It’s undeniable that the rain, floods and landslides that swept North India — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and inundated Delhi, the national admin capital — last month are the outcome of global warming and climate change that are Nature’s revenge against unchecked exploitation and carbonization of Planet Earth. However floods fury that routinely sweeps away the modest standing crops and thatch dwellings of millions in rural India and painfully accumulated material goods of the urban poor in the country’s ramshackle, poorly planned cities and towns, is also the consequence of two deep rooted systemic flaws: rock-bottom public primary education and pernicious official corruption.
The pathetic condition of the country’s public early childhood and primary education system defined by abysmal infrastructure, chronic teacher absenteeism, multi-grade classrooms and rock-bottom learning outcomes have been routinely highlighted by EducationWorld since it was launched in 1999. Yet due to the indifference of a myopic middle class, public, i.e, government school, education remains in the doldrums.
The result is that the great majority of citizens, especially in rural India are ignorant about elementary environment preservation practices — water conservation, optimal NPK fertilizer usage, stubble burning, power-tools skilling etc. The outcome is poor per-acre yields and mass migration of ill-educated and unskilled youth to urban India, and desperation for government employment in particular.
Simultaneously pressure on the political class to provide employment to kith, kin and constituents has generated massive nepotism and corruption — it’s hardly a national secret that relatively well-paid government jobs are auctioned. This flood of under-qualified kith and kin entering government and public sector employment has had the unintended consequence of poor education and low rural productivity becoming pervasive in the official bureaucracy, and especially in local government.
Moreover because of poor education, they are highly susceptible to the blandishments and bribes of urban real estate shysters and millionaires promoting high-end luxury apartment blocks over storm-water drains, culverts and reclaimed marshlands, all of which prompt flooding in seasons of excessive downpour.
Almost a century ago, when the first government of India was formed, Dr. Ambedkar warned against the government sector being established as a high wage island, and advised that government salaries should have some linkage with per capita national income. This advice was ignored and currently the remuneration of ‘D’ class government employees is 10x of national per capita income. Thus the mad scramble for government jobs, and corruption and inefficiency permeating public administration top-to-bottom countrywide. These two factors — poor schooling and widespread corruption — are man-made disasters behind the ‘natural disasters’ that are dragging back the economy.