Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Why does Scroll.in only criticise the Modi government?

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Economic outlook

I cannot understand Modi’s opponents (“Why the current economic slowdown is worse than the one during Manmohan Singh’s second term”). During UPA rule, the economy was run mostly with black money. Promoter of mega projects were siphoning of money from banks in collusion with senior managers. No one was interested in keeping up manufacturing and exports as they were getting lots of cash any way. So, the Indian economy was ruined.

Modi demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, taking the black-moneyed and rich by surprise. Modi promised he will curtail black money and he did that very well. Now people who want to invest in shares have to use white money. Demonetisation led to shortage of money in circulation, but this is a passing phase. Let us suffer little bit for the good of the country. GST implementation has been great and an overhaul like this is something only a leader like Modi only can undertake.

Naturally, the economy has slowed down because of these major reforms, but they are good for the country. The economy can be revived easily because there is no black money. Bank managers are careful in disbursing loans. Thus the present situation cannot be compared to things during the UPA regime. – Krishnaswamy

***

Modi recently presented figures comparing the last three years of UPA and the first three years of NDA. The figures were very impressive as it showed that there has been a 30%-40% growth in almost all areas. The author of this article appears to be biased. The author must delve deeper into the issue. – Raj Kumar Dham

Editor’s note: The growth figures cited by Narendra Modi to present a picture of the economic situation over the past three years used new methology. The back series data has not been made available, so these comparisons do not hold.

***

I love Scroll.in for its in-depth analysis on varied topics. However, I feel the website is now going overboard in its criticism of the government.

The government (the prime minister, primarily) has taken crucial albeit controversial steps that have directly impacted the common man. But the previous government did not take such decisive action.

In so many of your articles, you have found flaws in every move the government makes. I accept that constructive criticism is important to avoid complacency and that the government should also feel that someone is holding them accountable, but it has gone overboard.

I have hardly seen any articles on Scroll.in support of a government move.
I believe progressive journalism should be a mix of constructive criticism and healthy praise. And there has to be a balance between the two. There is a very positive side to the steps our government has taken, which Scroll.in tends to ignore. I have had enough and I am done. I really hope you change your ways and I can come back. – Akash Parida

Seeing red

I have been observing the articles posted by Scroll.in and each time I find them to be against Modi and the NDA
(“Chennai: Around 50 detained at Marina Beach during protest against Gauri Lankesh murder”). I am disappointed to see the focus only on criticism and not on highlighting the government’s achievements. – Subbarayan Ramasethu

Freedom to choose

Are women not free to marry the person of their choice (“Hadiya’s alleged conversion case does not need an NIA inquiry, Kerala government tells Supreme Court”)? Did we not have examples of swayamvar in ancient texts too? The people who have coined the term “love jihad” also admit that if there is no coercion, a woman has the liberty to choose here faith. These issues have become big because the BJP is trying to make a foray into Kerala and will jump at any chance. Kerala is multi-cultural society where there are many such examples of inter-faith marriages. – Ibrahim Khaleel

Language debate

This is a poorly written article that is based on misdirected notions (“Why the Catalan referendum in Spain is a warning for Indians trying to impose Hindi”). Unlike Spain, the government of India is not suppressing any regional language. It wanted Hindi to be taught in all schools. And to read politics into movies is funny. A movie is a cultural phenomenon and to claim that the government of India was trying to attack Tamil and promote Hindi by asking for Hindi subtitles in regional films is wrong. People cry foul too quickly and jump to conclusions these days. And the author is also bringing the issue of state taxes into this. We must understand that India is a country and not just an entity made up of different states. And just like it is with citizens, richer state must pay more tax than poor ones. – Sayantan Biswas

***

Being multi-lingual has become necessary. India’s is a peculiar situation where there are 31 mother tongues adopted by various regional governments. This means we need another language in common for communication between all these regions. Given the way of the world, India cannot do away with English. But another Indian language is also needed, for different regions to communicate and logically, Hindi is the most widely known. The one good thing done by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was introducing the three-language formula in schools. One may say there is an attempt to popularise Hindi but the reality is that knowing this language is a must for several jobs and in several parts of the country. – S Sundaramoorthy

War and peace

A nation has to do what it can to defend itself and keep its citizens safe (“Confessions of a pacifist Indian Army wife: War is a failure, no matter who wins”). The Indian Army has taken an offensive defence position. Our country cannot survive if it is governed by individual philosophies. It has to adopt measures to counter attacks if it has to survive. –Hemlatha Kakkar

Modern medicine

While reading this article I came across the term “allopathic doctor” (“Fact check: Despite Adityanath’s claims, it’s UP that should take healthcare lessons from Kerala”). I want to point out that the words allopathy and allopathic are misnomers. The terms were coined by homeopaths, who wanted to differentiate their medicine from what was then orthodox medicine, as a pejorative.

Today what you refer to as allopathic is very different from what Samuel Hahnemann called allopathy. The word allopathy has no meaning outside the context of homeopathy (or maybe Ayurveda).
It would be advisable not to use the term because today, the terms doctor or medicine automatically refer to what you call allopathic. The preferred word would be modern medicine, if at all we need to use one. Some prefer scientific medicine, but that would be redundant, as medicine, if not scientific, shouldn’t be practiced at all. It’s the other kinds of practices, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and the like, that need qualifiers. – Mithun Varkey

Monumental concerns

I think it’s time we move beyond the Taj Mahal (“Taj controversy: Hindutva’s hatred for the monument of love betrays its extreme insecurities”). We give undue importance to the structure, as though it is the only thing in our country worth showing off to the world. Nobody is demolishing the monument. There are enough monuments in this country, belonging to all religions, that are worth showcasing as part of our culture. – Mayank Kumar

Paying the price

The excise duty on fuel has been reduced merely to appease the public (“The Daily Fix: Is Arun Jaitley’s fuel price U-turn a sign of responsiveness or panic?”). The profits of oil companies like Reliance Industries Limited will remain intact. – Himanshu Desai

Taking aim

This is an accurate depiction of the present condition of the Indian Army (“No garbage duties please: India must deploy its Armed Forces personnel for combat alone”). Being a retired Army officer, I still feel that I am a part of this great organisation. But, seeing the present the state of the Army, I feel ashamed by the government’s actions.

When this present government came to power, we retired officers used to think that the Army would get its due respect and recognition. But they have been degraded. Systematically, the Army is being made powerless. – Prasan Kumar Hota

***

This is a good analysis. Successive governments have been destroying this great organisation systematically out of sheer ignorance and poor advice from bureaucrats. The silence of our great Generals is striking. If corrective measures are not taken immediately, the Army’s fighting spirit, built on tradition, will be destroyed. The top Army officials also should have the courage to say turn down such demands by the government. To save the nation, Army Generals should tell governments and bureaucrats to leave the Army alone and not interfere. – PK Tiwari

***

Let our generals stand up and refuse civilians who think they are the masters. The Army needs to keep itself ready for war, that’s their prime job. The government needs to respect the Army. – Dr Rajiv Malik

Word’s worth

I am a regular visitor to Scroll.in and I really like your website, but when you mention Rahul Gandhi in the headlines, it really hurts me (“‘Divisive forces’ in India ruining its reputation abroad, says Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi”). I don’t even read news items that start with “Rahul Gandhi said...” I am not pro-BJP, by the way, but it suprises me that the words of such a silly person can make headlines. – Yugantar Singh Chauhan

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.