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Category: India

We need For-Profit schools in India and the government to get out of the provision of education

My next Whooshkaa podcast, below, on education:

In this I talk about the colossal failure of education in India (and in fact in many parts of the world) and how this can be fixed. They key is to get rid of many common myths about the role of government in education. I explain the work and findings of James Tooley and outlines how Swarna Bharat Party will completely change the system to dramatically improve its quality and availability.

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Request for information from IAS/AIS colleagues on the cadre allocation system for all India Services

An academic has asked the following:

I am currently attempting to reconstruct the allocation process of IAS officers before 1984. While trying to find descriptions of that policy online, I came across your IAS website on the 1982 batch.

Since you entered yourself prior to 1984, I was wondering if you could enlighten me about the specific policy that was in place at that time. As far as I know, the cadre allocation policy was changed in 1984 (see attached the guidelines). But I could not find any information pertaining to the allocation rule prior to that.

I would be most grateful if you could share your own experience. Any information and details (preferably as much as possible) would be greatly appreciated. How did the rule differ from the rule in 1984? Were officers also allocated based on insider status and their category?


I’m not personally aware of the history of the allocation systems for the IAS but from the note you sent, there seems to have been a roster system prior to 1977.

In 1982, when I was selected, we had the Limited Zonal Preferences System system described in the letter. (In this system all the cadres/joint cadres

were divided into zones and the candidates were given the opportunity to indicate their preferences zone-wise and also for two cadres in each zone.)

Sometime during the application process (I forget at which stage – but I suspect it must have been at the Main exam stage) we had to choose the specific services and specific cadres.

I chose IAS over the Indian Foreign Service, then IPS (police) for the services. I think there were around five to seven zones (I forget) and I chose the northern zone within which I chose Haryana cadre as my first choice, then Panjab. My last choice was the North Eastern states.

As it so happened, the vacancies for Haryana were just enough for me to get my first preference as an outsider (my domicile was New Delhi). I later switched cadre after marrying my colleague to her cadre: Assam-Meghalaya.

At that time there was generally a surplus of selected officers from the prosperous states that had better educational institutions. Therefore the higher ranking ones among these bagged the “outsider” quota in their first or second preference cadres within their first preference zone – as occurred in my case.

It is also true that “limited inter-regional movement of candidates takes place only in respect of a few low ranking candidates”. That’s best illustrated by my Assam Meghalaya batch of 1982 in which only two Assamese were selected that year. Therefore everyone else allocated to Assam-Meghalaya had to come from other states. These were all rather low ranking candidates (that I moved to this cadre later still meant that I had the highest national rank in the Assam Meghalaya cadre – although for the purposes of the State, my rank now became last). I must hasten to add (and this is a very important point!) that I have come across no evidence in my entire life to suggest that the intellectual calibre of the lower ranking officers was (or is) in any way lower to that of the higher ranking officers.

I’ll share these comments on my blog and through that with my IAS batchmates Whatsapp group and ask them to add any other information they may have.

Btw, I’d like to invite your attention to more fundamental issues through the attached article (which will be published in the next issue of Smart Governance) and my book Breaking Free of Nehru (of which I would suggest chapters 4 and 6 in case you have time).

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Are you sick and tired of Modi’s massive imposition of taxes? SBP commits to reducing GST to 10 per cent.

Swarna Bharat Party’s press release today.


National Press Release – to be released across India

4 November 2017 – for immediate release

Swarna Bharat Party commits to 10 per cent GST and abolition of tax on book royalties

Mr Sanjay Sonawani, senior leader of Swarna Bharat Party, highlighted the party’s many concerns about the design of the GST and its implementation. The Modi government has imposed extraordinarily high rates of GST, creating a regressive regime that harms the middle class and the poorest. It has also created an administrative nightmare with multiple tax rates. Further, the roll out of GST has been dismal and new taxes have been imposed in the process, further harming the poor.

The otherwise sensible idea of GST has been mangled by the Modi government, creating havoc across the country. This comes on top of the havoc created last year by an ill thought out demonetisation. It is almost as if the Modi government has the capacity to take good ideas and make mincemeat of them.

Books illustrate the huge design failure of the GST. Even though there is no GST on books, book prices are expected to rise by 12-15 per over and above normal inflation due to GST payable on inputs. Book publishers are not be able to claim this back, thereby forcing the GST cascade to the public.

The situation has been made worse by imposing a new tax on book royalties. This applies also to authors of textbooks. Authors’ book royalties were previously exempt from sales taxes since authors perform a fundamental and essential service by creating literature and knowledge. Authors pay income taxes where applicable, but are now required to pay both GST and income tax.

Many publishers will use a “reverse tax” mechanism to pay GST where a writer has not registered for GST but they can obviously bear only a part of this extra burden and will have to allocate most of the incidence of the tax to someone. It is expected that publishers will be forced to increase book prices and lower royalties. This is a terrible blow for the poorest who can least afford books and amounts to BJP taking India to the stone age. It also hits authors who face rising prices in all aspects of their life and are now being expected by BJP to live off lower earnings. This amounts to an attack on knowledge itself.

Mr Sonawani demanded that the new tax that has been imposed on author royalties be withdrawn with immediate effect and the GST design for books be reviewed to allow at least some GST to be claimed back by publishers. Newspapers in Maharashtra have highlighted Mr Sonawani’s concerns.

Mr Sonawani said that SBP is not going to allow anti-poor Modi to harm the country. The party is preparing to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and invites all well-wishers of India to join SBP and fight the anti-poor Modi government.

Mr Sonawani said that SBP will ensure that consumption taxes, which are regressive and harm the poorest, are minimised. SBP will slash GST to 10 per cent and abolish the tax on book royalties. SBP is also committed to broadening the income tax base so that the rich will pay the taxes in India henceforth, including rich farmers who flaunt their extraordinary wealth but pay no taxes under Mr Modi’s regime.

Notes for Editors:

SBP is India’s only liberal party, committed to defending liberty and promoting prosperity.


Rahul Pandit (Hyderabad) National Working President, +91 9703425422

Sanjay Sonawani (Pune), +91 9860991205

Sanjeev Sabhlok (Melbourne),

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