Monday, December 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Right to education — a pitiable situation

THE enforcement and implementation of the 93rd Amendment Bill for including the right to education in Article 14 of the Constitution (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) are in the hands of those who do not understand the meaning of rights and education and also are not sensitive to their duties. I am sure that the majority of the population is not aware that our Constitution contains Directive Principles which instructs the States and Union Territories to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 14. If this is the case then who is going to enforce the right to education for all under 14 at the grassroots level?

To the question (the Right to Education, dated December 18, 2002) if this right will be enforced in reality, my opinion is NO! Until and unless a rights-based approach is not adopted at all levels and awareness is not created among every citizen of the country, the President’s assent on this is not going to make any difference.

If making primary education available to every child is not considered, that means we are really not clear on our priorities and policies. My opinion on this is that policies are good enough to be implemented, but it is the attitude to serve the community that is lacking in us. A lot of hard work and dedication is required to motivate the teachers to provide quality education. To motivate the students to go to schools, one requires to make constant efforts to build interest in them by organising various activities in schools and interactive learning sessions side by side the training programs for adults on income generation. To involve local bodies and panchayats in this process, one has to be a patient listener and a very good speaker and trainer. It is time to get in social development agencies like CBOs (community-based organisations), VOs (voluntary organisations), NGOs (non-government organisations) to take up the challenging task of social development through behaviour change communication.



Well-meaning advice

I read with interest “Now, some governance please” (December 24), tendering a very sane and sensible advice to Mr Narendra Modi — the hero of the recent much-hyped electoral victory in Gujarat — who took over as Chief Minister the other day. Well, I relished the editorial for its delightfully reasonable tone and tenor. However, to my mind, it seems a moot point whether the well-meaning advice would be heeded by the victorious saffron leader. It is generally acknowledged that Mr Modi won hands down the electoral battle in question by deftly playing the Hindutva card. Emboldened by its victory in the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party declared at the New Delhi the other day that it would contest the coming Assembly elections on the Hindutva plank. Apparently, the BJP seems to have adopted the “Modi mantra” as the panacea for the party’s problems elsewhere in the country.

Candidly speaking, if electoral battles can be fought and decisively won just by playing the “communal card” or exploiting some emotive issue, why should any party/leader in the mindless pursuit for political power, bother to go in for the hard way — fighting out the numerous chronic ills plaguing the polity — to achieve his objective. Let the nation at large pause and ponder!

By the way, could not the swearing in ceremony of Mr Modi be a simple affair? Isn’t it disgustingly sickening that even the country’s Prime Minister as also the Home Minister gleefully joined at considerable state expense the wasteful extravaganza?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)


Catch-22 situation

Apropos of editorial “Now, some governance please!” (Dec. 24), your sober advice and earnest pleading for governance in Gujarat may be understandable in the background of the communal carnage in the wake of the Godhra incident. It is also perhaps essential that a state government should apply solace to the tortured and agonised victims of communal hatred and violence, which has resulted in an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and mutual hostility.

But the question is where in India and in which state of the country governance is seriously devoted to the welfare of the masses? Where is that “heavenly place” (because now Kashmir has ceased to be the “heaven on earth”) where politicians do not indulge in crime and corruption or incite communal hatred or encourage mafia only to ensure for themselves political power and stability?

Mr Narender Modi may be advised to work for social and economic progress of Gujarat, but who will remind NDA leader and our worthy Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to wake up to the serious impact of grinding poverty and lack of development in the country? Who will tell the Chief Ministers and their Cabinet colleagues in almost all the states of the country that a firm control over the economy does not lie in discontinuing the infrastructure projects, but it should be in reducing their wasteful luxuries and unnecessary foreign trips and pampering the bureaucracy at the state cost?

The whole nation seems to be trapped in a Catch-22 situation, where the political class will not come out of its dirty vote-bank tactics, while the bureaucracy remains insensitive to the masses’ aspirations.


Was there a UTI scam?

We are now finding fault with the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) for not having been able to find anything in the UTI scam. But what can one find if there is nothing to find? A cool thought will reveal that there was no scam. No fraud had been committed. Nobody had been defrauded of his money.

What had happened was a pure and simple phenomenon of the share market. US-64 being an equity-based scheme is also prone to wild price fluctuations like any other share. The investors were and should have been aware of this.

The investors in the scheme did suffer a loss but not before reaping high dividends for years. The fluctuations in the prices may even have been man-made. But this often happens in the share markets, the world over. This doesn’t call for any enquiry.

Wg Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

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