One in every six Indian household has a graduate

One in every six Indian households has a graduate while while one in every two has atleast a matriculate, according to latest Census figures.

In both counts, India has improved its numbers in 2011 in comparison to the figures of 2001.

In 2011, around 12.29 crore million households have at least one matriculate or above. This accounted for 49.5 per cent of the 24.83 crore households in the country.

It is an impressive growth when compared to the 2001 figures when only 39.4 per cent households had a matriculate. Officials point out that more and more people are completing matriculation.

According to the Census 10.47 crore households (42.2 per cent) have male matriculates, 7.52 crore (30.3 per cent) has female matriculates.

When it comes to households with graduates or those with higher qualifications, there is similar increase.

The number of households with at least one graduate and above is 4.14 crore (16.7 per cent of total households) in India during 2011 as against 2.36 crore (12.2 per cent) in 2001.

Here too, households with men having graduation are more. Around 3.32 crore (13.4 per cent) households have at least one male graduate while 2.19 crore (8.8 per cent) households have at least one female graduate.

A close analysis of the Census figures show Kerala in positive light when it comes to education of women. This southern state is the only province in the country which has more households with women matriculates and graduates.

Among households with graduates or above, Kerala has 17.67 lakh households. Of this, 12.51 lakh households have women graduates while the number for male graduates are 9.81 lakh households.

The case is similar for matriculates also. Kerala has 42.88 lakh households where they have at least one male matriculate while there are 47.65 lakh households where they can find a woman with matriculation or above.

But this is not the situation in several states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan where the gap between households with male graduates and female graduates is huge. For example, Bihar had 11.87 lakh households with male graduates while the number of households with female graduates was just 3.16 lakh.

In Karnataka, there are 79.94 lakh households which have members with matriculation or above. Of this, the state has 65.79 lakh households where they have at least one male matriculate while there are 51.54 lakh households where they can find a woman with matriculation or above.

Among the 25.44 lakh households where one can find a graduate, 20.18 lakh households have male graduates and 13.36 lakh have female graduates.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 26, 2015)

IB advised Indira to lift Emergency twice in 1976: Book


The Intelligence Bureau (IB) advised Indira Gandhi twice to lift Emergency within a year of its imposition, as it was “perhaps the best time” to call for elections, a new book by then IB chief T V Rajeswar says.

According to him, Indira was inclined to go with IB’s second advice in June 1976 but a “section of influential people” consisting of Congress sycophants, top Home Ministry officials and Prime Minister’s Secretariat opposed the move and got their way with Sanjay Gandhi supporting them.

“If only Mrs Gandhi had acted on the recommendations at that stage, the turn of events would have been entirely different. After October 1976, it was too late to undo the negative effects of Emergency, and the initiative went into the hands of the Opposition,” he writes in ‘India: The Crucial Years’.

Gandhi lifted Emergency later in January 1977 and called for elections but she lost the polls held in March the same year.

The first suggestion to call for elections came in January 1976, six months after Emergency was imposed, while the second came in June same year.

Recalling those days, he writes, “at the end of six months after the imposition of Emergency, the IB recommended calling it off in January 1976, releasing all the prisoners and going for elections in March. It would have been perhaps the best time. But most people, including Mrs Gandhi, were so happy and content with the Emergency’s aftermath that they were not prepared to consider any such recommendation.”

As the country approached the first anniversary of Emergency in June 1976, the IB again undertook an “exhaustive” review. The IB felt that a review was needed because of the Emergency’s “negative aspects” like enforcement of family planning, indiscriminate arrests and “trend of economic deterioration”.

“The economic situation was becoming difficult by them, and prices were increasing perceptibly in the summer months of 1976. Smuggling increased manifold. The rupee was under great pressure in the international market,” he recalls.

“It was felt that the opposition was as yet in disarray, and it would be a good step to take them by surprise by announcing elections in September or October (1976) after releasing prisoners on the first anniversary of Emergency,” Rajeswar writes.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 24, 2015)

NE and Insurgency

Violent incidents and civilian casualties due to insurgency reported a decline in the troubled north-east this year but the killings of security personnel have shown a three-fold rise, according to a Home Ministry analysis.

Seven insurgency-prone states — Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam — together accounted for 418 violent insurgent actions this year until September 15, down from 575 during same period last year.

Manipur and Meghalaya reported the highest number of 169 and 89 incidents respectively this year. For the whole 2014, there were 824 incidents as against 732 in 2013.

The decline in violence comes at a time the government and Naga insurgent group NSCN(IM) have signed a framework agreement to finalise a peace accord and attacks on security personnel by rival Naga outfit NSCN(K).

The drop in violence also reflected in the impressive 71 per cent decline — from 114 until September 15 last year to 32 during same period this year. This decline becomes more significant when one compares the 2013 and 2014 figures.

The civilian casualty last year had almost doubled to 212 from 107 in 2013 with Assam topping the list in both years. This year, 12 civilians were killed in Assam while 8 lost their life in Meghalaya, 7 in Assam and 5 in Nagaland.

Even the incidents of kidnapping have also come down to 182 from 250. Nagaland had witnessed the highest number of abductions at 55 while for the whole of 2014 witnessed 65 such incidents in the state.

One figure that would be considered negative for the security is the rise in number of casualty among security personnel. This year there were 40 casualties of security personnel as against 12 last year. This year’s figure includes the killing of 18 Army personnel in Manipur on June 4 this year by NSCN(K) operatives.

Another is the decrease in the number of surrenders of militants — from 170 in 2014 to 91 this year. However, the number of arrest of extremists has shown a slight increase to 1,453 from 1,401.

Till Sept 15, 2015 Till Sept  15, 2014 For whole 2014
Incidents 418 575 824
Extremists Killed 115 128 181
Extremists Arrested 1,453 1,401 1,934
Security Forces Killed 40 12 20
Civilians Killed 32 114 212
Persons Kidnapped 182 250 269
Extremists Surrendered 91 170 291
Arms Recovered 597 791 1,104
Arms Looted 8 7 19
Arms Surrendered 42 77 151

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 20, 2015)

Sheena, Indrani and the TV

indrani PTI

The sensational Sheena Bora murder case involving Indrani Mukherjea was the toast of prime time TV with six national channels together devoting 38 hours during prime time, according to an analysis by a private media watchdog.

The analysis by New Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies (CMS) showed that the coverage in effect resulted in “transforming a crime story into a national concern” and news channels becoming a medium for “entertainment rather than for insights or inside stories”.

Six major channels — DD News, Aaj Tak, ABP News, CNN-IBN and Times Now — together devoted 2,282 minutes in the 8-10 PM slot between August 25 and September 8 with Times Now devoting the highest 948 minutes and 10 seconds out of 1,800 minutes available during this period.

CNN-IBN, another English channel, gave 424 minutes and 10 seconds for the story during prime time while DD News had the lowest during the period — 36 minutes and 10 seconds, according to CMS Media Lab.

Aaj Tak (341 min 50 sec), Zee News (268 min 25 sec) and ABP News (263 min 15 sec) were the other channels, which were studied by the group.


“This kind of emphasis on a murder came at a time there were more important crises like Assam flood and farmer suicides waiting to be covered. The coverage was melodrama-driven and not fact-driven. Making this murder case a national concern is actually a national waste of time,” Prabhakar, head of CMS Media Lab, told Deccan Herald.

Of the 2,282 minutes, channels ran news stories for only 430 minutes and 35 seconds while the rest were for special programmes.

DD News was the lone channel, which did not do any special programme on the murder, which had created headlines for its bizarre tale. Indrani, now wife of media professional Peter Mukherjea, and previous husband Sanjiv Khanna were arrested along with driver for the murder of Sheena, her daughter who was introduced to many as her sister.

“The coverage also showed that the media has not matured or learned its lessons from the coverage of similar murder case of Aarushi,” Prabhakar said.

Prime Time (8-10 PM) Coverage of Sheena Bora Murder Case

(25th August – 08th September 2015)


Channel News stories Time Special Time Total Time
AajTak       25 80min 15 sec      15 261 min 35 sec 341m50 s
DD News       28 36 min 10 sec       –              – 36m 10s
ABP News       24 83min 40 sec      11 179 min 35 sec 263m 15 s
Zee News       14 81min 50 sec      05 186 min 35 sec 268m 25s
CNN IBN       17 109min 20 sec     10 314 min 50 sec 424m 10s
Times Now       05 39min 20 sec     20 908 min 50 sec 948m 10s
Total     113 430 min 35 sec     61 1851 min 25 sec   2282 m

Source: CMS Media Lab

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 16, 2015)

Arun Maira on Planning Commission and Reforms


The Planning Commission prepared reforms measures for itself during the UPA regime but it did not take off, as the leadership did not demonstrate its commitment to enforce it, former panel member Arun Maria says in his new book.

As he gets the “satisfaction” that the Commission was “finally shaken out of the rut in which it was stuck and the rust in which it was entrapped” with the formation of NITI Ayog, Maira wants the “new driver” in the seat to “step on the gas and steer it”.

He calls the then Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia a “reluctant reformer” and talks about the “disconnection of top leadership” from the transformation of Planning Commission in reference to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s farewell speech to the panel.

Recalling his days in Planning Commission in ‘An Upstart in Government: Journeys of Change and Learning’, Maira describes the mandate given by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reform the existing edifice, which had “become a parking lot for bureaucrats between postings and others who could not be placed anywhere else”.

“The question Dr Manmohan Singh posed to me in 2009 after I joined the Planning Commission was what could be done to reform the Planning Commission, which had resisted many attempts to make significant changes to it,” Maira wrote.

India Economic Summit 2009

Maira and others prepared a report on the transformation after discussing it with stakeholders. Referring to a 2010 meeting, he wrote, Singh “heard the report. Then he gave directions for the reform of the Planning Commission. He said that the Planning Commission must become a ‘Systems Reform Commission rather than a budget-making body. And that the Planning Commission must become ‘an essay (that is a force) in persuasion’, rather than a writer of long plans.

However, in 2014, Maria himself was at a loss to explain why reforms in the panel could not evolve. “The change in the Planning Commission could not be implemented fully because its leadership did not demonstrate that it was committed to it. The deputy chairman was a reluctant reformed,” he wrote.

“The disconnection of the top leadership from the transformation of Planning Commission became painfully evident” when Singh asked once again what should be done for reforming Planning Commission during his farewell speech on April 30, 2014. Maira was “taken aback” as Singh seemed “oblivious” of the measures he himself approved of in 2010.

Acknowledging that it is difficult to change an organisation, Maira says NITI Ayog is “expected to do more transforming than less planning”.

He says that everyone, including industrialists, who were consulted during his tenure, were of the view that the panel should lift itself “out of the rut of allocating funds and approving proposals and play a more strategic role in shaping the future of the country”.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 14, 2015)

Also read report on Arun Maira’s previous book ‘Redesigning the Aeroplane while Flying: Reforming Institutions’

Officers, Training and some Movies

“Motivational” films like ‘I am Kalam’, a session on Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and instructions on how to deal with business community amid ‘Make In India’ campaign form part of a training module developed for officers joining state governments.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has prepared the module for states. The programme has been piloted in Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra and now plans to extend it to other states in the coming years.

The two-week long training programme has 17 modules, which include those on motivation, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, verbal and non-verbal communication, e-Governance, managing conflict, emotional intelligence and RTI.

According to the trainers’ manual prepared by DoPT, the trainers have been provided with a list of about a dozen films and stories, which could shared with officers.

Besides ‘I Am Kalam’, an inspiring tale of a young Indian boy who aspired to be like former President A P J Abdul Kalam, the list include  Clint Eastwood-directed ‘Invictus’ on Nelson Mandela and ‘Not Just A Piece Of Cloth’ on Magsaysay award winner Anuj Gupta-led Goonj’s activities.

Another film is ‘October Sky’ on Homer H Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes and later became a NASA scientist.

In a separate module on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet scheme ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, officers will be briefed about the scheme. They will have write on what the Clean India pledge mean to them as well as how they can contribute to the programme. They will also discuss on an Action Plan on its implementation.

Another emphasis is on handling visitors to officers and the module gives elaborate instructions on this.

On media, it says, “while dealing with persons from the media or press, presence of mind has to be displayed. If a visitor from media or press is sitting in the room, do not talk classified matters or matters” concerning the ministry or department over telephone or disclose anything, which may be “embarrassing” for the government.

While dealing with business people, it said, “in view of ‘Make in India’ campaign, we should be courteous to persons coming from business community as the private sector also forms part of the entire development effort of the economy. Accordingly, persons from private sector may be treated in a cordial manner.”

The module was developed as the Centre felt that induction training is “very important” to develop “generic and domain” specific competencies in cutting edge level state government officials for strengthening their capabilities and bringing in an attitudinal shift to improve public service delivery mechanism.

Govt’s List of Movies for motivation

October Sky

I Am Kalaam

Pay It Forwad

Freedom Writers

The Sangharsh

The Green Mile

Not Just A Piece of Cloth


Lead India-The Tree

Father And Son

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 10, 2015)

Unrest in agrarian sector on the rise


Incidents of clashes due to agrarian crisis are rising in the country with latest statistics showing that it has doubled in the first half of 2015 compared to last year same period.

An analysis by the Union Home Ministry showed that there were 74 incidents of unrest due to agrarian crisis in the first six months of this year as against 37 reported in 2014 until June.

One each persons were killed in both years – in Gujarat in 2015 and in Punjab in 2014. Nine were injured this year until June while 82 were wounded in the corresponding period last year.

This year, Maharashtra topped the list with 17 incidents followed by Haryana 12, Bihar 8 and West Bengal 7. Five each incidents were reported from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The analysis has attributed the reasons for protests as Land Acquisition Bill, demand for minimum support price and insufficient supply of seeds and fertilisers among others.

The proposed amendments to the Land Acquisition Act had landed the NDA government in a tight spot this year, prompting political parties and farmers organisations to jump into protest mode.

The government had decided not to go ahead with the amendments recently with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself announcing they would not re-promulgate the ordinance to enforce the planned amendments.

“These protests will intensify if the government is not going to accommodate the needs of farmers. The BJP had promised many things during the election but after election, they have not implemented it. The Land Bill also resulted in unrest with farmers taking protests and in some incidents clashing with police,” Vijoo Krishnan, National Joint Secretary of All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), told Deccan Herald.

There has been unrest among agricultural community in the recent years with a large number of suicides being reported from among them.

According to the latest figures available with the government, 5,650 farmers, including 472 women, committed suicide last year due to agrarian issues.

Inability to repay farm loans and crop failure accounted for more than one third of farmers’ suicides. Bankruptcy or indebtedness was the reason for 20.6 per cent suicides among farmers, 16.8 per cent took their own life due to crop failure.

Of the 5,650 suicides, 1,163 cases were related to repaying loan and 952 due to crop failure.


Till June 2015

Incidents – 74

Killed – 1

Injured – 9

** Maharashtra 17

** Haryana 12

** Bihar 8

** West Bengal 7

** Uttar Pradesh 5

** Madhya Pradesh 5

** Gujarat 5

In 2014 Till June

Incidents – 74

Killed – 1

Injured – 9

Reasons for Protests

Against Land Bill

Demanding higher Minimum Support Price

Against insufficient supply of seeds and fertilisers.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 9, 2015)

‘Rs 1,048 for buying vegetables, Rs 451 for dry-cleaning’


Rs 1,048 for buying vegetables for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and another Rs 451 for dry-cleaning his silk cloth pieces during his Mongolia visit besides a spending of Rs 60,027 spend on I-phone charge and gift-wraps in New York.

These are among the expenditure incurred by Indian government during the Prime Minister’s visits to 20 countries in one year with the bills running to at least Rs 47.42 crore. The details were collected by activist Commodore Lokesh Batra through RTI.

This amount could rise as some bills are yet to be settled while Indian missions in France, Japan, Sri Lanka and South Korea refusing to provide details citing various reasons like collection of “scattered” and “voluminous” details would require “disproportionate” allocation of resources.

“While the benefits to nation of Prime Minister’s frequent visits abroad will be known in time to come, the information I sought was supposed to be in public domain by now. Here transparency is the casualty,” Batra told Deccan Herald from the United States where he is on a visit.

One of the highest expenses incurred was in Australia where the whole trip cost around Rs 13 crore with hotel bills running into Rs 5.65 crore in Canberra and hiring of cars at Rs 2.48 crore.

The least expense was in Bhutan, Modi’s first destination after assuming power, at Rs 41.33 lakh.

During Modi’s New York visit, the Permanent Mission of India in New York Indian mission there spend around Rs 6.13 crore while Consulate General spending another Rs 91 lakh. The Indian Embassy in Washington did not provide details saying it was not readily available with them.

The break of expenditure by Permanent Mission showed that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was paid Rs 48,912 as DA during the visit. In this, Rs 18,342 was given for his extended stay in the US on from October 1 to 3.

The room rent for the Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other members of the VIP delegation at New York Palace Hotel cost Rs 11.51 lakh.

In China, India spend around Rs 2.34 crore with hotel bills coming to Rs 1.06 crore and hiring of vehicles at Rs 60.88 lakh. For interpreters, the bill ran into Rs 24.26 lakh.

Though most of the missions did not provide the nitty-gritty of the spending, a close reading of some of them showed interesting details.

The Mongolian mission said they spend Rs 6,396 for “hiring a temporary photographer” while another Rs 76,154 was billed for “special dinner and drinks during VIP visit”. The Indian mission also paid Rs 12,876 as penalty for the leakage of fuel from IL-76.

Expenditure incurred during Modi’s foreign visits


Cost of vegetables for PM’s kitchen – Rs 1,048

Dry cleaning of silk clothes for PM’s visit to Gandhan monastery – Rs 451

Petrol for Range Rovers brought from India – Rs 1,996


Telephone Bill – Rs 12,642


Mobile bill – Rs 1,99,114

New York

Tips for Bell Boys – Rs 8,909

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 8, 2015)

For details on Modi’s visit:

On Rao’s unpublished article Liberalisation and the Public Sector”

P V Narasimha Rao may be credited for liberalising Indian economy but in a hitherto unpublished article written 14 years ago, the former Prime Minister had raised concern over selling government assets to private sector citing national interest.

Noting that it is “not at all difficult to imagine the cut-throat competition among MNCs to grabbing our PSUs”, Rao felt that the common man would not appreciate the then NDA government’s plans to disinvest PSUs “when they eventually come to know of it all in its stark details”.

To buttress his point, Rao cited the importance of national assets like airports remaining in public sector by referring to how taking control of Srinagar airport in 1947 thwarted the designs of Pakistan in annexing Kashmir. He also went on to rhetorically ask how a government can think of selling Air India, “which carries the national flag”.


The article, which Rao apparently prepared to present in AICC plenary session in March 2001 but did not, appears for the first time in Jairam Ramesh’s latest book ‘To the Brink and Back’. Rao’s family had given Ramesh, who worked in Rao’s PMO, access to his private papers.

“Even a lease of our airports for a longish period could put our interests, especially security interests, at serious risks. I would like to remind the countrymen how India could retain the Kashmir Valley in 1947 against the raiders by the one single feat of taking control of the Srinagar airport just in time,” he wrote.

He warned that India’s geopolitical situation would never allow any act that loses, or parts with, the control of airports at any time. “It is difficult to imagine the position of a person who lives in his house but allows someone else to control its ingress and egress points,” he wrote in the article titled ‘Liberalisation and the Public Sector’.

“It is most unfortunate that the government should be thinking of selling off Air India/Indian Airlines. I simply cannot think of India selling off her national carrier, which carries the national flag,” he added.

Rao tried to differentiate between the disinvestment proposals during 1991-96 when he was at the helm and that of A B Vajpayee regime, saying it has to be “distinguished from the present decision of outright sale”.

He also said an impression has been created the public sector is “totally unnecessary and that the private sector could have done wonders with industrialisation”.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 4, 2015)

UP, Karnataka sentenced most to death row

Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have sentenced most number of persons to death row during 2004-12, the Law Commission has said in its report arguing for abolition of capital punishment.

The Commission studied the rate of imposition of death sentences as a percentage of the rate of convictions for murder for 2004-12 to see the differences in attitude towards the punishment.

It found there was “significant disparity by state” as it studied the figures put out by National Crime Records Bureau between 2004 and 2012.

For example, the report noted, a murder convict in Karnataka is about 3.2 times likely to get the death sentence as a murder convict in the rest of the country put together while it is six times in Delhi and 6.8 times in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, a murder convict in Jharkhand is 2.4 times as likely to get the death sentence compared to the rest of the country while it is 2.5 times for Gujarat and 3 for West Bengal.

The Commission also compares the figures among states and found huge disparity. “A murder convict in Karnataka is 5.8 times as likely to get the death sentence compared to Tamil Nadu,” it said.

A murder convict in Gujarat is again 5.8 times more likely to get the death sentence than one in Rajasthan while Maharashtra sends murder convicts to death row 2.9 times more frequently than Madhya Pradesh.

“Uttar Pradesh sends the most number of persons to the death row, but as a proportion of the conviction rate for murder, it is about par with the national average. Karnataka was the second largest contributor to the death row in this period, and its death sentence rate was 3.2 times the national average,” it added.

Another issue highlighted by the Law Commission was the economic status of the accused who is sentenced to death and their inability to hire quality lawyers to defend them in court.

Government will have to appoint lawyers for the defence in such cases but they are paid “absurdly low” in the range of Rs 500-Rs 1,500 per trial. “The competence of counsel would impact the entire trial and appellate process,” it added.

Quoting data presented by National Law University-Delhi’s Death Penalty Research Project, it said 74 per cent of convicts were economically vulnerable. A large number of them were sole breadwinners, “which would certainly have an impact on whether their families could afford retaining competent counsel”.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 3, 2015)

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