Friday, October 13, 2000,
 Chandigarh, India



India and new global order

THE article "India and global order — old tilt gone, euphoria misplaced" (October 7) by Mr Hari Jaisingh should be read in the backdrop of the adoption of the policy of a new world order by creating a viable alternative to meet new challenges.

Politicians can and do make or unmake history depending on how far they are able to see in the future? Time is ripe to forge a new global order on the basis of the ground realities. It is necessary to lay down the parameters within which India should have mutually beneficial relations.

The countries of South Asia are spending too much on arms and far too little in social sectors. While the global military strength declined by 37 per cent between 1987 and 1994, military spending in South Asia was up by 12 per cent. If India and Pakistan were to freeze their defence spending at the 1996 level in real terms, nearly $80 billion would be available to them to spend in social sectors.

A shift in the above paradigm is a must. A new social order is necessary to create a resilient global economy, free from tensions and economic stagnation. The present economic order is somewhat wicked, immoral and unfair.

For instance, at a recent summit in Havana, convened by the Group of 77, it was held that in the hands of rich countries trade is already an instrument of domination. And under the new order global economy it will become an increasingly useful element to perpetuate and sharpen inequalities.

This view finds a greater voice in global economic decisions, increased aid and exports to undeveloped countries greater technology transfer and simultaneously the cancellation of the unsustainable debt that is forcing many countries to pay more in interest than for social services.

umed singh gulia



How to reduce oil expenses

THE RSS chief has hit the nail on the head by saying (The Tribune, Oct 8) that government functionaries were the "biggest" consumers of petrol and that ministers should initiate measures to cut expenditure between 10 to 25 per cent "if they are really concerned about the rise in fuel prices".

It is estimated that the government itself, apart from the defence forces and the railways, is consuming about 30 per cent of the total consumption of petroleum products in India today. For a poor and developing country like India, this is a very high level.

During World War-II when every drop of petrol was essential for the war effort, all government functionaries, including senior Secretary-level officers and even the Generals posted in peace areas used bycycles to go to their places of work. No one could use government transport for official visits to places connected by rail. Families were never allowed to travel in government vehicles.

This practice continued for some time after 1947 and thereafter the rot of parasitism (muftkhori) overpowered the sense of discipline, integrity and honesty. Today government vehicles are being (mis) used for sending children to schools, wives’ kitty parties and even for buying milk. India is mainly dependent on foreign countries for its petroleum products, and the situation is precarious due to the ever-increasing burden on the oil pool.

Whenever there is an increase in the prices of crude in the world market, the government is quick to pass the buck on to the hapless consumers without fully realising its effect on consumer goods, inflation and its own budgetary increase.

It would do a lot of good to the country if the government tightens its own belt and cuts down the fleet of staff cars and security vehicles. In the USA except for essential vehicles held as a pool, no transport facility is provided to officials who are paid a fixed transport allowance according to their status and nature of duty.

brig hardit singh kapur (retd)



Gandhian PMs

MR Hari Jaisingh has stated that "Our leaders and policy makers have neither a vision nor a passionate commitment to give the country and people the deal they deserve...." I would like to replace have with had. Except for this change, which by no means is unimportant, what he has said is perfectly correct.

Starting with Nehru our first Gandhian Prime Minister, upto Mr I.K. Gujral the last Gandhian Prime Minister, the Government of India had been sincerely looking after the interests of other countries, with complete disregard for national interests.

During the early days Nehru and his favourite Defence Minister, Krishna Menon, took delight in annoying the USA, although Washington had not done any harm to India at that time. They were doing so to please Russia and China, both communist countries. This was one of the main reasons why the USA went so close to Pakistan.

Mr I.K. Gujral, as a caretaker Prime Minister sent planes loaded with medicines free of cost to Afghanistan, a country which was supplying Taliban recruits to India to slaughter our people.

Credit goes to the Vajpayee government, which gave only one chance for creating goodwill to Pakistan as a clever diplomatic move. He has since then firmly refused to have any dialogue with that country unless it stops cross-border terrorism.

anand prakash


A long way to go

Apropos of the editorial "A long way to go" (October 3), the conviction of Mr Narasimha Rao in the JMM case is likely to be interpreted as the final proof of the soundness of the system. The same system that was nearly subverted to protect the former Prime Minister and his erstwhile Cabinet colleagues.

It is a sordid tale, and but for some intrepid CBI officers and the backing of the courts, the case could well have been either buried or committed to courts in a way that would have made conviction of the star accused impossible.

Corruption in politics became an issue with the Bofors kickback allegations and gathered momentum with one scam following another. The JMM case was just one of them. For a time, the country was just happy enough to see the high and mighty walking into courts that earlier got only murderers, pickpockets and lowly government officials charged with corruption. But soon disappointment set in as none of these cases looked like ending in conviction.

The cases got entangled in adjournments, appeals and more appeals. The interest wained in these cases and in fact died as even newspapers (and television networks) ignored them. What's the point, people began asking themselves, when no body is going to jail?

The present judgement should be taken to mean that nobody is above, the law not even the highest of the land. And that a major blow has been dealt to corruption in high places. Though nine of the 11 accused in the case have been let off due to lack of evidence, the dignity of the most democratic institution in the country has been restored by this order, convicting a former Prime Minister and a former Cabinet Minister.

The most spectacular feature of the JMM case, however, is that the alleged bribe-takers have gotten way. This leads us to the conclusion that justice has been partially done. Can bribe-taking be protected by parliamentary privileges? Protection against civil and criminal proceedings is vital for ensuring freedom to raise issues in Parliament, and voting independently. But how can immunity be stretched to include bribe-taking? Bribe-takers can't be given exemption from prosecution. An MP who has bartered away his legislative freedom for a bribe can't invoke the same freedom to escape criminal action. In short, nobody under any circumstances has the right to be corrupt.

k.m. vashisht


Ludicrous suggestion

THE October 1 edition of The Tribune carried a photo of Mr Jaspal Singh Bhatti taking a horse ride to counter the rise in petrol prices along with a report, "Bhatti's another hilarious antics". The photo was again published on The Arts Tribune page on October 6.

"Many a serious thing is said in humour", goes the quote. But the suggestions made by Mr Bhatti were ludicrous and impracticable. He said that the horse was a good mode of transport and did not occupy much parking place.

According to him, by using horses, the wild growth of congress grass could be taken care of. He demanded that the government should give horse maintenance allowance to the employees.

Perhaps Mr Bhatti does not know that the space required for keeping a horse, constructing a manger for it, keeping its saddle, stirrups, bridle, caparison, etc, should not be less than that of a garage of a car. Forage and gram required for horse are quite costly. No animal eats congress grass, which is a poisonous weed.

Where will the employees having small accommodation or living on the first floor tether their horses on returning from offices? There will always be a danger of the children being kicked by the horses unless these are hobbled. The grant of horse maintenance allowance to the employees will put a burden of crores of rupees on the state exchequer. Can the government provide large stables near offices to keep thousands of horses there? Could the employees have greater mobility by keeping horses?

Besides dirtying roads with their dung, the horses will cause inconvenience to other road-users.

bhagwan singh

Paddy problem

IT is for the first time that the paddy crop is being sold with a heavy heart by producers much below the fixed prices. Mr Bhure Lal, Chairman of the FCI, stated that 80 per cent paddy was defective due to moisture and its colour and was below the standard grade. This is the opinion of an officer and not an expert of agriculture whereas the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University has refuted the charges of Mr Bhure Lal.

Blaming the paddy is an insult to farmers. All of us know that the Punjab Chief Minister is trying his best to help farmers. Finally, it is desirable that the government should arrange to export the surplus paddy and wheat in future.

harbhajan singh dhanju & mohinder singh thind
Sultanpur Lodhi


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