Monday, September 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Inter-State Council and Indian federation

It was a happy augury that since the inception of Inter-State Council in 1990, it was for the first time that the Council’s meeting was held outside Delhi, that too in a state inflicted by the separatist tendencies and governed by a political party other than the one in power at the Centre.

There appeared to be only one item on the agenda, i.e., application of Article 356, though very important in the changed political scenario. But even here the discussion was incomplete in the sense that no objective safeguards could emerge to avoid the misuse of the Article 356.

To make the Inter-State Council meeting successful it should be obligatory to circulate the agenda well in advance. It would be even more appropriate if the agenda items are invited from the states before the scheduled meeting. To make the institution of Inter-State Council more effective, wider participation — rather total participation of all the states — must be ensured. Every state must be represented by its Chief Minister. If he cannot come due to unavoidable reasons, then that state may be represented by some senior minister.

Further, the operational part of the Inter-State Council is also not in the true spirit. As per the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission it should consist of the general body followed by a smaller standing committee. The general body should consist of Prime Minister (as chairman) and the Chief Ministers and Union Cabinet Ministers (as members). The standing committee should be composed of Prime Minister (as chairman) and six Chief Ministers, one from each zone selected annually, and six Union Cabinet Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister (as members).


Social thinkers, statesman and renowned personalities should also be associated with the council. After all, the council is expected to provide a useful forum for detailed discussion of the working of Union-State relations which can go a long way in enabling both the Centre and the states to appreciate each other’s difficulties thereby ensuring a broad agreement in bringing about any required Constitutional amendment.

Regular meetings of the Inter-State Council can also act as prelude to the successive Finance Commissions. It is true that Indian federal setup has covered a long way and has become mature, yet there is need for constant constructive reappraisal of Union-State and Inter-State problems. This is particularly true in view of the second push to economic reforms, where states are also expected to restructure their fiscal policies.


Why milk shortage?

This refers to the news item “Punjab faces milk drought” (Sept. 3) and the editorial (Sept. 4) on the subject. The reason for shortage of milk in the State put forward by the Secretary, Animal Husbandry, that most of the cows and buffaloes could not conceive in time is not convincing. It points to the increase in repeat breeding (hard to conceive) cases due to artificial insemination failures. There are dairy animals which take so many months post-calving to conceive. Normally this period should be 60 to 90 days. The alarming increase in the inter-calving interval and the dry period in cows can cause a shortage of milk.

The entire edifice of breeding rests on artificial insemination of cows with superior quality germ plasm (i.e. semen). In spite of the top class facilities available, the low conceiving rate has earned the dissatisfaction of those engaged in dairy farming. They get compelled to keep their own private cross-breed bulls.

The indiscriminate breeding through these bulls is going on with impunity without any check from the Animal Husbandry Department (AHD). This practice is against the breeding policy of the state. Moreover, it spreads genital infections which is the prime cause of repeat breeding and low conceiving rate.

The AHD should assess the prevailing conditions and heed the grudging and grumbling of dairy farmers.


Ozone layer and its safety

Every year “Ozone Day” is celebrated on September 16 all over the world. Though much is being done for the preservation of the ozone layer by the government but some efforts are also desired in this regard from our side.

Ozone depletion takes place from such chemicals which contain Chlorine, Fluorine and Carbon in maximum amount in addition to Bromine and Hydrogen. The compounds which have got Chlorine, Fluorine and Carbon are called Chlorofluorocarbons and are ozone depleting substances. The depleting gases are emitted from these substances to react with ozone molecules for the damage of the ozone layer. Their emission is from old refrigerators, air-conditioners, foam blowing components, deodorants, perfumes etc. The need of the hour, therefore, is that we should discard the use of ozone depleting substances to the maximum and buy/manufacture only ozone friendly products. A joint effort by all, at present, will give a boosting effect in times to come.

KANWAR R.S., Panchkula

Judiciary, the last hope

While a Chief Minister books a person under POTA, his/her successor withdraws the case. Is it to be left to the executive to decide whether a particular offence falls under the purview of POTA or not?

Shouldn’t the courts be doing this job? If an individual is wrongly booked, shouldn’t the courts undo the wrong at the very first hearing? Or if rightly booked, shouldn’t they disallow his release? Will the executive be able to misuse laws if the judiciary asserts itself effectively enough?

The general public has lost faith in the executive, whom they once considered their mai-baap. Judiciary is their last hope, especially the lower courts as the higher seats of justice are beyond the reach of most people. They will have none to look to, if judiciary also fails them.

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


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