Thursday, April 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Unfair to talented students

THE first year students of more than a dozen engineering colleges in Punjab are not attending their classes in protest against the steep hike in the tuition fee, which has been exorbitantly raised from Rs 3,000 to Rs 20,000 in a single stroke, thus resulting in a huge burden on the affected parents. The government is again planning to further increase the tuition fee and other expenditure this year also.

The Punjab government has adopted a cruel attitude and inconsiderate stony silence to ignore the demands of the students. Rather its Secretary for Technical Education, Mr N.S. Rattan, has outrightly rejected the demand for the withdrawal of this steep hike, by stating that in this era of liberalisation and globalisation the time of providing cheap and subsidised technical education is already gone. It appears that the government is running away from its responsibility and making technical and medical education totally commercialised. On the other hand, the government is offering seats for heavy donations, particularly to NRIs’ wards.


The much-chanted slogans of liberalisation and globalisation are becoming a cause for serious concern for the common man and sections of the middle class because the government of the day wants to take technical and medical education out of the reach of the common people and make it a privilege of the rich few. So, the students with a good academic record would be deprived of technical and medical education, causing a great loss to human resource development in the state.

So far as the present steep hike in the fee is concerned, it is not justifiable at all. The government’s stiff attitude towards the students is not worthy of its commitment to the people and society at large.

Kila Raipur (Ludhiana)

Civil services & their past

Before the Civil Service reforms of 1871, introduced by the British Prime Minister, W.E. Gladstone, entrance to the English Civil Service required (apart from other things) either a nomination or a recommendation from a peer or an MP. It depended not upon what the aspiring candidate knew, but what strings he could pull. Consequently, the entire service was non-professional and incompetent.

The principle of recruitment through a system of examinations and tests, thus opening the doors of the services to all deserving educated people, was introduced in India by Lord Macaulay in the form of the Indian Civil Service since India (before Partition) was regarded by the British as the “Jewel of the Crown” for its diverse cultures, languages, religions and its sheer size and economic potential to the crown. Therefore, it required extremely competent, able and professional administrative officers to look after large areas.

These sahibs more often tried to blend in, learn the local customs and languages, and familiarise themselves with the terrain under their jurisdiction (district gazetteers provide a record of some of these people) — quite contrary to the notion now generally being played up that the sole reason for these administrative officers and their system was to “subjugate the people”.

The Civil Service of Pakistan is an inheritance of the colonial era no doubt, but so is each and every other system and institution in this country and a professional service cannot, without creating disorder and confusion, be replaced by “elected people”, especially in the absence of any educational and experience requirements.

Lahore (Pakistan)

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

More DA, less salary

It might be an incident without a precedent that dearness allowance (DA) given to the salaried class and meant to mitigate the hardship caused by the price rise actually results in a reduction in the carry-home salary of employees, thereby defeating the very purpose it is supposed to serve.

During 1999, the DA slabs were declared on the central government pattern but were credited to the GPF of the employees. Thus no DA was paid in cash. On the other hand, this became an additional income liable to tax deduction at source and fell in the 30 per cent tax bracket in most cases. The result was that the carry-home salary of the employees got reduced by an amount equivalent to 33 per cent of the DA amount (including surcharge).

The order to credit the DA amount payable to the employees to their GPF account gives rise to another complication. It results in forcing the employees to save more than Rs 60,000, the maximum limit on which a 20 per cent rebate is allowed under Section 88. Apart from a minimum contribution of 10 per cent of the pay to the GPF as per the rules, an employee is bound to pay the LIC premium instalments for the policies held by him. The forced credit of DA to GPF account, therefore, results in excessive saving. In all such cases, the actual amount thus saved under the GPF and the LIC, even if more than Rs 60,000, should be eligible for tax rebate if justice is to be ensured.


For another international airport

This is to stress the urgent need for an international airport at Amritsar for the convenience of 40 per cent of the passengers using Delhi airport and also to ease traffic congestion, reduce pollution and save foreign exchange on petrol and diesel.

The statistics published earlier in your esteemed newspaper prove beyond doubt that this is going to be a very useful exercise for the future. With air traffic increasing enormously, Delhi airport would not be able to handle it properly, and imagine the millions of dollars the Airports Authority of India will have to pay if there is a lapse on its part which ends up in a disaster affecting even one international flight.

Indianapolis (USA)


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