Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: 'Stealthy surgical strikes on one's own people is bad governance'

A selection of readers' opinions.

Cash crisis

What an indictment of demonetisation (“‘Sickening and immoral’: Free market champions Forbes, Wall Street Journal slam demonetisation”)! Wherever necessary I, would like to pay my taxes. But, I do not want somebody to surveil all my financial transactions. Cashless economy means keeping a trail of all your financial transactions. – Paresh Malakar

***

Demonetisation is a ham-handed approach to tackling counterfeit currency or tax evasion. It is akin to a teacher punishing the entire class for one student’s act of indiscipline.

It may result in some temporary benefits but in the long run, the same problems will arise, other than the resentment this will generate.

India is a predominantly cash-based economy and movement towards a cashless system will evolve over a period of time. Crash courses or quick-fix solutions will bring the whole exercise into disrepute. Good intentions are ruined by clumsy execution.

The umpteen times that the RBI has changed or tweaked rules or the snowballing IT raids are generating misgivings. It is indicative of government arrogance at its worst.

The government should have embarked on this course after due process of internal consultation and preparation. Stealthy surgical strikes on one’s own people is bad governance, no matter how you dress it up. – Suresh Chandra Ojha

Scam scent

I know that ideologically Scroll.in does not like the Congress much and prefers to portray it negatively, as much as possible (“The Sahara papers, if proved genuine, could singe the Congress as well as the BJP”). Nevertheless, it is interesting to read that some Congress chief ministers might also be implicated in the Sahara Papers scandal, along with Narendra Modi, if proved true.

This fact actually makes me respect Rahul Gandhi more.

While many intellectuals and politicians have made angry rants about the corruption in the political system, only Rahul Gandhi has proposed a rational and clear solution to tackle it.

The BJP might have thought that since Congress politicians are also involved, the party would prefer not to publicise this scandal. But they have clearly underestimated Gandhi’s integrity and political acumen. – Shabeer

***

I have my doubts about the Sahara papers. Normally, parties maintain their unofficial transactions using code words. So this is only misleading. – KR Patel

***

The Sahara Group’s political reach has been well known even before the allegations of bribery came up. Subrata Roy was a flaboyant business person whose influence was wide and varied. The evidence has to be compelling to the stand scrutiny in court. But I feel the issue may die prematurely. Gopal Balakrishnan

What’s in a name?

I thoroughly enjoyed this article (“The Taimur controversy illustrates Hindutva’s self-inflicted neurosis regarding Islamic history”). Thanks much for publishing this. Scroll.in is a nice source of intellectual input during the times of intellectual bankruptcy. – Prashant Nandi

***

I congratulate you for a remarkably honest, erudite and well-articulated piece on the subject. History, after all, is a coloured and often self- indulgent perspective of facts.

I only wish you would have also traced the origin of the name Taimur and put to rest controversies. The historical figure with whom the name is being associated would not have been the first Taimur.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this and it is certainly one to save for my collections. – Anuradha Maheshwari

***

What has the Taimur controversy got to do with Hinduism? It seems as though you folks just need a point in time to say anything you feel like about Hinduism. It is very sad to see that the media divides the masses for TRPs and hits. – Prateek Soni

***

I think the person who wrote this article is judgmental and he is trying to blame Hindus. I believe it is us who integrate with everyone and do not think about religion when making friends. Others just want to prove they are innocent and not jihadis killing innocents all over the world in the name of religion . So keep this rubbish to your self and don’t try to educate and spread more hatred about Marathas and propagate wrong ideas. – Archana

Tight spot

I agree with Stalin’s concerns (“Tamil Nadu: University VCs meeting Sasikala unethical and unconstitutional, says Stalin”). The vice-chancellors of universities are answerable to the governor first and are suppose to be pillars of ethics, while this behaviour of meeting a person who is not part of any government is ridiculous. If they wanted to convey their condolences, they could have either waited or sent a personal message to Sasikala. These kinds of acts also put Sasikala in a predicament. – Raghavan Mani

Who’s story?

These infamous Indologists only want to fit everything within the framework they have learnt from European and Abrahamic standards (“From Macaulay to Frawley, from Doniger to Elst: Why do many Indians need White saviours?”). Dharmic faiths cannot be defined along the the lines of Abrahamic faiths. The word “nastika” is not exactly like the European concept of atheism. The word “dharma” too cannot simply be defined as religion, just as “karma” definitely goes beyond deed.

It is a false equivalence to compare two kinds of Indologists like Elst and Doniger.

And please don’t give a description of Brahmins, describing them to be as privileged Hindus. Brahmins were only privileged to have repository of knowledge, thus giving them a high social rank. Unlike the European societies, where the people with higher social ranks are the richest of the society, the Indian social order works very differently. Brahmins are not the richest and being high up on the social order as per some text doesn’t put Brahmins at the top of the social hierarchy. In reality, it is the wealthy who dominate. The word “privilege” is the only privilege that we Brahmins have received for ages. Abhinav Vedantham

***

We need different view points. The perspective of Western intellectuals allow us to find new meanings of Hinduism and its text. The Brahminical hegemony in creation of knowledge is a given. From time immemorial, Savarnas dominated the intellectual plain and they are doing so now. BR Ambedkar read the scriptures and gave them a very different view point. There should be a similar exercise to counter the grain reading by Western intellectuals to give the sacred texts new meaning. – Shaibal Das

***

This is an interesting article, However, a lot of important work on studying the cultures and structures of countries and regions have come from so-called outsiders.

Take for instance, Democracy in America, who’s author is French. A People’s Tragedy, one of the best works on the Russian revolution, was written by a Britisher. Closer home, Mother India, a scathing indictment of Indian society at the time, was written by an American, Katherine Mayo, and in many ways helped create the Sharada Act in 1929.

An outsider enjoys the advantage of not being in the system that they are analysing. They carry some baggage of their own, undoubtedly, but the more entrenched you are within a system, the more difficult it becomes to see its flaws and shortcomings. – Arjun Krishnan

***

You have pinpointed it clearly. I agree with you. Thanks for the essay. – Ranjit

At sea

It is sad that one cannot put forth their opinions if they are not in favour of the government (“Police crackdown forces Mumbai fishermen to give up Shivaji memorial protest ahead of Modi visit”). I hope the best decision will be considered (though spending on memorials and masterpieces will not help in a developing country where there are many other facets to be taken care of).

Please do follow-up on this news so we are aware and if there is any way citizens can support the ones who will suffer the consequences.

We also need to point-out how most infrastructure projects are just a money-minting process by contractors. – Heena Jaiswal

***

If you study history, you will realise that the freedom you are experiencing is due to brave souls like Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (“All that Maharashtra could have done with the money being spent on Shivaji’s statue”).

Shivaji Maharaj is our God, our passion, our pride. How is our nation spending some amount in teaching history to our students a waste of money?
Millions of people from each district protesting for this long-pending demand. As per your own statistics this statue is in pending state from 1980.

This means that hundreds of government officers and ministers might have discussed this topic hundreds of times. So, are you trying to prove that IAS officers and millions of people from Maharashtra are idiotic and careless? That they don’t want to irrigate their farms? They don’t want better educational and health systems for the next generation?

We appreciate mega-structures built by other nations to attract tourism so what is the problem if we do the same? If you calculate the return on investment, it will probably give you some relief that hard-earned money has been spent on the right cause.

I understand the importance of micro-irrigation, education and better health systems for betterment of our lives and we are working on it but at the same time we must preserve our heritage and pass it on to the next generations. – Swapnil Kotwal.

Shaky ground

The article by Chandrima Paul about the real estate scenario in Kolkata seemed biased, with minimal tangible data (“Why real estate in Kolkata is screwed up – and why Donald Trump can’t help”). Yes, the real estate scenario is not great in the city and so is the case in every big city of India. Request you to publish unbiased and ethical articles. – Aniruddha Roy

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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Getting the best from collaborations

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Meena Ganesh shares a similar view when she says that entrepreneurs offer an outsider’s fresh perspective on the existing gaps in healthcare. They are therefore better equipped to offer disruptive technology solutions that put the customer right at the center. Her own venture, Portea Medical, was born out of a need in the hitherto unaddressed area of patient experience – quality home care.

There are enough examples of hospitals that have gained significantly by partnering with or investing in such ventures. For example, the Children’s Medical Centre in Dallas actively invests in tech startups to offer better care to its patients. One such startup produces sensors smaller than a grain of sand, that can be embedded in pills to alert caregivers if a medication has been taken or not. Another app delivers care givers at customers’ door step for check-ups. Providence St Joseph’s Health, that has medical centres across the U.S., has invested in a range of startups that address different patient needs – from patient feedback and wearable monitoring devices to remote video interpretation and surgical blood loss monitoring. UNC Hospital in North Carolina uses a change management platform developed by a startup in order to improve patient experience at its Emergency and Dermatology departments. The platform essentially comes with a friendly and non-intrusive way to gather patient feedback.

When intrapreneurship can lead to patient centric innovation

Hospitals can also encourage a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization. According to Meena Ganesh, this would mean building a ‘listening organization’ because as she says, listening and being open to new ideas leads to innovation. Santosh Desai, MD& CEO - Future Brands Ltd, who was also part of the panel discussion, feels that most innovations are a result of looking at “large cultural shifts, outside the frame of narrow business”. So hospitals will need to encourage enterprising professionals in the organization to observe behavior trends as part of the ideation process. Also, as Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, points out, they will need to tell the employees who have the potential to drive innovative initiatives, “Do not fail, but if you fail, we still back you.” Innovative companies such as Google actively follow this practice, allowing employees to pick projects they are passionate about and work on them to deliver fresh solutions.

Realizing the need to encourage new ideas among employees to enhance patient experience, many healthcare enterprises are instituting innovative strategies. Henry Ford System, for example, began a system of rewarding great employee ideas. One internal contest was around clinical applications for wearable technology. The incentive was particularly attractive – a cash prize of $ 10,000 to the winners. Not surprisingly, the employees came up with some very innovative ideas that included: a system to record mobility of acute care patients through wearable trackers, health reminder system for elderly patients and mobile game interface with activity trackers to encourage children towards exercising. The employees admitted later that the exercise was so interesting that they would have participated in it even without a cash prize incentive.

Another example is Penn Medicine in Philadelphia which launched an ‘innovation tournament’ across the organization as part of its efforts to improve patient care. Participants worked with professors from Wharton Business School to prepare for the ideas challenge. More than 1,750 ideas were submitted by 1,400 participants, out of which 10 were selected. The focus was on getting ideas around the front end and some of the submitted ideas included:

  • Check-out management: Exclusive waiting rooms with TV, Internet and other facilities for patients waiting to be discharged so as to reduce space congestion and make their waiting time more comfortable.
  • Space for emotional privacy: An exclusive and friendly space for individuals and families to mourn the loss of dear ones in private.
  • Online patient organizer: A web based app that helps first time patients prepare better for their appointment by providing check lists for documents, medicines, etc to be carried and giving information regarding the hospital navigation, the consulting doctor etc.
  • Help for non-English speakers: Iconography cards to help non-English speaking patients express themselves and seek help in case of emergencies or other situations.

As Arlen Meyers, MD, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, says in a report, although many good ideas come from the front line, physicians must also be encouraged to think innovatively about patient experience. An academic study also builds a strong case to encourage intrapreneurship among nurses. Given they comprise a large part of the front-line staff for healthcare delivery, nurses should also be given the freedom to create and design innovative systems for improving patient experience.

According to a Harvard Business Review article quoted in a university study, employees who have the potential to be intrapreneurs, show some marked characteristics. These include a sense of ownership, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to look at the big picture along with the desire, and ideas, to improve it. But trust and support of the management is essential to bringing out and taking the ideas forward.

Creating an environment conducive to innovation is the first step to bringing about innovation-driven outcomes. These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott, which is among the top 100 global innovator companies, is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.