Rahul Shivshankar, Editor in Chief of Times Now wants PM Modi to ensure free flow of ideas, expressions, choices to turn the nation into “India of our Dreams”

PM Modi addresses Students' Convention
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressing a gathering of students on the theme of ‘Young India, New India’, in New Delhi on September 11, 2017.

Hyderabad: Meritocracy as we all we know is a system in which advancement happens in every sphere of life in a society based on an individual’s capabilities and merits rather than based on family, wealth, or social. background. But, in reality, it is different. Based on current circumstances, FICCI Ladies Organisation, Hyderabad Chapter has picked up a subject “Meritocracy in India, reality or utopia” and roped in Rahul Shivshankar, Editor-in-Chief of Times Now for their Round Table Conference held virtually on Friday

Giving her opening remarks, Usharani Manne, Chairperson of FLO Hyderabad said Meritocracy was meant to be an ideal society where power and privileges are assigned by individual merit and not by social origins.

Usharani Manne, Rahul Shivashankar, Neeta Boochra, Priya Gazdar

Answering a question on the definition of merit and meritocracy Rahul said, I would like to fall back on an American Political Philosopher John Ranson to answer that question. Someone asked him once” if you were given an opportunity of being born on this planet would you have a preference?. Would you want to be born in a rich family in a particular country?, then he thought about it and said if were born in a Sub Saharan Africa even if I had both intelligence and skill I would not be able to realise my potential. And said what is a sad world, it is, which defines your life chances, by our accident to birth. And from then on he began to engage in how to make the world better. More the world easily responds to both skill intelligence and allows people to realise their potential.

Today what matters the most in this flatter world is the power of an idea rules irrespective of your background. What we need is that powerful idea. I would like to classify merit, not in terms of its real definition. Merit is about passion and initiative. You don’t need have to degrees or exceptional qualifications. Success is not guaranteed because of your qualifications. Your passion and drive do, he said

In our socio-political scenario we fought against so many odds, but, because of the strength of our democratic institution which has been empowering us to achieve what we are. So merit we cannot define traditionally what is known as education, qualification, grades, but by individual spirit, power of idea and passion, Rahul added.

He opined that meritocracy can be achieved in an open system. Even in our newsrooms, open flow process that we practice promotes meritocracy, he shared.

Commenting on Education versus Eexpereience which one of the two plays a larger role in India, Rahul said, it is no doubt experience is the mother of wisdom. It matters more. But, education is very important in the cultivation of the mind repository of thoughts. Take Startups for an example. They are very low on wealth, capacity and resources. Their power, he said is their idea, the idea that is incubated well. Education scores over experience count a lot. Of course, with the right values, open-mindedness and creativity

When asked to comment on the reservation policy, he batted for need-based reservations. The present system of reservations came into existence with an expiry date. But, is being continued still.

When his attention was drawn to noisy newsrooms, he took time to explain. I have no problem with opinionated news. In fact, there is a column on the front page of a paper called Times View. Today the debate is also about authoritative news and unverified news we get on social media platforms. Opinion per se is not bad, but the division it makes or intends to make is bad.

Elaborating further, Rahul said, Newspaper in the west such as the New York Times and Washington Post endorse candidates. That is an opinion. That means we have been consuming opinion for a very long time. If the same opinion is aired on the news what is your problem?, he asked. Today you get the news from many sources. By the time you come on to watch the news, you already know the news. So comes this analysis and debates. India is a noisy democracy. Democracy is supposed to be practiced in parliament. That is happening in newsrooms. If you go to other democracies, they are very argumentative. Since we are a noisy democracy, so i believe is the reason why it is coming to the newsrooms. But, does it add value to the conversation? If it, then it is fine he said.

Allow free flow of ideas, expressions, and choices without that Sabh Ka Sath, Sab Ka Vishwas has no meaning, he told as one of the three suggestions to Prime Minister Modi to achieve India of our dreams in a reply to a question. The second suggestion he gave was to involve stakeholders in decision making. The third was to take up poverty alleviation on war foot basis.

What could FLO members do to achieve India of our dreams, Rahul said, choose your leaders well.

About Neel Achary 19608 Articles
Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.