Thursday, March 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Entrance tests

A report in The Tribune has demanded one entrance test for all professional courses such as engineering, computers, information technology, dentistry, medicine and architecture in various institutions throughout the country. The concept of entrance tests arose from people’s lack of faith in the results declared by the universities. If we take the performance of the students in those examinations as correct, then there is no need for holding these entrance tests.

We have established school education boards and universities and the results declared by these institutions should be taken as true assessment of the students and should be made the basis of admission to the courses. Lists can be prepared on All-India basis, but these entrance tests should be avoided because the assessment of the school education boards and the universities should not be set aside. If we do not have faith in the assessment given by the boards and the universities, then these examinations should be abolished and the students promoted to the next class on internal assessment. Test at every level is a time-consuming and a futile exercise.



Milk in Himachal

Shops in every town of Himachal Pradesh are selling Verka milk and every cup of tea that a consumer sips at a ‘dhaba’ on a highway or in a town is prepared from Verka milk. Although no official figures are available, yet Shimla is believed to be getting more than 15,000 litres of milk from Punjab everyday. The outflow of cash from Shimla as the cost of milk would be more than Rs 2 lakh per day, or Rs 8 crore per year. Add milk products, eggs and meat, and the outflow could be as much as Rs 12 crore or more. The figure for the entire state will not be less than Rs 50 crore.

These figures negate the claims made by H.P. Milkfed and the state government that the availability of liquid milk in Himachal Pradesh is 344 gm per head.

With a climate that suits exotic breeds and vast slopes available for pasture development, Himachal Pradesh should have done much better in the field of milk production and milk marketing. As a first step, however, the government should find out the exact quantity of milk that at present is being purchased from Punjab and Haryana.

L.R. SHARMA, Solan

N.C. Parashar

The sudden demise of Mr N.C. Parashar, a prominent Congress leader of Himachal Pradesh, has shocked his friends and admirers. Only the other day he enthusiastically participated in a kisan rally at Una. He seems to have been “summoned” rather abruptly and prematurely.

I knew Mr Parashar from his student days. He was an entirely self-made man who undertook the arduous journey from a mud house in a sleepy village of Hamirpur district to the mansions at Shimla and Delhi through sheer hard work and grit.

Politics was in Mr Prashar’s blood. Acting on the dictum, nothing succeeds like success, he pursued his goals with an eye on success. He rarely missed the political bus.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

The peace process

The latest extension of ceasefire in Kashmir is different from the previous ones. It is for a longer period and carries the approval of all political parties. Tribune’s editorial of February 23, rightly holds that this is a bold step and the need now is for bolder action.

As is believed in Army circles, the militants use the ceasefire to regroup their forces. This is happening not only in the valley and the Doda region, but also in the Jammu region. Across the border, Pakistan would be doing the same.

Only the very naive can believe that these extensions of the ceasefire will lead to a permanent ceasefire or a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem. Let us hope that this is the last extension. India will have to tackle men like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Pakistan-based Sallahudin with a firm hand. Ceasefire must not appear India’s weakness.

Simultaneously, the hawks in the Sangh Parivar must forget Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK). What is gone is gone. The Line of Control (LoC) should be accepted as the international border.

S.S. JAIN, Chandigarh


PMT exams

We never change what needs to be changed, and change what does not require a change. This is the case with the PMT entrance test today. PMT was started as marks in the board results were capable of being manipulated at every level. Any student who could “manage” the examiners could have his marks increased. To avoid this, PMT came into being. Now vested interests want board examination marks to be counted, which will revive the corrupt practices. Students who can manipulate the board marks will do well, while the others will be left working hard, studying and sacrificing two best years of their lives for nothing.

How do they justify the difference in the standard of marking by different boards? How will marking be standardised? Some board examinations are easier than the others. The argument that academics will become better in schools is an eye-wash. All that will happen is that the students will now have to get tuition from school teachers also to be in their good books.


Donations for Gujarat

The number of donors to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (Gujarat Disaster) and the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund may run into millions and it may not be possible for the departments concerned to issue official receipts in time for the donors to claim rebate in their income tax returns. The donors should be allowed to attach a certificate from their banks regarding the cheques or demand drafts sent to the relief funds and that should be considered a valid document by the Income Tax office.

S. L. ARORA, Jalandhar

Bureaucratic mindset

This has reference to Mr Shyam Ratna Gupta’s write-up ‘Menace called bureaucracy’ (The Tribune Feb 18). I agree with him that a superiority complex among the bureaucrats, lack of spirit of service, red tapism and unnecessary delays are the real bane of our administration.

We are a welfare state and a large number of welfare schemes have been framed. But they fail at the implementation stage. Here comes the role of the bureaucracy and we find that the basic problems of the people are becoming more complicated.

Our leaders have been crying themselves hoarse about establishing an egalitarian society. But so far it has remained a dream. Because of the changing fortunes of political parties, ministers come and go but the bureaucracy remains in office for a long period. Moreover, the ministers are amateurs but the bureaucrats are experts in their fields. So they must give proper guidance and correct information to their political masters. Here, too, our expectations have been belied.

Time has come for the bureaucracy to change its mindset and style of functioning. Civil servants have got a bad name for rampant corruption and bribery. No doubt there are some administrators who have calibre, integrity and administrative skill but their number is shrinking. The seats of power are becoming seats of corruption. The nexus between corrupt politicians and the unscrupulous bureaucrats must be broken. Only then we can expect a transparent, responsive, accountable and people-friendly Government.

K. L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


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