Saturday, January 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



A coverup operation

THE Subramanyam Committee on Kargil recently presented to the Prime Minister its 250-page report, backed by more than 1900 pages of supportive documents. The committee was only chartered to point out what went wrong, but not why or who went wrong. Even a child knows that the root cause of Kargil was the total failure of our intelligence system; it did not require a 250-page report to tell us that. What the nation wants to know is what were the lapses in the existing system, and who was responsible for them — both of which were outside the committee’s charter.

It will be recalled that after the UK’s Falklands conflict, and Israel’s Yom Kippur war, enquiries were set up to go into the lapses. Whereas in the former, the committee even blamed Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet for avoidable

  casualty rates, in the latter case, the Israeli Director of Military Operations (who was earmarked to take over from Moshe Dayan as the next chief) was dismissed, for just two days’ delay in not acting on intelligence of the Egyptian army passed on to him.

Since political or bureaucratic accountability has never been an integral part of our governance, no politician or bureaucrat has ever been held responsible for the ‘62 Chinese debacle, or any lapses in the three wars with Pakistan, or the Sri Lanka fiasco. So also with Kargil, no heads will ever roll, in this case, not even the military ones.

BRIG N.B. GRANT. (retd)

Kidney patients

In India, 90,000 individuals need kidney transplant every year. However, only 3% succeed in getting the organ, and the remaining have to depend on dialysis, which is an extremely expensive affair. Certain patients have to undergo dialysis twice a week and for them it is very difficult to manage money for this type of treatment.

Mr Vishwanath Pratap Singh, a former Prime Minister of India, is himself suffering from kidney failure and is on haemodialysis. His illness has given him a mission and he intends to form a forum of committed persons so as to enforce the Government of India to improve the quality and standard of dialysis in the country, to have an appropriate legislation regarding the quality of water being used in haemodialysis, to disseminate information to patients and to work for the reduction of the financial burden on the patients.

Mr V.P. Singh has made an extensive correspondence over the last nine months with the Government. As a result of that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Union of India, has constituted a committee to define the quality of dialysis water. All those who want to work with Mr V.P. Singh in this noble task can write to him at 1, Teen Murti Marg, New Delhi.


Clever trick

The one thing that Pakistan has been able to do very successfully is deflecting attention away from the problem of Afghan tribals. Afghan tribals have always been a problem for its own rulers as well as its neighbours. Direct interference into Afghan affairs had cost England dearly. Even after having given up their Afghan ambition, the North West boundary of India continued to be volatile and a headache for British Indian Army. When Pakistan was created, the authorities there knew that the volatile tribesmen would create an immense problem for their new state. They decided to utilise this characteristic of tribesmen to their advantage and deflected their energy to the attempt for taking Kashmir by force, without a major involvement by the Pakistan army. The Pakistani authorities did succeed in this to a large extent. Subsequently, the Americans along with Pakistan were able to involve Russians in the Afghan quagmire, thereby contributing substantially to the breakup of the erstwhile USSR.

The Pakistanis are now deflecting tribal power towards Kashmir. Not only do they achieve their aim of keeping the Kashmir issue alive but have also been able to keep the Afghans off their back. With the increasing number of militant Afghans opting out of their own country, they are the easy targets to be enrolled as mercenaries for the so-called jihad in Kashmir.

This successful deflection of Afghan youth by Pakistan into Kashmir needs to be countered. Though unethical, the differences that exist between Pakistani communities may have to be exploited to create a situation where the Pakistani authorities and Afghans get actively involved with each other. This is likely to give India an advantage in more ways than one. While the induction of Afghan mercenaries into Kashmir will reduce considerably, Pakistani authorities will have some distraction, giving Indian security forces better chances to eliminate anti-national elements from the valley.



PPF, savings rates cut

This is to draw the attention of the Union Finance Ministry to the newspaper reports regarding cut in interest rate on small saving schemes. Although it is not clear from the said report, yet we take it that there will be no effect of cut in interest rate on the instruments already issued before 15-01-2000 under the Term Deposit, KVP, NSC, NSS Schemes.

It is urged upon the Union Finance Ministry to publicise a clarification in this connection. May we understand that this cut in interest rate will not apply, in any way, on the past or future deposits under the recurring deposit as well as the PPF Deposits Accounts already started before 15-01-2000?

President, Jagadhari Senior Citizens Council

Child labour

India has the largest number of laws on the child labour in the world. Yet the rate of child labour is increasing rapidly. According to a notification issued by the government on the eve of Children’s Day “no government servant shall employ any child below the age of 14 years (Art. 309). But in this notification there is not a single word about any kind of punishment. This type of notification has no meaning.

There are more than 14 million child labourers in India. These children are labouring in different fields such as glass factories, carpet manufacturing, cracker industry, bidi industry, hotels, automobile and domestic fields. They put 14-18 hours of work under unhygienic, filthy and often risky circumstances.

Lack of proactive government role and failure of legal system has led to widespread child labour. Every year the Government of India celebrates Children Day and organises many functions for the welfare of the children. I think it is all a tamasha. The day should be celebrated only when child labour has been completely abolished.



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