Sunday, 31 July 2011

India comes 62nd in the Global Innovation Index

The Global Innovation Index 2011 ranks India only 62nd out of the 125 countries/economies across the world included in terms of their innovation capabilities and results.

The GII is a collaborative effort of INSEAD, Alcatel-Lucent, Booz & Company, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the World Intellectual Property Organization, supported by an Advisory Board of nine international scholars and representatives of IOs and NGOs.

The top 10 countries in the GII 2011 are dominated by six European countries: Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom(UK). Other countries in the top ten include Singapore (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), the USA (7th), and Canada (8th).

Inspite of its tiny size and obscurity as a country in these contexts, Israel comes 7th overall, and leads the Middle East.

Our country comes a miserable 62nd.

That the CII is one of the key sponsors of the GII should indicate that our industry at least has become aware of the need to do something about this.

As always, industry fights with its hands tied in such matters, as it is really the role of government to create the right national environment for innovation.

That is why politics is so important. And that is why I am so glad that, beyond the hype of certain individuals, there is at least in UP, the start of a political party committed to ethics and social as well as ecological responsibility, the Adarsh Rashtriya Vikas Party.

Its fortunes will indicate whether there is real hope of reforming our nation politically.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Food on the Mumbai-Pune Express Tollway

Travelling from Mumbai towards Pune:

Soon after paying the Toll, one arrives at a Food Track (eatery, with street food as well as restaurant-type food). There are lots of smaller kiosks and a main eatery (one can't really call it a restaurant, as there are no places to sit, only tall tables at which one has to stand and eat).

The "Special Tea" in the main place was delicious.

Almost every item of food was quite reasonably priced in all the outlets here (I find street food at any half-respectable place in India is now Rs 40 an item, which isn't cheap).

The best buy is the Thali, in the main outlet, available at Rs 100.

Recommended for a family or friends.

(I have no financial interest in the Tollway or the Food Track!)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Should the Bhagavad Gita be taught compulsorily in schools?

Most Indians don't care about this question, since their first (and in many cases, only) concern is survival.

Other Hindus take the view that the Gita should be taught. This is, actually, a sectarian Hindu position, as the Gita is not universally revered by Hindus. The scriptures that are universally revered by Hindus are the Vedas.

So, in sofar as we Hindus want a religious text to be taught in schools, we should not support the teaching of a religious book revered by one section of Hindus, we should support the teaching of the Vedas, which are revered by all Hindus.

Of course, there are secular Hindus who oppose the teaching of any and all religious scripture in our schools.

And that is the mainstream and official position in our country.

My own view is that all religious scriptures should be taught in schools, as that is the only way of creating a genuine secularism as against the superficial secularism we have at present.

Let the leaders of all religions be invited to send their authorised teachers to our schools. And, in order to ensure freedom of choice, let all students freely choose in which THREE religious texts they wish to receive instruction.

Of course, we should ensure that it is the texts themselves that are being examined - as the time should not be wasted on hearing merely the views of any religious teacher.

As students nowadays do not have unlimited time, I would suggest that what is at present the time given to Moral Instruction should continue, but that, within that time, provisio is made for at least one alternative lesson each year from each of the six major traditions (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh - not in any particular order but simply the order in which they spring to my mind at this moment)