Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Johl report and what farmers
should do

THE much-awaited Johl committee report (Oct 28) offers proposals most of whom have already been given many a time. Though suggestions about scientific farming, saving of soil health and efficient use of groundwater are most welcome and must be followed whole-heartedly, they are not new. Under our indisciplined/ unethical trading system, the proposed post-harvest handling and quality control of foodgrains by traders will demand strict and ethical government interventions. Otherwise, our product will lose (in fact, it has already lost) credibility in the market.

The proposal about monitory compensation of Rs 12,500 per hectare to the farmers who opt for crops other than rice and wheat can help only in achieving short-term gains, and that to mainly for the farmers having large farm holdings. This may also add to the existing number of corrupt practices in the rural areas.

The requirement of huge amounts of funds (Rs 1280 crore a year) for the implementation of this proposal has been projected as a responsibility of the central government. Obviously, the allocation of funds (and in turn success) will depend upon Centre-state relations, expected similar demands from other states of the country and many other considerations. The projected saving of Rs 3,720 crore for the central government by not purchasing rice and wheat will be possible only if the post-harvest handling of alternate crops e.g. maize, pulses, oilseeds, etc is to be done by traders. In that case, will the government be able to control the exploitation of farmers by private traders (present experience is not healthy)?


It seems that the common saying: “na hove ga nao mann tel te na radha nache gee” will be the ultimate excuse. Hari Jaisingh’s statement (Oct. 4) “with this set of advisers, he (CM) does not need enemies” seems to be gaining ground. Now let us wait for the report of the third Johl committee — which may be set up after another 15 years.

Dear farmers, you must wake up, attain proper education/training/ skills for producing demand-driven quality products and learn to compete in the market. Get started yourself, otherwise your farm-income will remain at the present uneconomical level.

Dr JASJEET SINGH, Verka (Amritsar)

Johl’s resignation : Apropos of the news item concerning Dr S.S. Johl’s resignation as Vice-Chairman, State Planning Board, (Nov 7), one boils over with righteous but impotent rage at bureaucrats sleeping over radical developmental proposals made by a conscientious savant. Dr Johl’s frustration is understandable. That our bureaucracy is apathetic, over-bearing, self-serving and out-of-step with the times may be subject to debate and yet it is the experience of all those who come in contact with it that it has not shed the snobbery of its colonial progenitors as the masters of the people whom it is supposed to serve.

If a man of Dr Johl’s stature can be trifled with under the nose of the Chief Minister, the common man should expect to be treated with extreme contempt. There must be some serious flaw in our mode of functioning that what is proposed by a top expert has to be disposed by babus.

Your report says that Capt Amarinder Singh has taken the guilty officers to task for dereliction in the matter and has requested Dr Johl to continue to serve the state in his advisory capacity. We are sure that Dr Johl will oblige the Chief Minister as for him the interests of Punjab and the country are prior to any personal discomfiture. The Chief Minister should also ensure that Dr Johl gets proper facilities to carry on his valuable work. Now that Capt Amarinder Singh has become aware of the ways of the bureaucrats he may constantly guide and goad them to expedite his projects and programmes for resuscitation of the economy of Punjab.



Recover NPAs & tax dues

Tax arrears (corporate tax and income tax) as on 28.2.2002 stand at Rs 62,134 crore, which is a very substantial amount, almost 38 per cent of the total tax revenue. Similarly, the NPAs of public sector banks are to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore, a whopping amount for a resource-crunch nation. Considering the huge amount involved, it is suggested to recover the amount on a war-footing and also expedite the disposal of pending cases to speed up the recovery.

Dr B.L. TEKRIWAL, Mumbai

Pension issue

THE retired soldiers who are above 75 years of age took active part in World War II and all other wars up to 1971. The government refused to give them one rank, one pension because of paucity of funds. Corruption is the main cause of paucity of funds. Our leaders talk of eliminating corruption, immorality, bureaucracy and dirty politics. Very good suggestions and advice are provided to cool down the people's anger. Do the representatives of the people really serve the nation? Officers waste valuable time in pointless discussions.

Some people who attempt to work honestly and in accordance with the rules are compelled to work against their conscience. The rule-maker is the ruler-breaker. Our laws are defective and flexible. It has been proved beyond doubt that the corrupt higher authorities cannot be convicted. Money has more power than the law.

Who will help old retired soldiers? Bureaucrats consider this segment of society as a discarded lot. No love, no respect for old soldiers. We request our leaders to give maximum facilities such as free rail/road travel and a special grant of pension. This will reduce the difference between pre- and post-1996 retirees.

Maj D.C. KATOCH (retd), Amb


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