Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Feb 15, 2004
Industry & Economy
`Feel-good factor should not be a temporary phenomenon'
Dr K. Venkatasubramanian, Member, Planning Commission
New Delhi , Feb. 14
THE buzzword that keeps bobbing up either in conversation with the ruling party leaders or some important functionaries in the Government is the ubiquitous feel-good factor that appears to have etched itself in the language of even the layman, thanks to the blitz of campaign.
How genuine is the feel-good factor even as attempts are being made to own up the patent right for this expression by the ruling dispensation of the National Democratic Alliance?
The Member, Planning Commission, Dr K. Venkatasubramanian, in a tête-à-tête with Business Line, said as one who is constantly on tour to different parts of the country and in the interior and remote regions of and one in charge of drawing the State Development Report, he came across ordinary people sporting a `happy' visage.
"The markets are full of grains rice, wheat, maize. The cinema houses are crowded. The entire family surrounds the television for hours. Tea and coffee stalls are thriving. This I consider a feel-good factor," he quipped. Lest this comment should invite being cast in a less serious tone, he hastened to add, "the only point we must worry about is that this feel-good factor should be kept up."
Asked how this could be done, the Member in charge of education and human resources development in the country's highest policy-making forum, maintained that the pervasive feel-good factor should not be a temporary phenomenon.
"If we ring in governance, there will be a permanent road for the feel-good factor. We must cut down red tape. More schools should be opened and the existing schools should get more and more staff, students and reading rooms and libraries should be supplied with new materials."
The educationist urged the authorities to revive the old practice of showcasing news items in cinema halls before the commencement of a movie. At a time when an avalanche of advertisements assail cinemagoers in the interval and before a film begins, the information department might be persuaded to take this as an important information provision particularly in rural areas where villagers used to get only news from the cinemas.
He said the feel-good factor on education front was excellent.
"When I visit some slums I find these people a little more warm than they were. Their children are going to school and in States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, they get free meals and Tamil Nadu feeds children even on Saturday and Sundays too in schools," he said, adding that, "You might argue children go to school for lunch only. As an educationist I don't mind even if they have lunch first and after that education."
The feel-good factor is not born out of politics but hard economics with people generally feeling a little better than they used to in the past.
"In good old days, people were standing in the queue for rations, rice and grains were not available; and they had little money for spending. Now I think there seems to be some sort of euphoria everywhere," he said, adding that even in places like London, "people ask for the Tata Indica. No more the Fords are in demand." That is the sort of pride India has come to symbolise now, he said.
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