The rational school operators of Uttar Pradesh
Just like over nine out of ten families in Karnataka, many school operators in Uttar Pradesh demonstrated that they are rational actors. If the Indian government has announced that it will give Rs 325 crores over the five years to madrassas (which, among others, means "an honorarium of Rs 6,000 per month to graduate teachers and Rs 12,000 per month to post-graduate teachers") then it is perfectly rational for private non-religious schools into madrassas. Perhaps private schools operated by Muslims are taking a lead in this—but it should not surprise anyone if people from all faiths jumped in to get a share of the pie.
Of course, the Ministry of Human Resources Development officially doesn’t get it. It has called upon the Uttar Pradesh state government to conduct an enquiry into why people are behaving rationally, and responding to incentives.
The UPA government has been schizophrenic in its understanding and application of incentives (see this post on Acquired Incentivo Deficiency Syndrome, by The Rational Fool). It seems to understand them at a political level where it has extinguished equality of opportunity for an entitlement economy. But it has repeatedly failed to understand them at a policy level, where it has pretended that nice sounding intentions can replace sound incentive structures.
A particularly obnoxious variety
It takes a particular type of politician to insult a policeman killed in the line of duty and then try and play a cheap trick on the family of the deceased. That particular type of politician is Amar Singh, leader of the Samajwadi Party.
“His comments have hurt our honour and disrespected my late husband. We did not go begging to Singh and we will not accept the cheque now that he has publicly said that he gave us money—as if I am making my husband’s death an excuse to earn money,” said an angry Maya Sharma, widow of the officer.
Interestingly, the cheque that was handed out to the family had an error in it. “In numbers, the amount mentioned on the cheque was Rs 10,000, while Rs 10 lakh was written in words. When we brought this to Singh’s representative’s notice, he asked us to add two zeros to the cheque on our own. She added that I told him that such things are not befitting of respectable people like us. I thought it was an honest mistake. So, after we insisted, his representative took the cheque back for correction. Now, we don’t want it back,” said Maya. [TOI]
Maya Sharma said the announcement of Rs 30 lakh given to the family by Delhi Police has been over-hyped. “That money was the accumulation of his GPF, other benefits and ex-gratia amount given to every officer who dies in action. It was no special compensation.” [IE]
Trying to wipe the egg off his face, Mr Singh announced that his party might consider withdraw support from the UPA government if the Jamia Millia Islamia university were found innocent. It is grandstanding yes, but the message to the UPA government is palpable.
Surprise! It’s the Lashkar-e-Taiba/ISI nexus
The Uttar Pradesh police have arrested some suspected terrorists. We’ll have to wait for B Raman and Praveen Swami to tell us the whole story…but this much we know: these arrests come after a very long time.
Six Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, who were involved in the terror attacks on the CRPF Group Centre in Rampur and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, were arrested in Rampur and here late on Saturday night and early hours of Sunday by the Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh Police.
While eight persons, including seven CRPF personnel, were killed in the January 1 Rampur attack, one scientist died and few others injured in the Bangalore attack on December 29, 2005 during a seminar in the J.N. Tata auditorium.
Uttar Pradesh Director-General of Police Vikram Singh said Pakistan nationals Amar Singh alias Abu Zaar and Abu Osama, who played a major role in the Rampur and Bangalore attacks, planned terror strikes at Churchgate in Mumbai, the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Army convoys in Rampur and Bareilly.
Initial interrogation showed that before the Rampur attack, the ultras were given training in intelligence gathering and handling explosives for about a month by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). [The Hindu]
Update: B Raman and Praveen Swami with the details.