Tuesday, June 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Illogical roll-back demand

LAST year in September the 13th Lok Sabha election was held. The present National Democratic Alliance government led by the BJP under the leadership of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee took over on October 13, 1999. Immediately after that the Central Government increased the prices of petrol, diesel, etc, though the opposition parties and traders, especially the Motor Transport Congress, strongly opposed it.

About five months later the prices of other petroleum products like LPG, kerosene and fertilisers were increased to reduce the burden of subsidy. Likewise, the subsidy on foodgrains — wheat and rice — was reduced and the issue price of these commodities to be released for ration card holders was hiked. Any increase in the prices affects all sections of society, not only the poor and farmers. It is only a handle with the opposition to run the agitation. Farmers have been compensated by increasing the minimum support price. Then how have the farmers been affected? The Opposition is duty-bound to point out the error so that the mistake is rectified and caution is maintained in future.

Now the matter comes for the presentation of a memorandum by the Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister, requesting him to roll-back the prices. Why was it not presented immediately after the announcement of the hike? Why at the fag-end of the procurement season? This is because the farmers may avail themselves of the benefit of the hike in the minimum support price of rabi foodgrains.

I will say that the demand of the Opposition in respect of the roll-back of the price hike has no logic.



Grooming for top position

Recently I came across an interesting slogan, "Ab ki bari Atal Behari, agli bari behn hamari", which was coined by the BJP during the last general election when Ms Sushma Swaraj was chosen to contest against Mrs Sonia Gandhi in Bellary.

The above slogan must have had blessings of the top leadership of the BJP, though lately some indications of cold shouldering her have come to light. The way she took up the challenge at Bellary speaks volumes of her potential. She has necessary experience and expertise and, most importantly, the charm and charisma required for bigger responsibilities.

It is necessary for a political party in power to groom one or two persons in the art of governance for the post of Prime Minister when the need arises. Accordingly, the BJP should initiate the process of grooming for its likely choices for the high office by giving them challenging duties and responsibilities.

The success story of Indira Gandhi was largely due to the grooming she received from her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, whom she even outdid as the Prime Minister in some respects.

I may, therefore, re-emphasise that grooming is the catchword. So, please set in motion the all important grooming process for the chosen probables for the high office so that a capable person is readily available to succeed when the time comes.

Wg Cdr C. L. Sehgal (retd)

The Fiji Indians

Fiji Indians live on sufferance today due to the original sin of the whiteman’s constitutional deception, as elsewhere in former British colonies, including India. This is because the blueprint the colonial rulers left behind when Fiji achieved independence in 1970 cunningly denied the Indian majority their legitimate rights.

Mr Mahendra Chaudhary, the detained Prime Minister of Fiji, is the descendant of one such Indian family. Indians should not expect any support from the Indian government run by sermonising leaders.

Whereas humanity is being killed in Sri Lanka and Indians are being humiliated and killed in Fiji, back home the battalions of power-hungry leaders, who have no national or international vision, are calling the shots in the corridors of power. They not only get elected by hook or by crook, they also succeed in grabbing ministerial berths. The thugs in white dhoti-kurta or safari suits are no better than the Fijian thug, George Speight, who can sell his country for personal gains.


Unfair to pensioners

On the basis of the recommendations of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission made applicable to the government pensioners retiring on or after 1-1-1996, only the basic pay, personal pay, if any, and NPA come under the term “emoluments” for the purpose of calculating various retirement and death-cum-retirement benefits.

The benefit of special pay which had earlier been allowed to the pre-1996 and pre-1986 retirees has not been given this time to the post-1-1-1996 retirees, which is a considerable recurring financial loss to them, particularly to those who retired between 1-1-1996 to 31-8-1997 as they were bereft of the substantial increase in various allowances like HRA and the special pay which took effect on 1-9-1997.

So, in all fairness, the Punjab government should dispense justice to this category of pensioners by allowing them the benefit of special pay towards their pension.



Question: What is the full form of “MP”?

Answer: Moneyed People.

Gajewas (Samana)


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