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Figure that doubt

india Updated: Mar 12, 2008 21:01 IST

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The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has walked — sorry, leapfrogged — into a trap that even the most gullible among us would manage to avoid by a mile. And, they chose nothing less than the august House in which to perform this embarrassing act. In a bid to defend the country’s education system and its own glorious efforts to improve it, the Minister of State for HRD, D. Purandeshwari, rolled out some very, very impressive figures on the ‘Global Indian Takeover’ in the Rajya Sabha.

According to the minister, 38 per cent of doctors in the US and 36 per cent scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are Indians. As if such figures were not shiny enough, the minister added that 34 per cent of Microsoft employees and 28 per cent of IBM staff are from this country. And, where did she manage to get these figures? The internet, of course. The figures have been doing the rounds for some time as a chain e-mail and no one took notice, till it reached the Shastri Bhavan. And, without even crosschecking the figures, it was tabled in Parliament for the members. During her speech, the minister also talked about how serious the government is about funding and encouraging research in India. We welcome such intentions but also suggest, humbly though, that part of the money should spent on teaching the babus of the ministry about the importance of err… research.

Are the babus lazy or plain ignorant? Either way, we won’t hazard a guess. How on the earth do they do their reservation statistics? Umm, time to reach for the calculator and do a quick check.