Friday, March 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Economic growth and welfare of the poor

Mr Hari Jaisingh's article "Economic growth and welfare of the poor" (Feb. 22) has traced the root cause of poor development in the country to lack of broad vision and capability on the part of those at the helm of affairs. Both evils have steadily grown due to extraordinary tolerance on the part of the common man, who perhaps is not well-informed and lacks courage to express his feelings and frustrations on vital issues crippling the country. That is also the reason for continued scandals.

The system of manipulating victory in elections has been perfected by the political leadership and the poor masses get carried away by rhetoric, not knowing that they are being lured into choosing a totally unresponsive setup from time to time.

It has never been conceptualised in the system that the candidates, who are to act as the guardians of law and order or carry out development works, would be required to shell out one to half a crore rupees for their appointment. The quality of service they would render for development or other duties can well be imagined. Even the posting and transfers are understood to have been made on similar considerations.

Under such circumstances, the system of governance has hardly any relevance because the basic ingredients of merit, honesty and integrity stand nullified and vitiated. When basic parameters of a system get drastically changed, it is no more workable. It can't deliver anything.


The only way out seems to be that the people become fully aware of the malady and insist upon signing of an agreement by each minister and the Secretary in charge of the department concerned, declaring a six monthly target of the works to be got done by them and make them fully accountable to the public for any lapses or slippages.

In the present system, the ministers and the bureaucratic heads are not at all accountable for anything whatsoever although they enjoy full administrative and financial powers. Once such a system is introduced, everything else the selection process, postings, transfers, codes, regulations, accountability for every rupee spent will automatically fall in place. If people have the will, they can get it done.

JAGIT SINGH, Engineer-in-Chief, (retd), PSEB, SAS Nagar

Bankrupt economy: The Indian economy is in a dismal condition. The situation is so bad that a newly born child in India, instead of getting a gold necklace, inherits an iron chain of debt of Rs 5,000 from the Government of India. Due to the misrule of 54 years by unscrupulous politicians and an indifferent bureaucracy, the external debt on our country has reached a mindboggling figure of Rs 4,87,589 crore If the present trend of borrowing foreign loans continues, the nation may become economically slave to lending countries

The politician-bureaucrat-industrialist nexus has given a severe blow to the economic health of our banks. Presently NPAs are about Rs 62,000 crore. Further India Inc is sitting on Rs 10,000 crore of disputed income tax liabilities.

Wg Cdr GURMAIL SINGH (retd), Chandigarh

Exit polls: Apropos of the news item "Exit polls: scientific or sponsored ?" (Feb. 26), the recent election results have shown that opinion polls as well as exit polls are not scientific. There are strong reasons for the inaccuracy of these polls.

They are conducted by using a sample of the population. But the sample should be sufficient enough to represent the population and the population should be homogeneous. The recent elections were held without a major issue and the voters were not quite enthusiastic (poll percentage being lower). In such a situation, how can we expect the voter to form an opinion in favour of a particular party. But these opinion polls have certainly influenced the opinion of immature voters in favour of a particular party. There is always a chunk of voters who normally poll for the party expected to be in power. These voters, ignorant of the process of conducting opinion polls, want to be on the winning side and so cast their votes accordingly. This factor defeated the purpose of a free and fair poll.

The exit polls, which represent the opinion of voters after casting their vote, can also be not scientific. It was ridiculous to find exit poll results on the electronic channels immediately after the polling was over. If there channels were so fast in declaring the exit poll results, then they must have selected a very small number of samples. In this situation, the results of the exit polls can never be scientific, but sponsored. Moreover, the exit polls/opinions are too influenced by opinion poll predictions.

These highly exaggerated opinion polls have, no doubt, lowered the credibility of the electronic media.



Meaning of verdict

Apropos of the front-page editorial "Meaning of the verdict" (Feb. 25), there are many odds before the Congress. It has to restore the financial health of the state by empowering farmers, youth, small-scale industry owners and other weaker sections of society. Education and health services are in bad shape. The labour class is under acute economic strains to make both ends meet. Corruption has eroded people's confidence in the civil administration.

The Congress being a seasoned party is expected to tide over the hard situation through austerity measures and by controlling wastage. No doubt , the Akalis being out of power will do their best to create trouble for the ruling party by arousing religious or regional sentiments of the people.

The Congress must make the civil administration more responsive, transparent and accountable towards the public affairs.


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