It is customary to look at the subsidy for fuel, fertilizers, etc. and crib about the money being doled out. However the subsidy for higher education is so so misplaced!
Why should an IIT and an IIM charge fees way below the market costs? All these institutions are sitting on Government gifted land, and grants. Do they really need this subsidy? Why is it that these institutes cannot be asked to charge market related fees -and be self sufficient. Wait a minute. Are they not charging market related fees?
Well, if ISB and IIM are charging more or less the same fees, there seems to be no need for a subsidy for IIM. Now if that is the situation, why did Jaitely provide for Rs. 500 crores for setting up new IITs and IIMs? Just an election promise of setting up one IIT and one IIM in every state.
It really cannot get worse. There is a HUGE shortage of good teachers – and the reasons are not known why. Maybe the institutions do not want to pay well or maybe the job is very difficult to do and hence we are unable to get good teachers. It is time that our colleges used a lot of technology and made sure that good teachers are available all over the country – by using technology.
If private colleges like ISB, Nirma, ITM can run profitable colleges all over the country, there is no reason why the government should subsidize ‘higher education’. Makes no economic sense at all.
In cities like Mumbai the infra is cracking – and government chickened out of increasing the train fare. Like Swaminathan Iyer had suggested – the monthly pass price can be increased at a slow pace – from 15 trips for a monthly pass to 25 trips over a 2 year period. Of course commercially using the space that they Railways have in Mumbai would also dramatically increase its income – imagine creating a big office space over all the railway stations -and renting it out!
The money saved in the subsidy to IIT and IIM should be spent on rural schooling. The rural schooling projects run by organisations like Isha and Eureka seem to suggest that a lot of work in the quality of education has to be done. Setting up schools is not the end game – ensuring that good quality students emerge from them is far, far more important. The Government does not seem to be capable of ensuring quality of education imparted. The Gov should consider partnering with good NGOs to improve the quality of education at the bottom of the pyramid.
LPG subsidy in urban India can be easily removed by creating a parallel private sector delivery mechanism. If the people are not at the mercy of the Gov shops, surely people will be willing to pay a premium for that delivery. The conversion of all the houses in Mumbai’s suburbs – to piped gas – is a clear indicator that when the subsidy amount is say Rs. 4k per annum, the middle class is not really bothered too much about it – and is willing to exchange that for the convenience….
I hope Jaitely and gang start thinking on these lines…
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