The purpose for formation of new central institutes

'Economics in one lesson' is one of the first books that I read on economics, long back while in college. One argument in this book struck me hard - 'You build bridges because there is a need for the bridges, not because you want to create employment'. Though this reasoning looks simple and obvious, it is not, and often the opposite happens in reality. The case of sprouting IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and Central Universities is a great example.

It is one thing to say 'we need good colleges in the country, and hence we are establishing these' but it is another to say 'xyz region is backward, so let's give them an IIT/IIM/AIIMS/Central University'. These institutions are being treated as venues for generating employment, proxy for development of a region, and gradually have become one of the tools of negotiation to settle political unrest. Establishing one of these institutions has become the first instinct of the governments, whenever someone expresses concern over lack of development in their region.

Using appropriate metrics to judge interventions

Once upon a time, there were  two good friends. One of them got passionate about body building and  hence started going to gym. He also dragged his friend along. The second person wasn't interested in body building but his incentive to go to gym was to network with people. They both regularly went to gym. The first person developed a well built body at the end of six months, and the second person has developed a very good network of friends. Thus, both these friends were happy for achieving their objectives.

There was a security guard at the entrance of the gym, little does he know about the two friends' motivation to attend gym. He used to daily observe these two friends coming to gym. At the end of six months, the guard judges, 'the first person has achieved success while the second person hasn't built any body, he surely must have been wasting time in the gym.'