Tuesday, March 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Delays in government offices

MS Tavleen Singh’s article “Mindset biggest obstacle” (The Tribune, March 4) vividly presents the scenario of delays in government offices that leads to bribery. Delays in settling the matters in government offices is the legacy of our slavish thinking rooted in our mindset by the long, long foreign rule over us. Though we have got freedom from the British, we have not shed the scourge of slavery from our minds.

Dishonest officials keep the work pending. Delays breed corruption. Just after gaining Independence, the very first task of our leaders should have been to inculcate in the countrymen the patriotic feeling which had certainly faded because of centuries of alien rule. True, a citizen is a born patriot of his or her country. This cannot be doubted, indeed! But their damaged psyche will have to be repaired and revived.

  After Independence transparency and accountability in public life became the first casualty. In many offices, files do not move unless the palms are greased. Believe it or not, trade unions have gone a long way in minimising inefficiency and discouraging corruption in offices. Of course, red-tapism has not been completely rooted out. In true sense, the purpose of trade unions is not merely to secure financial bonanzas for employees but also to reform and accelerate working in offices and departments. In this respect, the role of trade unions is commendable.

To speed up the pace of development and boost efficiency, trade unions can play still more efficient role. The healthy and clean environs in offices are also equally necessary. The heads of offices/departments must ensure the upkeep and cleanliness of offices. People in an independent nation can only enjoy the fruits of Independence, if they have not to suffer official arrogance, as the author had to for a dispute with the NDMC.

For the efficient functioning of various departments, the example of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, ought to be followed in letter and in spirit elsewhere in the country.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Meaningless rejoicing

The military government in Pakistan is rejoicing over what it claims to be a huge diplomatic victory signifying official US recognition of the October 12 coup. This shows that the Generals who grabbed power are actually in a desperate situation both at home (after the resignation of the Chief Justice and the raising of doubts about the trial of Mr Nawaz Sharif and his men) and abroad (since the Commonwealth promptly suspended the membership of the country). Otherwise, a mere couple of hours’ stopover — that too achieved after months of intense lobbying and running from pillar to post — is something definitely not worth writing home about, especially since Mr Clinton would be spending several productive and meaningful days in neighbouring India.

The USA is revered and respected for its absolute freedom, democracy, and rule of law, and thus a Presidential visit to a dictatorship may send the wrong signals to the Generals and can perhaps give them the impetus they need to embark upon misadventures in Kashmir (like Kargil last summer) only to prolong their rule; only this times.

There may not be any last minute pulling back.

Lahore (Pakistan)
(Received in response to The Tribune’s Internet edition)


For 365-day banking

India is heading towards globalisation and privatisation at a fast speed. Reverting to the five-day week system or fixing the number of holidays are political decisions. It is unfortunate that banking facilities are equally affected by the closure of central/state government offices during abnormally prolonged holidays.

Banks as well as customers would be benefited if scanty services — cash transactions and issue of bank drafts — are maintained at least for three hours on all holidays, including Sundays. The RBI may consider making this practice uniformly applicable to all the banks.

Overtime payments would be much less than the financial benefits that will accrue to the banks. On the top of this, the scheme would give positive signals to foreign investors. It is hoped the banking staff will extend their cooperation.


IIITs: issue of admissions

Under the guidelines from the AICTE-UGC various Indian Institutes of Information Technology are for the first time offering UG courses in information technology. The application form of each one for an entrance test) is available from the same source (Ed CIL House, 18-A, Sector 16-A, NOIDA, UP) for Rs 500. This means that for the same test but to get admission at various places in India itself a student will have to shell out Rs 2000.

Not only that these so-called IIIT’s like the one at Allahabad do not even have a proper campus or faculty as is evident from their advertisements. Furthermore, their own information sites at the web were either updated one year ago or are not opening. The most fascinating thing about these institutes, which will teach information technology and take young Indians into a new millennium, is that the advertisement of the IIIT at Allahabad, published in The Tribune dated 9.3.2000, has announced the date of examination as May 29, 2000, Saturday, in bold letters. However, the fact is that 29.5.2000 is a Monday.

I feel a system should be devised for charging only Rs 500 for the admission test by all and there should be only one examination for a similar course.


Ministers and health care

It is a matter of national shame that this government continues to waste money on foreign holidays for its elected members. Is it not disgusting that the government should foot the bill for the medical care of Ministers or Chief Ministers?

If Mr Parkash Singh Badal has not been able to provide adequate health care facilities for the people of Punjab and does not trust the facilities that his government has provided for the people of the state, he has no right to waste tax-payers’ money on getting treatment abroad. We have good doctors in India, and although he is free to go to where he wants to, the cost of health care has to be borne by him.

Chicago (USA)


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