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Sunday, December 18, 2005

News round-up: Dec. 18

1. Who's responsible for the death of 42 people at a relief camp?

I was shocked and angered when I read about the senseless and entirely preventable death of 42 people in a stampede at a relief distribution centre in Chennai (see The Hindu report: 42 killed in stampede at relief distribution centre in Chennai).

I am inclined to believe Chief Minister Jayalalithaa when she states that some miscreants had spread rumours on the timing of the distribution to bring a bad name to her Government.

Consider the following:

  • relief operations on a massive scale have by and large been going on smoothly, except for an earlier stampede in November and this one,
  • the chorus of calls for her resignation from the assorted local opposition outfits that differ in name by a few letters but are united in their greed for power,
  • Karunanidhi's statements
    "Where is law and order in the State? The question of failure [in law and order] would arise only then?"
    Link Karunanidhi statement.
  • Assemby elections coming up in the first half of next year, and
  • Dayanidhi Maran saying he will submit a report to the Central Government

Is the ground being prepared for the imposition of Governor's Rule through Article 356 in Tamil Nadu before the elections so that some can get the extra edge? How easy it is to exploit a tragedy politically!

2. Keep your hands off the private sector, UPA!

I read that the UPA govt. is planning to further its "social justice" agenda through the politician's favored approach to sow social distrust and discord - the quota system (see Times of India link UPA govt. plans job quota in private sector).

Of course, given ToI's standards of journalism (see my earlier critique of CP Surendran's op-ed) and its well-known inclination to fill pages with gossip and innuendo masquerading as news reports, can we put much stock in this report?

Indeed, the report itself seems to contradict itself, when it initially states:

Sources say government, which had so far maintained that it would leave it to the private sector to consider introducing job reservations, is now bringing both an amendment to the Constitution, as well as enacting a new law for the purpose.

but later,

Unlike the law officer who felt that government would’ve to amend the Constitution to satisfy the clamour for pushing the quota frontiers, the ministry has held that the purpose can also be achieved by enacting an ordinary law and placing it under the 9th Schedule of the Constitution for immunity from legal challenge.

Clearly, the latter quote implies that one doesn't need both amendment and law to introduce the disastrous idea of reservations in the private sector. And, given our MPs tendencies to shirk work, why would they do tow things, when they need to do only one?

Leaving aside the merits of the report, what on earth is the UPA govt. thinking by introducing reservations by law in the private sector? Why now? Is this an admission that public sector quotas are not doing their job (no pun intended)? Do the following come under the private sector - a start-up of 10 people, retail stores (ranging from potti kadai to the Big Bazaar-types), small scale industries, massive corporations? Can you imagine the hassles of recruiting to the quota, when you are trying to start-up a company?

If the law comes in to place, the govt. would obviously be in charge of enforcing these quotas. You can be sure that this leads to more corruption, declining productivity, and our country becoming an economic wasteland.

3. The Left and BPOs

With increased economic and career opportunities beckoning youths nowadays, thanks to the rise in business process outsourcing to India, the Left is becoming more and desparate when it finds that its conventional recruiting bases are no longer yielding sufficient recruits. Of course, by recruiting bases I mean the millions of fresh-out-of-college graduates who had no prospects and hopes, in the era of government-controlledstrangled economies.

As a result, the Left, through its outfits like the trade unions is desperate to enter the BPO space and wreak havoc there, under the guise of "improving labour conditions". Regulate BPO sector, says CITU

As predicted in my news round-up of Dec. 17, the Left is using the gory murder of Pratibha as an excuse to make another attempt into interfering with the BPO sector.

What thrilled me was the following statement:

Despite their efforts, trade unions have not been able to make any headway in unionising BPO workers, mainly due to a lukewarm response from the workers themselves.

Hope the Left is continually rebuffed in its attempts!


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