Tuesday, January 03, 2006
  Eye on the media - 01/02/2006
Here are some of the articles in the news media that caught my attention. All of them have some kind of information that has made me feel either happy or sad with the state of affairs in India.

Hundreds block highway in India

Orissa is a state that comprises of lot of tribes that prefer to maintain their own culture. Most of the land in areas away from the urban centers have been traditionally owned by them. These tribes not only survive using the resources from the forests on these lands but also sometimes work on them for their food. It is a way of life that has probably survived few hundred if not few thousand years.

I have high regards for the house of Tatas. This group is one of the largest, dynamic, and most diversified industrial conglomerates of India. I worked in one of their firms for two years. They have always been at the forefront of the industrial development of India. As far as my knowledge about the group is concerned, they are very conscientious in their dealings with people. Tatas have laid the foundation for many Indian establishments with their money and management skills. This organizations have served Indians to the best of their ability. Some of these organizations are:
  1. Tata Institute for Fundamental Research
  2. Tata Institute for Social Sciences
  3. Indian Institute of Science
  4. Tata Energy research Institute
  5. National Center for Performing Arts
  6. Tata Memorial Center
The trouble, as mentioned in the news article, started due to the grievances of the local tribesmen against a steel plant being constructed by the Tata group. For the construction of the steel plant, the Tatas might have acquired some land from the tribals. This is a normal practice by any industrial conglomerate all around the world before setting up a factory. However, something must have gone wrong in the deals between the executives of Tata Steel and the tribals.

I wonder what triggered this kind of violent incident in the tribal belt? Industrialization of a land is meant to develop the economy of the region. An expanding economy should eventually benefit the people of the land. If the people themselves are unhappy from the beginning about a certain project, the whole rationale behind the argument for industrialization provided earlier falls apart. If you alienate people from a certain project, it is bound to fail in the longer run. It makes sense from a business point of view too. I hope the executives of Tata Steel sort this issue out as soon as possible.

Moreover, I feel despondent when I see people getting killed unnecessarily. The killing of 12 tribesmen and one policeman seemed entirely avoidable. Why can't Indian police forces employ modern equipment to control crowds bent on creating trouble? Why can't sufficient funds be allocated by the respective state governments to allow the police forces to acquire equipment that can help in effective control of crowds without killing or maiming people? Policing a diverse country like India is a tough job. It needs all the supplemental training that can be provided to the men of the forces. I feel that the police in India need to be better trained in order to deal with people with more humanity. This will also save their own lives in the long run and make their jobs less risky. Low morale coupled with low wages have made the police force in each state of India blatant human rights violators.

In India, Engineering Success

Sebastian Mallaby of Washington Post provides an interesting perspective on the hunger for higher education in India and the role of the private sector. This is not only a "feel good" article for an Indian like me but also a reminder that the market forces can themselves drive the social priorities of a society in a certain direction. I hope that some of the leftists who constantly shed tears about poor in India and whine incessantly about the role of the private sector, read this article and take some lessons.

UPA may not deliver much in 2006

This article is a stinging rebuke of the economic policies of the UPA government by Bibek Debroy. He laments the death of Dr. Manmohan Singh's reformer avatar.

Narayana Murthy pans IT critics

Mr. Murthy provides a strong rebuke for the perpetual whiners of the Indian nation. Some of the numbers in the article regarding employment opportunities for Indians are quite fascinating. It is time for people like Mr. Murthy to run for the parliament. People of India need him in a position where he can set the policies of the government. He has all the right credentials. If people like him do not take the lead, it is a loss to the Indian society. I doubt whether Mr. Murthy can contribute any more to the growth of Infosys than any other professional manager.

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"Saptarishi" in Sanskrit means the Seven Sages or rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and other Hindu literature. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion. The constellation of Ursa Major is also named as Saptarshi. (Source:

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