Friday, August 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Balanced growth is India’s need of the hour

IN his article “Fiftysix years after: the neglect of Other India continues” (Aug 15), Mr H.K. Dua has depicted the true picture of the country. Indiscipline, wrong priorities and managerial deficiencies are visible. Even after 56 years of Independence, the fresh breeze of freedom is not being felt by a vast majority of people. In spite of enough grains in the country’s stores, 63 per cent of India’s children go hungry everyday. Over 260 million people live below the poverty line, with no access to safe and clean drinking water, not enough to wear and no roof over their heads. Jobs are scarce and the chasm between the haves and have-nots is widening. These exploited segments of society feel alienated and are angry.

We are still being ruled by feudal lords and bullies (only the form is different). These rulers look prosperous with bountiful possessions. It has been well said that the present system favours the politician, the well placed bureaucrat, the businessman or the smart clerk. Graft has united all such greedy persons.

Only three segments of our society have made India proud — the kisans, who ushered in green/white revolutions with their untiring labour and with the help of our scientists; the jawans, who have defended the motherland by sacrificing their lives on the frontiers; and the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, which has shown the path in many sensitive cases.

India needs a balanced inter-sectoral and inter-regional development so as to narrow down the gulf between the rich and the poor.

Dr L.K. MANUJA, Nahan (HP)



Our political leaders on national days seem to consider it mandatory to make high promises to the gullible masses. They have often diverted public attention from the burning issues and problems to the great sacrifices of our freedom fighters, as we have not come out of our age-old colonial mindset. While failing to rise above their casteist and sectarian loyalties, our leaders assure to be “caring and compassionate towards the poor and the neglected.”

No doubt, we have made tremendous economic and industrial growth with a strong base of foreign exchange and a deterrent nuclear power. But if we go down to the poorer sections of society, all this visible progress appears to be an optical illusion. Our economic achievements and industrial output have failed to trickle down to the weaker sections. We are worried about pesticides in Coca Cola and Pepsi, when even after 56 years of independence half of our population lives without safe and clean drinking water.

Our so-called progress is leading the nation to a polarisation of the rich and powerful on the one hand and the poor, illiterate and deprived on the other. In all spheres of our progress, it is the politician, bureaucrat and the vested mafia that are reaping the yield. The administration has developed a criminal indifference and callousness towards the poor. The idealism of the first half of the 20th century has vanished and the whole system of governance has fallen into the hands of the power brokers and criminal elements. The system fails to provide any redress to the aggrieved masses.



India attained freedom from the British regime 56 years ago, but the mindset of our leaders, our administrators and our people has not undergone any change ever since. A slavish attitude is still reflected in our manners and thinking. This has resulted in corruption, inefficiency and maladministration. The production rate is rising at a very slow pace. The country is far behind achieving the level of a developed nation. If 260 million of our countrymen still live below the poverty line and do not get two square meals a day, our leaders should bow their heads in shame.

India had to fight four wars including the one in Kargil. These wars have not weakened India so much as the demon of corruption involving hundreds of crores of rupees. The primary task should be to fight corruption on a war footing. For speedy development, we ought to inculcate the concept of work culture among our citizens. In its recent verdict, the Supreme Court has rightly declared strikes, lock-outs and dharnas by the employees as illegal and unlawful.



Price of jumbo ministries

APROPOS of your editorial “Small is beautiful” (Aug 11), jumbo ministries are mainly the result of the multi-party system and coalition governments in which the members will have to be given ministerial berths as quid pro quo for their support to the government. In this regard, Union Home Minister L.K.Advani’s statement in support of small ministries at the Centre and in the states is welcome. There should be a check on the size of the ministries as it is a heavy burden on the exchequer. Clearly, poor states cannot bear the burden of jumbo ministries.

There is a need to formulate suitable eligibility criteria for becoming members of Parliament or State Assemblies and for appointment of ministers. Their educational qualifications and experience should be taken into account. Also, the two-child norm should be made applicable to them. This practice should start from members of top representative institutions like Parliament and State Assemblies and not from the panchayat level.

D.V. SONI, Nalagarh

Liberal democracy

The editorial “Amartya's prescription” (Aug 2) presents a true picture of the Indian democracy where the common man is nowhere involved in the decision-making process. For example, the government has been regularly reducing funds for education, research and healthcare.

Nobody will like expensive education and health services but the Indian democracy has very little room for the common man to participate freely to decide on such policies.

An attempt should be made to mobilise public opinion and make decisions in public interest. Then only we can expect true liberal democracy for real development.


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