Centre must accelerate reforms

The Indian economy has shown significant improvement. The upbeat message emerges from zooming Sensex, peak forex reserve, impressive corporate results, low inflation, highest every FII investment at Rs 25,177 crore, low interest rate, surge in service sector, higher GDP outlook at 8 per cent and 15 per cent of corpus of 3 trillion LIC corpus available for equity investment.

India has a huge reservoir of qualified English-speaking workers sought out by global companies for BPO services. India’s competitiveness scoreboard has been higher from 6 to 9 in economic performance, 4 to 8 in business efficiency and 1 to 3 in infrastructure.

India, which presently occupies third position among Asian countries, may perhaps take the lead position by 2004-05. China’s growth is reported to be declining on account of massive investments and the US is diverting its attention to other developing countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia.

India’s moment of opportunity has arrived and the government must seize it to create more wealth by formulating pragmatic policies and accelerating reforms. The government should spur investment to achieve the 8 per cent target of the 10th Plan.

Dr B.L. TEKRIWAL, Mumbai


Taking care of the blind

This has reference to the report of the blind people’s march on foot to meet the Prime Minister (Nov 11). As one who has been associated with the blind community for the last 25 years, I understand their problems better. The blind inmates in the institution have improved their living standard, qualifications and can well be adjusted mainly in the posts of teachers, music teachers, weaving on handlooms, telephone operators, canning and so on.

While it is the responsibility of the government to provide jobs to them, it is also the duty of society to look after those who cannot do any type of job. Unfortunately, there is no job reservation for the blind and they too have to compete in the general category. Thus, they are at the mercy of the recruitment authority. Most blind persons hail from very poor families and those who are well off do not come to the blind schools.

The demands of the blind are justified and the government should provide 1 per cent quota for the blind besides providing free travel facility, education and books. Sufficient funds should be provided to blind schools on a par with the aided schools. Volunteer organisations, students and others should help the blind by providing recorded audio cassettes of the syllabi of school, college and university books together with any other readable material.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepore City

Curbing free speech

Apropos of Mr H.K. Dua’s article “Jaya has lost the fight” (Nov 15), I am glad Mr Dua has pointed out the excesses of the late Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in curbing free speech and expression. By coming down hard on The Hindu, Ms Jayalalithaa has certainly exceeded her limits and defied the Constitution. The people of South Asia, this includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, prefer to go without a meal but have guarded with their lives and freedom the right to free speech and expression.

Though I defend what Mr Dua writes in the Editor’s Column, I must also let him know what we, as representatives of the people, think of free speech and expression. I believe that free speech and expression for the Press means freedom of the Editor and his small coterie to say whatever they feel. The Editor and his editorial staff resort to a lot of censorship and even exercise the right to delete and not print anything that they perceive is against their or national interest.

I want to dispel the feeling amongst senior journalists that we, Members of Parliament, enjoy a lot of privileges. That may be true of certain members who accept the current status quo in politics, economic, foreign and defence policies of the country. For instance, when I want to discuss these so-called sacrosanct policies or say something about the President, the judiciary or some matter that is sub judice, the Speaker always shows me the rule book.

Yes, like the late Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and now Ms Jayalalithaa, the Indian Parliament does not believe in what Mr Dua calls free speech and expression, guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, I for one would not mind the codification of our privileges as there are not any for a member of the minority. To codify the privileges of the other members would serve no purpose as they accept the present status quo.

simranjit singh mann, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), Camp: Amritsar


In his article “Jaya has lost the fight” (Nov 15), Mr H.K. Dua has elaborated the rules and spirit of the Constitution. In the light of the fuss created by Ms Jayalalithaa, Mr Dua has rightly questioned if she has read the Constitution. Clearly, she interrupts the Constitution to suit her own gameplan. Strange are the ways of some people. They claim the rights by subverting the rights of others. Mr Jayalalithaa has done the same by invoking the breach of privilege through her cabal in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. It was totally unwarranted.



Free Press is the backbone of democracy. Whosoever has tried to gag it, has to face catastrophic consequences. History bears testimony to it. I fully endorse Mr H.K. Dua’s remarks that the remedy for those who misbehave lies with the Supreme Court and the people whose support is vital for protecting the freedom of Press. Of course, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary are the important organs of democracy but an independent judiciary, like ours, is more important to safeguard freedom of the Press without which democracy cannot flourish.



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