Monday, February 26, 2007

Some more on the Mashelkar Panel

An editorial in the Business Standard tells the government:

It would be best if the committee is now asked to forget the whole issue, because anything that it now says will face a credibility gap, and to appoint a new committee that will go into the issue, de novo.

The latest Outlook has a story that goes into the controversy at some length [there is also a short 'box' story]. Let me highlight two things from this story. The first is Shamnad Basheer (whose report's conclusions made their way -- almost verbatim -- into the Mashelkar Panel's report) defending his research against accusations that it's biased (because it was funded by an industry-friendly body):

In a telephonic talk, Basheer contends that "just because a research project has been sponsored by a pharma association, it doesn't mean the analysis is biased." In his paper, he wrote that "this legal opinion is prepared in my private capacity, but is endorsed by the IPI." Other acdemicians say that one ought to independently assess the merits of an academic report to see if its conclusions are well-reasoned and based on rigorous analysis, before dismissing it as being biased.

The second is Mashelkar's emotion-laden defence of his record:

In an exclusive interview with Outlook, Mashelkar maintains that neither he nor his report are anti-national. "At the end of giving one's best to the country for 64 years, I and my family feel deeply pained and grieved. There are several misperceptions about Mashelkar," he says. ...


As he ends his interview with Outlook, he makes a last ditch attempt to re-defend himself: "Throughout my life, I have followed my mother's preachings. The first was that one should never do anything in self-interest and, second, that one should never harm anyone."