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Influencing Policy on Education and Development

As a regular reader of various blogs that discuss the issues surrounding Indian education, development, and venture capital, I some times wonder whether most of the time, we bloggers are preaching to converts.

Let me explain this a bit.

There seems to be a broad consensus among many bloggers on the following issues:

1. The Indian education system needs a radical overhaul if we are to achieve universal primary literacy, and provide equal opportunities to all in improving their lives.

2. The Government should be a facilitator of change and not the implementor. Implementation is best left to the market dynamics.

3. It is becoming increasingly obvious that it may never be possible to develop rural areas. But it is possible to develop rural population, by 'planned' urbanization. By planned I don't mean, the five year plans of the Government with their socialistic baggage. But the kind of business plans that get approved by financial institutions for mega projects.

4. To solve the infrastructure bottlenecks in India, we need to revitalize the railway network and improve connectivity, train speeds and so on. Better still, plan to privatize the railways.

5.A billion-plus population needs at least a hundred IITs and IIMs. Instead of constricting the supply of seats at these places, and creating quota fights, we need to make quality higher education available for all citizens with the necessary intellectual calibre.

6.Primary health care and availability of safe drinking water and shelter - these issues need to be tackled through public-private partnerships similar to the solutions being outlined for primary education. The Government should only lay down the guidelines (drafted by experts and not politicians and bureaucrats), and leave it to the market forces. A certain amount of required regulation must be the only government involvement.

And so on and so forth..

There could be disagreements among various thinkers, bloggers on the specifics surrounding the implementation. But there is a consensus that these issues need to be tackled urgently and that there is a dire need to change government policy in all these areas, radically.

But, how many policy makers and enforcers (politicians, their aides, big business leaders, bureuacrats etc) actually subscribe to this consensus in the blogging world? How many of them are willing to debate these issues openly?

Can the bloggers (arm chair intellectuals) actually influence public policy this way? Okay, a good number of the bloggers are also activists, and they are trying to make some difference in their respective areas. But is that enough? Will a thousand drops form a wave?

These and other such questions are troubling me. For my part, I am trying to learn as much as I can about some specific issues and plan my response in whatever small way I can. What about you, dear reader? Please share your thoughts.

Comments

Priya said…
hey thanks Kumar.... i gave a cursory look to your blog page... looks really neat. I will surely revisit and may be post a comment or two...happy blogging...

and thanks for your views on my blog.
Kumar Narasimha said…
Thank you, Priya. I visited the iDiscoveri site you mentioned. Looks neat.

Keep in touch.