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Wednesday, September 30, 1998
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  Speakers’ conference

ON the eve of Speakers’ conference Mr C.K. Jain puts forward some really valuable suggestions for the smooth and efficient functioning of Parliament and state legislatures on which rests the future of our parliamentary democracy (“Speakers’ Conference: some vital suggestions” September 21). No doubt, the valuable time of these “temples of democracy” is wasted due to the unruly behaviour of MPs and MLAs. The standards of debate and discipline have considerably deteriorated. There are numerous instances where hooliganism, pandemonium, bedlam, dharnas, the exchange of blows, manhandling of members and even of presiding officers have been witnessed. Not to speak of state legislatures, even the Houses of Parliament are no longer free from this evil.

It is generally alleged that the Opposition stalls the proceedings of the House even on petty matters, but it is not always true. Not unoften the ruling party disregards democratic norms and standards and adopts questionable tactics. I remember an extraordinary situation once created by the Treasury Benches in the Rajya Sabha by the persistent defiance of Chairman Shankar Dayal Sharma’s ruling which provoked him to offer to resign the high office.

The conduct of the presiding officers too deserves scrutiny. They are almost invariably elected from the ruling party. But once elected, they must completely give up the party affiliation. Unfortunately, this does not happen in India. Very often they act in a manner which is blatantly partisan. This frustrates the Opposition leading to many ugly situations that arise in these august Houses.

It has been found that during question hour the minister concerned sometimes gives a very vague and evasive answer to a question requiring a precise answer in the form of figures. If the presiding officer chides such ministers for not doing their homework properly, the Opposition may not feel the necessity of raising an uproar.

In such conferences the presiding officers should also ponder over the conduct of their brethren. It is difficult to forget the Manipur Assembly episode in which the Speaker, Mr H. Borobabu, had created an avoidable confrontation between the legislature and the judiciary. Will it not be setting a good example if the presiding officers frame a code of conduct for themselves?

The role of the Press in this regard is also very significant. No one can deny the fact that the Press galleries in all the Houses are crowded during “zero hour” but almost empty during debates on Bills and other legislative business. The Fourth Estate will also have to evolve a code of conduct for itself insofar the coverage of legislatures is concerned to ensure that serious and diligent parliamentarians get adequate coverage, and those who flout the rules and create disorderly scenes are ignored or dumped in the inside pages of the newspapers.


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India’s ‘Seminar Capital’

The selection of Hyderabad for the location of an international class business school is a pointer to the shape of things to come in the 21st century.

There will be a major shift in the world economic structure from physical to intellectual capital. Information technology and education will become primary industries in the 21st century.

The location of a world class business school will strengthen the information technology thrust of Andhra Pradesh in several ways. It will, through demonstration effect, upgrade the existing universities in the state, and this in turn will pressurise the improvement and spread of school-level and technical education. Thanks to the “Shatadvadhan” tradition, Andhra people enjoy an advantage in the information technology industry. Already an estimated 30 per cent plus Indian software engineers abroad are from Andhra Pradesh.

With reputed institutions like the Administrative Staff College, the National Police Academy, the State Bank of India Staff Training College and Indian Airlines Training College, Hyderabad is known as the “Seminar Capital” of India. The new world class management school will strengthen this continuous extension education base so necessary for economic growth.

There will be a stimulus to hospitality industry, and consequently the creation of enormous job opportunities for semi-skilled and ordinary people in the informal sector of the economy such as catering, hotels, tourism, taxis, STD/ISD booths, and other auxiliary economic activities.

With air services linking Hyderabad to all parts of the country, and a state-of-the-art world class telecommunication system by Tatatel and an information technology park, Andhra Pradesh seems to be on the verge of an economic boom.


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Land grab in Gurgaon

Apropos of the news item “Land grab in Gurgaon” (Sept 17), grabbing of panchayat land in Gurgaon district is not a new phenomenon. It was started in the late eighties by a trio of government officials enjoying political patronage. But it was effectively curbed when Mr M.D. Asthana was the Commissioner of Gurgaon division. Considerable areas of land were restored to the panchayats during his stewardship. This tempo, however, happened to be shortlived after Mr Asthana’s departure.

Now the old problem has re-emerged with a vengeance under another group headed by a police official. Unlike the old trio, which had only a working equation with its political masters, the present trio claims to be closely related to the top politicians in power.

These are the same politicians who never tire of boasting of their clean image and claiming to have provided a corruption-free administration. If they have the slightest regard for their image and reputation, the reported scandal should be handed over to the CBI for investigation. A thorough and impartial investigation is expected to bring to light several such scandals, making the instant case to appear like the proverbial tip of an iceberg!


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Social service & publicity

For quite some time I have been seeing the photographs of various office-bearers of the Rotary Clubs and the Lions Clubs of the region appearing in your paper along with the news of their being installed/elected.

I strongly feel that this increasing trend of getting publicity by the members/office-bearers of these social service organisations is not a healthy practice.

These publicity gimmicks don’t befit the spirit of such highly reputed organisations doing a lot in the field of service to society. Instead of trying to hog the limelight through this unappreciable means, we should let our actions and good deeds speak for us. That will make us feel contented and popular too.


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Roads with potholes

I would like to draw the attention of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation authorities to the pathetic condition of the roads in the city. There is no proper lighting arrangement. On some of the roads dividing the sectors the street-lights are non-functional, which cause a lot of inconvenience to the commuters. The potholes in certain roads sometimes result in accidents, specially in the rainy season.

Chandigarh which boasts of being the most beautiful city of the region, has been losing its glory due to this factor.



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