Wednesday, August 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Issue white paper on Himachal’s finances

THE Congress and the BJP in Himachal are both misleading the public on financial affairs of the state through allegations and counter-allegations without being specific. The BJP had promised, during its last election campaign, to issue a White Paper on government indebtedness, loans taken by the government on inexplicably higher rates and financial irregularities. This promise has not been fulfilled by the BJP government for reasons best known to it.

The Himachal government should immediately issue a White Paper and pinpoint responsibility for the financial mess created in this state, failing which the entire blame will rest on the present BJP government.

To provide a true picture of the state finances, the present government should provide following information to the public:

(a) Total indebtedness and deficit handed over by the Virbhadra government to the BJP government led by Mr Shanta Kumar in 1990.

(b) Total indebtedness and deficit until December, 1992, when the Shanta Kumar government was dismissed on the Ayodhya issue.

(c) Total indebtedness and deficit handed over by the Virbhadra government to the Dhumal government in 1998.

(d) The present indebtedness/deficit of the government.

Only when the present government cares and dares to place the above data sincerely before the public would it be entitled to apportion blame for the present financial crisis created by "dealers in politics".



Women prisoners

I am shocked to hear that our government has refused to take two women prisoners who are Sri Lankan citizens married to Indians.

It took us Indians about 50 years to get equal rights in the UK and America for the spouses of those countries to have full rights, which they have now. For example in the UK Indian citizens married to British citizens enjoy their full right for social benefits and full voting right and I guarantee that the British government would never have shown such cruelty to the husband or wife of one of their citizens.

This is a warning to all of us NRIs who have been investing millions of rupees in India. How will our country treat us one day if we are in problem? Most of us are holders of mixed citizenships, some of the family members, husband or wife holding foreign citizenship.

I would like to request to our leaders, please wake up, we are in the 21st century and the world is getting so close. Do not part these families and get these two Lankan prisoners from Pakistan for their husbands.


‘Obnoxious fraud’

This is with reference to your editorial "Taking students for a ride" (July 31) regarding the current controversy between the AICTE on the one hand and Punjabi University and PTU on the other. While the working of PTU is not good, the AICTE action to disapprove Punjab College of Information Technology, Patiala, and DAV College of Computer Science, Bathinda, is unethical as these two are the best institutions in Punjab imparting quality education in computer science.

Thus while the "obnoxious fraud" has been actually committed by the AICTE, it is surprising that everybody, including your esteemed paper, has blamed on Punjabi University while the fraudulent working of the AICTE has been ignored. I am a parent of a student studying in PCIT, Patiala, and can say with confidence that this institution is imparting excellent education in IT.

The matter to investigate in fact is that while the AICTE has approved more than 20 institutions in Punjab rejected by the inspection team of Punjabi University for not having even basic infrastructure like doors & windows and even floors, these very institutes clandestinely obtained affiliation first with PTU and then the AICTE coolly approved them.

An institute located at Patiala run by a newspaper baron having insufficient floor area, unqualified staff and inadequate number of computers has been approved for MCA by the AICTE while Punjab College of Information Technology having five times floor area, a fully air-conditioned building, 160 computer systems, state-of-art labs & library and fully qualified staff led by a technocrat Principal of national fame has been rejected by the AICTE.

Similarly yet another institution of repute run at Bathinda by the DAV management has been declared unapproved. The same AICTE had the cheek to tell the management of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, built through donations worth millions of dollars by NRIs and run by world class management conglomerate of Stanford, Kellogg and others, that ISB could not operate in India without AICTE approval. All these facts show that the AICTE working is neither above board nor it watches the interest of students. Otherwise, how is it that AICTE kept mum for one year over the applications sent for its approval by the now "unapproved" colleges and came out only when the result of the MCA first year was out.

The MCA results have in fact disturbed those guilty of committing this "obnoxious fraud" through the AICTE. The first 25 positions out of 28 in MCA Ist year result have been cornered by PCIT, Patiala, and the next in performance is DAV College of Computer Science, Bathinda. This has disturbed friends of the AICTE who have used the AICTE officials for their mean ends.

The most painful is the reaction of PUTA. They find the AICTE game suitable for them to settle their score with the VC of Punjabi University and are making irresponsible statements of "refunding the fees of students". Can a "refund of fee" pay back the loss incurred by the students? The action of these so-called representatives of the teaching community is most shameful and is like "cooking one's meals on a burning corpse".

The fact is that under-hand money and political influence are required for obtaining approval of the AICTE. India is slowly acquiring the notoriety of a country "of the corrupt, by the corrupt and for the corrupt" and so AICTE officials also make hay while the sun shines. The AICTE working needs to be put under a scrutiny of the CBI for speedy redressal of corruption in the technical education area.


Entrance tests: There was a reported proposal from the HRD Ministry to introduce only one entrance test for admissions to all engineering and medical colleges in the country from the session 2002-2003 to spare the aspiring candidates, particularly from far away rural areas, from the agony of appearing in numerous entrance tests conducted by various universities and institutions at exhorbitant expenses towards fees and travel. Now that the HRD Ministry's CBSE has itself come under a cloud, it would be appropriate to entrust the job to the UPSC.

Guru Nanak Dev University conducted an entrance test on June 19 for admission to BSc (IT), B.Com etc in all its affiliated colleges, counselling for which was on July 8-9 with a mandatory deposit of Rs 5,000 on the spot. Now its affiliated colleges are inserting advertisements offering these courses to students securing 45 per cent marks in the plus-two examination even if they have not appeared in the GNDU entrance test, making the university entrance test a big "farce".


One-room centres: Universities are doling out franchisee to one-room computer centres in small towns and some private companies run prestigious courses like M.Sc IT in the guise of distance education. The institutions charge exhorbitant fee on the excuse that they pay franchisee fee to the university. The so-called "authorised centres" have neither the faculty nor infrastructure to run such courses.

Some universities have invited "graduates in any discipline" to join M.Sc IT". If an arts graduate cannot do M.Sc Physics or a commerce graduate cannot do M.Sc Zoology, how can BAs and B.Coms do M.Sc IT?

The intake for M.Sc IT should be (as Panjab University has done it) only computer graduates i.e B.Sc IT, BCA BIT etc. Arts and commerce graduates are free to diversify in computers via MCA.

These universities are actually exploiting unemployed arts and commerce graduates to jump on to the IT bandwagon.

VIJAY KUMAR, Jalandhar

“Game shows”

The game shows such as "Kaun Banega Crorepati", "Jeeto Chhapar Phar Ke" and "Khul Ja Sim-Sim" currently shown on TV channels have not only distorted the concept of entertainment but also harmed the studies of children. The government should ban such programmes.


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