Perspective | Oped


A Tribune Special
Mayawati in a tight spot
Her assets and statues may unsettle politics in UP, says Our Roving Editor Man Mohan
The rags-to-riches story of ‘Behenji’, as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati (53) is popularly known, has no parallel in Indian politics. Still, her rapid wealth creation has largely gone unnoticed.


Factionalism in BJP
Team Vajpayee versus Team Advani
by Smita Prakash
T has always been Team Advani vs Team Vajpayee. And now as former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is too ill to intervene in the bloodletting in his party, he watches his former team has got together once again to wage that final assault on their perpetual enemy, Lal Krishna Advani.


More power for women
August 29, 2009
Saying ‘yes’ to disclosure
August 28, 2009
Undercurrents of terror
August 27, 2009
Shooting at Ludhiana
August 26, 2009
Curbing black money
August 25, 2009
Assets of judges
August 24, 2009
Challenge of education
August 23, 2009
Politics of MSP
August 22, 2009
A rattled party
August 21, 2009
Exit Jaswant Singh
August 20, 2009

Vasundhara: A tenacious fighter
by Harihar Swarup
ONG flowing hair in legendary Draupadi style and big powerful eyes as if emitting magnetic waves distinguish Vasundhara Raje from the rest of the BJP leaders. Like Draupadi, she is also a tenacious fighter.

On Record
Need to nurture research culture: Rangnekar
by Suresh Dharur
Globally ranked 15th, Indian School of Business (ISB) is at the cutting edge of the management education in the country. In an exclusive interview in Hyderabad, its Dean Ajit Rangnekar speaks to The Tribune on a wide range of issues concerning management education.



A Tribune Special
Mayawati in a tight spot
Her assets and statues may unsettle politics in UP, says Our Roving Editor Man Mohan

The rags-to-riches story of ‘Behenji’, as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati (53) is popularly known, has no parallel in Indian politics. Still, her rapid wealth creation has largely gone unnoticed.

Though she is facing various corruption charges, she seems to be worried about the CBI probe. The CBI recently informed the Supreme Court in an affidavit that it was ready with a chargesheet against her in the disproportionate assets (DA) case. The CBI said that it had evidence to prove that Mayawati amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income.

The UP political scene is set to turn tumultuous once the CBI gets the go- ahead from the apex court. And Dalit politics may also go out of Mayawati’s control. She is anticipating trouble in the near future. That is why she recently announced that her successor — even if temporary — would be from the Dalit community.

Behenji’s declared assets

In 2007: Rs 52 crore approximately. They include:

  • One house in Delhi (Rs 18 crore), commercial properties in Delhi (Rs 18.8 crore)
  • House in Lucknow (Rs 97.4 lakh)
  • Deposits in banks, financial institutions and non-banking financial institutions (Rs 12.88 crore),
  • Cash (Rs 52.27 lakh, jewellery (Rs 51 lakh)
  • Gold and diamonds (1034.260 gm of gold, 76.040 gm of diamonds and 18,500 kg of a silver dinner set) (Rs 50,87,529 lakh), murals (Rs 15 lakh).

In 2004: Rs 12 crore approximately. They include:

  • Four houses in Delhi (Rs 1.2 crore)
  • Jewellery (Rs 31 lakh), cash (Rs 1.5 lakh) and
  • Bank investments and finances (Rs 9.78 crore)

Obsession with statues

  • The BSP claims that the elephant’s raised trunk (as shown in the hathi parks) has been a part of Indian culture as a traditional welcome symbol which can be found at ancient buildings and temples.
  • For building elephant statues at public places in UP, Mayawati is facing sharp criticism. The Election Commission has issued a show-cause notice to the BSP asking why the party symbol should not be frozen for violation of rules.
  • About 60 redstone elephants have been installed in the Rs 750-crore Ambedkar Park-cum-memorial in Lucknow and the Noida BSP park. The BSP is now claiming that the party symbol is “not like park elephants.”
  • During elections, Mayawati had claimed about her party symbol: Yeh Haathi nahin, Ganesh hain, Brahma, Vishnu Maheshwar hai.

The CBI earlier tried to catch Mayawati in the Rs 175-crore Taj Heritage Corridor scam also but she escaped prosecution, thanks to both BJP-led NDA and Congress-led UPA governments as they could not make up their minds. Till the last minute, they thought they might require Mayawati’s support to remain in power.

The permission to prosecute her never came from the then UP Governor T. V. Rajeshwar (former Director, Intelligence Bureau), whose term ended this July. The Supreme Court had upheld his decision ruling that it didn’t have the jurisdiction to “interfere” with a Governor’s action.

The Taj case is about an alleged 2002-03 scam, when Mayawati during her third term as Chief Minister was charged with corruption. It was a project to upgrade tourist facilities near Agra’s Taj Mahal. But environmentalists strongly protested, charging that it would spoil the beauty of the monument of love.

The project is now defunct. Though the case also stands buried, its ghost still haunts her. Efforts are being made through three recent public interest litigations (PILs) filed in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court to get the case reopened.

Interestingly, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) twice gave Mayawati a clean chit in her income assessment cases. These orders have been challenged by the IT Department in the Delhi High Court. The IT authorities continue to keep a close watch on her rising wealth.

Mayawati is now more worried about the CBI probe into her assets case registered on October 5, 2005. It is still awaiting the apex court’s nod to chargesheet her. The CBI’s assets case list includes over 70 immovable assets (including properties of her relatives), over 50 frozen bank accounts of relations, friends and others containing Rs 7.36 crore, and dubious donations to the tune of nearly Rs. 13.18 crore. It is believed that the CBI may submit an updated list of her assets when the case comes up for hearing in September.

The DA case is an offshoot of the Taj Corridor case. While examining the Taj case documents submitted by the CBI, the apex court was alarmed on seeing details about Mayawati’s alleged assets and taking suo motu notice ordered the agency to lodge an FIR against her. Earlier, two reports placed before the apex court by the CBI on September 18, 2003, contained the issue relating to the assets.

In the DA case, the CBI said that the assets shown by Mayawati during her Akbarpur parliamentary election on April 4, 2004, were worth over Rs 12 crore whereas the assets increased to over Rs 52 crore in her declaration papers submitted three years later, when she contested for a seat in the UP Legislative Council just after the 2007 Assembly elections.

Over Rs 52 crore assets include a Rs 18-crore ‘BSP House’ in New Delhi’s Sardar Patel Marg. Earlier, Bungalow No. 11 belonged to noted publisher Yunus Delhvi. Mayawati brazenly explained this as “a gift from party workers and well-wishers.” Her other properties are all in posh areas — two in New Delhi’s Connaught Place, one in Okhla and another on Nehru Road in Lucknow. Property accounts for the largest chunk in Mayawati’s declared wealth.

All the assets that she flaunts today have come to her during her over two decades of political career. She inherited nothing from her parents. Her father Prabhu Das worked as a low-paid clerk in the government. She has also been accused of ordering the BSP MPs to contribute their discretion funds and the MP’s Local Area Development Scheme funds to the party fund illegally. She has also come under criticism from the Opposition for receiving back her own wealth as “gifts” from unknown party sympathisers.

Of late, Mayawati is facing ire from the Opposition and the public for installing since 2007 a large number of statues of Dalit icons like BSP founder Kanshi Ram, Dr B. R. Ambedkar and six of herself in parks and memorials in Lucknow, Noida and elsewhere in the state. The matter is before the Supreme Court.

Mayawati is perhaps the first post-Independence political leader who has installed her statues. These are impressive and tailored to perfection – the lady in stone even holding an expensive handbag!

Dr Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, is not amused. A former MP from Maharashtra, he said: “Just assume you are living in 2510 and taking a stroll in Lucknow or Noida with your grandchildren. They will look at Mayawati’s statue with a handbag. You will tell them that it was a Dalit queen who ruled a northern province hundreds of years ago…But in 2510 you won’t say that the handbag carries people’s hard-earned money.”

Many statues of the elephant – the BSP poll symbol – have also been erected in these parks. The Election Commission has received a complaint against Mayawati alleging that she has violated the rules regarding the use of poll symbols and, therefore, this symbol should be frozen.

The parks in which the statues are being erected are said to have cost the state over Rs 2,000 crore of the taxpayers’ money. Even when about 50 UP districts have been declared drought-hit, Mayawati has sought the Assembly’s sanction for Rs 656 crore for these projects in contrast to Rs 300 crore sought for drought.


The Central Government’s economic intelligence agencies and revenue departments are updating Mayawati’s money profile. She ranks among the 20 top taxpayers in the country. In 2007-08, she gave Rs 26.26 crore as income-tax; her income that year was over Rs 75 crore.

Up to 2003, Mayawati’s tax returns, filed in the 3 (1a) circle in Delhi, showed taxable income of around Rs 80 lakh over a five-year period. And since early 90s till 2003, Mayawati had only declared assets worth Rs 1.11 crore in her income-tax returns.

The income-tax authorities are expecting a substantial increase in her IT returns for 2008-09, mainly because of the heavy flow of “donations” for the BSP in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Top intelligence sources said a major Mumbai-based corporate house backed the BSP in the Lok Sabha polls with a view to settling scores with Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh.

Mayawati graduated from Kalindi College, Delhi University. Hoping to become a District Magistrate, she studied law but worked as a teacher in West Delhi’s Inderpuri Colony before embarking on her political career. In 1984, her mentor, Kanshi Ram, launched the BSP to represent the Dalits and Buddhists. In 2001, he named her as his successor.

Year after year, Mayawati’s income has been rising, whether in or out of power. However, she has merely claimed that she has been receiving huge amounts “as gifts from party workers, supporters and well-wishers.” Her declared assets of nearly Rs one crore in 2003 went up to Rs 52 crore in 2007.


With the closure of the filing of income-tax returns for 2008-09, the authorities are analysing Mayawati’s declaration of income and wealth and comparing it with what they have been gathering over a long period. On a tip-off, one of the agencies is checking out reports about the recent purchase of about 50 acres of land along the Noida Expressway by a Haryana landlord in the name of a person close to Mayawati. The landlord reportedly also acquired 200 acres in the name of his family members, relations and friends after he was told that the UP government would soon acquire the area for a major project and this would double the land price.

“Each paise is accounted for and explained before income-tax authorities,” Mayawati has maintained. She even found an explanation for her newly acquired wealth: donations are from supporters to fight the “false” cases against her. However, the government investigative agencies have a list of a large number of properties in UP and Delhi in the name of her close relations and friends.

Some time ago, the income-tax authorities prepared a confidential list of Mayawati’s immovable assets and also of those which are in the name of her close relatives, friends and party workers. Their worth was estimated at more than Rs 100 crore.

In the initial years of the UPA government’s first term, an IT team kept waiting to raid Mayawati’s relatives and friends but the highly classified operation was abandoned on the orders of the highest authorities in the Finance Ministry.

“It is very difficult to fix the real worth of Mayawati’s assets at any given time as most of them are in the name of others and they continue to grow,” the CBI sources said, explaining that “tracing them is also a Herculean task.”


To prevent the misuse of income-tax laws related to “gifts” received by many politicians like Mayawati and businessmen, an amendment was made in the 1961 IT Act. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for persons like her — as if the IT department was answering their prayers.

Section 56 (2) (v) and Section 56 (2) and (vi) made “gifts” above Rs 50,000 taxable unless, of course, they were from blood relations such as spouse, brothers and sisters. So, “gifts” and “money donations” from others exceeding the value of Rs 50,000 attracts about 30 per cent tax.

Before the amendment, Mayawati had claimed receiving crores of rupees, in the shape of small amounts of Rs 5 and Rs 10 from lakhs of party workers, supporters and well-wishers for championing the cause of the Dalits and poor people. She had claimed that these could not be treated as “taxable income”. The IT department is not equipped to do an in-depth investigation into lakhs of unknown people’s “donations” in smallest currency notes.

“With this money, she built her own castle of personal wealth. The money that came from public sources was meant for the BSP. But, instead of going to the party funds, it was shown as part of her own wealth,” a top income-tax official said.

“The amendment related to “gifts” in the IT Act has made Mayawati’s work easier and our department’s job tougher,” the official said, explaining that many top politicians like Mayawati now happily pay about 30 per cent of donation money coming from unknown well-wishers.

Till 2003, Mayawati had declared assets worth Rs 1.11 crore in her IT returns. Now, as per the CBI documents, assets only in her own name are several hundred per cent more than her earlier declared income.

And the assets go to over 1000 per cent more, if one includes those belonging to her relatives and friends, the CBI sources claim. There are four large plots in Inderpuri (West Delhi) in the name of her close family members. A local property dealer told The Tribune that a 500 sq yard plot in Inderpuri is worth several crores of rupees.

A senior CBI officer said that “one must remember that Mayawati has not inherited assets or any agricultural or non-agricultural income but has declared huge assets, paid impressive income tax. However, she has not accounted for how these wealth was amassed, and, mind you, she has not shown any outstanding loans.”

The IT and CBI authorities allege that most properties of Mayawati have been undervalued. An IT official, who was associated with the preparation of Mayawati’s list of known and unknown assets, said: “The Election Commission’s mandatory affidavit clearly demands the current market value but then, furnishing false information is not a criminal offence yet.”


If reports were to bear scrutiny, Mayawati is now planning to bury a time capsule at a secret place in the state. Or has she already done it? The capsule is said to contain material about her political rule and her fight for the Dalits. 

One is reminded of Indira Gandhi’s time capsule lowered at the Red Fort in New Delhi during the Emergency. Officially, it was then said that it contained only material about India’s achievements. But her critics say, Indira Gandhi had done this to immortalise herself.

In response, satirist and author Cho Ramaswamy had planted his own time capsule 10 feet below the ground with copies of his journal Tughlaq. So Mayawati’s capsule would be the third in India…if it happens. Clearly, Mayawati wants her memory to be immortalised.

Like Indira Gandhi, Mayawati is equally ambitious. But her hopes of becoming India’s first Dalit Prime Minister were dashed after the UPA returned to power in the Lok Sabha elections. Still, Mayawati appears unstoppable.



Factionalism in BJP
Team Vajpayee versus Team Advani
by Smita Prakash

IT has always been Team Advani vs Team Vajpayee. And now as former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is too ill to intervene in the bloodletting in his party, he watches his former team has got together once again to wage that final assault on their perpetual enemy, Lal Krishna Advani.

Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, Brajesh Mishra and Yashwant Sinha have a common cause. To oust Advani. And their Brahmastra is the Kandahar hijacking episode. Did Advani know or not that Jaswant Singh was accompanying the released terrorists to Afghanistan and bringing back the hostages with him?

Advani had said on several occasions that he was unaware of the details. Team Vajpayee says he knew everything. Isn’t there any note taking that happens at these meetings?

The Team Advani vs Team Vajpayee war has been on for more than 15 years. This city was divided into two camps. Not just the BJP. There were journalists who were loyal to one or the other, bureaucrats too. They just had to make the choice and there was no option.

If you were a beat journalist during the years Mr Vajpayee was Prime Minister, it was an unstated rule that you either got your story from Team Advani or Team Vajpayee. The families and team members saw to it that journalists and bureaucrats who visited the office or residence of Advani had no access to Vajpayee’s. There were just two or three editors who were received graciously in both camps. Otherwise, mutual suspicion was so great that loyalty had to be proved.

Team Vajpayee had that master craftsman and the Chanakya of Indian politics, Brajesh Mishra, as the Brigade Commander. It was an open secret in the Capital that in the latter years of Vajpayee’s tenure, Mishra acted as de facto Prime Minister. A more shrewd, credible and efficient deputy is unimaginable. He had no personal agenda. Vajpayee trusted him and had great respect for his skills.

And then there was Jaswant Singh, who wasn’t very popular with journalists, but was loyal to the king. A true Rajput. Then the word master Arun Shourie. Another person who wasn’t really in the core team but Vajpayee trusted him implicitly simply because he knew Shourie had no personal agenda.

Yashwant Sinha and Vasundhara Raje went back and forth from camp to camp, but today they are firmly in camp Vajpayee. There is no Commander-in-Chief, but they have the Sena on their side.

During the years that Vajpayee was Prime Minister, his team always looked upon Advani with suspicion. Never quite sure when he would try to pull the rug from under the carpet of their poet Prime Minister. A man who they thought was too soft to ever wage an all out war, but shrewd enough to know that Advani was never comfortable being No 2. He was supposed to be the Prime Minister candidate in 1995 but then the Jain Hawala scandal erupted and hey presto it catapulted Vajpayee onto the scene.
Team Advani, always on the look out for conspiracy theories hinted at a pact between Rao and Vajpayee, which might have been the reason why Advani was out of the reckoning. Another of those unsolved mysteries of Indian politics.

Team Vajpayee held together even when out of power. But Team Advani which seemed like a well-oiled machine during the election campaign of 2009 came apart. Advani as prime ministerial candidate was unacceptable to the people of India and that was something most BJP leaders knew even during the campaign but so many of them in private conversations would express their helplessness.

Nobody had the courage to tell Advani to step down. The constant refrain was “if only Vajpayee was there”. Without Vajpayee, his team loosely hung around in the periphery of the BJP maharathis like Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Ananth Kumar who it seemed had no option but to be in Team Advani as there was nobody else.

But when Advani refused to step down despite the electoral defeat in 2009, and stayed on as Leader of the Opposition and then a month ago said he would stay beyond December 30, 2009, it really was too much to bear. If many thought Advani’s announcement was a blow to the BJP, think again. It was that one rallying point for Team Vajpayee to make that final assault on the man, they had wanted to do for so long but hadn’t because their boss wouldn’t let them. They want his scalp and will not rest till they have it. And they can smell victory.

There is no Team Advani. The bureaucrats fled from the scene the day the government fell in May 2004. The journalists who hung around were only the “bite reporters”. There was no story worth chasing here. Not one BJP leader, nay worker, is speaking out in defense of Advani. Not even “Master Anant Kumar” as Arun Shourie referred to him in that scathing interview he gave to Shekhar Gupta.

Will Advani fade away from the political scene like Richard Nixon did, on an untruth told to a nation? Will he confess, own up that he misled the nation? Or will he gather his forces and fight back? The case is getting curiouser and curiouser. — ANI



Vasundhara: A tenacious fighter
by Harihar Swarup

LONG flowing hair in legendary Draupadi style and big powerful eyes as if emitting magnetic waves distinguish Vasundhara Raje from the rest of the BJP leaders.

Like Draupadi, she is also a tenacious fighter. She is in the midst of a political storm having been asked by the BJP leadership to own moral responsibility for the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections and resign as the Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly. Apparently, in a defiant mood, she says, “I will only do whatever is in the party interest”.

First woman Chief Minister of Rajasthan, having completed a full five-year term — from December 2003 to December 2008 — Vasundhara’s party had suffered defeat in the Assembly elections but was elected Leader of the Opposition.

Her tenure was marked by a strong focus on infrastructure building and social initiatives. At the same time, caste rivalry, allegations of corruption in administration and dissidence by a section of the BJP members who viewed her as too autocratic led to the party’s defeat in the 2008 Assembly polls.

Vasundhara is the fourth child of Vijaya Raje Scindia and Maharaja Jivaji Rao, the last popular ruler of the Gwalior state, before the princely states merged in the Indian Union. Jivaji Rao was lucky: he produced five children of whom only Madhavrao Scindia was a male.

Of her four sisters, the eldest Padma Raje is no more, only Vasundhara joined plitics and proved to be the brightest of all her sisters. Her performance as a minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government was impressive. Indeed, she had done better than her elder brother, Madhavrao, who was an efficient minister in the Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao governments.

While Madhavrao became a staunch Congressman within years of his initiation in politics and turned a BJP baiter, Vasundhara drew inspiration from her mother and remained in the BJP. Madhavrao naturally felt proud of his sister’s performance in the Lok Sabha, even though they belonged to rival parties and he could not resist the temptation of praising her from the Opposition benches.

Both Vasundhara and Madhavrao were born in Bombay though she is eight years younger to his politically rebel brother who had vociferously disagreed with the BJP’s ideology and, much against his mother’s wishes, joined the Congress. Vasundhara got her higher education at the Bombay University.

Vasundhara was quite popular when she was in Parliament and had good friends in the Congress too because of her amiable nature; she does not have airs of royalty and she mixes freely with everybody. This was, perhaps, the reason that she was elected for the fourth time from Jhalawar in Rajasthan.

Those who have seen on mass contact tours of her constituency say an outsider would not believe that she was a princess.

Vasundhara’s finest hour came in 2003 when she led the BJP to its biggest victory in the Assembly elections in Rajasthan. Her term as Chief Minister was noted for developmental activities but was marred by caste violence and rebellion by local leaders who rose in revolt against her style of functioning.

When her government supported quotas to the Meenas, the Gujjars demanded the same. They blocked the national highway and uprooted rail tracks. Though she came out with a solution, it was believed that the face-off led to the loss of support from both the castes.

Vasundhara’s ignominious defeat in the 2008 elections was the darkest hour in her political career. Another shock came when the BJP was routed in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

Knives were out for her and she was squarely blamed for the party’s downfall. This was not fair as infighting in the state BJP unit was the major reason for the party’s successive defeats. Others too were equally responsible.

One wonders if a weakened Central BJP leadership will muster courage to take action against a defiant Vasundhara. Apparently, she has been emboldened by the sharp reaction in the aftermath of expulsion of Jaswant Singh and scathing attack on the leadership by Arun Shourie.


On Record
Need to nurture research culture: Rangnekar
by Suresh Dharur

Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, ISBGlobally ranked 15th, Indian School of Business (ISB) is at the cutting edge of the management education in the country. In an exclusive interview in Hyderabad, its Dean Ajit Rangnekar speaks to The Tribune on a wide range of issues concerning management education.


Q: What is the impact of current recession on management education?

A: The cyclicality in the economy does not call for fundamental changes in the curriculum. I believe that fundamentals of management education are sound, and continue to be relevant. Having said that, management science not being a pure science needs to continually respond and adapt to the changes in the environment.

Q: What are your views on Kapil Sibal’s proposals on reforms in higher education?

A: We believe that the best public policy for improving educational institutions is to enable and encourage competition. We welcome any move that transitions from the present control-oriented structure to a more growth-oriented one. 
High quality education is impossible without research. A big need for the country is to expand the pool of research-oriented faculty. The ISB is willing to partner with the government and other like-minded educational institutions, to promote faculty development and a research culture in the country. Another area that would help enhance quality is accreditation.

Q: B-schools are judged in terms of placements they achieve and the salary package their students command. Where lies the problem?

A: All of us in some way are guilty of using a wrong yardstick for judging schools. We have seen several headlines touting salary figures. What we should look at is how we have helped these young people to completely transform their lives and their approach to work. And what kind of impact they are making on the industry and society.

Q: What about liberalising procedures for allowing more foreign universities to operate in India?

A: We are open to more competition. Our only plea would be that there should not be a tilted playing ground in favour of foreign universities. Privileges or procedures in liberalisation should be based not on whether an institution is foreign or Indian but on the basis of whether it is a high quality institution or not.

Q: Reports say, some ISB students did not get placement this year. In what way the institution is helping such students?

A: We have concluded the placement process this year, and have placed our students with very good compensation packages. In fact, we actually managed to reach the same level of compensation packages as in 2007 which is quite creditable given the state of the economy.

However, we do have a few, some 10-15 students, who are more selective about where they want to go, and who are still in the process of finding the right fit. And this happens every year. There are always a few students who prefer wait for the right opportunity. And we continue to support and help them find the right job.

Q: Will the ISB fund the students who want to start their own ventures?

A: We are very supportive of our students’ entrepreneurial aspirations. This year, we have provided 13 of our students with accommodation on campus, a stipend and mentoring support to start their own ventures.

Q: What has been the impact of recession on research?

A: We have had absolutely no impact so far at least on the research funding and if there is, we will cut elsewhere but we will not cut down on research.

Q: Do you support students who cannot pay the fee?

A: Yes. No student will be turned away from ISB for the lack of money. We will make sure that scholarships and affordable loans are given to students.

Q: Most B-school graduates seem to be opting for the financial sector. But how has it helped the nation?

A: If you believe in free market as I do, then people will go where the market opportunities are good. And in the past, people felt that the market opportunities were very good in the financial services sector. This year, we have not seen too many people showing an interest in financial services obviously because they know that the financial services sector is not going to be a buoyant sector.

Q: How relevant is a centre of excellence like the ISB in the Indian context?

A: A centre of excellence is also a place where research gets done. So, if you say that a high quality research is a caste system then I am proud that we are creating that kind of a caste system. Why can’t poor students do good quality research? Of course, they can and actually a vast majority of our student body comes from the middle class and lower middle class. No poor student has been turned away from the ISB.

Q: Critics say, B-school courses are heavily borrowed from the West, specially US management practices. How different has the ISB been?

A: Yes, it is because that is where the knowledge was created. We are trying to correct it by having more India-based research, looking at things from an Indian perspective, by trying to create solutions to the issues of poor which have not been addressed by the West.



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