Wednesday, October 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India





M A I L B A G

How to curtail government expenditure

THE Government of India had constituted a committee to suggest ways and means to curtail government expenditure. The committee has recommended certain measures whereby government expenditure will be curtailed 25 per cent within the next five years. The major suggestion is to downsize the administration.

I doubt if this measure will be helpful. There is already widespread unemployment in the country. It is mainly the lower rung of employees who have been recommended to be axed. I can suggest simple ways to cut government expenditure but these would require courage and sincerity on the part of the ruling elite.

First, at least 20 per cent of the IAS, IPS, Customs staff etc should be shown the door. For the next five years there should be no recruitment to these nation-suffocating services. By doing that a big amount will be saved and there will be least damage to the country.


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Second, all upper legislative chambers at the Centre and in states should be forthwith done away with. For this purpose, an Ordinance by the President should be got issued. The purpose for which the second chamber was created has been destroyed by the political parties only to further their political gains and serves absolutely no national interest. By this way, crores of rupees will be saved annually.

Third, whenever the Lok Sabha or a State legislature meets and its proceedings are hampered by agitated members and the House is adjourned for the full day, then no allowance should be paid to the recalcitrant members and a proportionate cut should be made in their salaries also.

Finally, all former Prime Ministers are doled out huge amounts every month by way of allowances and perks. In no other country, this is done. A poor country like India cannot afford this luxury. Persons who remained Prime Ministers even for a few days or months are enjoying these allowances. Even those who rendered the very fabric of the nation asunder are happily enjoying this privilege and crores of rupees are spent on their worn-out bodies for treatment. All these allowances should immediately be withdrawn and this practice should be abolished.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

Security guards

Ex-servicemen engaged in security duties with government agencies are shabbily treated. Security guards are bracketed with casual labour while fixing their pay. The market rate of casual labour is Rs 100 per day but ex-servicemen employed as security guards are paid as low as Rs 1,550 a month.

The security guards are forced to work on all days of the month without any provision for holidays. Their wages are calculated on the 26 days a month basis. Private security agencies do not provide for security of service, provident fund facilities, uniform and insurance which are essential for any security service. Ex-servicemen are exploited by unscrupulous contractors in connivance with the corrupt staff of the department.

They are blackmailed and forced to work as bonded labour as contractors ask them to deposit their original discharge certificates, the pension book etc as security for good conduct. In view of this, will the Government of Punjab look into the whole gamut of employment of ex-servicemen as security guards with departments like Punsup, Markfed and Punjab Agro?

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala


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Managing traffic

Perhaps we cannot avoid traffic jams at chowks and roundabouts without going in for flyovers. However, in the computer age the existing automatic traffic light system can be made more effective by synchronising the timings in such a way that anybody who moves on the G.T. Road bypass at a predetermined speed (of say 40 km ) gets a green signal at all crossings.

In Jalandhar the main stretch from the Punjab Roadways workshop chowk to Football Chowk has four sets of traffic lights. The waiting time can be reduced by 25 per cent. Will the authorities take the initiative to unimplement the proposal?

Similarly, Phagwara and Mandi Gobindgarh both have four chowks whereas Khanna has five all on G.T. Road. In all these towns the proposed system should be adopted, giving due preference to traffic on G.T. Road. Any consecutive two chowks located within say 100 metres should have a common control.

This way we cannot only minimise the stopping time but also save fuel. This system is in use in many cities of the world.

M. S. REHAL, Jalandhar

Public grievances

It was heartening to see special survey on the system of removal of public grievances in Punjab and Haryana (Sept 23). However, the picture given in the survey is not complete as we in Ludhiana have a responsive system of redressal.

Besides the District Grievances Committee we have a system of weekly "Sangat Darshan" at Ludhiana. It starts at 11.30 a.m every Thursday in Bachat Bhawan in the Mini Secretariat. The Deputy Commissioner and all departmental heads of the district take up on an average 70 to 80 complaints of which more than 50 per cent are redressed on the spot. For the remaining complaints one to two weeks' time is given during which effective steps for redressal are taken by the department concerned. Every complainant is given a paper slip mentioning the next date of the case and no case file is closed until the matter is disposed of.

S. K. SANDHU, DC, Ludhiana
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Teaching experience

When teachers working in schools affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board apply for government jobs, their experience certificates are not counter-signed by the District Education Officer concerned. Thus they are put to disadvantage at the time of interviews. The PSEB authorities are requested to remove this grievance.

JAGIR SINGH, Nadala (Kapurthala)

Adult literacy

We seek help and support from individuals, schools and colleges, NGOs and other groups for taking up activities like vocational training, literacy upgradation skills, health education, family counselling, personality development, theater and cultural programmes, creative art and craft programmes, games & sports in Punjab and Chandigarh. Phone Nos 779517 & 534154.

(Mrs) MANJIT PAINTAL, Director, Regional Resource Centre,

Panjab University, Chandigarh

Why discrimination?

The Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) appointed computer operators on a contract basis for Rs 4,000 per month in April 2001. On the other hand, the PHSC has appointed computer operators at the Institution of Nursing, Badal, for Rs 5,000 per month. Why this difference in salary?

They have been working in hospitals for the past six months as C.O.s, but there are no computers at all. How strange?

POONAM, Faridkot
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