Akshaya Mukul, TNN Aug 22, 2013, 01.39AM IST
Prof CNR Rao (India’s science adviser C. N. R. Rao has apologized for not noticing some copied text in a paper published last year.)
Dr R A Mashelkar (CSIR), suspended
Prof. Amit Kapoor (IIT Delhi) Suspended and many more, found guilty as Plagiarism.
NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry’s allegation that Management Development Institute (MDI) associate professor Amit Kapoor had plagiarized from a secret Expenditure Finance Committee note and later claimed copyright over it has resulted in widespread action.
Kapoor has been put under suspension by MDI and Harvard University has promised to carry out an investigation and take appropriate action. Harvard comes into the picture as Kapoor was till recently the honorary chairperson of the Institute of Competitiveness, India, which has been recognized by the Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.
In fact, Kapoor was also given the Competitiveness Hall of Fame award by Harvard University. HRD ministry brought Kapoor’s plagiarism to the notice of Michael Porter, professor of Harvard Business School and an authority on competitiveness, requesting him that the Indian affiliate should be disassociated as well as the Competitiveness Hall of Fame award and any other recognition to Kapoor be withdrawn.
Meanwhile, sources in MDI said Kapoor has explained that most of the so-called secret documents were shared with him by the Planning Commission as it wanted him to prepare an index of competitiveness.
Pawan Agarwal, advisor, Planning Commission, told TOI, “The moment HRD ministry brought plagiarism to our notice, we checked the facts. We have sought his explanation.”
Agarwal admitted there was a case of copyright violation. However, sources in the Planning Commission said, “Kapoor’s presentation on the Rashtriya Uchatar Shiksha Abhiyan plagiarized slides from the HRD ministry’s EFC document but was not meant for public consumption. Planning Commission had shared the EFC note for his views.”
In July, HRD ministry officials were invited to Pennsylvania State University (PSU) to address Academic Leadership Academy (ALA) on Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) and other initiatives of the Indian government. Kapoor was also slated to speak as an invited faculty.
When Kapoor’s presentation was shared with HRD officials, it was found that at least four slides of his presentation were direct lifts from the HRD ministry’s EFC note on RUSA. Plagiarism from HRD documents is all over Kapoor’s presentation, be it summary of the RUSA programme, outcome/outputs for RUSA and even the equalization formula is a direct lift with some changes in the weightage.
Plagiarism by the Mashelkar committee?
Posted by Abi
Filed under: Ethics, Law, Misconduct / Fraud
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Update: From the comment on this DesiPundit post, we have this link to the Alternative Law Forum’s web page devoted to the controversy surrounding the Mashelkar committee report. In particular, you will find the ‘original’ Shamnad Basheer report. To make life easier for you, there is a short table which compares the key conclusions of the Mashelkar committee report and those of the original. Quite revealing.
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Chan Park and Achal Prabhala have two op-eds today: the Hindu and the Times of India. In both, they have levelled charges of plagiarism on the committee headed by Dr. R. A. Mashelkar (ex-CEO of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) that looked into some technical questions about our patent laws as they relate to pharmaceutical companies. Guru has a nice summary.
Park and Prabhala don’t stop with charges of plagiarism; they also attack the substance of the Mashelkar committee’s conclusions. While the issues are technical (about whether TRIPS, the intellectual property-related agreement that India is a signatory to, allows its member countries some flexibility in deciding what is patentable), they are also political: your position on these issues would depend on your view of pharmaceutical companies, how much of innovation is actually attributable to them, and how fair they are in dealing with poor people. There is a lot of room in the political spectrum for people to choose a spot to sit on.
My own views are informed by the article titled The Truth about Drug Companies by Marcia Angell, ex-Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. In it, Angell also builds a compelling case that a big part of the real innovation actually happens in universities (and small start-ups spawned by them) with public funding. She also mounts a scathing attack on the Big Pharma companies, which appear to spend a lot more money on how to rig the system in their favour than on innovation through drug discovery.
And here’s something from today’s NYTimes on the nexus between pharma companies and doctors:
The pharmaceutical industry spends $12 billion a year marketing to doctors, and much of that money is in the form of free samples delivered to doctors’ offices, often accompanied by lunch for the entire staff. When the University of Michigan health systems banned such lunches in 2005, they calculated that the lunches had been worth $2.5 million a year.
The free drugs are samples of the newest and most expensive branded products. The drug industry hopes that by starting patients with free samples, they will remain on the more expensive medication rather than using a cheaper generic. And there is evidence that doctors who have relationships with the pharmaceutical industry prescribe more of the expensive drugs.