There was confidence that India could manage its own affairs quite capably with its own officers. This was particularly visible during the almost anarchical conditions over many years leading up to and during the partition. This helped the process, led by Sardar Patel, of the transition of the steel frame from the ICS to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
Deepak Gupta is the author of The Steel Frame: A History of the IAS, published by Roli Books. We welcome your comments at email@example.com.
via Quartz https://qz.com/india/1535109/how-the-british-empires-civil-services-became-the-ias/ TV Aerial Installations Wetherby
Caregivers in Japan could find their workload a lot lighter if the country successfully moves ahead with plans to reinvent the adult diaper.
Japan’s ministry of land and infrastructure devised a road map for the development of the first flushable adult diaper last year, with a prototype possibly becoming a reality this year, according to local media reports (link in Japanese).
“If the plan is realized, the burdens on those working at nursing-care facilities will be reduced,” Masayuki Muraoka, an employee at the land ministry’s sewerage planning division, told the Asahi newspaper. “I’d like it [the diaper-flushing system] to play a role as social infrastructure in a graying society.”
In Japan, the world’s most aged country, products catering to old people are a huge business. According to Bloomberg (paywall), Unicharm, Japan’s biggest maker of diapers, said its sales of adult diapers had surpassed those for babies in 2011. Apart from makers of personal-care products, Japanese paper companies too are expanding their manufacturing facilities for adult diapers to take advantage of the rapidly growing market. Euromonitor, a market-research company, estimated that the size of the “adult incontinence” market in Japan in 2016 was about $1.8 billion, or about 20% of the global adult diaper market that year.
But the increasing use of incontinence products is a huge burden for Japan’s elderly, as well as those that care for them. An employee in the elderly-care industry in Nagoya told the Asahi newspaper that at its care facility, 20 elderly residents typically produce around around three 90-liter (24 gallons) garbage bags full of odorous diapers everyday.
About 80% of the contents of those diapers are liquid, according to Lixil (link in Japanese), a Japanese maker of bathroom fixtures, meaning that separating that waste from the rest of the diaper would significantly reduce the burden on caregivers.
An initial idea by the government ministry to crush used diapers and flush them down special drain pipes was criticized by other members on the diaper research panel, amid concerns over the infrastructural and environmental impact of flushing particles that don’t decompose, according to the Asahi newspaper. As a result, two alternative plans are being considered.
The first involves having a machine separate the diaper from its contents such that only the excrement is flushed while the diaper is discarded in a regular bin. In the other, a machine crushes the used diapers and separates out the crushed excrement to flush. The ministry reportedly believes the first of these two plans to be the most viable.
Some Japanese companies have stepped up to the government’s call for flushable diapers. Lixil said in October (link in Japanese) that it’s developing a diaper-crushing machine with hopes that it can be fully operational by 2021. The land ministry has also reportedly asked Panasonic to develop a prototype of equipment to separate excrement from diapers.
If Japan develops a better adult diaper, there could be a market even outside the country, as populations elsewhere age too. Euromonitor has forecast a 48% increase in adult diaper sales in the US from 2015-2020, compared with 2.6% for baby diapers.
via Quartz https://qz.com/1534975/the-next-big-innovation-in-aging-japan-flushable-adult-diapers/ TV Aerial Installations Wetherby
Karoline Kan attempts to weave together a narrative of her generation in her book, Under Red Skies, the first English-language memoir from a Chinese millennial published in the US.
Kan, who was born in 1989 as an illegal second child under China’s one-child policy, says it’s the stories of ordinary Chinese like herself that showcase the real China. Here, she details the experience of junxun, mandatory military training for college freshmen, shortly after starting university in Beijing. Though gruelling, the experience prompted her to learn more about June 4, or the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre, an event that defined the year of her birth that was missing from the history books.
Two weeks after my arrival, [my political counselor-adviser] Guan Xin said I had to start junxun, a form of military training all college freshmen in China must complete. It was supposed to give us a tougher mind-set. Junxun lasted anywhere from two weeks to a month. It had been instated after the Tiananmen Square incident on June 4, when the government sent soldiers to clear people out from the square, during which many students were killed.How is this boot camp supposed to make me love the government?
Discussion of the June Fourth Incident was prohibited. I was curious about the movement, but our generation had no way of learning more, despite living with the consequences of it. […]
Junxun sounded ridiculous, to say the least. How is this boot camp supposed to make me love the government and appreciate the party more? I was sure I hated the idea before it even started. [...]
We arrived at what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, in a forest of poplar trees and dark green mountains in the distance, and parked in front of a small compound. Hanging on the front wall was a large red banner: “Welcome, Soldiers from Beijing International Studies University.”
The ceremony started with the raising of the national flag to the music of the national anthem. Our president and the director of the military base gave speeches but I hardly paid attention. My mind was consumed by the twenty or so uniformed men and women who stood beside the stage—I wondered what their roles would be.
We were divided into thirty groups, with men and women separate. I was put in team fourteen, with another forty girls. The jiaoguan, or drill instructors, went around to locate their teams. Our jiaoguan, Liu Lihu, had a round baby face. We were told to address him as “Sir Liu.” He had been a real soldier and had just finished his two years of service…
We got up at 5:30 a.m. and went to bed at 10 p.m. In the morning, we’d run for thirty minutes and then do thirty minutes of junlvquan, or stretching. We were taught to march in military two-steps, moving our legs in unison upon the jiaoguan’s instruction, “one-two-one.” One was left foot, and two was right foot.
<span class="s1">We were taught that obedience is the first principle for good soldiers, even temporary soldiers like us.
We had the same breakfast every day: rice porridge, pickled cabbage, seaweed and peanuts, spicy and salty tofu, and a boiled egg, and had to stand, ten students to a table, to eat. If we weren’t quiet enough while we waited to be served, a jiaoguan could make us squat under the table until the others finished eating. No one was allowed to touch their chopsticks without the jiaoguan’s permission. For lunch and dinner, the formation that marched the most sharply in unison and chanted the patriotic marching songs the loudest was allowed into the canteen first. If our jiaoguan believed we were not trying hard enough, he would delay mealtime. No one wanted that. After a day filled with activities of all sorts, by dinner, it felt as if my stomach had been buried in my back. When the jiaoguan blew his whistle to signal that we could begin eating, we went at our food like a pack of hungry wolves. There were only four communal dishes placed before us, to be shared. For the first few meals, I was polite and ate at my usual speed. One day a girl standing next to me started scooping more than her share into her own bowl, and it became a full-on scramble. I wasn’t quick enough to get much beyond the only things left: dry and tasteless rice and steamed buns. From that day on, I forgot about being polite. Before the jiaoguan blew his whistle, I would already have my eyes fixed on the dish I wanted and had strategized the right angle to stretch out my chopsticks. When I heard the whistle, I’d jump up and grab as much as I could manage to hoard. Within one minute, the dishes were empty; we all ate silently, holding our bowls close.
Everything in training was about being straight. We had to stand up straight, sit up straight, and speak facing straight forward. Before we could go to the toilet or drink a swig of water, we had to ask permission. We were taught that obedience is the first principle for good soldiers, even temporary soldiers like us...
I didn’t understand the jiaoguans’ agenda or their rules. We were not soldiers. Yet every morning we had two hours of “military theory lessons” in the canteen. The dining tables were moved to a corner, and we sat on the floor. A wooden desk was put in the middle of the room for guest speakers from the Party School of the Central Committee, who droned on and on in an almost robotic fashion about Chinese military defense systems, wars, and geopolitics. Most of us ended up falling asleep during their lectures.
In the first few days, Sir Liu would yell at the napping students and take them out to stand in the sun as punishment, but soon this stopped being effective. There were too many napping students, and he couldn’t keep interrupting the guest speaker.
Some speakers read the materials plainly and left, but others relished the opportunity to teach us young spoiled kids a real lesson.
<span class="s1">When you are forced to love something, it loses all its charm.
Years ago, when politics was thrust upon me in school, I felt a need to respect it enough to try to care. I wanted to know what I should think and desire, and I was grateful to have the government there to tell me. My friends and classmates felt the same, but growing up with a mothering government all your life, there is only one thing to do: grow tired of it. I was not interested in learning how to be a Chinese soldier, and I was growing annoyed with being their student. When you are forced to love something, it loses all its charm.
“Do you know why this class is important?” one speaker, Professor Chen, asked.
Professor Chen looked fiftysomething and had a thin, solemn face. His voice was resonant and deep, and he sat very straight. He was decorated with more medals than any other speaker. “You think the idea of war is far off, don’t you?” He paused for a few seconds. “No! We’re very close to war—more than you think. There is a global bully—called the USA—and don’t you forget it!”
A few of us looked at each other, wondering where the heck he was going with this.“Don’t be naive like those students in 1989 who believed Western democracy would bring about a perfect world.”
“Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has never dropped its ambitions to overthrow our party and cause unrest in our country. The US peddles its values all over the world and goes to war with any country who won’t listen. Americans engage in spiritual colonization and call it ‘American culture.’” He sneered. “You need to watch out, every one of you.” He shouted his last plea at a high volume: “Watch out!”
…I was so drowsy I just wanted his speech to end, but he went on. “Corruption is not a product of the socialist system. Russia has a so-called elected president, but corruption is still rampant. India has a democracy, but it’s all chaos. Don’t be naive like those students in 1989 who believed Western democracy would bring about a perfect world.”
Suddenly I perked up, surprised that he mentioned the 1989 incident. Now I wanted him to say more. “Lies!” he said, but didn’t elaborate.
I had heard people refer to the 1989 protest and the June Fourth Tiananmen Massacre; as I mentioned earlier, the protest lasted for more than a month but what makes June Fourth so memorable are the killings.
Although subjects like the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward were still sensitive, people were relatively eager to talk about them. The 1989 student riot seemed to be the most sensitive story, because my family just shrugged away any questions I had about it.
“You are the generation of 1989,” a family friend once said to me. I wanted him to go on, but he didn’t. “You’ll understand when you get older.”
One day, when I was about twelve, I found a copy of Banyuetan magazine that explained it:
That was all I knew.
<span class="s1">Never blindly believe in anything told by your teacher<em>.</em>
But as I’ve grown older, I realize my personal connection with 1989 goes far beyond just the year I was born. Lying in my bunk bed in the Changping military base, I realized that I was no longer a typical Chinese student. I wanted more than to be told when to pee, what to drink, and when to feel that I wanted social change.
During high school, in a class called the Comprehensive History of Modern and Contemporary China, I looked for a chapter in our textbook and on the syllabus about 1989, but there was no mention of it. Normally, I would not have expected to see it, but our teacher, Teacher Xioping, was different from the others. She was in her forties and wore vintage, floral-patterned dresses. On the first day, she wrote on the blackboard, Never blindly believe in anything told by your teacher. In her class, she always threw questions in the air; it wasn’t just about memorization. Her bright eyes were full of expectation. She didn’t ask us to raise our hands. We could talk or even shout out the answers if we liked. She didn’t want robots in her class; she wanted us to learn and study with our whole mind and, more importantly, our hearts. She challenged us to look for answers.
When I told her that the history textbook was missing the year of my birth, she said, “It could never be explained fairly in a Chinese textbook, Chaoqun.” I was disappointed.
She continued: “A Chinese textbook could never illustrate the vibrancy of the 1980s. Don’t rely too closely on these books. When you get older, try to read as much as possible, and find the truth of right and wrong for yourself.”
Teacher Xioping was unlike any teacher I had ever met. She spoke to us of dreams, philosophy, art, and poems— and it wasn’t just the patriotic propaganda. There was an eagerness in her eyes to tell us more, to inspire us, but still, she was like a dancer in chains. She was reluctant to explain too much. She’d get in trouble.
W<span class="s1">e had modern products and entertainment to distract us—to pacify us into submission.
Few of my classmates and friends were curious about June Fourth or admired Teacher Xioping as I did. Questioning was not valued, so the students didn’t bother. Our parents and instructors taught us for years that too much curiosity would bring us trouble. Change was downplayed and criticized, and seemed to be inappropriate for the era we lived in. My generation was already lucky—we had modern products and entertainment to distract us—to pacify us into submission. But I longed for 1989, and filled my days with dreams of what it would be like to challenge, to be vocal, and to change things.
The rest of the junxun passed much faster. During the closing ceremony, the university president and each department’s director spoke onstage again. They were in uniform, but this time so was I. I marched past the stage in lockstep and chanted in unison like a little soldier: “Study hard and protect the motherland.” It was our graduation. We were taught to obey and accept orders, and to enjoy it, to think about nothing and make no decisions for ourselves, just follow and obey …Except, in my heart, I had already made a decision not to.
I was now determined to discover the truth about June Fourth.<span class="s1">
When my classmates and I returned to normal life, things were pretty much the same. We again spent too much time on our phones, and slept in late. We still complained about the food in the canteens. But military training had left some mark on us. I wondered how different it had made me. If college students were as blank as a sheet of clean paper, the junxun was the first color we were painted. Even if it faded with time, it would always be there, part of us. The most blatant mark junxun left on me was that I was now determined to discover the truth about June Fourth.
This following excerpt was adapted from Karoline Kan’s book Under Red Skies, publishing March 12 from Hachette Books. All rights reserved.
via Quartz https://qz.com/1527810/what-chinas-forced-military-training-for-students-is-like/ TV Aerial Installations Wetherby
The story of the Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC), the first team from the state to compete in the I-League, begins with a 1,000 footballs.
In 2014, after floods devastated several parts of the restive region, Shamim Meraj, the editor of the newspaper Kashmir Monitor, and Sandeep Chattoo, a businessman, raised funds from friends to buy 1,000 footballs to cheer up the local kids. The game turned out to be so popular that the pair decided to look into launching a football club in Srinagar.
Two years later, in 2016, Meraj and Chattoo set up the RKFC, eventually scoring David Robertson, a Scottish footballer, as its coach and Adidas as its sponsor. Despite the protracted political conflict and outbreaks of violence in the state, the football team has become somewhat of a uniting force, Chattoo says, with players from all over Kashmir and crowds of supporters who throng the stadiums during local matches.
“Cricket is followed in Kashmir, but the popularity of football is growing more so because of RKFC and their performance in the league,” Chattoo told Quartz. “Kids now aspire to play for RKFC.”
Prashant Godbole, a photographer who travelled to Kashmir with Adidas to document its Real Kashmir campaign, agrees. On his visit, he met people young and old who were crazy about football, and determined to play despite the snow and cold winter weather.
“…it’s like the craze for cricket in the rest of the country,” he explained.
Over the weekend in Bengaluru, Adidas organised an exhibition of Godbole’s striking photos of football in Kashmir, which reveal a different side to a region always perceived by outsiders as dangerous and conflict-prone. Here’s a selection of Godbole’s images:
via Quartz https://qz.com/india/1534865/adidas-real-kashmir-fc-capture-kashmirs-love-for-football/ TV Aerial Installations Wetherby
India’s high GDP growth is often criticised for not being accompanied by an increase in employment numbers. But then jobless growth isn’t the only problem the economy is faced with.
Neither have India’s corporates partaken—at least not enough—in the country’s fast-clipped economic rise. If anything, earnings have been languishing for the 500 largest companies by market capitalisation on the National Stock Exchange.
India Inc’s profits as a share of GDP stood at a 15-year-low of 2.8% in 2018, according to a report by the domestic broking firm Motilal Oswal Financial Services (MOFSL), released last week.
And the pain is not confined to the universe of listed companies. The corporate profit-to-GDP ratio for all companies, including privately held firms, dropped from 7.8% in 2008 to 3% last year.
The divergence between GDP growth and corporate profits bears a resemblance to India’s jobs market. During the 1970s and 1980s, when GDP grew between 3% and 4%, employment in India inched up by 2% per annum. In the 1990s, post the liberalisation of the economy, job growth slowed to 1% or even less. The ratio of GDP growth to employment growth is now less than 0.1%, revealed a report released in September 2018.
In a similar vein, between 2013 and 2018, India’s GDP grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%, dwarfing the 3.8% CAGR clocked by corporate profits.
The slowdown in corporate profit growth was, in large part, due to profit erosion at India’s state-owned banks, which have been reeling from the pile-up of bad loans in their books. Other sectors such as metals, and oil and gas, also weathered global macroeconomic storms resulting in stressed balance sheets.
Misery also struck the telecom sector lately. Profits at India’s major telcos were under pressure following the severe competition unleashed by Reliance Jio’s cheap data and call rates in 2016. The service is owned by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest person, who heads the oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd, MOFSL noted.
But the worst pocket for profit was government-owned enterprises. The public sector units’ (PSU) share of profits to GDP was down from 1.8% in 2003 to 0.4% in 2018. “(This is) given the significant value migration away from public to private in sectors like banking, telecom, airlines, even as PSU heavy sectors like oil and gas and utilities have underperformed on profit growth versus underlying GDP growth,” added the report.
Amid the gloom, a few green patches were seen in sectors like autos, technology, private banks, and non-banking financial companies where profits as a share of GDP grew in the last decade.
The decline in the profits of Nifty 500 companies is a significant U-turn from the trend seen between 2003 and 2008. In the five-year period corporate profit-to-GDP ratio doubled from 2.8% to 5.5%, and profits of the Nifty 500 companies grew at a CAGR of 31% in the period—twice the pace of underlying GDP growth.
“This surge (between 2003 and 2008) was driven by the export, investment, and capex-oriented sectors. Over 2003-08, the global economy was growing at a fast clip, which helped export-oriented players. Capacity investment across sectors was also significant as the investment cycle took off,” added the report.
So, will India Inc revisit these golden years anytime soon?
The worst may be over and profits may have bottomed out. “It is expected that condition of the public sector banks may improve from here on, then some other sectors such as insurance, which saw some listing in the last couple of years may come up,” Gautam Duggad, head of research at MOFSL, told Quartz.
via Quartz https://qz.com/india/1534799/profits-of-indias-nifty-500-firms-have-not-grown-like-its-gdp/ TV Aerial Installations Wetherby
It seems obvious to everyone that India is in the throes of an unemployment crisis.
The lack of jobs is especially debilitating for the country’s youth, who lack the opportunities to meet their aspirations. For prime minister Narendra Modi’s government, the crisis is a political liability, which can be used against it in the upcoming general elections, given the ambitious promises it made five years ago.
The government and its officials may acknowledge the dire situation internally, but in public, they appear to be in a state of denial and in a mood for cover-up.
For one, the Modi government refuses to release reports by India’s national sample survey office (NSSO) and its labour bureau, even as it disparages a large survey by a private organisation that has found significant declines in employment.The Brahmastra of 10% reservation for economically weaker sections may not deliver
The prime minister, and sundry spokespersons, desperately scrounge around for signs of what can be interpreted as employment dynamism. They cite indicators such as increased vehicle registrations, the numbers of professional service providers, and even the sales of autorickshaws. The exuberant assumption being, three new jobs for every two autorickshaws!
The attempt to ignore or deflect from the real problems reflects the uneasy belief, in official circles, that there is little that can be done to lift employment numbers before the general elections, expected around May.
The Brahmastra, or ultimate weapon, of 10% reservation in government employment for economically weaker sections (EWS) has been cynically deployed already, but even that does not seem to be delivering the desired public approval. Perhaps the general public has wised up to the fact that central government jobs have in fact declined over the past four years (by more than 75,000 since 2014) and so a small reserved portion of a shrinking pie does not seem all that attractive.
However, even in the limited time available, there is much a committed government can do to tackle unemployment. And these could find expression in Budget 2019, as three measures.
Vacancies, pay scale, and MGNREGA
The first is almost laughably simple: Fill up the vacancies.
By current estimates, there are around 2.4 million vacant positions in central government ministries, departments, and public undertakings. Some of these positions have been vacant for years, to the detriment of the functioning of these organisations and the quality of public service delivery.
Schools and colleges lack teachers, and hospitals and clinics lack doctors, nurses and support staff. Much of the work is then done by those working in ad hoc positions or as contract workers with lower wages and insecure tenure. Even if filling these positions will take time, an explicit declaration of intent and budget provisions for such employment would have a positive impact.
Second, the government must stop trying to provide essential health and nutrition services on the cheap. India’s accredited social health activists (ASHAs), auxillary nurse mid-wives (ANMs), anganwadi workers, and mid-day meal providers, get paid much less than the minimum wage. The government should ensure that such workers get at least minimum wages and security of tenure.
Suppose the government stops under-providing such services, and expanded them to fulfil the supreme court guidelines and its own legal commitments, it would expand employment and deliver better-quality jobs. (It would also reduce gender wage gaps, another positive fallout.)
Third, the government could adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the law in terms of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which mandates at least 100 days of work to all rural households who demand such work or payment of unemployment allowance at half the minimum wage if such work is not provided.
So far, the government has blatantly reneged on this promise, and starved the state governments of funds by carrying over large unpaid obligations each year. As a demand-driven programme, the law states that money must be made available whenever there is demand for work, but the government has simply passed over such claims and pushed payments to the next financial year.
This forces state governments to cut back and delay wage payments (often for a year or more) and encourages central and state governments to reduce the explicit demand for work or even cover it up in various ways. At least eight states in India now face major drought conditions and urgently need more such work, but the budgetary allocation for the year is exhausted and must be replenished.
Now, here’s why Modi won’t do it
Of course, all this will cost money. But these are all employment-intensive activities with very high multiplier effects, so they will generate many more additional jobs indirectly and have much-needed positive effects on aggregate demand.
So why is it unlikely that the budget will incorporate any of these? The straight answer is the constraint of “fiscal discipline”, a sandbag of sorts that is dragging down any possibility of such spending.
The inability to increase tax revenues by getting rid of exemptions and instituting wealth and inheritance taxes is often presented as an economic compulsion, but it reflects the absence of political will. The need to conform to the unimaginative FRBM Act (with fiscal and revenue deficit limits simply copied from elsewhere rather than derived from independent reasoned analysis) is used to avoid any such increases in expenditure that would actually benefit the public.Fiscal discipline is only an excuse, to not spend enough on jobs creation
But the truth is that the government constantly cheats on the FRBM Act anyway, through increased “off-budget” expenditures, misstatement of receipts, and holding back payments that pushes the debt onto other entities.
So fiscal discipline is only an excuse, disguising the government’s unwillingness to put its money where its mouth has been for a while. And so the budget is unlikely to do anything meaningful towards dealing with the employment crisis.
It’s now up to the electorate to make employment creation a pressing political compulsion.
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via Quartz https://qz.com/india/1534980/what-modis-2019-budget-can-do-to-fix-indias-jobs-crisis/ TV Aerial Installations Wetherby
India’s raging fake news menace has reportedly led to dozens of mob-lynchings over the past few years, besides muddying the country’s politics and turning the heat on popular social media platforms and messaging apps.
Alarmingly, a major hub for the collection and dissemination of such spurious information is the official mobile application of the country’s prime minister Narendra Modi himself, according to a report published yesterday (Jan. 27) by journalist Samarth Bansal.
The NaMo app, downloaded over 10 million times—mostly by the cadres and supporters of the prime minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—already faces a range of other allegations. These include sharing of user data with third parties without obtaining prior consent and requesting sweeping access to invasive permissions on users’ phones.
Bansal’s report only deepens existing charges that Modi is prone to uttering statements that are either wide off the mark factually or just completely false. Besides, the BJP itself is viewed as one of the biggest sources of fake news. A BBC study from last year used network analysis to show that pro-BJP social media accounts were more likely to share fake news than anti-BJP accounts. Last week, TIME reported on how the BJP uses misinformation, religious provocation, and caste-based profiling on WhatsApp.
The issue of misinformation will only assume greater prominence in the following months as India readies for its next general election, expected in May.
A “private Twitter” and Facebook pages
The NaMo app lets users buy Modi merchandise, take surveys on political issues, and view the latest BJP messaging on “My Network”—a “private Twitter” of sorts to which any user can post content. My Network has a gamified sharing framework, allowing users to accrue “activity points” by engaging with posts.
Because My Network’s feed is full of user-generated content, it is especially prone to fake news, often of the religiously inflammatory variety.
One such post, Bansal reports, claims that the BJP lost the state assembly election in Karnataka because of low voter turnout among Hindus. In reality, no such data about voter turnout among different religions is ever released by the election commission of India (ECI).
Another post claims to show the president of the opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, sitting in the party headquarters behind a painting of a Mughal emperor. This image was debunked over a year ago by fact-checking website BOOM Live, which showed that the painting had been photoshopped to replace an image of Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi.
Another post claims that, according to the BBC, the Congress is the world’s fourth most corrupt political party. Obviously, nothing of the sort has been reported by the news organisation.
The BJP, however, sees nothing wrong.
“When such large volume of content is posted freely by volunteers, karyakartas, and fans, there remains some scope for misinformation,” Amit Malviya, the head of the BJP’s “IT Cell,” or digital-media team, said responding to Bansal’s queries about My Network.
But the justification that the content is user-generated, and therefore prone to being misinformation, doesn’t quite pass muster, according to Pratik Sinha, co-founder of the fact-checking website AltNews. This is because much of the fake news shared on My Network comes from accounts that all app users are automatically subscribed to when they download the app. Three of these accounts, “The India Eye,” “Modi Bharosa,” and “Social Tamasha,” are popular Facebook groups whose content gets cross-posted to the NaMo app.
“These are people that have been specifically selected to be seen everywhere, and by everyone,” Sinha told Quartz. “There, they cannot have an excuse that ‘it’s user-generated content.’”
These three pages have all been known to perennially share fake news debunked by fact-checking websites such as BOOM Live and AltNews. For example, Bansal found that on the Indian Eye’s Facebook page, “at least six of the 20 most shared posts from September to November 2018 constitute misinformation.”
The fact that the app continues to place the pages in users’ default feeds indicates that “they’re promoting entities that are known propagators of misinformation,” Sinha said.
Mobilising the party machinery
The NaMo app is not only useful for communicating with voters, it is a major tool of mobilisation for party workers themselves. Shivam Shankar Singh, who worked for the BJP in data analytics for almost two years starting in 2016, told Quartz that one of the app’s core functions is to be an internal platform that’s accessible only to party workers. On this platform, “people higher up in the chain can send messages to the party workers below them.”
In the months ahead, Singh said, “that section of the app will basically be used for telling people ‘we need you to mobilise crowds here, we need you to increase the following for, say, this Facebook page, we need you to get this twitter hashtag trending,” and other such tasks. The NaMo app, then, will likely only grow in importance as elections heat up.
Singh, who left the BJP in April 2018 because he disagreed with the party’s use of propaganda, says there had been aggressive drives to get workers to use the app. Employees were paid by the BJP “and basically told that your job is to get this app installed into every party worker’s phone,” Singh said.
Those employees, in turn, “started providing incentives for people to install it, because they wanted to be at the top” of the list of performers, Singh added. However, to his knowledge, there aren’t any monetary incentives offered in exchange for sharing content on My Network.
The BJP’s Malviya did not immediately respond to a questionnaire, but this piece will be updated as and when he does.
via Quartz https://qz.com/india/1534754/modis-namo-app-spreads-pro-bjp-fake-news-before-indian-elections/ TV Aerial Installations Wetherby
President Donald Trump said Sunday that there is a “less than 50-50” percent chance that congressional negotiators charged with solving the partisan impasse over his demand for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will reach a compromise.
"I personally think it's less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board," the president said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Trump on Friday evening signed a bill to fund the government until Feb. 15, ending the longest shutdown in U.S. history on its 35th day. The measure did not allocate taxpayer dollars to his campaign trail promise of a border wall, but Trump has pledged to secure that money in upcoming talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) over the next three weeks.
Trump tweeted on Saturday that deliberations with Democratic lawmakers over border security measures “will start immediately,” but warned that it “will not be easy” to broker a deal, as “both parties [are] very dug in.”
He continued tweeting on the subject Sunday, including this all-caps pronouncement: “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!“
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney vowed on Sunday that Trump would secure wall funding one way or another, confirming that the White House is revisiting the idea of declaring a national emergency to finance construction.
"The president’s commitment is to protect the nation, and he’ll do it either with or without Congress," Mulvaney said.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
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Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, has confirmed that he is exploring an independent challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020.
“I am seriously thinking of running for president,” Schultz told journalist Scott Pelley during a pre-taped interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday.
“I will run as a centrist independent outside of the two-party system,” he said.
Though Schultz characterized himself as “a lifelong Democrat,” he criticized what he called both major political parties’ failure to meet the needs of the American people, and singled out the soaring national debt as a result of Republican and Democratic elected officials’ “reckless failure of their constitutional responsibility.”
“We’re living at a most fragile time,” Schultz said. “Not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people, and are engaged every single day in revenge politics.”
Schultz, 65, declined to respond directly to the assertion that an independent bid for the presidency could siphon votes from the eventual Democratic nominee and contribute to a reelection victory for Trump next year.
“I want to see the American people win. I want to see America win,” Schultz said, employing language often used on the campaign trail by Trump, another baby boomer billionaire.
“I don't care if you’re Democrat, independent, Libertarian, Republican,” he continued. “Bring me your ideas, and I will be an independent person who will embrace those ideas because I am not in any way in bed with a party.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Sen. Kamala Harris, formally launching her presidential campaign against Donald Trump with a call to end the politics of division, cast herself on Sunday as a voice for progressive causes and a fighter who could stand up to the president — specifically by countering his many falsehoods with the truth.
Speaking at a raucous hometown rally here — where more than 20,000 supporters crowded around a downtown plaza and hundreds more spilled into the streets — Harris declared that American democracy was under attack like “never before.” Set against the flags of all 50 states, but delivered in a deeply divided America, the address invoked the trauma of the Watergate era of high cynicism and low confidence in Washington’s leaders.
The California Democrat portrayed her candidacy as the antidote to a growing unease with the country’s direction today, and to concerns that core values that should define the presidency are disintegrating under Trump. She wrapped her campaign opener around two broad themes: truth and civility.
“As we embark on this campaign, I will tell you this: I am not perfect. Lord knows I am not perfect,” Harris said. “But I will always speak with decency and moral clarity and treat all people with dignity and respect. I will lead with integrity and I will speak the truth.”
With the stately backdrop of Oakland City Hall, where a preacher bellowed, a gospel choir sang and “artists of the black diaspora” performed, Harris’ dual message underscored her candidacy as one of both a Democratic uniter and a principled leader tough enough to stand up to the Trump White House, whose administration she said was failing the public.
Without ever mentioning his name, Harris repeatedly cast herself as the direct contrast to the president on a wide range of issues — from women’s and immigrants’ rights, to cybersecurity and American security abroad. Harris called out the Trump administration for what she called “bullying and attacking a free press” and putting “children in cages crying for their mothers and fathers.”
“Don’t you dare call that border security,” Harris said of the practice of separating migrant families at the border. “That’s a human rights abuse. And that’s not our America.”
“America,” she said, “we are better than this.”
Throughout the address, she turned her broader attention to this moment in time, which she called an “inflection point in the history of our nation.” Democratic values are under attack around the world, authoritarianism is on the march, nuclear proliferation is on the rise, and “we have foreign powers infecting the White House like malware,” Harris said.
Harris’ campaign designed the speech as a venue to tie her message to her biography as the daughter of a Jamaican-born father and Indian-born mother. But aides also saw it as a way for the senator to put down stakes on several progressive issues, from Medicare for all, to a $500-a-month tax break for the middle class paid for by rolling back the Republican tax overhaul, to guaranteed universal pre-kindergarten and debt-free college.
The Sunday setting allowed the speech to be carried live on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Harris’ campaign slogan — “For the People,” a nod to her background as a prosecutor — was repeated on hundreds of T-shirts, hats and bathing suits in the California crowd, and voters were invited to text the word “Fearless” to her campaign to indicate their support.
Harris said she’d spent her professional life working on behalf of victims. “My whole life, I’ve only had one client: the people,” she said.
Still, in a city famous for sometimes radical progressive politics, the backdrop of Oakland came with risks that Harris, who as state attorney general served as California’s “top cop,” would be met by protests from the far left.
Buffy Wicks, the East Bay assemblywoman who was an architect of the Barack Obama presidential campaign’s grassroots organization, acknowledged that Harris’ law enforcement background could be problematic with some liberals angered about police brutality and the slow progress of criminal-justice reform. But Wicks said Harris also had the “progressive values” that remain her bona fides. “She’s made some tough calls, but she’s is driven by her heart,” Wicks said.
The rollout underscored Harris’ unusual position as a candidate who appears to fit the needs — and the image — of voters with a wide range of interests and political philosophies.
Some in the crowd, like Natalie Walker of East Palo Alto, president of the Rho Delta Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, said that Harris represented “diversity, equal access,” and pointed to the historic candidacy of someone who was only the second African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
As a daughter of Oakland, Harris said she was raised to believe that public service is a noble cause, and that the fight for justice is everyone’s responsibility. Invoking an iconic Bob Marley tune, a nod to her own heritage, Harris drew cheers when she summed up her philosophy: “You’ve got to get up and stand up and don’t give up the fight.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
via Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/27/kamala-harris-2020-campaign-1128623 TV Aerials Leeds
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