My tweet on the Madurai Library has caused so many to react. I hv even had people calling in to say how wrong I am. So let me explain my point of view.
1.Worldwide the patronage of public libraries has fallen. Many countries have started shutting them down. In UK over 800 public
libraries have been closed in last 10 years. In the US there has been a 31% fall in public library usage between 2010-18 (pre-covid)
2.Within India also there has been a documented fall in patronage of public libraries though exact numbers are hard to find.
3. Eminent Organizations like British Council are either shutting libraries or moving to a fully online Library model
4. One reason for many to go to Libraries was to look for reference material. Google has almost killed that audience
5. The issue is not about whether
the feeling of reading a book is a better experience or not. Many still like the physical feel of reading a book. The issue is access and volume of information that a physical library can provide
6. You will agree that no physical library can hope to match either the access or
the numbers of books or reading materials that an Online Library can provide. Quite simply put an Online Library can provide access to millions of books and that too anywhere the student may live. No physical library can beat that.
7.Physical libraries serve as places to
study for those who do not have a conducive environment at their homes and also serve as meeting places for the local community. A meeting hall, auditorium etc. add value for these activities. This is probably the only remaining compelling reason for a physical Library.
8. Contrast this with TN Govt providing access to millions of books to students &people across the State along with multimedia material AND a device to access this content. Imagine the power of this
9.The poor rural child in the State wd & SHOULD hv access to the SAME
knowledge repository as the rich,urban children in Chennai. That is the best way of bridging the digital divide. Today the big handicap for rural children is the lack of quality teaching and lack of access to the best teaching material. That can be leveled to some extent.
10. I am not opposed to a physical Library as much as I am highlighting a more important issue. A physical library can be used by a few 1000 people a day. An Online Library can be used by millions each day.
11. I know people will scoff and say villages do not hv good internet
connectivity,children do not have devices etc. That is exactly where I am requesting the Govt to focus. And connectivity is far better than it was in most places in TN. Children need devices to access the Internet which can be far more transformational than any of us can imagine.
#Kalaignar was a voracious reader and writer. A Kalaignar Online library reaching the poorest of the poor in every corner of the State will do far more justice to his name than a physical library can. #KalaignarLibrary

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More from @sumanthraman

21 Nov
Over 17000 trees to be cut including plantations,26 water bodies to be affected for this new Expressway. Some of the 106 km in TN passes thru cultivable land. Environmentalists in TN are missing. Media is in mute mode. This Expressway is most essential and will greatly help
economic development but so would have the Chennai Salem expressway. The sheer political opportunism masked as environmental concern needs to be called out. Every development project has some impact on the environment. Our aim should be to strike a balance between the two
and take measures to minimize the impact. That was not the case in Tamil Nadu earlier. It was always all or none. No question of taking environmental safeguards and going ahead. Only scrapping projects was the demand. Neutrino, Hydrocarbon, Sterlite, Chennai Salem expressway
Read 5 tweets
4 Nov
A CM not greeting people on one of the two most celebrated festivals of the State,one celebrated by the majority of people in Tamil Nadu only shows that this is not an inclusive Govt. A party leader can be as he likes.A CM has to be inclusive.
தீபாவளி பண்டிகை ஹிந்து மதத்தை சார்ந்த பெரும்பாலானோறால் கொண்டாடப்படுகிறது. ஒரு கட்சி தலைவர் வாழ்த்து தெரிவிப்பது அவர் விருப்பம். முதலமைச்சர் வாழ்த்து தெரிவிப்பது அவர் கடமை. பாகிஸ்தான் பிரதமர் வாழ்த்து தெரிவிக்கிறார்.
ஆனால் பெரும்பாலும் ஹிந்து மக்கள் வாழும் மாநிலத்தின் முதல்வர் வாழ்த்து தெரிவிக்கவில்லை. அநேகமாக வாழ்த்து தெரிவிக்காத ஒரே முதல்வர் @mkstalin தான். என் எதிர்பார்ப்பு இந்த முறை எல்லோரையும் அரவணைக்கும் ஒரு ஆட்சி திமுக வழங்கும் என்று. அவ்வாறு இல்லை என்பது வருத்தம் அளிக்கிறது.
Read 5 tweets
27 Sep
Why a #NationalHealthID is neither needed nor desirable. Thread...
1. Indians are already drowning in ID's. Aadhar is already a unique ID.Why do we need another one just for health?Why not use Aadhar? #DigitalHealthMission @mansukhmandviya
2. It is well known that vast majority of people seek medical help within their State or neighbouring State.Someone who is from a village in say, UP,is most unlikely to seek medical assistance outside the State or beyond nearest metro city.Why is a National ID required for this?
3.Less than 5% of Indian healthcare system has Electronic Medical records(EMR). Less than 1% may be actually using it as a point of care system. Digitization of medical records in most hospitals, even corporate ones is limited to typing discharge summaries & storing lab reports
Read 14 tweets
26 Sep
Life lesson: Never reply to an email or message when you are angry or provoked. In my younger days I would get easily provoked and send angry replies to mails and msgs. A few years ago I learnt to apply a different technique. I would compose the reply but wd save it in drafts.
Then I wd do something else & return to look at the draft at the end of the day or next day when I had cooled down. 99% of those drafts never got sent. I wd not delete those mails from Drafts folder. Every few weeks I look at them and wonder how stupid I wd hv been to send them
So many friendships, business deals, career opportunities etc. can go up in smoke in an instant of anger. It just isn't worth it .For messages, I wd send a "will revert" reply and follow the same technique. Haven't perfected this fully but now I follow this 99% of the time.
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep
Thread on Justice A.K.Rajan Committee report.
1.Selective usage of Data.
2. Makes several unverifiable assumptions
3.Non exclusion of outlier data
4.Drawing inferences/conclusions without evidence
1. Data on students from Govt schools who got MBBS seats pre and post #NEET is selectively put out.(Everything else is from 2010-2020. This alone is from 2014) . Why?
2. How did Committee decide that 99% of students who qualified through NEET took coaching?
3.Only students from rural areas will go and serve in rural areas.Those from urban areas will not is an assumption here. Evidence for this?
4.2017 the 1st year of NEET is an outlier. All the data that year was way off from subsequent years.Was this data normalized?
Read 16 tweets
17 Sep
Genius of #Periyar lay in getting a majority of people of TN to identify themselves with what they were not. Normally we identify with who we are by religion/ caste/language etc.Periyar got people to identify themselves as non brahmin,not as who they were,but as who they were not
In no other part of India would you find people referring to themselves as non brahmins. They would always see themselves as being part of their community or social group. In Periyar's days it made sense. Brahmins dominated disproportionately and oppressed other communities
and so the collective angst against them was channelised effectively. Even at that time there were other equally prosperous communities as Brahmins. But as they were socially oppressed by the Brahmins despite their wealth, these privileged classes spearheaded
Read 9 tweets

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