Monday, April 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Selecting the Chief of Army Staff

IN an article on selecting the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), published recently, the writer has expressed his reservations regarding the media coverage and the selection process being adopted by the organisation in particular and the government in general.

It is pertinent to mention here that the freedom of speech as enshrined in Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India also encompasses the freedom of the Press. In fact, Press freedom is one of the most essential pillars of any democratic set-up. Apart from this, the public at large has a constitutional right to know the process of selection for such a coveted post. In addition, it is emphasised that transparency in the functioning of any organisation eradicates arbitrariness, capriciousness and irrationality.

Lastly, the selection of officers, if given due publicity, would weed out the disabled and incompetent people. Furthermore, it would bring in objectivity in the selection process, which today is based on whims and personal likes and dislikes. The writer’s apprehensions are unfounded and lack substance. The closed-door policy in administrative matters has harmed the career of many competent officers.



Power sector mess

This refers to the two-part article, “Power sector reforms in Haryana”, by Mr M.G. Devasahayam (March 9 and 10). It is an uphill task for the INLD government to carry on the power reforms in its present form. There are valid reasons also.

Firstly, the reform process intends to take away subsidies from the agriculture sector which the INLD government can ill-afford to do. Secondly, there was no political consensus at the time of passing of the Power Reform Bill. Rather the INLD, then the main Opposition party, was kept outside the assembly in session.

The restructuring alone in any form is meaningless if it does not yield gainful results. It is one and a half years now since the unbundling of the erstwhile HSEB had taken place. Practically no improvement in consumer services has come about. Prior to this unbundling, the services had remained paralysed for three years due to the uncertainty in the erstwhile HSEB. Now more time should not be wasted, otherwise public perception would turn reactionary, thereby eroding political determination to carry forward the reforms on the desired lines.

Rightly or wrongly, independent government-owned companies have come into existence. The inside view is that these are not working in unison. There is now a big problem of coordination and planning which was at least non-existent in the monolithic HSEB.

GENCO is working on the principle of “First to observe backing down of generation and last to receive revenue” and has suffered extensive “backing downs” and the problem of “cash flow”.

“Transco” monopolises vital policy matters which often run contrary to the objectives of other companies. The revenue collection has come down to the level of 1997.

On the personnel side, especially the engineers working in GENCO are having a limited scope for career advancement as compared to their counterparts in the transmission and distribution companies. The allocation of engineers on the “as is where is” basis has created a new phenomenon whereby juniors have got promoted while the seniors are left crying for justice. Till date, this has already happened in the case of four Chief Engineers and seven Superintending Engineers. Alas, this miracle has gone unnoticed in the media. Certainly, this was not the spirit of reforms.


Samvat predictions

For the past many years I have been reading, with great interest, the predictions made by Dr Sansar Chandra on the eve of commencement of Vikrama Samvat.

The Tribune has done Yeoman’s service by introducing this annual feature. I have yet to come across such an enlightened and progressive newspaper as The Tribune which publishes an illuminating material year after year.

By going through his past predictions, I am sure he is not going to disappoint us this time also. He has hazarded to cover all the subjects under the sky in a very candid manner. He has forewarned about the unforeseen events, and provided solutions wherever necessary.

The people believing in astrology must make a note of predictions and may plan their strategies accordingly so as to make their lives adjustable even in adverse situations.


Fallout of Clinton’s visit

US President Bill Clinton during his visit to India displayed rare intellectual dexterity in conceptualising India’s specific situation within the broad American policy thrust.

His plain-speaking in Pakistan should abate cross-border terrorism to some extent and stimulate the upsurge for the restoration of the democratic process.

Our generosity has its own limitations, but this time General Musharraf got a well-deserved rebuke and “his master’s voice” was all harsh.



Question: Cronje, where did you learn match-fixing and why?
Answer: In India, because corruption is highly respectable there.
Q. Your achievement?
A. I improved the poor image of the Delhi police dramatically.
Q. Any regrets for admitting dishonesty (so honestly)?
A. I could not contact Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, Mr Narasimha Rao and other politicians like them in time.
Q. Your next plan?
A. To join the Indian Embassy in South Africa!



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |