Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Monday, 9 July 2012
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Wide consultations were held. Eleventh plan – Good growth and performance. Strong macro-economic fundamentals with some slowdown recently.
8.2% growth achieved in first four years of 11th plan. 8% overall for 11th plan with 8% in 2011-2012% is lower than the 9% that was planned but higher than 7.8% that was achieved in the 10th plan. 35% increase in per capita GDP during this period. Growth acceleration in 11th plan is modest compared to 10th plan but considering world financial scenario it is ok.
Some weaker states also grew well – Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and to some extent UP. No state less than 6%. Some formerly high growth states have shown weaker growth in 11th plan – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.
Poverty Declined by 8.5% between 1993-94 and 2004-05 but we have shifted from Lakdavala method to Tendulkar method. If new method is applied to before poverty decreased from 45% to 37% in 1993-94 – 2004-05 period. Targeted at 2% per annum reduction in 11th plan. Actual performance was 1% per year from 2004-05 to 2009-10. 2009-10 was a drought year so poverty could have increased temporarily.
MDG goal will be met. Average farm wages went up by 16% all India. In Andhra by 42% and Orissa by 33%.
Several Rural implementation programs started. Many are Centrally sponsored schemes implemented by state government agencies. Expenditure in 2011-12 estimate is 188,000 crore and in 11th plan period is almost 700,000 Crore.
Funds are sometimes misused but the overall impact is positive.
B.K Chaturvedi commission – review of centrally sponsored schemes.
MGNREGA – 5.45 Crore households. 253 Crore person days. With better project design leakages could be reduced and value of assets could be increased.
Population is 1.21 billion. Growth rate has come down from 1.9 to 1.64% per annum.
Young people who continued in Educational institutions has doubled from 3 Crore to 6 Crore between 2004-05 to 2009-10. Unemployment rate 6.06% in 1993-94, 8.28 in 2004-05, 6.60 in 2009-10. GDP from manufacturing increased only 9.5% in this period so not enough job creation. 66th round NSSo survey on employment suggests overall employment in manufacturing actually declined in the 11th plan period. Much creation was in casual employment like construction. In rural areas more permanent jobs can be created in in Agro processing, supply chain, modernisation etc.
Agri growth has been 3.2% in first four years. May be 3% in 11th plan. 4% was planned. Supply side – seeds and irrigation. Demand side, controls must be removed to make seamless all India market.
IMR has fallen from 57 in 2006 to 50 in 2009. Institutional delivery has increased to 73%. MMR has come down by 32 points to 212. Publilc expenditure on health is 1% of GDP must be 2-3%. Constraint is both financial and of professionals.
11th plan articulated need for expanding educational facilities. RTE. Non enrolment ratio has reduced to 3.5% according to ASER. 11th plan approach for higher education – Expansion, equity, excellence. Introduced program of Central Universities. Tech enabled learning, ICT. Govt. is setting up innovation universities.
Investment in infrastructure is 8% of GDP as compared to 5.7 in base year of 11th plan. 12th plan must continue accelerating pace of investment in infrastructure.
For economy to grow at 9% per annum, Energy will have to grow at 6.5 and 7% each year. 80% petroleum will be imported.
Integrated energy policy 2009 – Principles of Energy Pricing that equalize domestic energy prices with prices of imported energy.
Water use – Some more water resources harnessed but mainly better efficiency in utilization of water resources. Reducing chemical contaminants in drinking water especially in drinking water.
Four aspects of governance that will be emphasised in the 12th plan –
· Better outcomes from large outlays in flagship schemes. Total Quality Management and ICT
· Project Management coordination to ensure better implementation and reduce overruns and delays
· Corruption. Lokpal.
· Speedy prosecution in corruption cases.
Drivers of growth in 12th plan
Macro-economic fundamentals- High investment 36% and High private sector saving 34% of GDP. Government savings also had improved till 2008-09. Challenge here is inflationary fears and global market uncertainties.
Effect of economic reforms – Exports increased from 14% of GDP in 2000 to 22% of GDP
Development of vibrant private sector – manufacturing sector productivity has increased. Indian companies are engaged in R&D and innovation.
Impressive managerial talent and skilled workforce. However MSMEs especially face some problems.
Aspirations of young people.
9% or 9.5%
Agri sector to grow at 4% or 4.2%
Mining to grow at 8% or 8.5%
Manufacturing to grow at 9.8 or 11.5%
Electricity to grow at 8.5 or 9
Construction 10 or 11
Trade, hotels, transport, communication, storage 11 or 11.2
Financing, insurance, real estate 10 or 10.5
Community and social and personal services - 8
Industry 9.6 or 10.9
Growth v. Inflation
To expand demand to push growth beyond level consistent with supply potential will lead to inflation. This is because supply capacity of economy is fixed in the short run and supply bottlenecks ensure that demand can be met only at higher prices.
Energy efficiency –
Standards, labelling or appliances.
Energy efficiency in buildings – Energy conservation building code – 2 states have made it mandatory
Energy efficiency in industries – 467 Industrial units in 8 sectors consume about 35% of electricity in India.
Residential lighting – Bachat Lamp Yojana. Provides CFLs at the cost of incandescent bulbs
Energy efficiency in agricultural pumping
Energy Pricing – Tradeable fuels will be priced in line with global prices
Petrol is priced in line with international prices.
Diesel is 20% lower. Kerosene is 70% lower and LPG is 50% lower.
Initiated in 11th plan period. Currently 3-5 % ethanol is blended in petrol.
12th plan aims at creation of 100GW of power capacity which includes 28GW from 11th plan
Renewable Energy – National Solar Mission aims at 22GW by 2022 and wind power capacity is 49GW.
NHDP 1 –Golden Quad
NHDP II – North South, East west corridors
NHDP VI – most trafficked sections of these will be converted to six lane
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
Aquifer mapping and aquifer management
Bio-diversity Act implemented at the Gram Sabha level
Long time no investment. According to RHS 19,590, 4,252, 2115 CHCs shortage. Infra development needed. Not only infra but also health professionals etc.
Bachelor of rural health care. New medical and nursing colleges set up. Each medical and AYUSH hospital to monitor health in surrounding areas.
All areas to be covered. Integrated Disease Surveillance System. There is a shortage of 2400 PHC doctors and Shortage of 11,000 specialists at CHCs which is 66% of the sanctioned number.
Publicly provided healthcare. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
Child nutrition and restructuring ICDS – restructured to make it decentralized. Focus on community based interventions.
Education and skill Development
Universal Elementary Education, SSA, RTE. Quality. Training for teachers. Enrollment at secondary school stage is very low. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan. KVs and NVs need to be expanded.
Pre-vocational courses in IX and X.
Mean years of schooling has increased from 4.2 to 5.12 in these last ten years.
National Skill Development Plan launched in 11th plan. Coordinated Action plan for skill development. National skill development corporation.
Curriculum for skill development has to be updated to meet industry requirements.
Now 12% have formal skills. 25 should have by the end of twelfth plan.
18% of all government spending on education and 1.12% of GDP is now spent on Higher Education. To be changed to 25% and 1.5%
Skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. 4Cs are needed beyond reading writing and arithmetic – 3Rs.
Research culture to be inculcated. Growing pool of retired and elderly people available in the country whose talent can be harnessed. Hub and spoke model to foster curricular reforms projects.
Social and regional equity
Science and Tech
Currently private sector is investing around 25%. To be increased to 50%.
National Skill Development Corporation –
Sectoral Skill Council –
Building Quality and Strengthening Local Institutions – National Rural Livelihood Mission.
National Rural Livelihood Mission – Economies of scale created by SHG federations. Local institutions to be strengthened.
Alignment and convergence of central ministries and departments in systemic issues.
Second ARC suggests that it is better to separate policy making and executing functions.
New multidimensional budget and accounting classification – Central Plan Scheme monitoring system
Good Governance in General
Good governance in this context includes ease with which citizens can access public services, rule of law, control over corruption etc.
Rule of law
Multipronged approach to tackle corruption
Institutional mechanisms of conflict resolution
Innovation – frugal inventions
Role of government, collaboration and clusters.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
The following is a review of two movies which have some thread of commonality running through them. The review was initially titled Rev. Ian Charleson's Oscar winners
The Academy awards for best motion picture for the years 1981 and 1982 went to two period movies which were more similar than was warranted by the subjects they were dealing with. The movies we’re talking about are Chariots of Fire (1981) and Gandhi (1982).
Chariots of Fire, should you choose to watch it as a sports movie, is in the old mould. It tells the story of two British athletes who participate in the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Harold Abraham (Ben Cross) is a Jewish Cambridge student who faces anti-semitism and seeks achievement on the running track to rise above being discriminated against for his religion. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) is a Scottish missionary who runs because he feels god’s pleasure when he does. The narration, which brings out the reasons these young men have for running, is one of the most finely crafted in cinema. It is perhaps these motivating factors and the way it is shown on screen that probably sets this movie apart from any other sports film. The theme of running solely for divine pleasure, or even a broader theme a movie depicting divine pleasure as a legitimate motivating factor for its protagonist is quite unique. The beauty of contrasting Liddell with Abraham, and depicting both favourably, ensures that one can empathize with both without having to buy into their beliefs.
The film takes us through the several trials and tribulations that they face in the course of their attempt to qualify, participate, and win a medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Harold engages a coach to help him run faster and stands up to his college masters when they chastise him for the same. Eric Liddell first encounters some opposition within his own family and his medal hopes are in jeopardy when the scheduling of events brings his participation in conflict with his religious beliefs. The eventual victory of both men was predictable and the cinematic depiction of the races would not have added much to the movie if it weren’t for a superlative background score by Vangelis.
Gandhi depicts the life of Mahatma Gandhi from the time he’s thrown out of a railway carriage in Pietmaritzburg till his demise. Considering that this review is written for a primarily Indian audience I won’t even bother outlining the plot. The gradual development and change of Gandhi from a suit wearing lawyer to a “half naked fakir” is one that that our textbooks and eulogies in popular culture haven’t brought out very well but where the film (which is acknowledged as having been rigorously researched) does very well. The gradual change in clothes is accompanied by a subtle change in Gandhi’s thought and beliefs and easy to miss if one gets caught up in the immensely compelling story. The movie features several actors who are cast in roles eerily similar to hit roles they have essayed elsewhere. We’re not talking about character actors who have been typecast (Richard Vernon playing Governor of Bihar) but even ones like Nigel Hawthorne (The bureaucrat Humphrey Appleby from Yes Minister, playing Kinnoch, a bureaucrat here) and of course Ian Charleson. Charleson plays Deenabandhu Charles Freer Andrews who was a priest of the Church of England. His roles in the two movies are not only similar in that they are both men of god but also in mannerisms, attitude, devotion and general Rahul Dravidness. The purity of the men shines through in a way that has become uncommon among protagonists since the advent of the age of the antihero. Indeed a protagonist whose morals are ambiguous is today not considered an antihero but a dyed in the wool chocolate boy.
The similarities between the movies too are hard to miss. Both films, released within a year of each other, are set roughly in the same period (Although Gandhi covers a far greater number of years). The two movies are set on different continents (with Gandhi spanning two) but within the same empire and this fact is not merely incidental to the plot because the protagonists of both movies take on the empire in their own different ways for their own different reasons. At the risk of repeating oneself both movies show the main men as incorruptibly pure. Both are biopics after their own fashion and tell the tales which are already well known to the world and as is the case with most good biopics the magic is as much in the telling as in the tale itself.I would like to list Gandhi as a must view for every member of the legal fraternity because while the father of nation wouldn’t find himself in many lists of “Greatest Indian Lawyers” he would top most lists of “Greatest Indians who were Lawyers” thus serving as a constant reminder that while it is desirable to aspire for greatness in law, it is nobler to aspire for greatness as a human being.
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
We visited Kemmangundi at a time that is probably the coldest part of the year. Kemmangundi is a hill station in Chickmagalur district. Since we had gone to Baba Budangiri on the same day we were quite exhausted by the time we reached kemmangundi and not really in a position to go to the sightseeing places nearby. These include Hebbe falls and Z point which apparently affords a very good view of the sunrise. However, for the time being we were content to enjoy the sunset as visible from the gardens surrounding the horticulture department guest house.
We retired early that day, for once being cut off from TV, internet and other things that keep us awake unnecessarily late into the night. Of course the intense cold and the spicy meal we had helped. On the next morning being very eager to catch the sunset, I woke up at an hour that people would consider absurdly early for a holiday. However, finding my parents and sister sound asleep, I quietly tiptoed out and walked up the same sunset hill and stood facing what I thought was east. I wanted to take a time lapse series of photos of the sunrise, notwithstanding the fact that my mobile camera was horribly unequipped for any such venture. However, this being the peak of DakshinayaNa (we had gone on Dec 23rd, Winter solstice is Dec 21st) sunrise didn’t take place from exactly east but a little south of east. I had not taken that into account but I was quickly readjusted and this discrepancy in my calculations was nothing compared to the other handicaps I had to deal with.
We started off towards Sirsi via Tharikere and Shimoga after a quick stopover at Kalhatti falls and later at the world famous Jog falls. Kalhatti falls was pretty from a distance but not enough to enthuse us to go to the waterfall itself. Jog falls was in a very pitiable condition with hardly any water flowing. It was some divine comedy playing out here as an allegory for current happenings, where Raja and Rani had no place in a democracy and their force stifled by the Linganmakki dam, Rocket was failing like ISRO’s GSLV which exploded halfway a few days later. Roarer had lost his voice and was a feeble trickle like the roaring beasts in our jungles whose numbers dwindle every day.
On the return journey, starting off from a village near Siddapura (where we stayed at a with relatives after having visited Bhuvanagiri devasthaana the previous evening). On the road to Soraba from Siddapura we had two places to visit in our itinerary. One was Chandragutti which had a temple and a trek route and the other was Gudavi pakshidhama. I insisted that we first visit Gudavi to be able to watch the birds early in the morning even if it retracing our route and coming back a few kilometers to visit Chandragutti. My parents, always accommodative of these small tantrums of mine, came round after initial whining. However when we got there we were all glad we were able to see so many birds and so many varieties of them too since we got there pretty early in the morning. We sorely felt the absence of a decent camera though we realized that the camera we have at home which would have been otherwise useful on this trip was not good for birdwatching purposes. However there is always the panoramic shot which can convey how plentiful the birds are at that spot.
But then sometimes a photo setting presents itself that is so beautiful that even a 1.3 megapixel camera on a mobile phone can deliver wonders.
Retracing our route for a short distance we came to Chandragutti which we proceeded to start climbing despite my mother protesting that we should probably enlist the help of some locals as we are bound to lose our way. However the route was visible throughout and it we didn’t get confused or lose our way at any point. Till the Renukamba temple there is a proper stairway. However this is a very short stretch and the said stairway has only 200 steps. The SthaLapuraaNa to this temple relates to a story about Parshurama who on the orders of his father Jamadagni came to behead his mother Renuka. She hid in cave here for a while attempting to escape the deadly axe (Parashu) of Parashurama. The entire trek is about 3.5 Kilometers and for a family group it should take around an hour and a half to two hours. There are several depressions in the rocks at the peak of the hill and are said to have been the impressions left by the foot of the Bheema as he carried his brothers and mother on his shoulders during the vanavasa. There are several pools at the top filled with water lilies and hyacinth and one slightly larger pool which has dirty green water. This supposedly is where Bheema vomited after having consumed something poisonous.
The view from top is splendid with green forests on three sides and paddy fields on one. Remnants of a fort (we later came to know it was built by someone called Marappa) can be seen both at the top and on the way.
Balligavi and TaLgunda
Balligavi and TaLgunda had been the highlight of the trip and all other things were included in our too see list only because they would be on the way to Balligavi. We were quite famished after Chandragutti and after lunch at Soraba we reached Balligaavi. Balligavi is a small village today but was an important center of trade and learning around one thousand years ago. The first temple we went to over there was the DakshiNa Kedareshwara temple and the accompanying temples. The Chalukyas started building this temple but hoysaLas completed it. We spent a lot of time here learning about several sculptures on the inside and outside walls of the temple and their significance. A few interesting observations- This temple has all three gods i.e. Bramha Vishnu and Maheshwara. Shiva as usual is depicted by a Linga (When the lights are turned off, the entire place becomes very dark. But the Shivalinga somehow reflects light from outside and a faint glow is seen). Now the surprising thing is, even Bramha is depicted by a Linga. The difference being that the Bramha linga has the water spout to its right (i.e. the devotee’s left) and the Shivalinga has its water spout to its left (the devotee’s right).
We were told that Balligavi was a big city with thousands of people and contained several temples and Mutts which were centers of education. The Archaeology department has maintained several stone inscriptions around the temple and a lot of these are hero stones (Veeragallu). They depict the heroic deaths of persons of that era which include people who die for their country, people who die fighting dangerous beasts, women who commit sati etc.
We then went to the Hanuman temple just down the road. It is a mud hut but the Hanuman idol inside is 9 feet tall and is supposedly very old.
Right behind it is the Tripuranthakeshwara bunch of temples. Vishnuvardhana’s queen (Pattada raaNi, he may have had others) was from here. Legend has it that Natyarani Shantaladevi used to dance in the rangamantapa of this temple and Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana who came to Balligavi was impressed and desired to take her to Dwarasamudra (Halebid). However the Balligavi elders said that it would be improper to take her just like that and he can take her only if he marries her. Vishnuvardhana converted from Jainism to Vaishnavism so as to marry her (Though other legends mention that he converted to Vaishnavism after being influenced by Ramanujacharya). Sculptors from Balligavi are also credited as having contributed to the works at Belur and I remember that one of the statues in Belur has “Balligavi Dasoja” written at its base. The statues in the temples in Balligavi match their counterparts in Belur and HaLebid in intricacy, and also subscribe to a common aesthetic. The general theme seems to be slightly different with the star shape that is the hallmark of HoysaLa architecture not being so evident. This is possibly a result of the foundations being laid by the Chalukyas.
The thing with a lot of temples from this period is that they weren’t built exclusively for religious purposes. They were meant to serve as town halls or community centers also. We must remember that at the time we are talking about, at other places on the Indian subcontinent there existed fierce rivalries between Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Notwithstanding this these temples feature gods of both sects. The tripuranthakeshwara temple also contains statues of Mahavira (Gomateshwara). In that sense these be called multi denominational shrines or even secular in the Indian sense of the term.
Yet another temple at Balligavi is the Veerabhadreshwara temple where the main deity is Veerabhadra. Outside the Garbhagudi there are idols of Ganesha, Shiva-Parvati in one idol, Shanmukha, Nandi and a Linga in pacchekallu which is green in color.
The Pranaveshwara temple at TaLgunda is not much by way of size and does not have any intricate statues. However it is important for being the place of Mayuravarma (at least the Rajkumar fans should appreciate this) the king of the Kadambas who later ruled from Banavasi. It has an inscription from that time and there is also a pillar which records the construction of a large tank in the region.
After this we went to Shimoga and rested.
At a short distance from Tharikere is the Amrutheshwara temple in Amruthapura where we may see Shiva and Sharadambe. The Sharadambe was installed in the Amrutheshwara temple after the Archaeological Survey of India recognized this as a protected monument and the sharadambe idol was found in a nearby temple which was in a dilapidated condition. This temple was built by a general of Veera Ballala II in the 12th Century.
Our next stop, also our last stop on the way home was the Shivalaya Temple near Arasikere. Originally known as the Chandramouleeshwara temple, the guide over there claimed that it was also designed by the same Jakanachari who sculpted Belur and HaLebeedu. The most interesting aspect of this temple is that there is no opening at the front of the temple.
Speaking generally about all the HoysaLa temples it was really interesting to see the mindboggling diversity in the scenes from life in those times as depicted on the walls. As every guide readily pointed out, a lot of the hair styles prevalent today existed in those times also. Indeed a lot of the ornaments and accessories used by the people then would have been too ostentatious by today’s standards.
We also covered Thyavarekoppa Huli mattu Simha Dhaama. I will write about that in a different post as this one has gone on too long.