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8 ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
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MUMBAI | THURSDAY, 7 JUNE 2018 1

Skill crisis or school crisis? progression, pay commissions etc.


A wonderful recent World Bank
report on learning offers a good tem-
plate to think about the problem and
and high inequality.
India must find her own solutions,
but many are obvious. The Right to
Education Act must be replaced with a
> CHINESE WHISPERS

The new world of work and skills needs a radical rethink of school education solutions. It suggests that schooling isn’t Right to Learning Act that focuses on
Leak stings
learning for four reasons; unskilled and outcomes. We must remove the Delhi
of Skills, we’d like to make the case that differences in literacy and numeracy unmotivated teachers, unprepared alibi from state governments by decen- Information leak has become a major
in a few years India’s binding constraint can lead to substantial wage premiums. learners, school inputs that don’t affect tralising school regulation (like the headache for the Indian market
will shift from the lack of trained work- Imagine a driver who can use Google teaching and learning, and governance replacement of the No Child Left Behind regulator Securities and Exchange
ers to the lack of trainable workers. Our maps, a security guard who can handle or management that does not pull it all Act with Every Student Succeeds Act in Board of India (Sebi) in recent times.
skill crisis may actually become a school the phone during lunch, and a plumber together. It suggests three strategies; a) the US). Our board exams need a cur- It started with the leak of a sensitive
crisis; we need systemic reform that who uses WhatsApp. Finally, we won’t assess learning and use the results to riculum that strikes the right balance price information on listed
aligns all the actors to learning. be able to take jobs to people and must guide action; b) act on evidence by using between soft and hard skills. We should- companies. Now, it has been alleged
School education is very important take people to jobs; migration outcomes it to guide innovation and practice; and n’t give up on government schools but that confidential information about
for India. First, nothing empowers more are better if we take a solid school edu- c) align actors to make the system work give them governance that holds teach- trading curbs on certain companies
than the abilities of filling in a job appli- cation to people before they migrate. by tackling the political barriers to learn- ers to performance and outcomes has also been leaked. The biggest
cation form, calculating correct change, The problems of our schools are ing at scale. The third one is particular- (Delhi, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu may problem during such episodes is the
or following a doctor’s instruction. known. Most Class 8 students can’t do ly relevant for India because “many edu- have some transferable lessons). wide use of social media for sharing
MANISH SABHARWAL & SUMIT KUMAR Second, in the new world of work of stuff of many grades below. Our regula- cation actors have conflicting interests Mahatma Gandhi advised young such unlawful information. “Things
automation and machine learning, the tion is input focused (teacher salaries, beyond learning; politicians like to tar- people to live your life as if you will die were much simpler when there was
most important vocational skills are the teacher qualification, and class sizes) get particular groups (geographic, eth- tomorrow but learn as if you will live no Whatsapp or Facebook. These days
elson Mandela said, “Like slav- basic ones (3Rs of reading, writing and and confuses school buildings with nic, or economic), bureaucrats often try forever. Many of our schools today don’t it is difficult to ascertain the origin of

N ery and apartheid, poverty is


not natural. It is man-made, and
it can be overcome and eradicated by
arithmetic) or the very advanced ones
(relationships, creativity, influencing,
planning etc). Third, we now know we
building schools. Our curriculum tar-
gets knowing rather than learning but
Google knows everything; education
to keep politicians and teachers
happy, and teachers may fight to
protect employment and incomes.
enable our children to learn as if they
will live in the next decade — forever is
far away. This isn’t a problem like cancer
such leaks,” said a Sebi official.

the actions of human beings.” The most don’t know how to teach people in six must target Poet Yeats quip that “edu- Unfortunately, potential beneficiaries or climate change but a plumbing prob- Sena pummels Shah outreach
sustainable action for poverty is educa- months what they should have learnt in cation is not the filling of a bucket but of better learning — students, parents, lem. Now that we know fixing skills will
tion in its broadest sense; K-12 schools, 12 years; repair can never substitute for the lighting of a fire”. And performance and employers — often lack the organ- not happen without fixing our K-12 sys-
universities, and skills. Much has been prepare. Fourth, unlike China’s farm to management for teachers — a fear of isation, power, information or short- tem, we need a school system that prays
written about India’s skills and jobs cri- non-farm transition which happened falling and hope of rising — is hard term incentives to push for change”. to the one god of learning.
sis but with recent progress in job for- to factories, India’s transition is hap- everywhere but is complicated in gov- Consequently, systems like India are
malisation, green shoots in higher edu- pening to service roles like sales, cus- ernment schools by transfer policy stuck in traps characterised by low Sabharwal is with Teamlease Services;
cation reform, and a dedicated Ministry tomer service and logistics where small politicisation, minimum assured career accountability, poor learning outcomes, Kumar is with Teamlease Skills University

Carte blanche to notify law requires reform


The provocative abuse of the power to choose when to put into effect a law passed by Parliament has reached a point
On the day Bharatiya Janata Party
president Amit Shah met Shiv Sena chief
Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai, the Sena
where judicial intervention is warranted unveiled a scathing criticism of Shah's
outreach programme. "The prime
got Parliament to arm it with the power time, energy and monetary expense minister is touring the world and BJP
to notify such provision on such date as have been expended on litigation about chief Amit Shah is going around the
the government willed. Apart from pro- how, in the absence of an explicit repeal country as part of their sampark
visions relating to setting up of tri- of the old law, two provisions can or programme... Why is he meeting at this
bunals, none of the provisions intro- cannot co-exist and whether a provi- juncture when the BJP has suffered
duced into the 1956 company law to sion can be said to have been “repealed defeats in bypolls,” the Sena asked in an
bring in an insolvency regime was noti- by implication”. editorial in the party mouthpiece
fied into effect by the government. Empowering the government to Saamna. The editorial noted that
In January 2004, a law to repeal the take its time to notify a law passed by inflation had spiked with high petrol and
SICA was passed by Parliament, but this Parliament is a practical feature, but diesel prices and farmers were protesting
too empowered the government to noti- equally, it is time those running as they were unhappy with some of the
fy the law as it chose and when it chose. Parliament gave thought to how they government's policies. As part of the
WITHOUT CONTEMPT Nothing happened for a decade. In 2013, are abdicating their responsibility 'sampark for samarthan' exercise, Shah
new company law was introduced in without seeking account of why a law met Thackeray at his Mumbai residence
SOMASEKHAR SUNDARESAN the form of the Companies Act, 2013, has not been notified into effect on Wednesday, and is expected to call on
again empowering the government to despite being passed. The social con- Shiromani Akali Dal leaders Parkash Singh
t is a year since the Reserve Bank of notify into effect various provisions on ditions for which a law is introduced Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal today.

I India (RBI) picked specific cases of


borrowers for action to be taken by
banks to invoke the provisions of the
various dates as the government
deemed fit. This law too contained pro-
visions akin to Part VI-A of the 1956
JUSTICE DENIED The social conditions for which a law is introduced remain
unaddressed when the notification is not effected
remain unaddressed when the notifi-
cation is not effected — rendering the
administration of the law completely
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 Companies Act. Therefore, at this stage, arbitrary. Serious consequences have ‘Polls’ apart
(IBC). Much ink will be spilled about two legislation governing company law, visions in the IBC that would delete the would automatically stand replaced in followed in welfare legislation due to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is
the year gone by. This column will not governing the same subject of insol- corresponding provisions in the 2013 the eyes of the law by the newly intro- this approach — cases in point being likely to accept the resignations of five
add to it. vency was in existence but neither leg- company law (the 1956 law remained duced legislation. Therefore, the other the law on domestic violence and the YSR Congress (YSRC) members after they
However, the workings of the IBC islation was brought into effect. Finally, without notification). On November 25, regulatory authorities who are the law prohibiting testing the gender of an met her on Wednesday. These MPs had
and its impact on other laws, presents a in May 2016, the IBC was passed by 2016, the law repealing the SICA was noti- authors of these legislation conduct a unborn foetus. sent their resignation letters on April 6,
good opportunity to note an important Parliament, again empowering the gov- fied to give it effect from December 1, lot of activity proposing to amend their The provocative abuse of the power the last day of the Budget session, but
aspect of law making in India — the ernment to notify such provisions as it 2016 — over 12 years after it was passed by regulations to bring them in line with to choose when to bring into effect a law the Speaker had asked them to think
practice of government arming itself chose at such times as it chose. Parliament. On November 30, 2016, the references to the new law; conducting passed by Parliament has reached a again. YSRC sources said the MPs
with legislation made by Parliament, The IBC contained provisions that provisions of the IBC were notified with debates over whether they should point where judicial intervention by a conveyed to her that they were
with full liberty given to the government would amend the law that had been effect from December 1, 2016, to take over change the law; and handle voluminous Constitutional Bench is warranted. In “adamant” and Mahajan asked them to
to decide when any provision of the law passed to repeal the SICA — in other from the SICA. unproductive work of dealing with pro- the past, the abuse of the promulgation give that in writing. In contrast, the
may actually be brought into effect. The words, a law that had not been brought Now, this tortuous journey of the law cedures for making these changes. of Ordinances by a state government Speaker had accepted the resignations of
legacy of legislation preceding the IBC into effect was amended in its still-born has other implications. A number of The 2013 Companies Act in itself pre- had led to a limit of two times being Bharatiya Janata Party's B S Yeddyurappa
underlines the extreme limits to which state. The IBC also had provisions to other legislation contained references sented a piquant situation with the pow- imposed by the Supreme Court. The and B Sreeramulu, MPs from Karnataka,
this can be stretched. delete the provisions introduced in the to the SICA and its provisions — purely er given to the government to notify into abuse of sticking the “money bill” label within days of them sending their
Originally, insolvency proceedings 2013 company law, but left out the provi- for example, exemptions from open effect such provisions as the govern- is another example of the courts being resignations on getting elected to the
for “sick industrial companies” was gov- sions of the 1956 company law that is still offers in the Takeover Regulations and ment chose whenever it chose. When seized of such an issue. It is time to take state Assembly in mid-May. The Telugu
erned by the Sick Industrial Companies on the statute book but not notified. exemptions from delisting procedures empowering itself with such a power, a close hard look at how governments Desam Party alleged the reluctance to
(Special Provisions) Act, 1985 (SICA). In Eventually, on November 1, 2016, through under the Delisting Regulations. Not the government forgot to get Parliament get Parliament to give them a “carte accept the resignations of the YSRC five
January 2003, the Companies Act, 1956 notifications, the provisions in the IBC everyone is aware that the General to also empower the government with blanche” on use of this power. had to do with avoiding a by-poll on the
was amended to insert a Part VI-A titled that would amend the un-notified SICA Clauses Act provides that when a legis- the power to notify the partial repeal of five seats less than a year before the next
“Revival and Rehabilitation of Sick repeal law were notified. On November lation is repealed and replaced, all ref- corresponding provisions of the 1956 The author is an advocate and independent Lok Sabha elections.
Industrial Companies”. The government 15, 2016, the government notified the pro- erences to the repealed legislation Companies Act. Till date, enormous counsel. Tweets @SomasekharS

BUSINESS LIFE > LETTERS

China’s costly ban on foreign trash Not a viable solution purpose of the scheme could not be
achieved due to several factors, includ-
Recycled imports help manufacturers and the environment. What’s not to like? This refers to “New solutions to India’s ing the lethargic attitude of the banks.
banking crisis” (June 6). While I agree Although government agencies have a
ADAM MINTER the financial crisis). with the writer’s contention of the prob- major role in the formulation of
In 2013, more foreign direct invest- lems being faced by the public sector schemes, identification of borrowers
iant bales of recycled paper and ment flowed into Southeast Asia than banks (PSBs), the suggested solutions and assisting in recovery are front-end

G plastic are piling up across the


US Six months ago, most of
them would’ve been bound for China,
into China, thanks partly to Chinese
manufacturers moving to lower-wage
countries. As manufacturers moved,
may not meet the requirements of the
economy. Licensing of more foreign
banks will lead to opening of their
and back-end actions. Banks as a habit,
were treating the scheme as one of low
priority, mainly due to the lack of
the world's leading importer of recy- recyclers followed. Although this process branches in metros and big cities and We have all known that the cost of machinery for follow-up and the high
clables. But earlier this year, China started long before China's recent restric- catering to select affluent clients and big data on Indian mobile networks has level of non-performing assets from
started restricting and even banning tions, it has only accelerated since. In industry. The removal of requirements come down considerably but perhaps no such lending.
some of those imports on environ- the first two months of 2017, China of adhering to priority sector norms and one would have imagined that as a pro- There was an instance during the ‘90s,
mental grounds. It’s a crowd-pleasing imported 1.23 million metric tons of opening 25 per cent branches in portion of per capita income, it has “gone where a Tamil Nadu leading bank did not
policy for the Chinese government, but recycled plastics; during the same peri- unbanked areas will reduce any incentive from being the most expensive globally have even an office, or any officer desig-
the real beneficiaries are up-and-com- od in 2018, it imported just 10,000. for these new entrant foreign banks to two years ago to being the cheapest”. That nated as lead bank officer in one of its dis-
ing Southeast Asian economies keen to As China has started imposing more open branches and lend in smaller towns the drop is an unprecedented 95 per cent tricts for more than two years. In the same
relocate China’s “workshop to the stringent restrictions on recycled and to small businesses. Removing min- is revealing. No wonder there is fierce state, branch managers of a nationalised
world” to their own industrial parks. devoted to non-ferrous metals were imports, prices have risen significantly imum equity threshold is not desirable. competition among the leading players in bank in one of the branches in
Over the past four decades, several churning out products worth more — by more than 10 percent for some Moreover, many existing foreign the domain. The projected increase of Rameswaram district was changed every
factors helped China transform itself than $64 billion a year. products — and so has the cost of man- banks have ceased to lend in the retail over 350 million data/video capable year as it was a hardship centre. It is in the
into a global manufacturing power- This wasn’t just good for China’s ufacturing. Outside China, though, sphere and have reduced their exposures phones in just four years presents a huge same state that millions of rupees were
house, including low-wage labour, economy; it was also good for the envi- prices have fallen as exporters flooded in the country. Non-banking financial opportunity for handset makers — drained as loan and subsidy to “rehabili-
good infrastructure and far-sighted ronment. Between 2002 and 2011, markets with recyclables that were sud- corporations (NBFCs) are a diverse lot domestic and foreign. tate scavengers” for years together
policy. In addition to these well-known China's recycled aluminum sector denly unwelcome on the mainland. of financial service providers in terms That cheap data could actually make although scavenging by human beings
advantages, however, is a crucial one saved 350 billion kilowatt hours of elec- For Southeast Asia, that's been a of size, structures, financial strength, our supply chains much more efficient was stopped decades back and the dis-
that's often overlooked: recycling. tricity and prevented the generation boon. Its emerging economies now have network of branches, type of business and our motor vehicle assets more pro- placed persons were provided employ-
During the 1980s and 90s, Chinese of 522 million metric tons of carbon even lower-cost raw materials to feed they pursue etc. Many of them will not ductive are indeed wonderful possibili- ment by the state government.
manufacturers had few options for raw dioxide. For a country desperately try- their manufacturers, whether home- pass muster. Merely giving more banking ties. Surely, a cause for cheer in the oth- G Mohanadas via email
materials. State-owned natural- ing to reduce air pollution and green- grown or relocated from China. Over licences to foreign banks and NBFCs will erwise bleak scenario.
resource monopolies supplied state- house-gas emissions, that was a huge the past year, Vietnam’s imports of US- not substantively mitigate the problems Krishan Kalra Gurugram Letters can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to:
owned manufacturers, not small busi- benefit. There were still dirty and pol- generated recycled PET, the plastic used faced by the Indian banking system. The The Editor, Business Standard
nesses. Opening a mine, oil well or luted recyclers, of course. But com- in water bottles, has risen by 137 per- issues confronting the PSBs needs to be Who’s to blame? Nehru House, 4 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg
New Delhi 110 002
logging operation was prohibitively pared to the alternatives — mines, cent, while Malaysia's have risen by 63 squarely addressed and comprehensive Fax: (011) 23720201 · E-mail: letters@bsmail.in
expensive for a private company. So in petrochemical refineries, destructive percent. China, meanwhile, is turning to reforms undertaken. This refers to “Revamping of lead bank All letters must have a postal address and telephone
the mid-1980s, entrepreneurs began logging — recycling remained the Houston's petrochemical industry Arun Pasricha New Delhi scheme” (June 4). It is a fact that the number
importing the rich world's unwanted most responsible option. (among others) to meet its plastic
recycling and selling it at a discount. Now that virtuous cycle is break- demand, increasing costs and green- Reason to cheer
That proved to be a major benefit to ing down. In addition to the new house-gas emissions along the way. > HAMBONE BY MIKE FLANAGAN
manufacturers, and a big business in restrictions, China's economy is chang- Far from becoming the world's new Neelkanth Mishra’s article “Cheap data
its own right. At its peak, imported ing markedly. In 2012, the country's “dumping ground,” in other words, driving profound changes” (June 6) is
recycled material was the feed stock labour pool shrank for the first time, Southeast Asia is capitalising on the absolutely fascinating. It is mind boggling
for more than half of China's paper thanks to decades of declining fertility. virtuous cycle that China seems to be to see how cheap data can facilitate addi-
production, while imported scrap may Costs rose, especially for labour-inten- abandoning. In all likelihood, it can tion of as much as 1.5 per cent to the
have accounted for a third of its copper sive businesses, and many manufac- look forward to a more sustainable, national GDP growth of our country. Of
production. The recycling industry turing hubs went into decline. That affluent future built on the junk that course, actual results will depend on
employed 1.5 million people, and indi- same year, the volume of U.S. recycling other countries don't want. “human ingenuity and Indian entrepre-
rectly supported another 10 million exports to China fell for the first time neurism” but the author’s detailed expla-
jobs. By 2011, recycling businesses since 1996 (barring a one-year dip after © 2018 Bloomberg nation of the manner it can happen make
eminent sense.