Tuesday, June 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Pensioners’ plight

THE Government of India rejected the proposed hike in the pensions of government employees at the rate of 0.5 per cent for each six-monthly period of service rendered in excess of the qualifying 33 years. Mrs Vasundhara Raje announced the unjustified decision in Parliament. But the fact remains that the proposed hike is not sans positive and well-merited logic.

A government servant who completes less the qualifying 33 years limit is given proportionately less than 50 per cent pension. That being so, why those putting far more than 33 years should be denied the well-earned benefit? And then to reject the pay commission’s recommendation cannot be left to the sweet will of the government. Is it not silly on the part of the government to reject the measly 0.5 per cent hike for the fact that it is extremely difficult to relocate the old records? Is it not a cruel joke flung on the pensioners who depend solely on the monthly income to keep their body and soul together? The pretext is malicious and untenable.

Secondly, another well-merited and justified recommendation made by the Fifth Pay Commission relating to the restoration of the commuted pension equivalent after 12 years still hangs fire. Even though the original demand of the pensioners was/is to restore the same after 10 years, the commission’s recommendation for its restoration after 12 years was the minimum the government could consider, but here too the poor pensioners were denied justice.

Thirdly, the commission recommended the payment of Rs 100 to the pensioners to meet their day-to-day sundry expenses on petty pills to sustain life but the government killed the very genesis of the contemplated benefit with a rider for no rhyme or reason and defeated the very purpose of it. The condition laid for this benefit is that there should be no dispensary available within a specified distance.

All these points deserve personal intervention of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, who must come to the rescue of the fraternity of the elderly, being one himself sailing in the same boat.

New Delhi


Civil services

Apropos of the editorial “Science” of civil services, (The Tribune, May 27), it cannot be construed that caste, religion, region and also happenings like Operation Bluestar, anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and the Babri Masjid episode of 1992 had any bearing on the results of civil services examinations or for that matter the performance of the candidates belonging to different communities.

Of course, the students who join the streams of engineering and medical science are genuinely intelligent — the cream of society. Their entry into the administrative services is most wanted.

Any analysis or assessment on the basis of gender, caste, religion and region smacks of judging things on these lines and favouritism. This is most uncalled for in a democratic set-up. If a particular community trails in any sphere of life — as Muslims in education — steps can be taken to uplift them in that sphere.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

The problem with quota system

This refers to the editorial “Reservation unbound” (The Tribune, May 12). I disagree with the observations made in favour of reservations primarily and extension of this principle to other spheres like promotions and relaxation in qualifying marks for admissions to various technical and professional courses in particular.

Will India be able to compete with other nations with less qualified and less competent persons at the helm of affairs? Won’t it accelerate the existing process of brain-drain which is benefiting the Western world at our cost?

When competent and intelligent persons don’t get a fair chance of getting their due in various services, they naturally go elsewhere. Developed countries welcome them with open arms because they come with ready expertise. The ultimate loser is our country.

There are a number of scientists, technical experts and economists who, having failed to get due recognition in their own country, won laurels for their achievements while working in other countries. The practice of extending the benefit of reservations in promotion has affected the morale of a vast number of employees made juniors overnight. It has also affected the overall working in various organs of the State.

Caste-based reservations could not bring a change for the better and end the plight of the oppressed classes all these years, nor could this practice be expected to bring full social justice to them.

Have we not learnt our lesson with the reservation policy in force almost since Independence, with no visible improvement in the plight of the oppressed classes?


Seed treatment

While going through the Agriculture Tribune page in The Tribune of May 22, I have observed that for the rice crop, Ceresan Wet, Agallol, Tafasan and Aretan have been recommended for seed treatment. These chemicals, however, have been discontinued by the manufacturers for over two and a half decades. Therefore, such recommendations should not find place in Agriculture Tribune.

The only alternative for these fungicides is Emisan which can be used @ 5 gm in 10 litres of water. In the interest of progressive farming banned chemicals or chemicals not available in the market should not be recommended.



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