70 words that define India, why Doklam stand-off won’t lead to a war, and more

Here are stories you must read on the weekend

GN Bureau | August 18, 2017


#Doklam   #Independence Day   #weekend stories   #Prakash Javadekar  


As India celebrates 70 years of freedom, Governance Now looks back and picks 70 words – or phrases, buzzwords, slogans, events – that best define this ancient nation and young democracy. Here, you will find much to be proud of, much tinged with pangs of nostalgia. Then there are entries that provide a cautionary tale on the lines of “those who ignore the history are condemned to repeat it”. Not to mention some that support the fond belief that history’s second act is usually not so tragic.
 
 
Governance in the nitty gritty details of the everyday life is tedious and slow, backbreaking and endless. Ask any district collector or assistant engineer and he will tell. These issues magnify a hundred fold at the last point in the delivery chain. While we have well-considered policies in place, with even the financial resources to implement them, it is when we reach the last mile, and are at the point of handing over the public good to the citizen, that the glitches arise. Much has been written about the quality of the delivery of services at the last mile. And yet, the problems remain, often insurmountable. And so, as we enter the eighth decade of our freedom, the challenges are clear and indistinct, sharply focussed and fuzzy. 
 
 
My first priority – and that reflects my worry as well – is to improve the quality of government schools. It’s a tough job. Unfortunately, government schools which were much better earlier have deteriorated in two decades, says Prakash Javadekar, minister of human resource development. He adds, “That happened after teachers got more facilities – and I believe they must get it. After this, we saw they were lacking in motivation. There is a good lot among them and also a lot which is not so good. As a result of this, teaching in government schools has suffered. Then after the RTE [Right to Education Act] was brought in, there were no detentions in schools. This further reduced the accountability of teachers as he is not tested for anything. Therefore, we are now introducing detentions at class 5th and class 8th.”
 
 
India and China are not prepared for a war over Doklam plateau in Bhutan, assessed JNU professor Srikanth Kondapalli, a well-known China expert who is back  from Beijing and Shanghai after spending two months there. In an interview with Governance Now, Kondapalli said both countries will not opt for war as it will be catastrophic and millions would die.
 
 
 

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