The Big Story: Poll vault
The idea that the government will listen to the people is one of the hallmarks of democracy. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes enters its third week, though, a remarkable sense of obduracy seems to have gripped his government. Even as the administration has ignored the massive inconveniences that the plan has caused, a badly executed survey conducted on Narendra Modi’s smart phone app rubbed salt into the wounds. The results of the survey released on Wednesday show overwhelming support for the decision.
Given that only 17% of Indians have access to smart phones, the survey ab initio targetted a micro, unrepresentative segment of India’s population. Moreover, the survey was replete with leading questions and a multiple-choice questionnaire that often did not even give users the chance to disagree with the plan.
Naturally, this led to some gentle mocking on Twitter as here:
But this isn’t a laughing matter. The Modi government is actually using the results of this survey to claim validation for its demonetisation programme. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister put out the results, neatly patting himself on the back. Ninety per cent of the people who took the survey had supported the decision, said the Prime Minister.
The survey only goes to show how tone deaf the Modi government has been of late. It has even treated the deaths that have resulted due to its sudden demonetisation with insensitivity. In another demonstration of his lack of empathy, the prime minister cracked a joke about wedding parties stuck for cash, though this has caused great anguish to couples in the middle of the marriage season. Besides, there has also been little political management of the difficuties faced by farmers as they try to sow their rabi crop.
Given the evident problems that demonetisation has caused, slowing down the economcy at least for the short term, a healing touch is required urgently. The nation needs real leadership, not gamed, self-congratulatory surveys.
The Big Scroll
Ten questions Modi really should have asked in his demonetisation survey
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hoping the threat of war will compel Pakistan to leash the terrorists it has let out of their pens. But both sides seem determined not to blink first.
- Exchanging Rs 1 crore for a 30% cut: Turning black into white is now a lucrative business
- The formation of Telangana has been beneficial for its chief minister but not so much for the Osmania University students that led the fight for statehood.
- In India, skin colour is tied to the caste system, says study.
- As India undergoes the world’s biggest currency overhaul in decades, central bank Governor Urjit Patel has been noticeably absent, write Brishti Beniwal and Anirban Nag in Bloomberg.
- It’s time to assess the impact of the surgical strikes, writes Harinder Baweja in the Hindustan Times.
- Writing in the New York Times, Gregor Aisch, Adam Pearce and Bryant Rousseau try and evaluate just how far Europe is swinging to the Right.
Tamil Nadu’s schools are in crisis (but nobody is talking about it), reports M Rajshekhar.
One unusual pattern appears when looking at the number of marks scored by students taking the exams. One would expect a bell curve here – in any test, some students fare very poorly and some very well, and many average. So, a graph showing the number of students and their scores should be slim at either end – the high and low scorers – and thick in the middle.
But that is not how these charts look. A total of 10,23,566 students sat for the tenth standard board exams this year in Tamil Nadu.
In the maths graph, the curve rises slowly till the score of 20 and then falls again, so much so that no student achieves 33 or 34. But then, as many as 111,776 students score 35 – the passing grade. This is followed by another steep fall, and then almost a plateau. About 12,880 students score 98. And, then finally, there is a second, smaller spike, as 18,754 students get 100 marks.