Friday, February 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Criminals in politics

THIS has reference to Mr Hari Jaisingh's article, “Say ‘no’ to criminals in politics” (The Tribune, Jan 19).The standard of public life has declined to the extent that corruption, indiscipline, selfishness, immorality are accepted as a normal way of life. The way our representatives behave in Parliament and other legislative chambers makes us hang our heads in shame. Use of abusive language, hurling of shoes, creating chaos, have become routine. The leaders, instead of leading the people by example, are setting bad precedents. There are problems that call for immediate solution, but the leaders keep delaying matters till the problems assume alarming proportions.

About implementation, the less said the better. There is no end to laws and schemes but at the implementation level, there is utter failure.

No doubt there are some leaders of integrity, but their number is negligible and that too is shrinking day by day. In this mad race for pelf and power, honesty has been the biggest casualty. Now we find many men with a criminal background in the corridors of power.

Time has come to reverse this trend. We have tolerated corruption for too long. Sincere efforts must now be made to eradicate it. There should be no soft corner for these criminals, who often have close links with politicians and the police. A public-spirited judiciary should assert itself and play an active role so that the confidence of the common man in rule of law is restored. Cases involving corruption should be decided in the shortest possible time.


We are badly in need of national leaders and not mere party leaders who believe in showmanship. They should abide by the Gandhian principles of truth, non-violence, austerity and simple living. A complete change in the mindset is required otherwise the youth of this country has not forgotten the slogan of Swami Vivekananda: "Oh youth of India, rise, awake and stop not till the desired end is achieved." Today this end is the welfare of the nation and the people.

The country must be ensured free and fair elections, a transparent, responsive and accountable bureaucracy, and a people-friendly action-oriented government which can deliver the goods.

K. L. Batra,

Wanted honest leaders: Mr Hari Jaisingh has put forward many suggestions that we desperately need to adopt to prevent criminalisation of politics, make the leaders accountable and prevent the loot of public money. In an earlier article he had rightly described today's leaders as “pygmies who are self-seekers”. The problem is to get well-meaning persons to come forward through the aggressive crowd to self-seeking politicians. The answer perhaps lies in making political career financially non-lucrative and non-influential.

Measures should be taken to block interference by ministers and other representatives in the administration. The role of members of Parliament and legislative assemblies should be limited to debates/discussions and voting in the House on national or state issues. Their other duties should be to seek redress and assistance for the development of their constituencies. Ministers should confine themselves to policy formation, monitoring, and coordination within their ministries besides making a contribution in the council of ministers. The departments of the ministries should enjoy autonomy and should be run strictly according to rules and regulations. Intra-departmental complaints should not be referred beyond the top man except where redress is sought from a court. Complaints and representations against the head of the department can, however, be made to the minister concerned. An autonomous Vigilance Department and the Auditor-General should be the watchdogs. Like the audit, a vigilance check and clearance should be mandatory. Baring the very top, ministers should be barred from interfering in the enrolling procedure, promotions and transfers.

The list is by no means exhaustive but it indicates the direction we need to take to make politics less lucrative and politicians less influential so that well-meaning, selfless and humble leaders emerge to oversee the well-being of the nation.

Sumandeep Kapoor,

Need for total revamp: Mr Hari Jaisingh has called upon the people to take the initiative and create the right environment against the malaise so that the future generations can breathe with greater ease and comfort.

Small changes will not suffice. A total revamping of the system is the need of the hour. We have committed many blunders in the past, knowingly or unknowingly. It will be yet another folly if we render ourselves vulnerable to these social evils and let them devour us. It is now or never as the writer has said in one of his write-ups.

Joga Singh,



Doctors’ strike

This refers to views expressed by Dr P.K. Dave, Director of AIIMS, New Delhi, regarding doctors going on strike to press their demands. He considers it incorrect.

Whenever doctors go on strike, the patients suffer. The OPDs are closed, operation theatres are shut down and indoor patients are left at the mercy of paramedics. Who else is more aware of the sufferings of the patients than the doctors themselves? The decision to go on strike is always a painful one.

In most cases the reasons for the strike have been the wages and working conditions of the doctors. The need for a national pay commission for the medical profession on the lines of the University Grants Commission has been felt for long. But it has not received even preliminary attention. Why a doctor in the AIIMS or the PGI should be placed inferior to IAS officers or doctors working in the provincial services receive a lower pay than their counterparts in the Central Government service? Let a national commission decide these issues and its recommendations implemented by the governments.

Dinesh Kumar
(In response to Internet edition)

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