Sunday, September 27, 2009
The reason why these strikes materialised is the inept handling by the managements and HRD Ministry. In Jet Airways, some pilots were unceremoniously and summarily sacked without conducting any enquiry and apparently for unlawful reasons. The HRD Ministry failed to respond to repeated requests of the teaching staff for discussions. Mr.Kapil Sibal's public pronouncements of his readiness to discuss coupled with his (deliberate ?) failure to get in touch with the faculty only added insult to injury. It was totally ham-handed. The management of Air India unilaterally effected reductions in allowances payable to pilots. There was no discussion with the pilots before imposing salary cuts.
In all these three instances, principles of natural justice were given the go-by. If only these situations had been handled with tact and reasonableness by the managements and the HRD Ministry, strikes would have become unnecessary. Arrogance is a human failing; it cannot be a business strategy.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Initially, Shanti Bhushan made the preposterous claim that the Chief Justice of India was supporting Justice Dinakaran because the latter also was a Dalit. It is surprising that no action has been taken against this inflammatory remark. Now comes an equally absurd canard from Mr.Buta Singh, the Chairman of The National Commission for Scheduled Castes who alleges that the campaign against Justice Dinakaran is motivated because he is a Dalit.
Playing the communal card is a dangerous game. It obfuscates the issue and poisons the atmosphere. Meaningful debate becomes the casualty. Justice gets sidelined.
IITs already have a notoriety (perhaps undeserved) of being 'elitist'. Though many would dismiss this criticism as sour-grapism, the fact is that this view does exist. The minister's strident denunciations will only aggravate anti-IIT feelings. Ministers like Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor who are blessed with gift of the gab will do the nation a great favour if they control their utterances and tweets.
One is reminded of a popular couplet from Thirukkural which says, " Even if one does not control any other faculty, one should keep one's tongue in check. Else, one will come to grief through this lapse". It is high time that the minister initiates discussions with the faculty instead of allowing the situation to deteriorate further. Such loquacious ministers need to develop 'soft skills'.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
HRD Minister, Mr.Kapil Sibal has made two observations which are uncalled for. 1) We do not expect prospective Nobel laureates to go on hunger strike and 2) They get so much from consultancy that salary is only icing on the cake.
Observation 1 : Ridicule is implied in this statement. If the minister is convinced about the high academic standards of IIT faculty, he would not have made this comment. He also ought to know that the infrastructure made available in India can hardly enable anyone to get a Nobel prize. It was a miracle that Sir C.V.Raman could bag a Nobel. But those halcyon days are long past. If IIT faculty or for that matter any academician in India is not considered for Nobel prizes, it only reflects on the disabling environment provided by the government.
Hunger protest is a honourable practice sanctified by the Mahatma. Our minister would not have recommended Nobel peace prize for the Mahatma because he does not expect any honourable person to take to hunger protest.
Observation 2 : If IIT teachers are getting handsome income from consultancy, it is because they contribute. Does the minister propose that salary need not be paid to them for this reason? Also, not all IIT teachers are busy in consultancy. Those who do consult , become better teachers because of the experience they gain. Is the minister's statement a decent way of treating the faculty?
The demands of IIT faculty may or may not be met. But the faculty has a right to expect the HRD Minister to listen and respond without being sarcastic, insulting or patronising. An eminent lawyer need not continue his antagonistic approach after becoming a minister.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The earlier best-seller written by him,"India Unbound", was an extremely optimistic account of India's future. The author claims that he did not factor in the absence of governance while releasing "India Unbound".(It is surprising because lack of governance is a defining feature of India.) Therefore his optimism has waned. Yet he remains addicted (sic) to Mahabharata. He emphasises that the epic is not a set of rules, but a treatise on moral dilemmas.
When he refers to the subtle art of dharma, the emphasis is on resolution of conflicting factors that create these dilemmas. Unfortunately, the problems faced by Indians are of a different nature. Dharma has been corrupted in ever so many unimaginable ways that we should talk about a distinct dharma or a subtle dharma.Therefore one may say it is the art of subtle dharma rather the subtle art of dharma.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Mr.Dinakaran was appointed a permanent judge of the Madras High Court in December 1996 at the age of 46. He became Chief Justice of the Karnataka HC in August 2008. It is too early to say whether the allegations are correct or only motivated and devoid of truth. It is quite likely that his elevation to the Supreme Court will be in limbo for some time.
In case his integrity is suspect, some interesting issues arise. As Chief Justice of a High Court , his term will expire in 2012 only. Would he be asked to step down before that? In case he is asked to go, would he oblige? Would our impeachment mechanism work effectively? Is our judicial system incompetent enough to accommodate a judge of doubtful integrity for 13 long years? Are the Supreme Court judges so bereft of any intelligence mechanism that they are not aware of the state of integrity of the Chief Justice of a High Court? Or, are they succumbing to any pressure, political or otherwise? The nation cries for an answer.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
President was quoted as saying ," The regulator should re-audit assets sold to ARCIL". He is also supposed to have said,"In four cases , double loans were issued by ICICI Bank itself. This shows the inability of the bank's IT setup and its due diligence mechanism". Quite damning, if true.
It must have been an aweful Sunday for the bank. The bank has released a prominent advertisement in many newspapers (including a front page ad in the ET) on 14th Sept. calling the impugned article 'baseless'. The advertisement says, inter alia "1. ICAI has clarified that the statements attributed to it are totally incorrect, wrong and completely baseless. 2. The article is grossly inaccurate. The aggregate sales of home loans by the bank to ARCIL since inception are less than Rs.1,500 crore. 3. The article seeks to magnify a Rs.1 crore fraud committed on the bank into a major issue." The ad concludes, " The news item appears to be a deliberate and malicious plant aimed at damaging the bank's reputation. The bank is taking up the matter with regulatory and law enforcement authorities."
It is obvious that the newspaper has gone overboard while publishing an obviously interesting matter. The Economic Times has not published any confirmation or retraction of the contentious report. A delayed response is still possible. In the meantime, the bank has been forced to shell out a lot of money to clarify the matter and has atleast temporarily suffered yet another knock to its reputation.There is an interesting matter of detail here. The report appeared on a Sunday and the bank had enough time to rebut before the stock market opened on Monday. What if the report had been published on a weekday and the bank had been forced to suffer a massive selloff of its shares before any denial could be disseminated?
The newspaper owes it to its readers to explain in detail how it erred or who is to be blamed for the faux-pas. The denial issued by ICAI contains the following difficult-to-understand detail,
"For the purpose of setting the records right, we may mention that the fact of the
mater (sic) has been that when few Mumbai-based chartered accountants approached
the ICAI President CA. Uttam Prakash Agarwal regarding the harassment being
meted out to them, despite they being genuine buyers of the flats in the society
referred to the news item, the latter had advised them to take up the matter with
the authorities in the Bank at their individual level. He had also assured them that if
their plea is genuine and on getting the feedback from them about the authorities’
response, he would take up the matter with the Bank and its regulator at the top
level, if need be".
Saturday, September 12, 2009
He has indicated that his decision was hastened by uncharitable comments made by some. His withdrawal is a loss to blog-readers.
Added on July 12, 2016: It is encouraging to know that Justice Kannan who recently retired has decided to resume blogging.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Is there any issue here? Tharoor thinks no. Krishna is not alive to the possibility of any public concern over this. Yet this conspicuous ostentation raises quite a few issues of public importance. Krishna's bill is around Rs.10 million and Tharoor's nearly Rs.4 million.Are they paying from their kitty or is there any sponsor a.k.a. vested interest?
Tharoor has referred to two existential reasons for his inability to stay in Bhavans which are guest houses of state governments located in the national capital. Gym and privacy are not available in state guest houses !
Politicians who are not embarrassed in eking out such extravagant living can never understand the plight of aam adhmi.
The Indian Express has exposed this prodigality. We do not know how many such instances remain unknown to the public. Performance of these two ministers so far has been far from exemplary.One can only sympathise with the Prime Minister.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy , Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh who was killed in a helicopter crash on 2nd Sept. was of course a politician. His government was notoriously corrupt. However, certain facts about him stand out.
1) He had his schooling in the Besant Theosophical High School run by Kalakshetra Foundation. This should have had atleast some impact on his value system.
2) He was a broadminded Christian equally at home in Bethlehem and Tirumala, as noted by The Hindu.
3) He was a medical doctor and he always empathised with the poor.
We have lost an assertive and confident politician.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Now comes Mr.Homi Sethna's outburst against Mr.Kalam, former President who had earlier endorsed the success of Pokhran atomic test. This debate has been triggered by Mr.K.Santhanam, a former DRDO scientist who once again questioned the success of the test. While endorsing Mr.Santhanam's views, Mr.Sethna argued, "Mr.Kalam was not a scientist and Mr.Santhanam is a phycisist and he knew what he was talking. What does Mr.Kalam understand about physics? What did he know about extracting, making explosive grade? He did not know a thing. By being a President, he appeared to wear the stature. He relied on atomic energy to gain additional stature."
Mr.Sethna may be correct in his views regarding the atomic test. The tenor of arguments reminds us of what Krishna says in the Bagavad Gita, chapter 10, stanza 33. He says,"Among those who debate, I am Vaada i.e. the open-minded discussion for determining the truth." It is said that there are three types of debates -- jalpa, vitandaa and vaada. Jalpa is a kind of debate in which both parties seek to establish their own view point and ignore the merits of the counter-view. In vitandaa, one party understands his view is demolished and yet takes up extraneous arguments, draws red herrings and insults the counter-view. Vaada is open-minded discussion wherein the only objective of the participants is to grasp the truth. Vaada is welcome; the other two formats are dysfunctional.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
If the internal control systems are adequate, how come the Fixed Assets Register was lost? How long will it take to compile the new fixed assets register? Do you think that a company that takes a long time to compile a duplicate register will have a credible 'Disaster Recovery Plan'?