Happiness and wealth
Apropos ‘Time for economies to look at happiness and well-being’ (September 16), it is wrong to assume that the citizens of all economically strong nations are happy. The quality of life one leads is more important than one’s bank balance.
In India, comparing different generations is not a right approach. Each generation will have its own strength and weakness, and to think that those who lived hard lives earlier were happier is certainly a mistake.
The Human Development Index gives a better idea of which nations are happier, and the GDP which nations are rich. Both are not the same. Which means money cannot be equated with happiness.
The rural economy is not just about raw produce and employment of base level labour. The sector’s untapped potential for wide ranging products and services needs to be imaginatively exploited. Technological interventions can exponentially augment scale of agro production. With tools of IT, good political leadership, quality educational institutions and healthcare facilities, a new class of rural micro entrepreneurs will emerge.
Evolving enabling systems and infrastructure, besides minimising traditional distress of the farmer, can set direction to optimise productivity and establish nodal agro-processing centres to profitably utilise perishable agro produce.
Governance and road safety
Recent events have again turned national debate onto road safety, with focus largely on saving lives during accidents — seat belts, air bags, etc — and rightly so. Alongside, we need informed debate on avoiding accidents in the first place. This requires a deeper understanding of traffic dynamics and its rapidly changing character. On road architecture, while there have been good developments in road-building, some cardinal principles seem discarded. For example, road curvature which allows water to drain quickly to the sides instead of accumulating on the surface. Alongside is the absolute necessity of storm-water drains which carry such water away.
Additionally, improving governance can help. Wrong side driving (even on highways), prohibited vehicles entering highways, ill-maintained and confusing road signs, are examples of less than excellent governance. And what about distracting billboards?
This refers to ‘FinMin to allow RRBs raise funds via IPOs, rights issue’ (September 16). RRBs were an overnight creation to fill a gap in banking outreach to a large geographical area where the formal banking system hesitated to move in for several, mostly cost-related, reasons.
Quickly they multiplied into almost a couple of hundred individual entities and effectively served the purpose of their coming into being. Their growth, subsequent consolidation and the evolution to the present status are part of India’s banking history, starting with establishment of SBI.
Kudos to the government and the RBI for the present initiative to strengthen the rural banking infrastructure by improving the capital base of RRBs. HR management (from board level appointments to recruitment of staff and career progression), is another neglected area in the banking system, which, if not prioritised and overhauled, will do irreparable damage to the Indian financial sector.
Scale up the patent office
This is with reference to ‘Why India needs a larger patent office’ (September 16). An evolved Intellectual Property Rights regime is the basic requirement for a knowledge-based economy.
India should establish quality management teams in the patent office to manage future recruitments and compliance. India has to increase awareness related to patent filing among the population.
The country should facilitate and enhance real-time status of patent applications and collate all related documentation. Applicants should be able to use the searchable patent databases easily.
P Sundara Pandian