Monday, January 29, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



DHR model of governance

THIS refers to D.R. Chaudhry's 'DHR model of governance' (Jan. 2). Over the last 50 years the attitude of the ruling elite towards the people has turned from sympathetic and cordial to indifferent and arrogant. Instead of genuine democracy, we have the authoritarian rule of a family which treats the state and its resources as its fiefdom.

Most of the Indian states, and not only Haryana as the writer believes, are run in the manner of a medieval court, dominated by a band of intriguers and sycophants. All power is concentrated at the top, the Chief Minister, his family and his close and trusted lieutenants. The elected legislators are no better than humble petitioners pleading for small favours.

The reason for this political malaise does not lie in one person or a state. It is the failure of a healthy party system. Today in most political parties, regional as well as national, there is no place for inner party democracy. Take for example the Congress. Its PCCs are packed with chosen yesmen and now the climax has been reached when all the PCCs have been asked to authorise the president to nominate all 24 members of the CWC.


Such governance encourages only adhocism and does not work in the larger and long-term interest of the people.

Ved Gulani,

Medieval court: I agree with Dr D.R. Chaudhary's views that Haryana is being governed by a few members of a family and the state is being treated as a fiefdom. When the Bansi Lal Government was toppled, power reforms were in the last phase, development works were progressing smoothly, prohibition had been withdrawn and criminal activities associated with liquor smuggling were waning.

At that time the BJP, at the instance of the INLD, withdrew its support and Mr O.P. Chautala was sworn in as the new Chief Minister. In anticipation of elections, the people of the state were promised free power and asked not to pay the electricity bills. The BJP and the INLD fought the elections as allies but the INLD leaders made all efforts to ensure that the BJP contestants were defeated. The BJP could manage only five seats and thought it fit to stay out of the INLD Government. This was the first move of Mr Chautala to perpetuate his dynastic rule in the state. The promise of free power had a set-back under the pressure of the World Bank. Now the person who once advocated free power and withholding of power dues is after the people to recover the same dues.

Then there was the obsession of the government with information technology on the lines of Andhra Pradesh. The idea is not bad but what about the deplorable state of the educational system of the state. The condition of schools and hospitals in the state are issues that require more attention than introducing computers. There is a blanket ban on posts in the universities and colleges of the state and the students are suffering.

The Sarkar Ap Ke Dawar programme, as the writer puts it, is like a medieval court with a retinue of courtiers and a crowd of supplicants. The Gram Vikas Samitis which are nominated bodies will do nothing more than creating inter-group rivalries at the grassroot level. It is a move to please party workers by nominating them to these bodies and making the elected panchayats redundant. How ridiculous it would be if some government at the Centre suggests a Rashtra Vikas Samiti at the national level, parallel to the Parliament of India!


Merit ignored: The contradictory feature of DHR model of governance that D.R. Chaudhary has described aptly presents the situation in Haryana today. Merit is ignored and sycophancy is rewarded. Nobody realises the need for initiating a positive discourse to counter the critical situation. The academic institutions which should create awareness are caught in the quagmire of what D.R. Chaudhary rightly terms as the DHR model of governance, the feudal anchorage of which has made the situation all the more vicious and ruthless.


Clinton's deal

On the last day of his office, President Clinton admitted that he had given false testimony in the Monica Lewinsky affair. As per a deal worked out between him and independent counsel Robert Ray he will be spared prosecution after he leaves Presidency in return for his confession, payment of a fine and suspension of his law licence.

This deal does not speak well of the judicial system of the USA. Are the American people not an affected party to the offence committed by Mr Clinton who had tarnished the image of the august office of the President.

Condoning acts of moral turpitude committed by those who are obliged to set the highest standards of conduct in public life would be tantamount to encouraging similar lapses on the part of others. Should not an ex-President stand a fair trial like other citizens of his country for offences committed by him, in accordance with the law of the land?


Relations with China

The visit of Li Peng, China's number two man, to India is timely and will certainly help improve the roller-coaster type of relationship we have had with our bigger neighbour since the time of our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

As you have rightly suggested, in your editorial on January 15, let the two countries meet on common ground instead of continuing to lick the wounds of the past. Tackling international terrorism, and the problems faced by developing countries due to some of the restrictive clauses imposed by WTO in international trade are indeed matters of common and immediate concern. It is hoped that drug trafficking, which goes hand-in-hand with terrorism, will also be tackled by the synergistic joint efforts. Given mutual trust and goodwill, the lingering border dispute could also be settled amicably.

"Dumping of cheap Chinese goods" is raising the hackles of Indian industry. It is hoped that once China actually enters the WTO this problem will get minimised if not fully resolved.

Dumping implies selling below costs. Communist China never had a sophisticated cost accounting system, like the one we are having in India, which tells them what the actual costs are including reasonable overheads in production, quality assurance, marketing, administration etc. All that may change soon as China is now a global player.

Durham, NC, USATop

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