Letters to the Editor: NEP 2020 provides no clue about govt’s responsibility regarding education
Government has been abdicating its responsibility on education by indiscriminately encouraging the private sector to set up schools and colleges
The hype over Rafale
The way TV channels hyped up the arrival of the five Rafale fighter jets at Ambala Air Force Base, one should be pardoned for thinking that the Indian Air Force was flying World War 1-era biplanes till the French fighters arrived. One channel went to the extent of saying that the Rafaleswere the first combat aircraft to have made a journey of almost 7000 km to reach India. One wonders if the Mirage 2000 fighters in the 1980’s or the Mystere IV in the 1960’s were brought in by road. IAF had possessed extremely capable platforms like SU-30MKI’s, MiG-29’s and Mirage 2000’s before the Rafales were bought at three times the price. Also, an Air Force needs years to fine tune a warjet into its operational doctrine. Extensive training, testing the limits of the aircraft and perfecting the requisite techniques take time. One wonders if the compromised media did this to take away public glare from the Modi government’s inability to counter Chinese aggression as well as its pathetic handling of the COVID-19 situation on the ground.
Group Captain Inderjeet Singh (retd)
Death of Indian businesses
The news of three Gujarati businessmen in Surat committing suicide has come as a shock to the entire business community in the country. As the owner of a buying as well as an export house, I know how difficult times have been for us over the last two to three years. The Coronavirus dealt the last nail into our coffins. My orders have plummeted by as much as 90 per cent, both inward and outward. I have had to lay off 12 employees and the remaining eight have had salary cuts to the tune of 50 per cent. I have chosen the moratorium of loan repayment offered by the banks though that means I will be ending up paying much more in the long run. But I do not have any other option. I just do not have the money. My daughter had secured admission in an Australian university and I do not have the money to send her there. Everything has been ruined. India will never forgive this government for ruining one of the most promising economies of the world.
Lives shortened by air pollution
A report on air pollution suggests we have lost more than a year of our average life span in the last one year alone. In 2019, the average Indian was apparently living 4 years, 3 months and 18 days less than he/she normally would, given the average life expectancy; that loss has now widened to 5 years, 2 months and 12 days, according to the latest report of the Air Quality Life Index Annual Update. The situation is worst for people living in northern India, as their life expectancy has shortened from 7 years in 2019 to 8 years now — affecting 24.8 crore people, including those living in the megacities of Delhi and Kolkata. Clearly, the government needs to take urgent steps to reverse this trend.
An alarmed citizen
COVID patients fleeced
It is a surprise why the Government is unable to stop the antiviral drug Remdesivir, much in demand to treat COVID-19 infections, being sold at more than three times its price. A vial that costs between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 plus GST is reportedly being sold for Rs 12,500 to Rs 13,000 in the black market in Tamil Nadu. Similarly, Tocilizumab, a drug that was recommended by ICMR for emergency use for COVID-19, costs Rs 28,500 plus GST per vial but is being sold in the black market for Rs 75,000 to Rs 90,000 a vial. India apparently has not set a price for Remdesivir because it has been approved only as an experimental therapy for COVID- 19, leaving the field open for black marketers. Till the availability of the medicineis institutionalised and the supply increases, the fleecing of patients is likely to continue.
Where is the Govt ?
What does Indian education need? Policies, Regulators and strategies or resources? The New Education Policy provides no clue to what the Government’s responsibilities are going to be. As it is the Government has been abdicating its responsibility on Education by indiscriminately encouraging the private sector to set up schools and colleges. Corporate bodies are encouraged to set up schools with their own resources set aside for CSR. NEP seems to indicate another push for privatisation.