Improving national economy

Though Indian economy is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, the inequality of income and wealth has widened considerably in the country. According to the World Development Report, 2003, 10 per cent of low-income group of people got only 3.5 per cent of the National Income while the top 10 per cent took away as much as 33.5 per cent.

As for illiteracy in the rural sector, an estimated 41 per cent is yet to be covered (2001 figures). To tackle with the scarcity of energy, alternative sources such as nuclear energy must be developed, as suggested by Dr S.S. Johl. The employment scenario in rural Punjab is showing signs of change as the people are gradually shifting from agriculture to non-agriculture occupations.

Thus, to make best use of the unemployed rural youth, cottage and small-scale industries should be developed in rural areas. These units should be based on agricultural products, which should grow both backward and forward linkages in rural areas. The government should help them get easy loans from various financial institutions at low interest rates.

Training facilities should be provided to the youths by the state and local self-governments. Income and wealth inequality, rural illiteracy, scarcity of energy, unemployment and deteriorating health standards have been major drawbacks of the chosen growth models under successive Five-year Plans. The Eleventh Five-year Plan should focus on these areas to improve the national economy.

RANJODH SINGH, Army School, Bathinda Cantonment


Pak role in terrorism

The claim that the Pakistani establishment is mired in acts of terrorism is not groundless. Certainly, it is not without a whiff of smoke. With an ostrich mindset that tries to ignore reality, Pakistanis may continue in the vain hope that if they keep asking for proof long enough, they can perpetuate the myth that they don’t support or acquiesce in terrorism.

The standard Pakistani insistence on proof is in itself a firm indication of a Pakistani hand behind most acts of terrorism.

GANESH S. KRISHNAN, Nebraska Avenue, (Minnesota, USA)


Punjab’s poor track record

Till the late sixties or so, Punjab had been in the forefront of development. This was mainly due to Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon’s dynamic leadership. However, the parts now constituting Haryana and Himachal Pradesh remained comparatively neglected, causing resentment among Haryanvis and Himachalis.

This, as also linguistic and geographical considerations, led to Punjab’s trifurcation in 1966. Since then, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana have made giant strides towards progress, leaving Punjab way behind. I joined the government service at Narnaul in 1960, headquarters of Mahendragarh district. Then, it was very backward with no basic civic amenities. Unhygienic water was sold through big water containers carried on cattle-driven carts. See the difference today. Mahendragarh can compete with Punjab’s best cities.

The reasons are not far to seek. After Kairon, Punjab has always been in the hands of mediocre leaders. Important issues and development schemes have constantly been sidestepped or move at a snail’s pace. Everything is planned and executed with an eye on the vote banks.

D.K. AGGARWALA, Hoshiarpur

Mercy for Afzal

I refer to the editorial “President’s dilemma: Should a terrorist escape gallows?” (Oct 3). The Supreme Court has confirmed Afzal’s death sentence. The terrorists’ attack on Parliament was thwarted by alert security forces and parliamentary personnel. Now when one of the perpetrators of the heinous crime has been sentenced to death, the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir have taken to the street against this verdict.

The so-called nationalists and Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad have appealed to the President for clemency. As Mr Azad has violated his constitutional oath to uphold the provisions of the Constitution, he should quit the Chief Minister’s post for undermining the sanctity and dignity of the office.



Had our security personnel not been alert, our political leadership would have been eliminated by terrorists during the attack on Parliament. Considering the mercy petition by Afzal’s wife vis-à-vis the sufferings of the families of security personnel killed in the attack may be a dilemma for the President.

There is need to convene a special session of Parliament to amend the Constitution, withdrawing the President’s extraordinary power to grant mercy. After the Supreme Court has decided to send the criminal to the gallows for his diabolic action, any plea for commuting it to life imprisonment is uncalled for.

Prof B.M. RAWLLEY, Nabha



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