Wednesday, January 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



East versus West

THIS refers to M.S.N. Menonís ĎTo follow or to lead: thatís the questioní (Jan 5).

The modern Euro-centric world dominated by the rich and powerful has not only led to an unhealthy materialistic approach but has also resulted in a cultural disintegration. The so-called scientific advance has made one-sided (rather lop-sided) development, as a result of which the whole world faces a crisis.

The East, particularly India, advocated the understanding of life through manís inner self, rather than interpreting the world from an external and materialistic angle, as the West did. Hence while India emphasised the development of manís inner, intellectual moral and spiritual self, the West involved itself in the active, combative and acquisitive self. The West has worked and fought for economic salvation alone, where individualism has reigned supreme. Western life has been marked with strife and competition on the principle of the survival of the fittest.

Such individualistic trends have only culminated in a joyless and self-destructive civilisation, which our world today seems to have grown into. 


But modern India, so proud of her cultural and spiritual roots, does not inspire much hope of a fruitful solution to the individualistic materialism of the present day life. The old contemplative and contented nature of the Indian mind has been overtaken by complacency and procrastination. Hence, if the Western civilisation is activist and directed only to an economic solution of human problems, the Indian character enjoys basking in the spiritual glories of the past and takes pride in asserting ĎPidram Sultan Boodí (My father was the king). Naturally in the absence of a definite sense of vision and direction, the Indian youth is left with no option but to copy the Western activistic model of materialistic life of luxuries.

Hence on both sides of cultural ideology ó East as well as West ó there is a lack of vision and misplaced priorities. The West is now perturbed at the disintegrating institution of marriage and is realising the need for an inner contentment through cordial and stable family relations based on mutual trust and a sense of dedication and respect. The East, and more so India, also needs to realise the significance of its old age cultural and spiritual attainments, which have sustained her existence and a unique identity even in the face of socio-cultural and political onslaught through the ages.

The intelligentsia, particularly the maturer section of the society, must realise their duty of not only maintaining the cultural norms but also encouraging and ensuring that the younger generation inculcate in them the cherished Indian values of truth, honesty, dedication, and service through a humane moral conduct.


Gram Sabha decisions

The Himachal Pradesh Government, in its anxiety to make the process transparent and to ensure that the needy are not deprived of benefits under various government programmes, has decided that IRDP and social security pension beneficiaries will be selected through "Gram Sabhas". Much will depend on the way the proposal is implemented.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the Panchayats and Gram Sabhas are generally faction-ridden. The selection process is more often than not, marred by factional considerations. Last year when selections for the purpose (IRDP families) were made by the Gram Sabhas, omissions were brought to the notice of the authorities concerned but they refused to do anything on the plea that the selections had been made by the Gram Sabhas and they could not interfere in the matter. The aggrieved persons got no relief.

The loophole in the scheme must, therefore, be plugged in the larger public interest. Let the selections be made by the Gram Sabhas but this should be done in the presence of a responsible officer of the department who will ensure that the prescribed criteria for selection are adhered to. In the case of any lapse, the officer should be held accountable.

Ambota (Una)

Compulsory audit

Under Section 44B, the limit for compulsory audit of accounts is Rs 40 lakh for business men and Rs 10 lakh for professionals. The limit was fixed by the Finance Act, 1984. It has not been revised even after 17 years. In view of he inflation since the introduction of the provision in 1984, this limit needs immediate revision. If we look at the exemption limit for taxability of income in 1984 which was then very low as compared to the present limit of Rs 50,000, this limit of Rs 40 lakh calls for a revision.

In view of the inflation in the general price index and in view the exemption limit for taxability of income, this limit of Rs 40 lakh should be raised to Rs 2 crore. This will also give some relief to the traders.


Telecomís revised rates

Every user of STD will welcome the concessional rates for short distance calls, but every subscriber will feel pinched for enhanced rental rates, particularly, all those whose bi-monthly bills are only to the tune of rental. Among such are retired people, widows, patients and low income group, who keep phone to get calls from their sons/daughters to know their welfare. Whereas STD users are those who use this at will and as per their pocket size.

Therefore, it is suggested that the telecom minister reweigh the proposal. In a democracy public must be informed and invited for views for change.


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