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Showing posts from June, 2014

Upper primary: India govt report finds Gujarat has very high girl child school dropout, low enrollment

By Rajiv Shah
Just a week after Union human resources minister Smriti Irani came to Gujarat to “study” and “replicate” the Gujarat model of education, a high-level report, prepared by the Union ministry of human resources, operating directly under her, has come up with a big shocker: The report has found that girls’ dropout ratio in Gujarat at the upper primary level (classes 6 to 8) to be one of the highest in India, suggesting that Gujarat government’s kanya kelavni drive for ensuring girl child participation in education has failed to succeed.
Titled “Elementary Education in India: Progress towards Universal Elementary Education”, the report has found that the average dropout rate of girls at the upper primary level in Gujarat is 8.19 per cent, which higher than all major states except Madhya Pradesh (10.27 per cent). The all-India average dropout rate for girls at the higher primary level is 4.01 per cent, half that of Gujarat. Interestingly, for the boys, too, the dropout at the up…

Delay expected in eco-clearance of 3,500 Gujarat cases as Modi's Man Friday joins Prime Minister's Office

By Rajiv Shah
With Dr PK Misra, who was principal secretary to chief minister Narendra Modi during the 2002 riots, having left to Delhi as Prime Minister Modi’s additional principal secretary, Gujarat’s “industry-friendly” babus and small entrepreneurs are keeping their fingers crossed: What will happen to a whopping nearly 3,500 applications, said to be pending before the State-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), which he had just come to chair after the post remained vacant for nearly a year?
The Gujarat government failed to send names of chairman and other members of SEIAA to the Government of India for forming the new authority after July 2013, which, environmentalists say, was a major reasons for the failure to “clear” so many applications. Well-placed sources in the Gujarat government told Counterview that Misra, who is known to be perhaps the closest IAS bureaucrat to Modi, had worked a “complete time table” to clear huge backlog of applications pending before…

How to be newsy: Choosing wheat from the chaff

By Rajiv Shah
Culling out gist from a plethora of sources available to you is indeed quite tricky. While I cannot speak for others (frankly, I lack competence to do it), journalists are made to do it almost on a daily basis. In doing so, at initial stages, they often falter, as they lack conceptual clarity as to what should be considered news.
Of course, there are textbook definitions, but they cannot in any way help one to identify news from the huge flow of information available around. Journalists, especially of my generation, have never been trained into a formal school of communication, hence to them to answer this question academically is even more difficult. They have just “picked up” the skill. I asked a senior editor, “How do you identify what should be headline today?”, and his answer was simple, “Well, Rajiv, it comes from within, frankly, it just comes…” Often, whatever new you find from the available information is identified as news. It’s especially very easy when a big…

Gujarat model for new budget? "Incentivize" high growth states for economic growth: Official document

By Rajiv Shah
Will the Government of India’s new policy framework for budget adopt the “model” worked out by the Gujarat government under Narendra Modi, in which the richer states should walk away with a much higher cake of the Central funds as compared to the poorer states? It would seem so, if one takes a closer look at one of the most crucial documents prepared by the Gujarat government late last year, but not made public because of reasons best known to the officialdom. Submitted to the Centre-appointed 14th Finance Commission, the document crucially calls for “an urgent need to include” a formula in devolution of Central funds which would “incentivize economic efficiency.”
Handed over to the Centre in October 2013 and still under consideration, the Gujarat government specifically says in the document, “It is important to incentivize the states with high tax contribution” , and subsequently national growth. This is particularly important because, according to it, “post-1991, in the …