Monday, July 20, 2009


1.Drug Abuse is a Social Evil

"Drug is Death: Say no to Drugs " and other similar slogans visible on billboards and newspapers are proofs of the social awareness drug abuse has attracted. Drug related crimes are equally conscience stirring and have made people much over it.
We all have relied on the drugs. Our doctors have prescribed for the various diseases, so, how can its use be an abuse. The use of psychoactive substances for obtaining relief from mental tension or physical discomfort i.e. for therapeutic uses is legitimate use of drugs. Contrary to this, when used for attaining pleasure or new experiences and consequent physical or psychological harm is termed as drug abuse. Such drug abuse induces drug dependence and ultimately addiction and habituation. In drug addicts there is enslavement to drugs and compulsion to obtain and consume it by any means. They develop a psychological and physical dependence on the effects of the drugs and an effect detrimental to the individual and to the society.

The abusable drugs are of various types; sedatives or depressants that relax the central nervous systems, induce sleep and provide a soothing effect. Stimulants activate the central nervous systems and relieve tensions, make them aggressive and counteract fatigue. Narcotics, like depressants affect — the central nervous system and produce feelings of pleasure strength and lesson inhibitions. Hallucinogens produce distortion of perceptions and dream images.

Drug abuse has been explained by psychologists and sociologists. It is generally regarded that pleasurable sensations produced by drugs reinforce their use or it satisfies certain psychological needs, or is a response to fear and insecurity to the conditions of modern life, often association with users is also regarded as a reason for accepting drugs. Drug abuse can also be explained in terms of weakening of social bonds between individuals and society due to maladjustment alienation and noncommitments.

A new dimension in drug abuse has been its use by sports persons to enhance their potential beyond humanly endurable limits. The incident of Ben Johnson was a jolt to the sports lovers all over the world and has caused much thinking on effort to curb the recurrence of such incidents. However, with unfailing regularity such controversies erupt, for example Katrin Krabe.
It would be appropriate here to search for the causes of drug abuse. Among sports persons it can be safely attributed to the search and urge for glory. It can be an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over the others in the achievement orientation of modern society. The ends have become all powerful and means have been relegated as secondary.

The use of drugs among children which is most shocking and astounding can be variously explained. Juvenile delinquents take to it in defiance and deviance to the social values. Some children accept it under peer group pressure and as an act of proving their 'masculinity. Others take to this due to weakening of emotional bonds between parents and siblings. The children who are in an impressionable age require much effectual and emotional bond to wean them away from such antisocial activities.
In rural areas the use of psychoactive substance is for religious purposes and on ritual occasions. However, it is also used to relieve fatigue and also a source of entertainment.
In industrial urban setting the use is for more or less the same reasons.

Apart from the health and physical disadvantages drug abuse causes, it has also led to e acceleration in crime. An addict would stop, nothing to get his dose of the drug. There has been a spurt in thefts and murders by these addicts whose dependence physical and psychological upon the drugs is so great that the accepted values and norms of the society are shelved and their prime concern becomes acquiring their dosage.
There has been an increase in smuggling and peddling of those drugs as the economic advantages are numerous. It has also made the gangs engaged in such activities more vicious and violent as the economic stakes are very high.

This delineation of drug abuse brings us to the point where reference must be made to efforts to curb their evil. Given that the use of drugs have historical and cultural context makes prevention more complicated. Efforts have been made to combat drug trafficking, treat addicts and prevent drug abuse.
India being on the transit route faces a challenging and unenviable task. However, our Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic

Substances Act has not been very effective, Seizures have increased and so have indictment for offences but that is reflective only of the increase in those activities and not any positive development of control of drug abuse. Other legal sanctions are merely suggestions of intention and not actions.
Government regards drugs as a source of revenue and therefore its cultivation cannot be stopped. The inefficiency of administrative machinery in policing and preventing abuse needs no highlighting.

The only positive development is the establishment of de-addiction and detoxification centers which, have enabled us to salvage some people from destruction. However, these centers are expensive and the addicts have a tendency to relapse unless they have a strong will power and a desire to abdicate the malaise. Voluntary associations have also been doing a commendable task.

In conclusion, we can say that drug abuse has been realized as a major evil. It is a social problem and has legal ramifications. It has been given a high profile now and mass media has been disseminating information to educate people with the intention of preventing drug abuse. The battle continues and war on drugs is on.

2.Scientific Temper and Rational Planning"Realizing these limitations of reason and scientific method, we have siill to hold on to them with all our strength, for without that firm basis and background we can, have no grip on any kind of truth or reality".
These are a large number of people in our society who have formally studied or are studying science, clearly driven by job expectations. This has caused the retreat of traditional values and a degree of modernization and homogenization of society, it Is now certainly far less segregated along lines of caste, language or religion. Those who are engaged in industry, business and' commerce have no time to determine what identity their counterparts belong to. This is certainly a major achievement in free India.
However, if one looks at some of our fundamental problems, there is much cause for dismay and disappointment. Take the question of population. Even 50 years ago. At the time of Independence, the Indian subcontinent was already crowded. Today's India is adding in population in terms an Australia every year. But we are not adding to our resource base in the same proportion.
Irrationality is the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitary toilets for a large majority of our population, while a small segment is busy with star TV, CNN, MTV and so on.
After independence a substantial and comprehensive base of science and technology has been created and several scientists and technologists trained. Among the laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, there have been some very good examples of integration with application. To mention only two : the Central Leather Research Institute has done well to help export leather goods; the National Chemical Laboratory too has a good record of working with industry.
The other laboratories, in spite of high quality manpower and facilities, have not yet been able to upgrade industry or provide new designs and processes. A recent move to make them earn fifty percent of their operating cost outside of the government funds, may force them to integrate with industry.
Agriculture has seen a really successful tieup between the laboratories and the farms. We must continue their association as agriculture will now face another revolution based on biotechnological innovations, it is in atomic energy and space sciences, where the applications have been tightly knit with laboratory work, that progress has been really very impressive. Indian scientists and technologist expected that links between thelaboratories and application areas would be strengthened, and that we would soon see a strong, selfreliant industrial and agricultural development.
But now we face irrationality. The opening up of the economy and liberalization, after four decades of regulation and control, has been widely welcomed. If the new open door policy succeeds, India Is expected to have large manufacturing bases for products of multinationals, hopefully supplying an overseas market with goods that will compete globally in price, quality and performance. This could happen at least in a range of products where our resource base would augment the advantage of lowcost skilled labor.
On the other hand, we will only be manufacturing to designs evolved in one of the advanced countries. The design capability we have built up is in danger of wilting. The exceptions would be where the MWCs find it' profitable to integrate Indian design effort into their mainline work. This is likely to be limited.
What are the prospects of product of Indian technology breaking into the export market? Software export has been growing well and there is considerable scope for expansion. As a general rule, the scale of manufacture has been small. Even our larger activities would be mini or micro in international comparison. Many of these industries have been too small to support independent design effort, let alone research and development. There is a real danger to the survival of many of these industries In the face of competition from overseas giants who can indulge in price cutting and dumping with takeovers, dismantling of any line of manufacture could easily happen in the guise of rationalization.
Why is it important for India to continue its faith in selfreliance? Many people would point out that many economics such as those of South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and others have done well in growing as part of international division of labour. Let us recall that Indian with a population of 800 million and China with over one billion are the two potentially largest economies. They will grow for the next several decades. They will therefore, be large markets for both capital goods and consumer articles.
India will continue to build power stations, extended electricity supplies, add to its fleet of trucks, modernize the railway system, build petroleum refineries, and so on. Equally, the consumer demands for automobiles, two wheelers, TV sets and so forth will also continue. It is important, therefore, that we not only manufacture these articles in the country but also improve them with newer designs based on research and development undertaken in the country. There is a need to integrate ourselves into the global economy at our own pace as equal partners but not be stamped into joining as second class citizen.
Whenever one defends the policy of the opening up of our economy the case is on the basis of bringing in the latest technology required to rapidly build up the nation. Quite often we end up getting technology, for soft drinks or fast food. Verghese Kurien posed the question "Why do we need to import the technology for potato chips?" A news item talks about the entry to India of the American fast food chain, Mc Donalds. The entry is justified on the ground that it would attract overseas tourists.
The list of irrationalities does not end here. At another level, there is the irrationality of the Indian Science Congress instituting an award for astrology. Another irrationality staring us in the face is the Dunkel Draft that is being negotiated by the GATT. Western Pharmaceutical companies have complained in the past about India's patent laws. Even if, these laws did not suit them, the country has been able to supply lifesaving drugs at affordable prices. Under the new dispensation, this may not be so.
Even more ominous are the provisions relating to intellectual property rights as they apply to agriculture. According to noted agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, free flow of knowledge across national frontiers helped the growth of agriculture and animal husbandry worldwide. The provisions, of the Dunkel Draft favour Europe and North America and mitigate against the developing countries. Even in the field of computer software, the Dunkel provisions mitigate against the hours. In a number of cases, court orders were wrongly interpreted to the chagrin of the affected parties, forcing them to go the High Court or the Supreme Court for contempt proceedings.
Not surprisingly, the system of ready justice dispensed by criminals and antisocial elements with the connivance of political parties is finding increasing acceptance in society. The Kini murder case is only the tip of the iceberg. Political parties are not prepared to take up the cudgels against the trend. Rather, they denigrate the judiciary.
It is not therefore, surprising that the leaders of political parties at the national level are talking of reasserting the supremacy of Parliament visavis the judiciary and of amending the Prevention of Corruption Act to exclude the elected representatives from its purview and so on. There is also a move to amend the provisions of the Constitution to bring the judiciary under the undisputed hold of the executive in the matter of appointment and transfers of judges of the higher judiciary. The latest in this series of the proposed onslaughts is the move to curtail the scope of Public Interest Litigation by making it obligatory for the applicant to pay a deposit of Rs. 1 lakh and to confine the eligibility of the applicants to those who are below the poverty line and so on.
The arrogance and insensitivity of the executive at the State and Central levels were decisively brought home recently once again by its actions of invoking the provisions of the Official Secrets Act. In a recent PIL case in the Bombay High Court pertaining to the reported death of over 1.000 children during the last four, years in the tribal area of Melghat in Amravati district, the Maharashtra Government took the unbelievable stand that the two reports of inquiry made by Secretaries to the Government could not be made available s they were secret. Fortunately, the court did not uphold this plea and directed that they be made available to the parties to the litigation immediately. The other PIL onan equally vital public issue—the safety standards in nuclear establishments—asked whether precautions were being taken conforming to international standards and whether the regulatory and overseeing institutional arrangements were adequate. Again, a plea of the matter being secret was taken in the court by the Government of India. Unfortunately, the court accepted the plea and dismissed the PIL.
As it happens, the State Government concerned is being ruled by a coalition of the Shiv Sena and the BJP, and the Centre by a coalition of 13 political parties with Congress support. Therefore, in a sense, almost all political parties are partners in making a mockery of an open, transparent and responsible government which a democracy is expected to provide. It also shows their disregard for the judicial process and judicial review in such areas of critical public interest.
This inevitably raises the question of the direction in which the Indian democracy is heading. Sooner than later, the question which Mr. Thackeray asked "Who rules this country, the executive or the judiciary," will have to be answered in no uncertain terms. It is the rule of law which governs the country. The executive or the judiciary or Parliament are mere instrumentalities. It is a travesty of truth to say that during the 50th anniversary of our Independence, answers to such basic questions are still unclear to the ruling political elite.

3.Education As a Short of Commodity TodayOver the past three decades, there has been a sea change in the attitudes of people connected with education Teachers, administrators and planners, students and parents are all looking at education as a sort of commodity that leads on to better earnings and status in society. It is not surprising that it is so. But what is unfortunate is another development leading to an attitudinal change in society. The intrinsic value of education is no longer recognized although pious platitudes are mouthed quite frequently.
The main reason is that the flux of change has caught up with education much more dramatically than with other areas of activity. While the demand for education has been growing steadily in the developing countries including India, quality has not kept pace with it. Another factor, and an equally disturbing one, is the politicization of the campuses. Not only colleges and universities, even high schools seem to be getting infected by this virus. It is not uncommon to find on many campuses pedagogues espousing the cause of one political party or the other, no in any academic sense, but with a fervor that would do a party spokesman proud.
About 30 years ago, student unions and debating societies discussed live political issues. The debates were of a high level with the participants thorough in their home work Communication skills too were good and even those who set their sights on politics as a career went through this exercise with earnestness and sincerity. Similarly, mock parliaments marked the academic calendar in many colleges; the professors in charge spent a lot of time and energy guiding students and training them in the art of debating.
These debates attracted a large number of students who came to cheer their compatriots. There was on all sides a desire to learn, be informed and to enlarge the mental horizon. This aspect, which made college life in the fifties and sixties valuable, is sadly missing today on a vast majority of the campuses. Yet another aspect is that the pedagogues were by and large scholars who believed in furthering knowledge. They had an abundant love for their students and could spare time for those who cane to clarify their doubts. Thus, the mutual bond of affection and scholarship helped cement a lifelong relationship between the teacher and the taught. This is conspicuous by its absence today.
These losses cannot be counterbalanced by an impressive infrastructure in the form of stately buildings and an array of instruments in laboratories. The human material of the earlier years did in a large measure fulfill the task set out for it, namely becoming teachers in the true sense of the word and this was done in an environment of virtual poverty of hardware. It is here that the mentors of the olden days score over the pedagogues of today. Perhaps, the teachers of these days worked in a spirit of self-effacement. An inexhaustible love for learning characterized their daily schedule and this got transformed into an abiding love or teaching, in a way, this was the next best that one could wish for in the place of the ancient "gurukula" pattern. But the institutionalized classroom instruction has degenerated in the last three decades or several reasons.
The unholy preoccupation with things that are material (which, of course, is the result of the present consumerist trend), the craving to get rich quickly, the closing of the avenues for certain fields of study to the youth who genuinely pine for these and the decadence that has set in society as a result of the erosion of ethical values are to blame. Caste considerations in the selection of candidates to courses and jobs are also contributing factors. Educationists, by and large, feel that this type of affirmative action by the Centre and the State Governments has been carried to the extreme and need? to be modified to meet the aspirations of the rising generation.
It is a pity that parents are now intent on pushing their children into certain grooves of academic activity. This is evident from the obsession of parents with getting for their wards seats in the professional institutions. There are instances of middle class parents becoming almost paranoid about seats in engineering and medical colleges.
The proliferation of these "self-financing" colleges has in a way satisfied this great demand. But the categorization of seats under the labels "free" or "payment-based" and "payment" has led to an anomalous situation. The students selected ur.der the "free" seat quotas are perforce to pay tuition fees as prescribed for the Government or aided colleges. Often, the hapless scholars have to pay something more on the sly, especially while opting for preferred courses such as computer science arid engineering. But those selected under the "payment" category have to shell out three or four times more. Not unexpectedly, this type of differentiation — two sets of students paying vastly different fees for the same course — produces in the minds of the youth a distorted sense of values.
To be fair to the private managements, it must be said that the cost of establishing and running a professional college has gene up steeply in the last few years. Also, the pressure on the managements to improve the facilities has increased, thanks to the statutory bodies such as the All India Council for Technical Education and the Medical Council of India. The objective, no doubt, is to make the errant managements who are in the habit of commercializing education mend their ways. This has had a salutary effect in almost every State where the self-financing colleges came up.
The conduct of examinations by different agencies including the school boards and universities is another prickly issue. In the last few decades, the number of candidates appearing for various public examinations right from the SSLC through the higher secondary to the degree and postgraduate levels has grown up by leaps and bounds. Indeed, it is becoming unmanageable (running into lakhs of candidates in certain categories) for any centralized agency such as the school boards.
A strong case can be made out for decentralizing the system taking care at the same time that a modicum of uniformity in evaluation and assessment of answer scripts in maintained. What is to be guarded against is the leakage of question papers that has come to characterize the modern scene. The "necessary evil" of examinations cannot in the present context be replaced by any other system: the only remedy is to make the entire process, right from the setting up of question papers, invigilation, paper dispatch and valuation to the announcement of results foolproof. Whenever a reexamination is ordered, it is the hardworking, studious candidates who undergo greater hardship. The curbing of malpractices is only one aspect, refining the techniques of evaluation and selection of teachers of integrity to be in charge of the process is the crucial part.
Campus watchers are struck by the distortion that has crept into the academic field in the last three decades, namely the neglect of languages, the humanities and the social sciences. A study of subjects such as history, politics, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, languages and literature provides for a deeper understanding of human relationships, behavior and social currents. A majority of students go in for sciences and commerce. While this trend is in consonance with the science and technology age, the skewed preference for these subjects may not in the long run benefit society.
There must be some way of making the humanities attractive to youth, both from the point of view of employment opportunities and from a higher plane. Also, the teachers who handle the subjects must be men and women of exceptional ability, capable of sparking student interest. Unfortunately, such teachers are dwindling in numbers all over the country. A vigorous effort must be made to attract talented youth to the humanities which are essential for the evolution of human development.

4.Policy of Compensatory Discrimination: A need for Review

Compensatory discrimination is one of the most controversial issues. But out of the whole issue one of its most debatable program is the policy of reservation. It is often confused that compensatory discrimination or protective discrimination and reservation program are the same thing. In fact, reservation program is one of the programs of the policy of compensatory discriminations. lt includes, financial, housing and health facilities apart from reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
It is true that reservation has generated much passion than any other issue. There are reasons behind it. Reservation for SCs and STs had been accepted in late 1940s by our 1st generation leadership who were much committed for the organic unity of the Indian society. The stigma of 'untouchability' in case of SCs and 'isolation' of STs could be broken only by education aid mass emancipation. For this, the masses were also educated, which is evident especially after 1932, i.e., Poona Pact Gandhiji's special drive for the emancipation of the untouchables helped to generate an ideology which could counter the communal ideology of untouchabiiity. Thus, reservation for the depressed classes was an outcome of ideological campaign along with the fear to lose national unity. So the whole issue had been internalized in a different sociopolitical situation, forty years ago.
Now the situation has changed alongwith a major shift in the issue. At present reservation is demanded not for "untouchables" of "Physically and culturally isolated tribal groups", who constituted minority; but for a large section of masses who constituted 52% of the total populations, which includes some big land owning castes like Yadavas & Kurmis (in Bihar).
Secondly, there is no threat to the unity of India, after forty years of independence it is more secured. Now people want their share in the cake of national polity. And in this particular point the reservation policy takes political dimension. The trend to use reservation as a tool to mobilize certain sections of masses is also having a long history. In 1939, Chaudhary Charan Singh demanded 50% reservation for the farmers. Later in 1947 he wrote an article in Hindi in this regard. He achieved a little success to mobilize Kisans. As neither constitutes a class or a community. In fact the present structure in India is not homogeneous; they divided among big landlords, middle peasants and landless laborers. So to unite them as one class is something out of question. Later, Chaudhary Charan Singh too shifted to mobilize masses on the basis of caste. This is evident in his political career during the Janata Government.
A similar move could be seen in the political mobilization of Shri Ram Manohar Lohia who tried to break the hegemony of Brahmins and Banias by mobilizing the shudders and other backward classes. The N.F. Government's move on August, 1990 is very conspicuous in this regard. The Prime Minister was blamed dividing national unity on caste lines and promoting casteism for personal political gains, the circumstantial evidences raised a needle of suspicion on the intention of V.P. Singh.
But all these attempts at national level failed to mobilize a vote bank of more than 50% masses. The reasons are quite simple. Firstly, the 52% of OBCs (as calculated by the M.C.R.) is not a homogeneous category. There are economic, social, political, cultural and ritual differences within these groups. There are depressed castes, communities juxtaposed with politically dominant and economically well of castes. The dominant sections have vested interest in the policy of reservation. But the really depressed are so backward that they are not educated enough to reap the benefit of reservation.
In fact, it is a political battle of two groups of elites; the elites who belong to "forward castes" and the elites who belong to the other" backward castes". The third group of elites, i.e. the elites of SCs and STs had already had their share. And they do not find any substantial gain by taking side of the OBCs as this would dilute their own interest.
Whereas elites of SCs and STs have their own mass bases, the elites of forward castes and OBCs do not have distinct mass base. Now, this is clear that both the elites are trying to carve out their own mass base so as to ensure their political position. But, where the SCs and STs are homogeneous and distinct categories the OBCs are heterogeneous hence their calculation is bound to fail.
Secondly, the nonacceptance of reservation policy by a vocal section of people of India could be understood in terms of regional variations. The policy of reservations for the OBCs is tremendously successful for South Indian states whereas it failed in the North Indian states (i.e. Hindi belt, except Bihar). It is because of the historical and ideological roots of the OBC movement in the state as it generated the socialist and secular political forms which has taken support from the masses of both SCs the STs as well OBCs. This is mainly due to the social composition. The masses of South Indian states are largely deducted and the OBCs are dominant there both numerically and politically. This is not the same for North Indian states where dominant sections belong to the upper castes.
There are various other reasons. The policy of job reservation could excite small sections of masses but not the whole people." The "Economic Liberalization" has challenged the public sector corporations and government jobs. Their absorption capacity is bound to decrease. In an open market, naturally merit will be given priority. Hence, there is a need to review the whole policy of compensatory discrimination, if we are really concerned about social justice.

5.Resource Crunch In Education

"Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading."
Institutional education is the focal agency which 'socializes' the individual after his primary exposure within the family. Education does not mean attaining literacy, nor does it mean pursuing knowledge, nor does it mean pursuing knowledge merely for the sake of knowledge. It means much more than that. Ideally speaking education must instill and transmit the norms and values of a society; it should prepare the young people for adult roles and select young people in terms of their talents and abilities for appropriate roles in adult life. Moreover, education must realize its potential for creating a more equal and just society.
The imperative of the structure of education in a country are derived from its historical education pattern and the present priorities. In India, historically our education system was conspicuous by its specificity. For a long time access to learning was considered to be the preserve of higher castes and that too only for males. Although there have been glaring exceptions to this but this has been the general trend. The content of education was nonsecular and was oriented towards making the individual accept and conform to the structure of society and completely subsume his individuality into the society.
Seeds of modern education were sown by foreign Christian missionaries, the British Government and some progressive Indians. The introduction of modern education in India was basically motivated towards catering to the politicoadministrative and economic needs of the British colonizers. As such the system was geared towards providing clerks and lower level whitecollar workers to the Raj and requisite attention towards vocationalization of education was not paid. Somehow, this system was maintained in postIndependence period too, resulting in an immense proliferation of (substandard) institutions of higher learning, a drain on the exchequer and worse the creation of a vast population of educated unemployed youth thoroughly disenchanted with the system. The inadequacies in terms of quality and quantity of primary education, the inaccessibility of education to sections of women and other weaker sections of society are apocalyptical.
Recently the education process has been further vitiated by the process of politicization of education. Politics has crept into education at the level of academic appointments, as well as student activism and last but not the least, even to the 'content' of education imparted to students. On top of it all, is the financial burden thrown on the education system by the government by announcing reductions in educational allocations.
In fact the drying out of financial support from the government to education is only the logical fallout of the resource stringency faced by the government grants. In this context the talk of privatizing higher education and even privatizing textbooks is gaining currency.
In an era of prevailing financial exigency and the ongoing economic reforms, the need for devising strategies for ensuring costeffectiveness of educational schemes cannot be overstated. There are sufficient reasons to rationalize the funding of higher education on the grounds of equity and efficiency. In this context it would be worth mentioning that higher education enjoys government support to the extent of eighty five percent and the government decision to freeze grants has come as a blot from the blue to the university community. As it is, the education sector had been reeling under a less than adequate budgetary support (approximately 4 percent in the Eighth Plan as against a six percent upwards projection of the National Policy on Education Revised, 1992) and the double impact of rapid inflation and rupee, devaluation. The combined impact of all this is that the 'real' allocation to education has declined over the years.
The university community can legitimately fell outraged because the level of funding has' been decelerated at a time when they are already plagued with underinvestment and fiscal deficits. Besides, the freeze has been slapped on, without providing alternative avenues of fundinglike liberal loan scheme or taking policy initiatives on the fiscal front for mobilizing additional resources by universities as are generally available to autonomous bodies.
The most important issue therefore is to identify alternative sources of finance which could be exploited. At the same time effective and gainful utilization of available resources is essential. Thus, a two pronged strategy can be envisaged— one relates to measures for effecting economy in expenditure and other to the mobilization of additional resources.
More than sixtyfive percent of university expenses go towards the salary bill of teaching and nonteaching staff. Economy measures therefore largely affect the staff in terms of either retrenching staff or postponement of recruitment of faculty members. This not only undermines the university plans to carry out ongoing schemes but also strikes at the root of the intellectual viability of the university system. However, since economy in budgeting is unavoidable one would be betteradvised to check nonacademic expenditure by scaling down dependence on nonteaching staff and cutting administrative expenses. Economy can also be effected by devising methods of interinstitutional sharing and lending of facilities like libraries and laboratories on which huge investments are made and yet they are not fully utilized.
As far as the question of mobilization of additional resources is concerned, a case can be made out for raising tuition fees. Though, the requirements of universities are too high even for raised tuition fees to sufficiently provide for, yet a beginning in this direction is most welcome. More so, because most' of the beneficiary groups largely hail from the better off section of the society. In this context schemes need to be devised which would extract fees from beneficiaries according to their income ability or allow them to meet the educational expenses out of interestfree loans while the education of poor sections of society should be suitably subsidized by the Government.
Besides an upward revision of fee structure (especially in professional courses) other resource augmenting measures include full recovery of costs of education from foreign students, mobilization of resources from industry by way of initiating relevant programs for managerial and technical staff of industries and other commercial organizations, undertaking consultancy projects from industry, revising users charges like hostel, laboratory fees, library etc,
Thus, unless an equitable and efficient funding mechanism is devised the process of upgradation of human capital the sine qua non of enhancing resource use and productivity will be seriously handicapped. Moreover, productivity enhancing new innovations and technologies will also be difficult to come by from the conveyor belt of institutions of higher learning. Privatization of Textbooks
Privatization or denationalisation of textbooks is put forward as an extension of the process of privatization of education. Let us first see what 'denationalization" of textbooks means and what its implications are. Nationalization in its classical sense means the state or its agencies like the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and its affiliates in the states (SCERTs) are responsible for the editorial, printing and distribution of textbooks. In this light one can argue that the debate on denationalization of textbooks is irrelevant because firstly prescribed textbooks exists on!, for school level classes (I to XII) there are no 'textbooks' as such for higher classes and secondly because the state does intent the private sector to share the enormous load of printing of textbooks and is completely dependent on the private sector for their distribution.
Despite, the at best 'partial nationalization' of textbooks that we presently have in India, to lobby of private publishers want this sector to be thrown open to them which means that they would be able to cater to the enormous demand of the growing school population. Normatively, there can be no objection to such a proposal if it will lead to better textbooks in terms of language, style, subject matter and production. The ability of private publishers to singularly meet the enormous demand and the cost to the consumer can be the only other considerations in this regard.
The prospects of private sector cunning out better textbooks are very bleak if the past performances of this sector are any indication. Mostly, private publishing is.a one man show with a majority of publishing houses lacking in even the mandatory editorial departments not to speak of production staff, proofreaders etc.
The ability of the private sector to handle the vast magnitude of demand is also suspect because no single publisher can possibly have the requisite infrastructure—in professional staff, warehousing spaces, sales outlets etc. besides the huge financial investment required. As far as the price to the consumer is concerned we can expect a steep rise in prices because the private sector does not work on the ecclesiastic principle of 'noprofitnoloss'. Private sector works only for profit.
If what we have said above seems like an advocacy ofstatus quo ante then we would like to quickly state that what is required is a rational costbenefit analysis of the two extremes. The private sector should weigh its merits visavis the state endeavor and devise ways which maximize benefits to the society as well as the entrepreneur. Surely entrepreneurship cannot be given precedence over the subjective quality of education. Efficiency of resource utilization while at the same time ensuring quality in education so as to enable it to perform the sociological task expected of true .education should be the only guiding criteria.

6.Environmental PollutionOne of the biggest problems the plaguing mother nature is the problem of pollution. Man is just one of millions of life forms existing on the earth, albeit a very intelligent one. But this does not entitle him to interfere in nature's law of ecological balance. He is as much dependent upon other living forms as they are on hire. When man (or anyone else) introduces something extraneous in the natural cycle which positively harms life and creates imbalance, it is known as pollution. Since man is the only life form who has been able to understand nature to some extent, he is the only one in position to cause pollution and unfortunately, he has been doing it at his own free will.

Pollution can be of many types. One of them is the Air Pollution. The very air we breathe in and which sustains life is being poisoned by exhausts from automobiles, smoke from chimneys, dust flam mining and construction activities and numerous other sources of dangerous gases and vapors. Air should have a certain composition which is mostly Nitrogen, Oxygen and very little of other gases but these sources emit carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, hydro carbons and radioactive vapors. This disturbs the composition of air and harms all the biological processes dependent upon it.

Another type of pollution is water pollution. 90% of our body is water. We need water for cooking, drinking, bathing, cleaning, industrial processes and cooling etc. Many types of life forms lie in it. All animals and plants need water for survival. In fact, presence of water is one main reason why life exists on earth. But man has not spared even this life giver. Sewage effluents, chemical discharges, dyes, agricultural wastes (fertilizers etc.), fuels of ships etc. have converted clean, sparkling water of rivers, lakes and seas into dull, rotting mass of sludge. The aquatic life is being destroyed; dirty water has become the sources of epidemics, diseases and foul smell. Fresh water bodies are being converted into chemical ponds.

Yet another type of pollution is the land pollution. Agricultural chemicals, sewage effluents, chemical discharges from industry, mining and construction activities have denuded the surface of earth. Once lush green land has been converted into a desert. Land subsidence, floods, ground water pollution, dust and fumes are all the results of land pollution. Wild life is being deprived of its habitat and the very trees man used to worship once, are today becoming victims of his greed and carelessness.
While on one hand, atomic power is being used in innumerable ways for mankind's benefit, on the other hand, the same is becoming a major and highly hazardous source of pollution called Radiation Pollution. In this case it is not the atomic power plants but atomic explosions that are the real culprits. Harmful rays and particles, emitted can create abnormalities in body, deformities, mutations, skin cancer, blood cancer and a number of other diseases.

A brief survey of pollution done above shows very clearly that it is man himself who is responsible for his doom. His insatiable greed and use of a poor model of development are responsible for bringing things to such a pass today. It is not that this is the only way that development can be pursued. There are better and more sustainable ways existing. Such a development which bases itself on man's harmony with nature is aptly called 'sustainable development'. It defines development as betterment of human life without jeopardizing the ability of the future generations to live a healthy life. It has many aspects and if implemented can help us live a better life, materially, aesthetically and spiritually.

Implementation of such a model calls for mass participation. This in turns means that awareness and understanding needs to be generated among common people regarding environment and its protection. For example, the scheme of 'Paryavaran Vahini', which includes establishing a committed cadre of environmentally conscious and citizen who will help in protecting environment and bringing pollutants to book, is one step in this direction. Voluntary agencies, citizens, government and industry should join hands in such an endeavor. For example, use of organic fertilizers, environment friendly chemicals, bio-fertilizers, bio- pesticides, optimum use of water etc. by agriculturists can be done if they are informed, trained and helped by government, voluntary agencies etc. Use of ESPs in chimneys, treatment plants, use of eco-friendly products etc. can be done by the industry.

Time is running out fast. We have only one earth to live in and if we do not do something to save it, we can only start the reverse count. Let it be a duty of each one of us to do our best to save and improve environment. We can plant trees, use eco-friendly products, bio-degradable packings, ecomarked goods, spread the awareness and prevent others from polluting earth. Else the day is not far when clean water, safe air, undisturbed land may become a rarer commodity- than gold. May be then, even man will be found only in museums.


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  2. On #6 Environmental Pollution - In my opinion, all kinds of pollution is related to each other. When we throw garbage on the ground, we make the earth dirty and since the thing you threw away doesn't rot, eventually it would be moved to another place and it pollutes the air. If the garbage lands in the waters, the water becomes polluted too. It is a cycle that unless humans would learn to handle their garbage properly, this problem will not have any solutions

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