Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

As we had often come back to discussing economic benefits/impact of sports I thought it was about time for an economic discussion forum.
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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby Sin Hombre » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:16 pm

ankit1407 wrote:For all those thinking he lost Bihar because people saw through development /PR agenda seems to be over estimating the wisdom of avg Bihari voter..


Agreed. Elections in the biggest states of India is a sham which is why we are in the situation we are in. The reward for not meeting socioeconomic goals is increased representation at the centre :kookoo:

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prasen9 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:12 pm

After Bush's, I mean Modi's, Mission Accomplished PR stunt on toilets, here is the unfortunate reality. The bottom-line: 30% of toilets don't work. Sanitation Programmes have failed. They failed because PR rarely solves social problems. Technology and infrastructure rarely solves social problems. The PM is too dense to understand that I suppose. Or he does not care and just wants PR stunts and politics. To his credit, he did accelerate the building of toilets. But, in our system, if you pressurize the builders, they just declare things complete even if the toilet is not working. Even if the toilets worked, people don't change. For that, you need to consult with social workers and experts in the field and have a holistic plan. But, that would take long and you cannot just declare victory by saying toilets were built. I guess you can but maybe that type of PR is caught more easily and maybe too far a lie for even Modi to propagandize. I take no glee in writing this. I want the project to be successful. I hope he has realized that the problem is more complex and does the right thing. And, to Jay, this is an example of where corruption hurts development. Many toilet builders just siphoned off the funds, built crappy toilets that don't function, certified they were built. The PM is happy because he can use that certification to claim mission accomplished. Real progress is slowed down. Hoping for something different from the PM going forward.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby Omkara » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:52 pm

My wife was with a project where this topic was an aspect that needed research. Most of these toilets are actually built but never used. Reason: how can you use toilet in your own house? Its dirty!

Given toilets are made of good quality plastics, they are pretty air tight. Most toilets' are used to store wood.

When 2 girls got killed because they went out in the night, the entire village started using their house toilets.

Modi's PR stunts are stupid, i agree but so are most political PR stunts. The toilets are built. Hope they get used soon.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prasen9 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:00 pm

Just hoping won't work. You need to do some work to make people use it. This idea of a village band that would find defecating people and start playing around him is a brilliant idea. More such ideas and public awareness campaigns are needed. Also, many of the toilets were not constructed properly or do not work. You have to make these toilets function. But, change people's behavior is the hardest part of the puzzle to solve and requires ingenuity, sustained effort and investment. Saying mission accomplished and going to sleep will not solve anything. Basically, accelerating the toilet building without a campaign to get people to use them is largely a political gimmick. We need to do better.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby arjun2761 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:43 pm

But you need to have public/private toilets before people can start using them. I do see more public toilets in India now than in the previous 50 years, so full credit to Modi's vision on that and also making using the toilets a significant part of the public discussion. Of course, to change the behavior of a billion people will take longer but the process seems to have certainly started.

The lack of public hygiene is a significant damper on Indian productivity and on the health and well being of a large number of people. It's partly the reason why a large number of Indians are as small as they are (and that has a negative impact on many of our sports :D )

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prasen9 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:30 am

I am glad that you are doing a toilet tour now than what you have done in the last 50 years. We do have more people now and more toilets now.

Right full credit to Modi's vision. When Modi came to power the scheme had been on for a long time and the Congress had built substantial number of toilets. But they are bad PR people. All Modi did is accelerate the rate of toilet building at best. He did give it a lot of press though. There are many articles with the numbers. Here is one: Toilets under Modi vs Singh But we must give Modi where credit is due. Thank god for Modi's vision. Full credit to his vision, we now have a country called India.

Full credit to him for using his megaphone to make people more aware. But, just the PM doing PR is not going to change anything much. And if 30% of the toilets are not working and whatever number is being used as a storage room, then that is money totally wasted. What is needed is a holistic plan to get rid of this problem. Neither the Congress nor Modi has had one. Building a few less or a few more toilets is not going to cut it. We should demand more.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby jayakris » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:53 am

prasen9 wrote:I hope he has realized that the problem is more complex and does the right thing. And, to Jay, this is an example of where corruption hurts development. Many toilet builders just siphoned off the funds, built crappy toilets that don't function, certified they were built. The PM is happy because he can use that certification to claim mission accomplished. Real progress is slowed down. Hoping for something different from the PM going forward.

I said time and again that there needs to be competition in corruption. But that usually requires some accountability in the governance system of the country. This is a classic example of non-competitive corruption. Ideally, the one who gets the contract has to be the more capable crook among the builders. One who still cannot get away with a bad or non-working toilet, even if his toilet costs the government more than some other builders' (because of corruption). Then that all works out right in the end. When there is no accountability in the system and corruption is unchecked by other corrupt people, you get the above problem. It is pretty easy to be corrupt and make a killing in India, relatively-speaking.

But, is it just me, or are you constantly asking for the moon from Modi and trying to find anything that he doesn't do well? I don't remember you demanding all this from former PMs who also promised all kinds of things and never delivered. If you had unrealistic expectations, then it's your fault :) .. To me, Modi seems to have delivered at a better rate than other PMs, while failing to deliver a whole bunch too. But the failures are not much to my surprise or anything, knowing how poor our system really is, in letting anybody even try to deliver (our outdated copycat constitution just needs a complete overhaul - but that's a whole other discussion). In fact, any time our PM delivers anything, it surprises me. Like how that demonetization actually got executed. I am still shocked that the Indian government actually had the ability and power to get such a thing even done (regardless of whether it was useful/productive or not).

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prashanthm » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:38 pm

jayakris wrote:But, is it just me, or are you constantly asking for the moon from Modi and trying to find anything that he doesn't do well? I don't remember you demanding all this from former PMs who also promised all kinds of things and never delivered. If you had unrealistic expectations, then it's your fault :)


Jay, it is not just you....

I said this before, and I am saying this again. I think that Prasen is going out of his way to get to Modi somehow.....
They were probably born enemies in their previous incarnation...... :p

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prasen9 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:49 pm

There are people here whom I will not name, but, who said that announcing that toilets have been built is a great achievement. I am saying that declaring that toilets have been built is not a great achievement. Building toilets that work is actually a part of a solution. Getting the whole solution or making progress towards it is the main goal. There was one poster who said that this was Modi's vision. I am just setting the record correct. This project was going on for a while. Modi came in at the end and completed it. The project itself is very poorly thought through and poorly executed. That is all I am saying. I am trying to counter-balance the Modi is god fanatics here. Modi has failed to improve the lives of Indians thus far significantly more than what other PMs did. At the end, he may have taken more action, talked about more action, but these actions have improved people's lives marginally. There is still time left. So, we will see what happens. On the other hand, he has made claims that are grandiose. He has not lived up to those claims. Other PMs did not make such grand claims. When Modi came to power, people here made it sound like India would be transformed. It has not been. It has been incrementally improved. I am just trying to cut through the hyperbole and provide a counter-point to the grand projections made by Modi, his team, and by some of his followers here.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prasen9 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:01 pm

What is interesting to me is how much political leanings blind people. What I pointed out is a report that says that the sanitation program that people here had touted about is a failure. The CAG report is a reasonably politically neutral report. What is bewildering to me is that people here who I believe are intelligent and smart people do not feel it necessary to criticize a government for its abject failure but instead is trying to shoot the messenger. The fault that the sanitation project has failed is not me. I am just pointing it out. Pointing out failures of government does not mean that I have anything against Modi. This forum has a predominantly right-wing following with respect to Indian politics at this point. So, I feel that to fill the gap I should post about the failures of this government. I would be glad to engage in a factual debate about the report and what it pointed out. Who I am or what colored wig I wear is irrelevant. I know it is not saffron. I know I have my biases. But, the important point here is the failure of a government and its cluelessness about how to solve a social problem. Let us engage in a debate on the issues. There were many things that the previous government did that were useless. But, we have to set the bar high. Especially when the PM or prospective PMs talk about delivering high and after people go ra-ra about these wild promises here.

To steer the conversation to the content, let me start with this as a scientist would. 1. The CAG said that the project has been a failure. If you do not agree with it, please provide your rationale as to why. 2. The CAG called to question the integrity of the data. Did the PM have adequate data to be assured that the toilets were indeed built and functioning? If not, then why did he mislead the nation? 3. What is the use of building these where 30% of the toilets do not work? 4. Why did the project not have social workers and behavioral scientists or just plain innovators design incentives and disincentives to change or try to change or entice to change people's behaviors?

If we focus on these, maybe we don't have to debate about me. That does not get us anywhere. More discussions about the topic on other questions and legitimate debate is fine.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby Prashant » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:32 pm

prashanthm wrote:I said this before, and I am saying this again. I think that Prasen is going out of his way to get to Modi somehow.....



The degree of hype & bluster that has surrounded Modi is completely unparalleled compared to any previous administration. Thus, the amount of scrutiny by thoughtful people should rise in proportion. Prasen is doing us a service. That is irrespective of whether you agree or disagree with the specific issue here.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prashanthm » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:20 pm

@Prashant, @Prasen

I don't have a problem with Prasen's criticism....

I tried to find my post from a few months ago where there was namecalling on other posters of the forum... as fanboys of Modi, etc..., which I took exception to at that time...

the content of Prasen's posts is fine, if he can take care of the sarcasm, but may be that is his style, and I don't know his personality... :D

Few examples below...

I am glad that you are doing a toilet tour now than what you have done in the last 50 years. We do have more people now and more toilets now.

Thank god for Modi's vision. Full credit to his vision, we now have a country called India.


Full credit to him for using his megaphone to make people more aware.


But then again, here is the bigger question I have asked before and jay seems to be asking the same...
Were you asking these things of the previous government as well? If not, did you raise your expectations with the current government? if so, what caused you to up your expectations? If not, is there any other motive for blasting the current government?

My exception is not with blasting any government, as long as it is consistent. My problem is with a two-tongued approach.... on things like this...

Neither the Congress nor Modi has had one. Building a few less or a few more toilets is not going to cut it. We should demand more.


All iz well..... :D

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prashanthm » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:36 pm

prasen9 wrote:I am trying to counter-balance the Modi is god fanatics here.


Again, these are the type of comments I take exception to. I don't feel that there are any 'Modi is god' fanatics on the forum... There are people here who are Pro-Modi and who are against Modi, but none of the Pro-modi people are as extreme to be called Fanatics...

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prasen9 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:22 pm

Ok, if my hyperbole and sarcasm hurt somebody, sorry. The point of my sarcasm was to point out the blatantly false notion that building toilets was somehow Modi's vision.

I am not interested in the discussion of whether this government is better or worse than the previous government. If someone wants to have that discussion please feel free to do so. It is not my job to criticize everything in the world. I pick and choose what I feel needs to be pointed out. I have no problems if you want to label me a partisan. Please feel free to do so.

I accept the criticism about my over-the-top style for all that has been quoted above. Except this one:
Neither the Congress nor Modi has had one. Building a few less or a few more toilets is not going to cut it. We should demand more.

I stand by that. That is factually correct and it does not have any hyperbole per my knowledge. Now, if I do not know something, please explain why that statement is wrong and I will accept my folly.

Now, let us return to this failure of the government of India. I am waiting for the response of those that applauded Modi for running a PR stunt with little data when the project in reality was a dismal failure.

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Re: Preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Postby prasen9 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:44 pm

BTW, Prashanthm, wrt to the quote:
I am glad that you are doing a toilet tour now than what you have done in the last 50 years. We do have more people now and more toilets now.
That was in response to this statement:
I do see more public toilets in India now than in the previous 50 years, so full credit to Modi's vision on that and also making using the toilets a significant part of the public discussion.
My point is that there has to be more public toilets now than before because there are more people now, more houses now, more roads now, etc. Yes, the government is building more toilets. I presume some of them function reasonably. The problem is that 30% or so of these toilets do not function. I do not know how old Arjun is. But, he sees them more now than in the past 50 years. So, basically he has been seeing toilets for the last 50 years. But, unless you really do a toilet tour, you cannot know what is functioning. Or you are reporting on a very small sample sized anecdotal evidence without checking if the toilets function properly. It is a lot more time-consuming to write all this and hence I went for the snappy one-liner.

Giving Modi full credit for something that has been worked on by numerous governments when his project has been a failure is a clear example of hyper-partisan bloviating. What else can one call it? Modi's talking about toilets has not had much impact on the bottom-line much either. My point is that PR or bone-headedly incompetent programs do not solve social problems.

And it's not just the CAG, the Wall Street Journal also published this: Toilets in India And the WSJ is hard-core right-wing paper. So, this is not just the left bloviating either.


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