I read with interest the article “An elite school helps poor climb school ladder”, Mint, 5 December. I have always been passionate about education. I have listened to J. Krishnamurti’s talks from the early 1970s till his death in 1986. He talked a great deal on education and had set up several schools in the world—one of them is the Rishi Valley school and another is at Rajghat, Varanasi. One of his books was Beginnings in Learning. Its theme was education. Your article was a great revelation on the impact of Krishnaji’s teachings in the field of education and what is happening in education in Tamil Nadu. The article was very informative for me. I am glad that your paper published it and I hope that it will continue publishing more such articles.
Subimal Bhattacharjee in his article, “The Chinese cyberoffensive”, Mint, 6 December, is right in highlighting the Chinese cyberattack instances, intentions and dangers. In the last one year, the Chinese have been very aggressive in strengthening their cyberwar capabilities.
In this process, they are testing the cybersecurity preparedness of various countries of the world, both big and small. They seem to be in the process of refining their skills and accuracy.
The risk cannot be ruled out that China will declare an all-out war against any adversary in the world to choke or destroy its information technology assets. This could be a sovereign nation or a corporation or any other interested group/organization. It can be a selective and targeted attack also. In India, we are slumbering. The government thinks it and its agencies know everything.
Lack of motivation, driven by low pay and constraints such as poor infrastructure, mar performance in information gathering. At the same time, people with cutting-edge skills are also missing from the government. This is a recipe for emerging disaster.
This refers to the Café Economics column, “Retirement saving myths”, Mint, 5 December.
I think Joseph Stiglitz is right about the inability of the “average Joe” to decide on how best to save for retirement. But I have doubts on his point about human capital and earnings being more risky when a person is younger. I wonder if it is true in the era of Schumpeterian creative destruction, when skills get outmoded fast. In the Schumpeterian economy that we are in, the younger you are the more opportunities you have for updating your skills or acquiring new marketable skills. Your human capital is less risky when you are young, rather than the other way around.
Apropos the news item “Cabinet may decide on Noida airport today”, Mint, 6 December. The New Delhi airport is being modernized and when it is ready it would cost more than the present estimated cost of Rs3,505 crore.
A proposal to build a new airport at Noida was rejected earlier on the grounds that the distance between the two airports falls within the minimum distance norm prescribed by the international civil aviation regulatory body. This cannot change, though the political factor such as the emergence of a new force of Mayawati may have. That in any case should not warrant largesse of this magnitude.
Politicians may like to build a monumental complex, and let engineers engage in other meaningless projects. However, it is the taxpayer who has to bear the brunt of outlandish projects.
Government resources are too strained to even bear some increased outlay in equally important sectors such as health care and education. Is embarking on a white elephant the way to promote the cause of the “aam aadmi”?
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