Friday, April 22, 2011

EPW writes pre-programmed, dishonest and untruthful commentary on Jan Lokpal movement

It seems EPW editors rely too much on watching TV channels and reading newspapers and very little on meeting people and gathering first-hand information.

The Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) has expressed its prejudices and conveyed some outright falsehoods about Jan Lokpal movement in the editorial, ‘What ‘Movement’ Is This Anyway,’ in the issue dated 16-22 April 2011. (The editorial can be read on http://epw.in/epw/uploads/articles/15939.pdf).

I have nailed some of those prejudices and outright falsehoods in my email dated 20 April to C. Rammanohar Reddy, editor of EPW. My email and Mr. Reddy’s reply are reproduced below.

From: kapil bajaj
Date: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 2:26 AM
Subject: Response to editorial “'What Movement...”
To: ram@epw.in

Dear Mr. Reddy, Editor, EPW
I was one of the 400 or so people who sat fasting at Jantar Mantar in support of enacting Jan Lokpal. Earlier, I have worked for about a year as a researcher on local democracy and RTI for Public Cause Research Foundation, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal’s NGO -- and before that as journalist for Business Today, PTI and other organisations.

Here are some thoughts on some observations made in “What ‘Movement’ Is This Anyway?” which I have just skimmed through.

1. (EPW editorial) “The agenda of the agitation was confined primarily to a demand for legislation that would facilitate quick and strong punishment of government functionaries found guilty of financial fraud.

The campaign was, however, blind to the fact that such frauds are a manifestation of a much wider and multifaceted trend of corruption, which as a moral vice is polluting our institutions in various forms…

....Anna Hazare and his followers do not see the connections between these larger issues and “corruption”.”

Me: How does the editorial writer know and be so sure? Did the writer interview 20, 10, 5, or even 2 or 3 of the lakhs who visited Jantar Mantar and other places to show support for the movement led by Anna Hazare? How many did the writer interview?

2. (EPW editorial) “As for the participants of his agitation, they were a set of individuals who ranged from middle class citizens to Bollywood stars and urban socialites.”

Me: I sat and slept from 06 April evening to the last day, i.e. 09 April evening, within the large enclosure at the left side of the stage, where 90 per cent of the fasting people had camped.

Over these three days, I could not set my eyes on a single individual among the fasting who was greatly like me -- thoroughly urban, from English-speaking work-place, reading English newspapers, etc.

The people I interacted there were mostly from rural areas and small towns of UP, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, etc. I did not hear or see anyone among fasting people speaking in English or reading an English newspaper.

I interacted with a man from Pilibhit (UP) who looked pretty hard-pressed (a casual worker perhaps), a similarly hard pressed guy from a rural part of a district in Maharashtra, an old sadhu in saffron clothes from Maharashtra, a slightly cranky samaaj-sudhaarak-type from Bihar who was camping there along with one of his young followers, a young man from rural Haryana who belonged to Bharat Swabhiman Abhiyaan (of Baba Ramdev).

One urban guy (from Jodhpur) I interacted with was a reasonably prosperous furniture trader, but spoke only Hindi and read Hindi newspapers.

The exact number of Bollywood personalities who visited Jantar Mantar did not exceed six, though for the moment I can recall only Anupam Kher, Pritish Nandi, Madhur Bhandarkar, Raza Murad, and Farah Khan.

I do not know how the editorial writer defines “urban socialite,” but even going by the definition of ‘socialite’ in Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (in two volumes), I did not spot anyone whom I could confidently label a ‘socialite’ in terms of their appearance or behaviour.

3. (EPW editorial) “In his pursuit of followers for his anti-corruption campaign, Anna Hazare, instead of publicly dissociating himself from such disreputable elite figures (belonging to corporate houses and Bollywood industry), allowed them to ride on his back.

He also permitted controversial characters like Kiran Bedi and Baba Ramdev to take over the dais at Jantar Mantar.

Me: If the editorial writer were to spend even one full day and soak himself in the amazing atmosphere of a people’s movement like the one I experienced at Jantar Mantar, he/she might realise that such movements cannot be anything but pretty inclusive.

It’s hardly possible to start assessing the characters, words and deeds of people joining in and then perhaps take the approval of the masses already present there and, upon disapproval (perhaps) by the majority, tell the guys in question to get out.

Another point: Why should this great coming together of Indian citizens from all sections and strata of our society for a just cause -- an extremely rare and heart-warming celebration of the awakening of our democratic citizenship -- be exclusive of some who are also Indian citizens, howsoever good or bad?

I am absolutely sure, however, that if Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar were to be replaced by your editorial writer, the latter would have some unsurpassed leadership qualities to somehow bring about the right mix of people of right desirability and right character.

What makes the editorial writer deem Kiran Bedi a “controversial character”?

Does the editorial writer know a single -- a single -- individual in the entire world who is not controversial? Would he/she be kind enough to email me the name of that uncontroversial character?

4. (EPW editorial) ....”Hazare further damaged his credibility by giving a clean chit to the architect of the 2002 massacre of Muslims, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi – who has refused until now to appoint a Lokayukta in his state!”

Me: This statement must go to NDTV and CNN-IBN as ‘Breaking News’.

Over weeks of closely following the utterances of Anna Hazare and other leaders of Jan Lokpal movement, I have never heard anyone saying or even hinting (let alone Anna himself) that he “gave a clean chit to the architect of 2002 massacre of Muslims,” even though several people have been expressing their anger over Anna’s praise for Modi’s rural development work without using enough qualifiers to make it absolutely clear that he was only and only referring to some of the work done in rural development, and nothing else.

5. (EPW editorial) “Although Hazare has now come up with a weak plea of “opposition to any form of communal disharmony”, all along during the demonstration at Jantar Mantar he allowed Baba Ramdev to play a prominent role, welcomed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Ram Madhav, and permitted the performance of havans – disturbing signs of a pro-Hindutva bias that is likely to estrange secular-minded people who oppose corruption.”

Me: Anna Hazare is 73 years old. Does the editorial writer or anyone else know of him ever inciting communal disharmony in any manner?

Can anyone recall any instance, any word, any deed? Will the editorial writer go by what he alleges to be “weak plea” or the pretty open life of this man?

Baba Ramdev visited the venue only once in four days and spent a little less than two hours on stage.

What makes the editorial writer so certain that Baba Ramdev is pro-Hindutva? Does the editorial writer have a scientific instrument to precisely measure a person’s pro-Hindutva character?

Are Baba Ramdev and his followers across the country not Indian citizens? Should Baba Ramdev and some or all of his followers be excluded from the people’s movements like the one we are discussing? If yes, what would be the methodology of that exclusion?

Apparently, Ram Madhav came onto the stage like hordes of other ‘prominent people’ jostling with each other to get a slice of the limelight. No body present there saw Anna Hazare giving any (any) individual a “welcome” other than the simple joining of hands that the civilised behaviour demands.

I or anybody else present at Jantar Mantar over five days did not see anything resembling a havan being performed.

It seems the editorial writer has picked this fanciful story from one of our great newspapers whose rantings and ravings over Jan Lokpal movement have exceeded the expectations of even those like me who firmly believe that Indian media is a beautiful example of Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model.

I did not meet a single --- a single --- individual on stage or off stage who spoke or behaved in a manner that can be described by any stretch of imagination as “pro-Hindutva”.

(What this might mean is that most, if not all, of the participants there were “secular minded people who oppose corruption”. I wonder why none of them appeared to me as “likely to be estranged by disturbing signs of a pro-Hindutva bias,” as the editorial writer observes.)

Interfaith prayers -- conducted by Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Hindu religious persons -- took place each of the four evenings (April 5-8) for an hour each -- to a surprisingly inspired and appreciative response from the large gatherings.

6. (EPW editorial) “The Jantar Mantar experiment, while boosting people’s power, reveals the limitations of the leadership of a popular movement that lacks a political perspective.”

Me: How many of the individuals, who, according to the editorial writer, make up the leadership of the movement, has he/she met and spoken with, even if for 15 minutes?

Has he met and spoken with Anna Hazare? Has he met and spoken with Arvind Kejriwal?

Has he met Swami Agnivesh? Has he met Kiran Bedi, or Prashant Bhushan, or Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, or Baba Ramdev or Mahmood Madani or Syed Rizvi or Sunita Godara, or any other?

I am absolutely certain that each of the leaders mentioned above completely lack the political perspective of the editorial writer; they may have been successful to an extent in boosting people’s power, but they totally and completely lack the political perspective of the editorial writer.

This EPW editorial makes me absolutely certain that the writer is one of the most perceptive writers I have ever encountered in my life and a great intellectual. He/she also seems to be a great political mind.

If he/she were to take the place of Anna Hazare, we Indians might be able to change the course of history.

Regards,

Kapil Bajaj

-------

From: Rammanohar Reddy
Date:
Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 5:36 AM
Subject: Re: Response to editorial “'What Movement...”
To: kapil bajaj

Thank you for this....let me see if I can convert this to a letter to the editor. If it had been in a different form I could have

with regards
Ram Reddy
Economic and Political Weekly

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rajat Gupta should formulate public policy, not Anna Hazare

In today's India, corporate fraudsters are most competent to lay down public policy. And Jan Lokpal movement, overwhelmingly supported by the citizens across the country, is a threat to our parliamentary democracy!

Under a directive from the Bombay high court, the RBI has indicted ex-McKinsey boss Rajat Gupta, his long-time friend Ramesh Vangal, and others of acting in collusion to try to take control of an Indian bank.

(Read the ET report of 19 Apr. 2011 at http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/banking/finance/banking/rbi-refuses-to-endorse-sivasankarans-tamilnad-mercantile-bank-stake-sale/articleshow/8022295.cms?curpg=1)

Gupta, Vangal and others also violated Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) which, I believe, is a very serious offence inviting tough penal action, especially if committed by an NRI/PIO.

Gupta has been named by a US prosecutor as a "co-conspirator" in the Galleon insider trading case, the biggest scam of its kind in American history.

Gupta is the man whom Prime Minister Manmohan Singh put in charge of recasting India's public health policy. Currently, Gupta's private club, called PHFI, is doing exactly that, with full moral, financial and administrative support from Manmohan Singh.

Obviously, Rajat Gupta, with his fast growing reputation, and his private club -- handpicked as they are by the Prime Minister himself -- have the competence and the right credentials to recast India's public health policy.

We should have no doubt that Rajat Gupta & Co. are doing a great favour to us Indian citizens, our future generations and our parliamentary democracy.

On the other hand, Anna Hazare and his nominees, who have won the right to sit in the Lokpal drafting panel after a citizens' movement with overwhelming public support from across the country, are a grave threat to our parliamentary democracy. They should have no right to interfere in the formulation of public policy.

India and its parliamentary democracy has a great future if only we could bring in more reputed people like Rajat Gupta to formulate public policy and keep people like Anna Hazare away from anywhere near public policy arena.

(Read more about the great deeds of Rajat Gupta in an article on this blog-site, called 'Manmohan Singh's public-private partnership with Rajat Gupta'.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rajat Gupta phenomenon fits well into outsourcing of public policy

Such outsourcing, however, is meant to benefit the elite, not the ordinary citizens.

Having read ‘Governance: Rajat Gupta’s many shenanigans,’ Sucheta Dalal’s article that sheds more light on the dubious deals of the former McKinsey boss, I have the following to say.

I believe that the Rajat Gupta phenomenon is part of the much larger problem of outsourcing of public policy and governance to benefit the elite, whose one manifestation is the so called public-private partnership (PPP) policy.

The entire PPP policy as well as individual projects need to be questioned, discussed and debated in public. India’s ‘independent’ media has so far failed to do that job.

(Even a presumably neo-liberal person like Pratap Bhanu Mehta of Centre of Policy Research recently described PPPs -- in an op-ed in Indian Express -- as “more efficient rent-seeking arrangements between the public and private sectors”.

The articles contained in this blog-site shed some light on such rent-seeking arrangements; do read the article on Chhattisgarh Accelerated Road Development PPP. Another important article is the critique of the PPP policy, with references, called ‘The PPP policy: neither value for money nor accountability’.)

I believe it’s extremely important that we view the PPP policy through lens of democracy, the Constitution, and the Indian State’s avowed objectives, rather than take a narrow view insisted upon by the people in power through their Media-assisted propaganda that there is need for private investment in infrastructure (required for high rates of growth) because of budgetary constraints.

(The so called ‘private investment’ is the joke of the century, compared to how public resources have been given away to private parties.)

Also, criticism should focus not on the PPP concept but on how the PPP policy is being conducted in India and how costs and benefits are being apportioned.

Another point that needs to be underlined about the Rajat Gupta phenomenon is that the trend of admitting corporate wheeler dealers and consultant types -- very often on high-value contracts or salaries -- in the formulation and conduct of public policy started long ago and currently central ministries, departments, the Planning Commission, etc, are virtually crawling with such characters.

Manmohan Singh government, obviously, does not lose its sleep over how such characters will undermine India’s parliamentary democracy and accountability.

Compare that with how the elitist and government-aligned media organisations have attacked Anna Hazare-led movement -- overwhelmingly supported by the citizens of India -- to insist that some representatives of the larger society be included in the committee that will draft the Lokpal bill, by calling it a threat to parliamentary democracy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Honest journalism cannot be anything but ‘political’

Since every journalist is first and foremost a citizen and a member of the society, he/she cannot ignore the ‘Lokneeti’ expressed through movements by the citizens to realise their legitimate democratic rights.

In the very ‘political’ world that we live in, every human occupation, including journalism, cannot be anything but ‘political’, I believe.

Even if you believe that you are not aligned to any particular interest, you actually are without fully realising it. Your activity or passivity is useful to some interest group.

Some time ago I read Yogendra Yadav writing that ‘Supposing you wish to eradicate tuberculosis from the country, envision how you will go about doing it. It will be impossible for you to envision a road-map that will not involve significant political engagement’.

It’s important, however, how we define ‘politics’ and ‘political’.

All popular movements and struggles of workers, farmers, Dalit and tribal communities, women are ‘political,’ but they represent citizens’ aspirations to realise their legitimate democratic rights --- to have more control on their lives by having a say in the formulation and conduct of public policy.

Their politics is different from politics between political parties, such as the politics between Congress and BJP.

The latter is no longer about advancing democratic or Constitutional objectives.

Most political parties have become private elitist clubs and ceased to be the forums for democratic participation, discussion and representation of the interests of the common citizens or the society at large.

I believe that the popular movements and struggles represent ‘Lokneeti,’ which is what we should be engaging in, if we call ourselves a democratic society.

(I believe the term ‘Lokneeti’ was widely used in the social democratic movement inspired by the great Jayaprakash Narayan.)

Party politics is ‘Rajneeti’, which is all about grabbing power and then enriching oneself and other members of one’s private club.

Since all journalism owes its existence to democracy --- (one can’t imagine any significant amount of meaningful journalism happening in non-democratic societies) --- and one of the fundamental principles of journalism is to uphold and promote larger ‘public interest’ which can only be defined through democratic participation and debate, honest journalism cannot be anything but an appreciation of and practice of Lokneeti.

It follows that one cannot be an honest journalist without being a practitioner of Lokneeti.

Of course, one doesn’t have to be a journalist to practise Lokneeti. One just has to be a citizen and a member of the society, which each one of us is. So Lokneeti is inescapable for each one of us.

I believe that India’s corporate media are a great example of the ‘propaganda model’ of the US media proposed by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in ‘Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media,’ their seminal work published in 1988.

If you concede that, you will also concede that all journalists in corporate media organisations are, willy nilly, consciously or unconsciously, serving the interests of the elite that rules India.

‘Propaganda model’ is not based on any conspiracy theory. It does not say that there is an elite conspiracy behind the propaganda role of the media. It just says that elite dominance of all important institutions puts in place something akin to ‘filters’ that ensure that information and discussion is winnowed, processed and dressed up to suit the elite interest and status quo.

In other words, news are reported, views are expressed, and debates are conducted within a framework defined and continuously reinforced by the elite which consists of media owners, big business owners, including advertisers, wielders of State power, etc.

(The readers not familiar with Herman and Chomsky’s work may like to read about ‘propaganda model’ on Wikipedia. They may also like to watch an old video clip of Prof. Chomsky explaining the propaganda model on the link: http://www.pdxjustice.org/node/22).

Propaganda model will give the readers some plausible explanation of the so called “objectivity” and “neutrality” of the mainstream media, as also why, for instance, most TV channels blacked out the police atrocities in Dantewada (Chhattisgarh) in March 2011.

Working journalists who have a sense of the pro-elite, anti-democratic, propagandising role of the so called mainstream media need to exert themselves.

They first need to wise up to the virtual censorship clamped by the elite on flow of information on and discussion of public-interest issues and then appreciate and strengthen the democratic movements in the larger society, i.e. any effort by the common citizens to organize themselves and participate in decision making.

Such journalists should see themselves as ordinary citizens, not privileged members of the so called ‘fourth estate’ who look down upon the silly affairs of citizenry from their supposedly intellectual ivory towers.

Such journalists can do the following two things.

1. Based on their level of understanding and commitment, throw their weight behind popular, democratic movements such as those against corruption, land grab, pro-elite development agenda, corporate crimes, etc, and democratic movements for labour rights, freedom of association, freedom of information, etc.

2. Come together to discuss things and try to reclaim their journalistic freedoms which have been illegally captured by the owners of media organisations with the help of their handsomely-paid agents who usually go by the designations of ‘editors’, ‘managing editors’, ‘executive editors’, ‘editorial directors,’ etc.

Monday, April 4, 2011

'Reference material' for Manmohan Singh-Rajat Gupta article

Where did I get the information that formed the basis of the claims I made in the article on the PM's relationship with former McKinsey boss?

I received an email last week from a public health research scholar from Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who had read “with interest” my article on ‘Manmohan Singh’s public-private partnership with Rajat Gupta’.

He wrote that “it would be nice” if I could publish the article in some magazine and that he would be “immensely indebted” if I could provide him with some “reference material” especially about PHFI.

The following is my reply to the research scholar, which deals with the question: ‘Where did I get the information and what was the basis of the claims I made in the article mentioned above?’

Dear sir,

Thanks for reading the article and writing back to me.

The email accompanying the article as well as a note at the bottom of the article say that all facts and figures cited in the write-up are taken or derived from public domain.

It should be very easy to check this claim, especially for a research scholar like you.

Just Google the key words from the article and you will find everything thrown up at you!

For example:

(a) How do I know who sits on PHFI's board?

It’s there on PHFI's website.

(b) How can I say that the central government contributed Rs 65 crore to the initial corpus of PHFI?

It’s there on the Web in the form of several governmental communications (including those by the Press Information Bureau or PIB) and media reports. Here's a link to a PIB press release on the Centre's initial contribution:

http://pib.nic.in/release/rel_print_page1.asp?relid=16832

(c) How can I say that the Centre allocated additional money to PHFI – Rs 36.15 crore in annual plan for 2007-08?

It’s there on the website of the ministry of health and family welfare. Read page 61 of the PDF on the following link.

http://www.mohfw.nic.in/FINAL_HEALTH_MINISTRY_ANNUAL_REPORT_2008-09.pdf

(d) How can I claim “Manmohan gave PHFI virtual carte blanche to recast the entire public health system in the country?”

If you read the text of the PM's speech at the launch of PHFI in March 2006 on the Web link given above, it will be very difficult for you to reach any other conclusion.

Then take a look at what has been happening subsequently -- PHFI's role in public health policy issues, important committees, NRHM, etc., not to mention the fact that its programmes, including IIPHs', have been entirely supported by public resources amounting to hundreds of crores of rupees.

There are things not included in the article.

For example, K Srinath Reddy not only heads the high-level expert group on universal health coverage set up by the Planning Commission, but PHFI acts as the secretariat of this panel.

(Read an interview with Reddy carried by Business Today on

http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/k.srinath-reddy-on-limited-healthcare-in-india/1/11925.html)

PHFI has been given this position and these privileges despite the fact that its public character is a non-existent thing. Its accountability to Indian citizens or their representatives is zero.

Neither the public-private agreement, nor PHFI's memorandum of association and registration details are in public domain.

Despite being run by public funds, PHFI is outside the purview of RTI Act and CAG. That in itself an illegality and nothing short of a big-ticket financial scam considering that total financial help from the government runs into thousands of crores of rupees.

PHFI is not directly responsible to Parliament or any legislative assembly.

All of its governance and finances are hidden from public view.

You can find more stuff, if you do more Google research.

For example, the government has been lying to the parliamentary committees about PHFI's character, governing board and functioning.

Read the report of the Department-related Parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare on action taken by the government on the recommendations/observations contained in the 16th report on demands for grants 2006-07 on the following link.

http://164.100.24.167/book2/reports/health/20threport.htm

While the standing committee cautioned the government – specifically in relation to PHFI -- about companies grabbing cheap land from the government for providing poor medical services and expressed its serious concern over PPPs penetrating the state health systems, the government responded by saying that its nominees on PHFI board would ensure that the foundation would function “with complete transparency”.

That's a lie because PHFI has nothing to do transparency. In fact, a few weeks ago, the central information commissioner and other demanders of transparency in PPPs got a slap in the face from Montek Singh Ahluwalia, a member of the PHFI board and deputy chair of the Planning Commission, who virtually told them to buzz off!

(Google the key words to find news reports on Montek's response to CIC.)

Bear in mind that the RTI Act came into force in October 2005, well before PHFI came into existence.

The government might also have told another lie to the parliamentary standing committee by claiming that DG, ICMR, was on the governing board of PHFI, taking health ministry's representation to three.

I don’t think DG, ICMR, was ever on the PHFI governing board until the recast of the board in the middle of March 2011 in the wake of formal charging of Rajat Gupta in the Galleon case, even though it will have to be verified.

This claim might have been made to show that the government had adequate representation in and control of PHFI.

(e) What is the basis of my claims about the courses run by PHFI’s IIPHs, such as the claim that they primarily admit in-service government-funded candidates to their courses and that these courses are not accredited by any statutory regulator?

Visit PHFI website to read the details of the courses. For more information, call the PHFI guy in charge of sharing information with those seeking admission.

(f) Where did I get the details about state governments’ contribution of land and money to building IIPHs under PPP mode?

Numerous news reports available on the Web.

(g) How did I come up with numbers about ISB’s fee collections?

PGP course fee and intake for various academic years are in public domain through numerous news reports. Do the simple arithmetic.

(h) How can I claim that Manmohan Singh intermediated ISB-Hyderabad’s expansion into Mohali, Punjab?

Again published news reports about PM's role and my journalistic sense that such a sweetheart deal for ISB promoters in the face of strong public opposition could not have been possible without Rajat Gupta & Co. playing their trump card, i.e. PM’s intermediation.

(i) Why did I not include references and end notes in this article?

Because I was writing with a view to communicate some common sense about Manmohan Singh-Rajat Gupta shenanigans. Including references and end-notes would have made the article look highbrow and scared off the common readers. In any case, I never expected even a popular newspaper or magazine to have the moral courage to publish this stuff, let alone serious journals whose attitudes don’t make me any more hopeful.

Sir, you don’t have to be “immensely indebted” to me for anything; just do some Google research of your own.

It’s a pity that you have to look for “reference material” about an organisation that owes its existence to (1) a government that is democratically elected and is answerable to the citizens through Parliament, CAG, various laws and democratic institutions, (2) an organisation that claims to be working in ‘public health’ domain, (3) an organisation that’s functioning with taxpayer money.

That itself speaks volumes about the deep hole that India is in, not to mention this gargantuan fraud called ‘public-private partnerships’.

I too believe that it would be nice if some magazine or journal published some critical stuff about PHFI and other shenanigans of Rajat Gupta & Co. Unfortunately, I am neither an owner of a magazine/newspaper, nor publisher or editor.

------------

Why do people like me look askance at PPPs?

It's because the 'private' in PPP has the money and the political power to capture public policy.

A friend of mine wondered in her email to me last week as to “what those aided schools were if not PPPs (public-private partnerships) where the government provided funds for salaries and the missionaries ran the schools”.

"They were quite good too. Did any one criticise them or find fault with them?

So what is the difference between then and now?

Why are we so suspicious of PPPs? Why do we distrust the private sector?"

The following is my brief response to these questions.

Why does one have to go to aided Christian missionary schools for an example of PPPs? The PPPs are omnipresent and have been there as long as there has been anything resembling a government.

What is public if not made up of private entities?

Each one of us is private, but together we make up the public, the collective.

Every job contract of a government employee is nothing but a PPP because it's a contractual agreement between a private person and a public authority --- precisely conforming to the World Bank definition of a PPP.

A non-profit organisation partnering with government is also a PPP.

Most of all physical infrastructure ever built by governments across the world has been through PPP because public authorities contracted private parties to do the construction.

If you concede that a job contract of a government employee is a PPP, just replace the private individual with a company like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Will the PPP have the same character now? Same kind of objectives and motivations?

Are the wealth, influence, political power of a corporation the same as that of an individual?

Are the wealth, influence, political power of a corporation the same as that of a small local NGO?

Will a PPP between Jan Swashthya Sahyog and Madhya Pradesh government have the character and intentions of a PPP between Pfizer and Madhya Pradesh government?

I don't think sensible people are obsessed with the concept behind a PPP.

What they worry about --- and rightly so, based on hard, empirical evidence accumulating across the globe --- is the ability of the powerful and the moneyed to make public policy and public resources serve their interests rather than the larger public interest.

(One may like to troll the Web for this empirical evidence. For instance, PPP projects hatched under UK's private finance initiative or PFI.)

Also keep in mind how prevailing political economy and moral standards influence the entire government behaviour, including PPPs and all public procurement and expenditure.

About India, it will be suffice to say that currently the entire government, both central and states', is a scam and fraud in itself because you just can't elect a government into office without the use of huge amounts of illegal money.

(That actually makes the entire government, the PM, chief ministers, ministers, every elected official illegal and liable to be prosecuted.)

So what will an illegitimately begotten government do if not loot the public exchequer?

Every investor needs returns on his investment. And public procurement and expenditure is one of the best ways to extract those returns.

The so called 'people with integrity' are largely a Media-assisted PR job and even when people in the government have a modicum of integrity, it's nothing more than a straw in the wind.

Yoga -- and India -- has nothing to do with colonial-imperial system called 'religion'

In this video clip of a TV discussion on International Yoga Day posted on YouTube, a woman anchor and two men discuss the nature and purpose...