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Uttar Pradesh’s Director General of Police Mukul Goel has been removed from his post for disregarding government work and not taking interest in departmental duties. Quite obviously not everything has been alright with the UP Police department.

On 1 May police raided the house of Kanhaiya Yadav in Manrajpur village of Chandauli district and when they left the house a 22 years old girl Nisha was found hanging from a ceiling fan. The younger sister Gunja described how brutally both girls were beaten by the police even though she kept pleading that she had an examination coming up. Kanhaiya Yadav has accused the police of demanding a bribe for a legitimate mining lease which he had refused to pay. When a 13 years old Dalit girl went to Pali police station of Lalitpur district to lodge a complaint against her gang rape by four men she was allegedly raped on 27 April by the Station House Officer inside his residence on the police station campus. SHO has been arrested by Prayagraj and the entire staff of 29 police personnel at the police station has been removed. In Lalitpur again at Mahrauni police station on 2 May, a domestic help was tortured after being stripped by two police personnel including a male on charges of theft. Three police personnel including SHO have been suspended. On 7 May in Imliya village of Firozabad district when police arrived at the house of  Fauran Singh Jatav with an upper-caste man Kailashchandra Upadhyay in the matter of a dispute between two families, the atrocity committed by aggressors caused the death of the wife of the Dalit man, Sharda Devi. A woman and her minor daughter were called at Nawabganj police station in Kanpur on 8 May at 4 pm for questioning. The daughter was accused of theft by a family with whom she stayed as domestic help. It was late night by the time interrogation ended. The mother-daughter duo were sent to stay at Asha Jyoti Kendra, a government-run centre for women facing violence. The mother was found hanging in the bathroom at this centre the next morning.

The police have gained notoriety during the Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath’s government which ironically runs a high profile publicity campaign for good law and order in UP. During the last term of Yogi’s rule Vivek Tiwari, an Apple executive was shot dead in the posh Gomti Nagar locality by police for allegedly refusing to stop his vehicle in 2018. In 2021 Faisal Hussin, an 18 years old vegetable vendor died after being beaten by police at Bangermau police station in Unnao district for allegedly violating lockdown rules. In 2021 again, a Kanpur businessman Manoj Gupta was killed in a hotel in Gorakhpur after a police raid there. Also in 2021 a young man Altaf was found hanging from a pipe two feet above the floor in a bathroom inside Sadar Kotwali police station in Kasganj after interrogation in a matter of eloping with a girl.

Police are known to be rough with people and routinely use torture as a technique for the extraction of information or confession of the crime. However, under Yogi’s rule, their conduct gives an impression of lawlessness. A reason for the re-election of the Yogi government in the 2022 Assembly elections is that police feared that Samajwadi Party rule will entail interference of their workers in day to day affairs whereas in BJP rule they have more freedom, which they seem to be abusing at their sweet will.

Yogi Adityanath cannot distinguish between the roles of the legislature, executive and judiciary. He followed ‘thok do’ (kill in cold blood) policy with criminals and enjoyed using bulldozers to demolish properties of mere accused, so much so that bulldozers have become a symbol of his governance style which other BJP governments are also now relishing copying. Earlier his government was trying to extract recovery as part of the U.P. Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020 even before the guilt of the accused was proved in a court of law. Supreme Court intervened to stop this but the government has again issued illegal notices for recovery.

In a recent judgement giving bail to Jignesh Mevani, the independent MLA from Gujarat, Assam judge Aparesh Chakraborty has expressed concern at cops turning Assam into a police state. He said, ‘Converting our hard-earned democracy into a police state is simply unthinkable and if the Assam police are thinking about the same, the same is perverse thinking.’ Since Himanta Biswa Sarma became CM in May last year 28 encounter deaths have taken place in Assam. In Yogi Adityanath’s last term of five years over 125 people were killed in encounters. Yogi has already converted UP into a police state and now there is a competition among different BJP governments to outdo each other. For example, two cattle smugglers Akbar and Salman Banjara were arrested in Meerut, handed over to Assam Police and shot dead in an encounter in a Kokrajhar national park where they were taken for investigation.

It is noteworthy that Yogi Adityanath has got criminal cases against himself withdrawn. The UP police didn’t object when bail was granted by High Court to Ashish Mishra, son of the central minister, who mowed down five people in the Lakhimpur Khiri farmers’ protest. It was only after the intervention of the Supreme Court that Ashish Mishra is back in jail.

Hence law and order for the BJP mean treating your own criminals as honourable and targeting your opponents vindictively.  The recent incidents in UP including the arrest of journalists in Ballia in a matter of leak of examination question paper and their solution show that the Yogi government is exposed on three fronts.

Law and order are in shambles. In spite of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ slogan, women are not safe in U.P. and corruption is rampant and blatant. But the public imagination is captured by the Gyanvapi and Mathura issues, so BJP doesn’t need to worry about its governance model going for a toss.

By Sandeep Pandey and Arundhati Dhuru
(Note: Sandeep Pandey is General Secretary, Socialist Party (India) and Arundhati Dhuru is with the National Alliance of People’s Movements)

Dimapur Conclave for ‘Save the Peace,’ organized by Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights on 25-26 March 2022, adopted the following resolution:
  • Indo-Naga political talks must be supported and protected till it achieves the desired goal of honourable and lasting peace for both parties in talks.
  • The Framework Agreement signed on August 3, 2015, in Delhi is a solemn commitment between the Naga people and the Government of India to bring about a dignified peace in the hitherto strife-torn land. Any attempt to dilute or revise it will undo all achieved during the more than two-and-half decade-old Indo-Naga peace process.
  • It is a matter of grave concern that the peace process since 2019 has degenerated into a stalemate despite the change of interlocutor. This house, therefore urges Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to take direct control of the negotiation. Negotiation at the highest level is the best recourse to safeguard the talks from the vicissitudes of bureaucracy.
    Please visit our Hindi Website for more News and Views: www.thepublichindi.com

    कांग्रेस छोड़ सकते हैं अहमद पटेल के बेटे फैसल

     

The Indian government agrees that Nagas have a unique history of having been a collective of village republics not ruled by any outsider. First, the British and later the Indians have conquered it by force. At the time of Indian independence, Mahatma Gandhi had told Nehru that if the Indian government would send the military to Nagaland then he would be the first person to face a bullet. Not satisfied with the full-fledged state status of Nagaland the National Socialist Council of Nagalim launched a struggle for autonomy. At least 3 Indian PMs have met the leadership of NSCN (IM) abroad, according to a condition laid down by NSCN (IM) for talks with the Indian government. In 1997 NSCN (Isak-Muivah) entered into a cease-fire agreement with the government of India. Isak and Muivah arrived in India in 2013. Finally, the Framework Agreement was signed in the presence of Narendra Modi.

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NO GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE

The Framework Agreement says, ‘…the Government of India and the NSCN, respecting people’s wishes for sharing the sovereign power as defined in the competencies, reached an agreement on the 3rd August 2015 as an honourable solution.’ It further says, ‘It is a matter of great satisfaction that dialogue between the Government of India and NSCN has successfully concluded. We are confident, it will provide for an enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities.’ The statement has been signed by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, the two top leaders of NSCN (IM) and R.N. Ravi as the Representative of the Government of India. Ravi was acting as interlocutor then and later became Nagaland’s Governor.

The Agreement could not fructify as GoI is not prepared to accede to the Naga demand for a separate flag and constitution. Later R.N. Ravi, as Governor tried to put together another group Naga National People’s Group of seven organisations to counterbalance NSCN (IM). NNPG is agreeable to a solution even without a separate flag and constitution. After vehement protests by NSCN (IM), R.N. Ravi was transferred to Tamil Nadu and a new interlocutor has replaced him.

NSCN (IM) says that accepting a solution without a separate flag and constitution would be a disrespect to more than a lakh Nagas killed in the political struggle for autonomy. Naga sentiment is associated with this struggle and NSCN (IM) is believed to be echoing the feelings of Nagas in general.

NSCN (IM) makes it very clear that they are not asking for complete independence from India. They want to live in co-existence with India with their own constitution and flag. They want a traditional system of tribal self-rule but do not mind sending representatives to Rajya Sabha.

Nagas are known to fiercely protect their independence. It is unlikely that they will agree to be just another state of India. They have honoured their commitment to a cease-fire since 1997. If at all, the cease-fire has been violated by Indian security forces, like in the abominable massacre of 13 Nagas in Oting, Mon District on 4 December 2021. Nagas say that they never attack a civilian. Even if an Indian soldier is in civil uniform no harm will be caused to him. They have never taken their struggle beyond their boundaries. This displays the high integrity of Nagas.

It’ll be better if the Government of India honours the self-respecting Naga people who have displayed tremendous resilience and patience for over 70 years and have not compromised a bit. They have a Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim with their own Naga Army headquartered at Camp Hebron, about 40 km. outside Dimapur which conducts itself with dignity.

The choice before the Indian government is very stark. Giving autonomy to Nagas can result in a beautiful self-rule system in Nagaland with a harmonious relationship with India. Not agreeing to their demand will see Nagaland slowly bleeding as we’ve witnessed over more than 70 years with the Indian government not just forced to keep their Army here but also continuing with the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act to some extent. The recent lifting of AFSPA from some parts of Nagaland is a welcome decision but it is inconceivable that the Indian government can carry on with its rule without the help of the Army here or for that matter in most of the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir. Self-rule for Nagas will at least free them of the Indian Army presence.

Co-Authored by Pankaj Pushkar (Former MLA, Delhi Assembly)

BJP defended its four citadels of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur well in the recent Assembly Elections. Though the number of seats of BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand reduced, but overcoming anti-incumbency for any ruling party is commendable. The results were out on the 10th of March and after 11/12 days the new cabinet is yet to take the oath of office in any state. The delay is on account of coming to a common decision where everyone in the party small or big is to be taken along – Sab ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas. Looks like the problem of plenty. The three main  reasons seem to be:

The decision-making is too much centralized, though in principle it is said that the cabinet is to be decided by the sitting legislature of both the houses and not by the party high command in Delhi. The interesting change we can see in the decision-making apparatus of Bhartiya Janata Party, which always taunts Congress for their decision making depends on the three Gandhi but over the years their own decision is now taken by just two people. It is widely believed that even in these two people only one person calls the shots, the second man is only the executor.

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Delay in UP Cabinet Formation

The Cabinet formation is to be done keeping 2024 general elections in sight. Now for a state like Uttar Pradesh, this is going to be a herculean task. As far as different communities are concerned not to worry as the declared policy of the party approved by the voters of the state is on the set formula of 80:20. Now, this 80% are to be managed in a way so that caste/sub-caste are happy that they are duly represented in the cabinet. BJP till now has managed the upper caste – lower caste fragile combination pretty well. This is going to be a tricky balance to be maintained so that till general elections every stakeholder is happy.

The third and final reason is Yogi Adityanath’s likes and dislikes are to be accommodated this time. In 2017 Yogi Ji was not interested in the composition of the government and without complaining managed with the Cabinet given to him. The appointment of two deputy chief ministers – Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Maurya has done to balance the caste equation was not objected to. During the last phase of his government, we remember, how AK Sharma, former IAS officer of the original Gujarat Team of Modi was not accommodated. This time the so-called high command of BJP knows the importance of Yogi both as administrator to run the government and as vote catcher for the party.

So the task of forming a government that not only pleases all but during elections proves its utility is more important.

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Assembly Elections 2022: The biggest flop faces & road ahead by Gyanesh Tiwari
Giveaways & Elections: Short-termism to the Fore by Prof. Arun Kumar

 

2022 Assembly Elections in 5 states (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, and Manipur) were no less interesting than the 2019 General Elections, and BJP once again passed with flying colors in 4 states. If BJP is joyous about its victory, opponents are reviewing and researching the reasons for their failure but there are faces in every party which proved themselves “The Bog Flop Show”. They could get space in media, they were hyped by their party and they were also quite popular among the public but ultimately they have swept away in the Hindutva cyclone of BJP. Let’s have a look at them-

Uttar Pradesh

  1. Keshav Prasad Maurya (BJP): Once a CM Chair claimant, hero of 2014 General Elections and Assembly Elections 2017 as UP BJP State President, lost to Dr. Pallavi Patel of Apna Dal (K). He has been vocal against CM Yogi Adityanath and their differences are no more a secret. He kept saying that the Chief Minister will be decided, till BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it official that “Aayega to Yogi Hi”.
    But after losing from Sirathu, Maurya doesn’t have many choices but to remain in BJP, tamed and domesticated. Now he will be bound to accept whatever role or responsibility the party offers to him.
  2. Swami Prasad Maurya (SP): Before criticizing Swami Prasad Maurya for his defeat, he must be given the credit for making the ‘mahaul’ for Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav in Eastern UP. The day he left Bhartiya Janta Party, BJP apparently seemed stumped and it was one up for SP. He undoubtedly benefitted the Samajwadi Party which can be seen in a few districts of eastern UP like Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Ghazipur where BJP couldn’t get a single seat.
    But now that he has lost his own assembly seat, he also is not left with many options but to remain in Samajwadi Party. He might go back to BJP, depending on how well he be received there but since Maurya has cleared that he will stay with Akhilesh Yadav and will prepare for 2024 General Elections, any speculations may not be of any use.
  3. Priyanka Gandhi (Congress): Yet another disappointment for Gandhi’s Family, Congress Party, and for the Congress sympathizers, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shrieked her party from 7 Seats to 2 Seats and from 6.25% Votes to 2.33% Vote. But she is not alone to be blamed. She undoubtedly did a great job as she fought for the Dalits and Farmers, she reached to Hathras Rape Victim Family, Unnao Rape Victim Family, Lakhimpur Massacre Victims Family, she tried to bring more women in politics and gave the slogan ‘ladki hoon lad sakti hoon’ but apparently, people didn’t want the kind of politics which Priyanka Gandhi was trying to do.
    Born in Gandhi Family, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has no choice but to remain in Congress and keep working to revive her ancestors’ party. She might play a bigger role in National Politics but looking at the current situation of Congress, no miracle is hoped in the near future.
  4. Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan (Azad Samaj Party): An emerging face of Dalit Politics and Jatav community was also proved a big flop in UP Assembly Elections 2022. Known for his highhandedness, Ravan failed to ally with any large party and went to Gorakhpur and challenged Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath where he could hardly get 7640 Votes. He bargained with Akhilesh Yadav for alliance and tried to ally with Congress, he is now left alone and the clear shift of Dalit voters from Bahujan Samaj Party to BJP puts a question mark on Chandrashekhar Ravan’s future.
    Age is on Chandrashekhar Ravan’s side, so if he keeps working for Dalit, he may emerge as a Dalit face in UP Politics. To continue, he needs to join an established political where he could get wider resources and platforms to remain relevant in politics.
  5. Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP): In the shrinking BSP, Satish Chandra Mishra was left probably the only leader after many of BSP MLAs were sacked or left. A known lawyer and Mayawati’s confidante, Mishra tried well to become a Brahmin face of BSP but definitely couldn’t bring BSP even into the fray. His utility for Mayawati is higher than winning MLA Seats as he keeps Bahen Ji protected from coercive actions of the court in many of her disproportionate assets cases pending in courts.
    But he has plenty of options as a lawyer and as a politician too. He may continue with his lawyer career or join any other party where he will be welcomed for bringing even a little BSP Cadre and votes.

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Punjab

  1. Charanjit Singh ‘Channi’ (Congress): Once said to be a masterstroke of Congress, when Charanjit Singh ‘Channi’ replaced Capt. Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister brought hope for Congress that they could retain power in Punjab but he also flopped not only keeping Congress in power, but he also lost his own seat from both the constituencies, Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur.
    Channi doesn’t have much option of moving from Congress as the Aam Aadmi Party has the brute majority in Punjab and doesn’t practice BJP kind of politics of bringing opposition MLAs, even being in power. Shiromani Akali Dal has its own internal issues which they need the fix and there is no such stake of BJP. So Charanjit Singh Channi has to make peace with it and keep working with Congress and Navjot Singh Sidhu if he stays in Congress.

Uttarakhand

  1. Harish Rawat (Congress): The most credible face of Congress in Uttarakhand, Rawat also lost his own seat and Congress once again missed to come back to power. But to be fair to Harish Rawat, he was given the command in the later stage and was kept busy to resolve the Punjab Congress feud for a very long time. Keeping the tallest leader of a poll-bound state for a very long time was the blunder of Congress’s high command.
    Harish Rawat kept serving with Congress despite several disputes and dissatisfactions so there is a rare chance that he will leave Congress now and join any other party.
  2. Pushkar Singh Dhami (BJP): A naive brought in the slog overs could not leave any imprint and he lost his own seat from Khatima Assembly Constituency but BJP managed to retain the power in the name of Narendra Modi.
    Pushkar Singh has a long career to go and he is expected to become the chief minister once again to have a bright future ahead.
  3. Col. Ajay Singh Kothiyal (AAP): A decorated retired army man, Aam Aadmi Party had declared Colonel Kothiyal its Chief Minister face but could not do much for the party and lost his own seat from Gangotri Assembly Constituency.
    Col. Kothiyal is just 53 and with the emerging AAP, he may sail fine in the future. Since AAP now has the Government in 2 States, Delhi and Punjab, sooner or later he may also flourish with the party.

Watch Video:

 

Goa

  1. Prashant Kishore alias PK (TMC): The only flop face of the Goa Assembly Elections was poll strategist Prashant Kishore who successfully help Mamta Banerjee win West Bengal Assembly Elections. After winning in West Bengal, he went to Goa and plucked a few faces from Congress like Luizinho Faleiro but could not do any miracles in Goa. On the contrary, TMC had to pay by damaging its relationship with Congress and other allies of UPA. Whatever rosy picture PK had shown to Mamta Didi, she is back to square one and still trying to become a national face.
    Prashant Kishore is still struggling for his future and he keeps emerging in the media now and then by making catchy statements. He had also tried to join Congress but there also he could get a role of his choice.

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The Next Greatest Emergency: All hands on the deck

Before the COVID, some 50% of the children worldwide could not read or write. Since the COVID, the situation has been far worse. UNESCO suggests COVID has wiped out nearly 20 years of gains in education. Girls and young women have been most disproportionately affected.

If there is a fire in the house, we drop everything else, and everyone gets involved. Likewise, in education, we immediately need a fresh wave of activism and disruptive new solutions. It is not enough to rely on the teachers alone, just as we did not rely on the doctors during the COVID emergency.

We urgently need all hands on deck: the government, corporates, funding agencies, civil societies, voluntary organizations/NGOs, entire communities, university students, student volunteers, and everyone else.

The Pandemic has disproportionately affected the education of girls. The best education programs of the past are not a sufficient guide to the future, nor to the intense crises currently facing education.

System-wide and systemic approaches, an enabling policy environment, and bolder policy measures, combined with disruptive teaching methods, are required along with an inclusive education—no girl left behind—and quality education for all as envisaged by SDG 4.

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How can we tackle this mammoth problem? 

Through its New Education Policy (NEP2020) and the NIPUN Bharat mission, the Government, has accorded the highest importance to foundational literacy and numeracy, and State Governments of India are coming up with concrete plans to implement it.

“The highest priority of the education system will be to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school by 2025. The rest of this Policy will become relevant for our students only if this most basic learning requirement (i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic at the foundational level) is first achieved.” (NEP2020)

National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy, NIPUN Bharat, has launched the Education Ministry of India under National Education Policy 2020. This scheme ensures that every child in India gains foundational numeracy and literacy by the end of Grade 3, by 2026-27. It instructs teachers and educators to prepare a study plan that develops the students’ literacy and basic language skills, transforming the monotonous education system into integrated, enjoyable, all-inclusive, and engaging. Among other actions, it asks volunteer teachers to hold lessons, prepare lesson plans, assign tasks to students, administer tests, grade student work, and participate in continuing education. (NIPUN Bharat)

The Policy is candid and clear. Yet, the current actions and delivery mechanisms are neither sufficient nor swift enough to fill the learning gaps, teach the foundational skills, and enroll all the ‘missing children’, all in one deep breath. We can agree that the problem is far deeper and wider and requires novel solutions that are dramatic and immediate.

The policy recommendations

My key policy recommendation for education is a Time-Bound People’s Movement involving all segments of society, and especially drawing upon communities as basic units of transformation. This requires us to:

  1. Treat FLN mission as a national emergency. Direct all resources towards education, as we did for the COVID. This means a commitment to a country-wide government-led people’s movement like was done to eradicate polio in the 1990s in which every government employee was given targets.
  2. Create a time-bound mission for 1 year. Enthusiasm cannot be maintained over a prolonged period. A people’s movement may be extended for one more year to reach the last adult or child. We can further invite the involvement of all segments of society, corporations, NGOs, private schools, and universities.
  3. Use proven methods that have the potential to hugely scale-up FLN quickly. It is possible to make a person FLN capable within three to six months, with just 90 sessions of 20 minutes from the start date using disruptive teaching methods such as Global Dream Disruptive FLN that came out of many trials and research.
  4. Deliberately involve women. Our experimental work in Karouni village in Lucknow has shown it is possible to make big strides in a short period using a people’s movement in which women and youth, including student volunteers, play a critical role. The women in their own communities can further be empowered to ensure all girls and boys are enrolled and attending school. They can hold community-based classes for children and adults. Women are the most powerful antidote to the problem of literacy anywhere. If they take the lead in their communities, they can turn entire communities around. We need to involve everyone, but in particular, empower the women.
  5. Ask everyone to come forward. When the government leads a people’s movement, everyone will come forward. No other action will be stronger or faster than to involve entire populations. We found this happening in Karouni, where we created a movement for literacy in the microcosm of a village. When we asked the women volunteers what motivated them to get involved and to continue the teaching work without any compensation, they said: Samman (greater respect in their communities) and Desh Bhakti (a desire to serve the nation). Such feelings of service to the nation have hardly been evoked in the recent past. People are ready and waiting.
  6. Develop an app for education similar to Aarogya Setu. An app such as Aarogya Setu for education can help enumerate every girl and boy child, and all adolescents monitor their enrolment and attendance. This app could include a door-to-door survey in each community nationwide to identify and enrol all children, especially the girls. We also suggest a helpline for girls and most disadvantaged children. These measures can help us find the ‘missing children’ and bring them back into the fold of education and the Samagra Shiksha scheme for OoSC (Out-of-school children).
  7. Increase financial investment in education. Fund those activities that specifically target adolescent girls’ education in secondary schools. It is one of the most transformative development strategies. These measures may include cash transfers or conditional cash transfers, aimed particularly at girls’ transition to and retention in secondary schools. Ensure that government budgets are gender-responsive and that all national education plans and policies prioritize gender equality.
  8. Accelerate PPPs or Public-Private Partnerships. Among other governance models, the PPP may be the best and quickest alternative combined with conditional cash transfer such as direct benefit transfer schemes India has successfully used in other sectors. The PPP is simple and largely expense-free. Many private schools and school chains will be happy to partner with the government to run their schools in a PPP modality.

Creating a new model of accountability

Away from the typical carrot and stick approaches, the threat of transfers, or reprimand, we need a novel model of accountability that comes from within. Cultivating intrinsic motivation yields dividends year after year; it harvests an inner sense of responsibility and a deeper commitment. It also inspires greater personal and professional satisfaction.

Research shared by Andreas Schleicher, Head, PISA, shows that when teachers share their classroom practice with other teachers, it leads to better practice. This new peer dynamic leads to new psychology and wider accountability. These sharing spaces at the local, regional and national levels lead to the cross-fertilization of ideas and improved practice. These, in turn, lead to greater satisfaction and fuel intrinsic motivation.

To share their successes, teachers will begin to undertake new and innovative work with their children. They will collect evidence of their new and innovative work.

We can mainstream these teacher sharing spaces in a teacher’s monthly timetable. This will lead to a better outcome than awards that have a short-lived impact. The best praise for a teacher is when they feel appreciated by their own peers, and when their students perform well.

For decades, we have tried the model of extrinsic accountability, rewards, and punishment. Now it is time to try out intrinsic motivation.

What are the indicators that intrinsic motivation is working? How can we train the teachers better?

It is easy to tell when a teacher is intrinsically motivated. We can see them spending more time in the school and on teaching. They spend more of their time learning and looking for resources on the internet, for example. We know many such government teachers such as Ugrasen Verma of Shravasti. He keeps searching the net for ideas, and on one of his searches, he ran into Global Dream. He downloaded the Toolkits and immediately printed them with his own funds, in color, for his Grades 1 and 2 children. The actions of such teachers result in greater student attendance and improved performance. These teachers become even more extraordinary with time. We just need a critical number of them to tip the balance.

Creating intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than the usual regimes of training that teachers receive. Most of the training is soon forgotten and rarely translated into classroom practice.

We also need to focus professional development on gender-responsive pedagogies. We need more rigorous scrutiny of teaching-learning materials for removing gender bias, among others.

Where is the child in this process?

It is important to consider how children feel, especially the girl child. Does she feel safe in school or in coming and going to the school? How is her social well-being and emotional health? Children should be able to express their views.

Joyful learning brings children into the fold of learning; boredom does the opposite (-0.13 effect size by John Hattie). The enjoyment of learning environments influences children’s development and disposition to later schooling.

A desire to improve equity for the disadvantaged children, creating more sensitivity, and a climate of caring and responsibility towards the girl-child needs to be combined with more mentorship and guidance by the teacher, better relationships within the school, between students, teachers and the school head.

(Author is Dr. Sunita Gandhi, Former Economist, The World Bank, a visionary educationist who launched ALfA, Accelerating Learning for All process and the Global Dream Disruptive FLN Campaign to attain 100% foundational literacy and numeracy.)

 

BJP and AAP are the two winners in the just concluded crucial Assembly elections. The scale of victory of these two parties surprised most analysts. In UP after three decades, a ruling party won, overcoming severe anti-incumbency. There are accusations of the rigging of the EVMs but this can’t be proved when VVPAT slips are not being fully counted. Even if they were to be counted, fraud could have been committed in other ways and this could become an endless exercise. AAP, a new kid on the block, won on the promise of change from the terribly corrupt politics of the moribund established parties.

Delivery is Important

So, the ruling BJP won because it said that it had brought about a change in the lives of the common people while AAP won on the promise of bringing about change in their lives. What is this change that was so attractive to the people?

BJP faced anti-incumbency due to high inflation, youth unemployment, farmers’ discontent, COVID mismanagement, etc. But its cadres went door to door to point to the Rs. 6000 is given to farmers, free grains, etc. to households, money for toilets and houses, etc.  The beneficiaries from these schemes are called `Labhartis’ by the pundits. The opposition also promised various things if they came to power but obviously, a bird in hand is better than two in the bush. Also, the credibility of the opposition parties in UP is low since they delivered little when they were in power earlier. Finally, public memory is short. Many of the schemes that are listed as achievements by the present government were initiated by the earlier regimes.

AAP benefitted from its record of delivery in Delhi on four things – education, health, electricity and water. Its reform of education has become a model which is sought to be emulated by other states. The poor have benefitted from free electricity, water and `mohalla’ clinics. This makes AAP’s promises to the people of Punjab credible. Of course, there is a big if. Delhi is rich due to its high per capita income which yields enough resources to finance the giveaways.

Businesses Oppose Giveaways

Punjab is a fiscally deficit state with a high debt resulting in a huge burden of interest payment and a bleeding state budget. Punjab had been complaining of stepmotherly treatment by the Centre and this can only get worse as the BJP would not want AAP to succeed lest it spreads its wings to other states. AAP is already eyeing the forthcoming elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. It had earlier opened its account in Surat and now in Goa.

So, the successful delivery of giveaways to people has benefited the winning parties in the recent elections. It also worked for AAP in the previous Delhi Assembly elections. But the financial and business analysts sneer at the giveaways, calling them fiscally imprudent.

Giveaways refer to subsidized (could even be free) provision of goods and services. This goes against the `capitalist’ principle that `workers have to earn from the sweat of their brow’. So, nothing should be free. But, businesses and middle-class taxpayers get many concessions. These have been estimated to be around Rs.5 lakh crore annually since 2006. They are justified as incentives to production and to savings. Similarly, giveaways to the marginalized sections also lead to greater demand in the economy and a boost to businesses. On this ground, the World Bank has proposed Universal Basic Incomes (UBI) in recent years and legitimized giveaways. In India, CII and FICCI have favoured the giveaways in recent years.

Those opposed to giveaways argue that they lead to a higher fiscal deficit. Since under the FRBM Act, the Fiscal Deficit has to be kept below 3% and the Revenue Deficit at 0%, giveaways prevent these targets from being achieved unless other essential expenditures are curtailed. Or, direct taxes are increased and that worries businesses.

Growing Marginalization

Given that the giveaways are helping to keep the rulers in power, it is unlikely that they would be phased out. In fact, more states are emulating what has worked in some states. Bicycles, laptops, mixie and so on have been given by governments in various states. The issue is whether this is the best way to boost the economy?

Indeed not. It would have been better to use the money to create productive employment so that people could earn incomes with which they could themselves buy what they needed. As the pandemic has shown, vast numbers do not have funds to buy even one week of essential supplies. Under these special circumstances, it was critical to give the marginalized sections food and the basics of life. Farmers have been pauperized over time because of a lack of a remunerative price for their crops. Recognizing this, the government initiated the transfer of money under the PM Kisan scheme.

PRICE survey shows, 60% in the bottom rungs of the income ladder have lost incomes since 2015-16 – a result of the wrong policies of the government. Demonetization, GST, NBFC crisis and the pandemic induced lockdown have pauperized the unorganized sectors of the economy. Not only incomes have been lost, but the loss of employment has dented people’s capacity to earn a livelihood. Inflation has further pinched their pockets. So, these affected sections have needed transfers from the government to survive.

To sum up, due to the wrong policies the marginalized lost lakhs of crores of incomes annually and then they were offered a fraction of this loss as benefits under the welfare schemes. People seem to discount the former but are grateful for the benefits received every year.

They also don’t see that the giveaways will give them more employment or incomes or the farmers a remunerative price in the long run. They will constantly need to be given something as supplicants. The money being spent now could have been better used to create productive employment and freed them from dependency.

Short-termism

People have turned short-termists. A benefit now is better than a promise of a better life in the future with higher incomes and employment. They do not trust the system to do that because they have not seen that happen over the last 75 years. The fruits of development have accrued mostly to the top 10% with little trickle down. This was visible during the pandemic.

Watch Prof. Arun Kumar talking about the current condition of the Indian Economy

This short-termism has spread from the economic to the socio-political space.

Democracy benefits the marginalized in the long run by bringing about accountability. But, presently, politics is about immediately gaining power for one’s own group by any means. So, politics divides the body politic cynically between various competing caste, community and regional groups. These divisions are deliberately accentuated. The vested interests who do not want accountability support such politics so that they can continue to control policies and indulge in cronyism. Ideology has no place in all this since if it at all delivers, it will be in the long run and no one has faith in that. Consequently, elections have been hollowed out with a vote becoming a means of getting something. It is not about enhancing democracy.

Social cohesion is in the wider interest of society in the long run. It enables peace and faster development in the long run. It reduces social waste resulting from social strife. But presently, majoritarianism is being promoted in a multi-cultural society which is aggravating mutual suspicion and increasing alienation. Politicians exploiting this social divide and pre-existing prejudices and suspicions can only lead to strife. This divide is being used to gain the allegiance of their group and divert their attention from the economic adversities they face – a short term project.

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Better quality of education and health would lead to more productive labour, greater entrepreneurship and more high-quality R&D, so essential to compete in the world. But these are in the long run. Better quality has not been delivered to the vast majority over the last 75 years and there is little hope of it being achieved in the near future so it is not an issue. Cheating in exams and malpractices in education give immediate benefits. A degree is only a passport to a better job. Education is no more about citizenship, democratization and knowledge acquisition.

To sum up, concern for the nation’s future, a long run project, is largely missing. Giveaways in hand and not promises of a better future have become the determinants of popularity. Turning people into supplicants forever seems to be immaterial. Politics today exploit this reality to the detriment of the socio-economic well-being and the strengthening of democracy. Who is to blame but the country’s political economy and the leadership? Can this be turned around or have we given up?

(Author of `Indian Economy’s Greatest Crisis: Impact of the Coronavirus and the Road Ahead’. 2020. Penguin Random House)

There are two narratives about the Russia-Ukraine war in circulation. One is projecting invading Russia as the villain and demanding immediate cessation of hostilities. Second is holding United States foreign policy responsible for this which even after the cold war got over in 1991 was unnecessarily trying to provoke Russia by trying to expand North Atlantic Treaty Organisation making the new states which emerged from Union of Soviet Socialist Republic as its members. Russia felt insecure at the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO and this became the cause of present war.

It is interesting to recall that when USSR was dissolved its 35,000 nuclear weapons were shared by Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The last three nations did not find any use of them and handed them over to Russia. Although, Ukraine did ask for security assurances and an agreement was reached with the mediation of US and United Kingdom.and US also helped Ukraine dismantle its nuclear weapons. Ukraine realised that it was not feasible for it to maintain the nuclear arsenal as well as guarantee its security. Moreover, US and USSR/Russia entered into treaties which reduced the number of nuclear weapons significantly.

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This reflects the mood of the time when cold war ended, especially the countries part of former USSR did not expect to get involved in wars in near future and were ready to give up their weapons. Ukraine assumed that in exchange for giving up its nuclear arsenal its security would be ensured.

However, the US and Russia continued to hold on to about equal number of nuclear weapons, around 5000-6000, amounting to 90% of total nuclear weapons in existence. This has ensured that total and lasting peace would not prevail. Moreover, while the five permanent United Nations Security Council members, all of them nuclear weapons states, did not give up their nuclear weapons, they expected other countries to sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Non-Proliferation Treaty abjuring the right to possess these weapons. Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran defied this order and produced or have the capability to produce their nuclear weapons.

US ambition to remain the only super power post cold war and its reluctance, along with that of other permanent UNSC members, to completely dismantle their nuclear arsenal as well as other weapons of mass destruction, triggers wars every few years somewhere in the world and sustains the military-industrial complex, backbone of its economy.

Rajeev Gandhi was the last Indian Prime Minister who attempted convincing nuclear powers to give up their weapons in United Nations General Assembly. Being unsuccessful, the Indian government decided to go ahead with production of its own nuclear weapons. Indira Gandhi had already carried out the tests two decades earlier.

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With the adoption of neo-liberal economic policies India decisively moved from the Non-Aligned Movement camp to being a friend of the US. Had India been part of the NAM, it would not have found itself facing the predicament where it cannot criticize the aggressor Russia in the present conflict and will possibly annoy US for not supporting Ukraine.

Traditionally, India is known to stand for the right of oppressed. Mahatma Gandhi criticized the forcible creation of Israel in Arab land and India boycotted the apartheid South Africa. It gave refuge to Dalai Lama and allowed Tibetans to form a government in exile, which still exists, and stood in support of Bengali nationalism facing attacks in Pakistan.

Today the world is devoid of a moral voice. UN has been made irrelevant first by US, UK and China and now by Russia because of the veto power possessed by permanent UNSC members. The powerful countries give two hoots to the international opinion. Unless the UN, especially the UNSC, is democratized there is little hope that international opinion can prevail and halt wars like the present one.

Had India followed the principle of non-violence, for which Mahatma Gandhi is revered globally and is an inspiration for all oppressed people, we would not be seen as soft towards Russia, clearly the oppressor in the current conflict. Had India persevered with NAM and built it as a block of nations which could have exerted pressure on the powerful countries to change their behaviour it could have resulted in a qualitatively different world order. Instead, India is pursuing a self-defeating dream of a permanent seat in the UNSC and realsing that it’ll never be part of G8 it has chosen to be part of alliances like BRICS and Quad to fulfill its ambition of being a second rung power in the world, if not the first.

It is not just the Indian students stranded in Ukraine who deserve our support, where all our attention is presently focused. We need to think about those Ukrainians who do not have the luxury of fleeing their homeland. Their lives have been devastated by the Russian attack and their future is uncertain. To be without a shelter in extreme cold can be a very miserable feeling. They have already started running out of food supplies. And there are little children among the stuck population.

It is a humanitarian crisis. We need to stand solidly with Ukrainians and compel Russia to stop this war. War can only beget violence and misery. It cannot be justified in any name. Instead of trying to imitate the world powers, India would do well to take an independent stand and work towards a word free of dangerous weapons. Only in a world free of weapons and armies can we hope to have enduring peace and friendship between countries.

 

By- Atam Jeet Singh

The Indian government is turning the evacuation of students from the war-torn country into a massive public relations exercise, blaming students for studying abroad. The government should not forget that they did not say a word against the Russian military offensive.

Putin’s war on Ukraine has entered its next phase, responsible for the destruction of civilian facilities. The Indian Aviation Ministry says 17 flights with around 3,500 Indians are expected to arrive in India on Friday. War is going on in Ukraine and Prime Minister Modi is holding an election meeting in Banaras.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at a rally that “If you have such good relations with Putin then you already knew that war was going to happen, then why didn’t you bring Indian students back home?”

Viral Videos

A video has gone viral of an Indian student in Kharkiv, Ukraine, saying, “I am trying to enter a train. We are here in Kholodna. Waiting for help but we are not being allowed on the train from Kharkiv to Leiv.” A student shared a video of a blast at the campus in which more than 400 Indian students trapped in Ukraine’s Sumy University have alleged that there has been no help being provided since the start of the war.

In another video, an Indian student from Vinnytsia University has sent the video from the Romania-Ukraine border. He says students waited in queues for 36 hours to enter Romania.

There are about 700-800 Indian students at a shelter in Pisochin, near Kharkiv. They have no blankets and almost no food. They had reached there yesterday after a warning from the Indian embassy. At present there is no help from Indian authorities what should they do now?

Watch this:

In a recent tweet, the Indian consulate in Ukraine has asked all Indian citizens who are in Kharkiv, except Pisochin, to fill up the registration form on an urgent basis.

The Ministry of External Affairs says that fifteen flights were landed in India during the last 24 hours and more than 3,000 Indians have been brought back safely. In fact, the citizens of most countries had already left Ukraine because their embassy gave directions in time.

A student said through a TV interview that she did not get any help from the Indian embassy and reached the border with other students, and got flight facilities from Romania to reach back home. She said, “immigration is a government’s duty, not a favor”.

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No wonder Uttar Pradesh is said to be the “Road to Prime Minister’s Chair” as the most populous state of India has 80 Loksabha Seats 403 Assembly Seat and winning or losing this giant has a lot more meaning than any other state in India. 

As UP Assembly Elections 2022 are in culminating on 7th of March and so far the news for BJP has not been good, rather there is an apparent edge to Samajwadi Party in the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav.

2 ladies are also grabbing their bite as Congress in the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Bahujan Samaj Party led by Mayawati are also seem to perform better than hoped. At least, they are no good news for BJP.

Now if BJP loses UP Assembly Polls, there are going to be cascading effects for BJP, and let’s have a look at them-

1- Question mark on Hindutva Politics

Let’s go to the memory lane when after winning the 2017 Assembly Elections with a thumping majority, BJP tried to make Manoj Sinha (now the Lt. Governor of Jammu & Kashmir UT) but it is said that Yogi Adityanath put his foot down and snatched the CM Chair from Sinha. 

There was no problem for BJP Leadership as Yogi Adityanath suited them to pursue their Hindutva agenda as a saffron-wearing seer Yogi Adityanath carried an image of hardcore rightwing politics and a descendent of Mahant Avaidyanath, who was one of the most instrumental leaders in Ayodhya Ram Mandir Movement.

For the last 5 years, time and again Yogi Adityanath proved his utility and remained the biggest mascot of Hindutwa. He used to go to other State Assembly Elections and as usual, he delivered speeches he is known for. Amusingly, he was sent to Kerala Elections where there is no such politics is praised. However, BJP’s narrative proved to be disastrous for them.

So, if BJP loses UP Polls 2022, there will be a big question mark on Yogi’s style of politics which is limited to 80% vs 20%, Thoko (Encounter) Policing and demolishing houses by Bulldozers as he never focussed on real issues like employment, stray cattle, and infrastructure. Taking inspirations from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he also organized large-scale events like Investor Summit and Defence Expo which yielded nothing, and taxpayers’ money was wasted like anything.

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2- Tough days ahead for Narendra Modi

Elections are fought on perceptions and there is a general perception across the country that if Yogi Adityanath is going in 2022, Narendra Modi is also not coming back to power in 2024. This is going to be the biggest challenge for BJP to save itself from this perception. 

Narendra Modi, who once used to have remedies for every illness, never lived up to the people’s exceptions. Now, he doesn’t talk about some of his most shouted issues like Black Money, Corruption, China, etc. He could not make a single start which is his own brainchild or implemented successfully and the public at large are benefitted. 

He just remained the old schemes of the UPA Government (some with the malign intension) and one thing which he did from his own idea was Demonetisation which proved to be disastrous for the people of India. The economy almost collapsed and businesses like real estate are yet to recover from this ‘masterstroke’ of Narendra Modi.

Implementing GST with 4 slabs in one stroke was another classic example of Narendra Modi’s bad governance and there are numerous such actions of him, some known to common people, some not. 

As of today, people don’t seem to be angry with Narendra Modi but they are sitting on the verge of getting angry. People have lost their jobs due to mishandling of Indian Economy, people have lost lives, their kins due to Covid Mismanagement so there are enough reasons when people can start thinking that enough is enough, let’s stop talking about Ram Mandir & Pakistan and start talking about jobs!

So, UP Assembly Polls are going to be the most crucial juncture for Narendra Modi as if BJP loses 2022 UP Elections, this can wake people up and start asking for jobs.

3- Presidential and & Vice-Presidential Elections

Another challenge that is BJP is going to face is the Presidential and & Vice-Presidential Elections which are due in July and August 2022, respectively. Looking at the current numbers of MPs, MLAs, and MLCs in states, BJP will be struggling to win these elections if they lose UP Elections 2022. The UP loss will certainly affect the fence-sitting parties who had supported NDA in Presidential and & Vice-Presidential Elections last time but if BJP loses UP Elections and the mood of the nation changes against BJP, it will be hard to anoint a President and Vice President of BJP’s choice.

As data suggests, if BJP comes below 150 in UP, the President will be elected from the opposition side and this will be a big blow to BJP. To understand the arithmetic of Presidential Elections, Watch this episode of What Does This Data Say-

It is the 7th Day since Russia invaded Ukraine but the way Ukraine fought against Russia in the first week of the war was contrary to the expectations of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the situation is different from what Russian military officials had predicted.

However, this is just the beginning of the war, which can turn into a fierce battle. Putin will hope that Russia will capture Kyiv within a few days of the attack. They will be confident that Western countries will be divided out of fear and will accept their claim over Ukraine, which they consider to be part of Russia.

Russia’s economy has also been badly affected by this war. There are also concerns in Putin’s big ally China that increased anger in Western countries could also go against China, causing serious damage to the Chinese economy. He has distanced himself from this attack.

At the same time, NATO can be stronger and both Finland and Sweden can join NATO for their own security. Putin waged this war so that Ukraine does not become a part of NATO. But, on the contrary, it may happen that NATO may get more member countries.

All these things can create problems for Vladimir Putin. All this is the result of Putin’s miscalculations. They trust very few advisors who just say yes to their yes. Now he will have to look at other options too.

Use of Lethal Weapons

Ukraine’s ambassador to the US claimed that the Russian military had already used thermobaric weapons. This weapon is also called a ‘vacuum bomb’, which absorbs the oxygen present in the atmosphere and makes a big explosion with a lot of energy.

Although ambassadors make tall claims at such times, videos of Russia’s thermobaric rocket launchers moving towards Ukraine have been seen.

There are also pictures that cluster bombs that have been used against civilians in Kharkiv. When these bombs explode, they take out small sharp pieces and injure the people around them.

They were banned in 2008 at an international convention but Russia did not sign it. He claimed that he would use cluster bombs in accordance with international humanitarian rules. But, the people of Kharkiv would have a different experience.

Vladimir Putin never hesitated to use dangerous weapons. He is believed to have approved the use of radioactive polonium to assassinate former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

It is also feared that he had given the Russian military intelligence agency permission to kill another former spy, Sergei Skripal, in 2018 in Salisbury, Britain, with the toxic nerve agent Novichok. A woman also died due to this nerve agent.

It does not appear that the danger to ordinary citizens bothers Putin. These killings were planned and the large-scale attacks in Ukraine are different. But, one thing is common that the lives of ordinary citizens do not matter before the larger interest of Russia.

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Nuclear Attack Threat

Is Putin ready to use nuclear weapons to conquer Ukraine? There may be such a possibility, but many experts say that the situation has not reached here yet.

It is true that Putin has clearly said that if anyone tries to interfere in Ukraine from outside, he will have to face more dire consequences than his history.

He has often said that if Russia is not included in the world, then why should the world continue to exist? But, history can repeat itself. When Stalin invaded Finland in 1939, he expected to lay down his arms within days. But, Finland retaliated strongly and the Russian army suffered heavy losses.

It was almost a year before the end of the Cold War. Finland lost its territory but remained an independent country. It is likely that the war in Ukraine will end in the same way.

It’s just the beginning. Ukraine has been standing still for six days, but that doesn’t mean it can hold Russia any longer.

But it is true that the first round of the war has not been one-sided. The response of Western countries has been stronger than people’s expectations, especially Putin’s.

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