Thursday, August 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Scrapping NPA for doctors most unfair

THE Punjab government has slashed the non-practising allowance (NPA) of doctors without making a proper assessment of the extent of the adverse impact of the decision on the pay, pension and pensionary benefits of the doctors concerned, especially of those who are on the verge of retirement. Also it has not prepared itself appropriately to tackle any eventuality that may arise.

The guidelines on the basis of which the private practice in lieu of non-payment of NPA was to be allowed to the doctors should have been formulated in advance and notified along with the order abolishing the NPA. The government has proceeded with unmindful haste to penalise all doctors, treating the defaulters and the dedicated honest ones alike. The course of action adopted by the government has been harsh and hasty, making it the butt of criticism and ridicule.

Provision of liberal incentives and restoration of NPA, which the doctors claim as their genuine demand for performing odd duties, will amicably help resolve the impasse.




Cong’s tryst with ‘Gharibi hatao’

The late Indira Gandhi invented the Garibi hatao slogan. It brought rich electoral dividends to the Congress. Down the road, one of the dynasty leader’s family popped up in Italy’s rich people’s list from nowhere.

The rejuvenated Congress, under Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s leadership, has a new revolutionary Garibi hatao. Let us look at how this works. Roads have to be first built in summer with World Bank loan. Oh, no! What about drainages? They are built in rainy season with ADB loans. Next year, there will be further loans to repair the roads built on unparalleled engineering feasts!

There is a bonus too for the galaxy of ministers: within a year there are six work flag off and opening ceremonies. It seems that a high-level committee is seriously examining of doubling it to12 by having ceremonies at the starting and ending points of a road! Anyhow, unless there are round the year loans, how can the tempo of Garibi hatao be sustained? When lenders such as the World Bank and the ADB are committed to loans to developing countries, what for our huge foreign exchange reserves are meant?

These days, our visionary Congress leaders are smart too. They have stopped borrowing from chit fund companies at sky-high interest rates. Instead, they borrow at slightly lesser rates from the World Bank and the ADB. Imagine the savings accrued to the poor from the smartness of Congress leaders! With elections nearing, Garibi hatao programmes are being undertaken on a war footing in the Congress-ruled states. As a side show, watch out for the revered leader’s Italian family richness jumping up in the world!

ASHOK KUMAR PRASAD, Mangalore (Karnataka)

Why ban tuitions?

Health and education are two departments which the government has handled ineptly, confusing the two service sectors with profit-making ventures. Doctors who have resigned from their jobs after the abolition of NPA can be equated with teachers who, upon being checked from private tuitions, resigned and opened their own private coaching centres. The only difference is that the government allows private practice to doctors and denies the same to the teachers.

If teachers doing private tuition are committing an immoral act and were served with the Vigilance Bureau raids, by which logic can doctors be allowed private practice? If even after government duty, doctors are needed by society, the same is the case with teachers. Teachers have a lot of time at their disposal which they now spend in gossip and politicking, or in other business activities like property dealing etc. It is better if they are allowed private practice after paying “dasvandh” to the government. The government must do some soul-searching. Who has benefited from the raids? The students? A poor No. The beneficiaries are private coaching centers which offer substandard recipes of success to the students. Has it improved the class room culture in any way? Hardly. Has private coaching come to an end? Not at all. It has been going on with a vengeance. Popular teachers have resigned making the institutions poorer of quality educators. What has suffered the most? The cause of education.

Teachers don't demand NPA, but it will be in the interest of the government and the students at large if private coaching is legalised.

J.S. ANAND, Bathinda

Welcome move

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has taken a right step in banning foreign jaunts by various ministers, officials and non-officials keeping in view the various ongoing developmental programmes in the state. This will not only help reduce government expenditure but also ensure proper implementation of development projects. All states should emulate the Andhra Pradesh model.

AKSHIT TILAK RAJ GUPTA, Radaur (Yamunanagar)


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