Impact of corruption on governance

Apropos of Mr Inder Malhotra’s article “India’s degenerated polity” (Dec 11), barring an honourable minuscule exception, our politicians today are out to win elections and grab power through any means—fair or foul. Regrettably, a vast majority of our voters is still illiterate, poor and backward. They constitute huge and gullible vote-bank.

In any case, votes are cast by them more on considerations of caste, region, religion, gender etc than on the individual merit of the candidate or his party. Our laws, too, are lax. As a result, sometimes a number of criminals and history-sheeters, who should have been behind bars, get elected to our legislatures. This makes a mockery of the whole system.

This cruel joke is repeated with every new election. Once in power, the politicians are, as Mr Malhotra says, in a hurry to make “maximum money in minimum time”. This gives rise to corruption and has an adverse impact on governance. In our system, there is no retribution for an erring politicians.

Contrast this with what happened to former Governor Gray Davis of California. He was recalled (and later lost his job) for his “reckless spending” and “inept handling of the economy”. Is such a stringent measure possible in our country?



Misleading ads

In his letter Mr Aditya Prakash (Dec. 9) has voiced concern on misleading advertisements. He has even suggested the government’s intervention to stop such gullible variety of ads. We do have a strong, well-entrenched and administered voluntary organisation called The Advertising Standards Council of India in Mumbai. (Address: 205, Bombay Market, Tardeo Road, Post Box 7939, Mumbai - 400 034. e-mail Website:

Though it is not a statutory body, it does have strong teeth. Anybody can take up the complaint against any ad supported by the clipping or photocopy thereof in case of print ads and full details of its telecast channel, time, date etc, in case of TV commercials. This is a free service.

All consumer complaints are dealt with, according to a procedure, and there have been numerous cases where the offending ads have been withdrawn or appropriately modified.



Jumbo ministries

This has reference to the editorial “Plugging defection” (Dec. 13). A pat for the Vajpayee Government for approving the Bill to amend the Constitution (97th amendment) which limits the size of ministries to 15 per cent of the size of the Lok Sabha or State Assembly. The passage of the Bill will put an end to the era of jumbo-sized ministries.

Since the Constitution is silent over the size of the ministries, chief ministers have been expanding their ministries not to speed up development work but to garner the support of the legislators. This has been the misfortune of the country during the past 55 years.


Pension sans DA

The Haryana Government is paying pension without DA to non-government college teachers. The very concept of pension without DA is against all tenets of natural justice. A teacher who has rendered more than 30 years of service to higher education gets a monthly pension of about Rs 8,000 today. He would get the same amount 20 or 30 years hence, provided, of course, he survives the government’s apathy up to that time. The value of rupee keeps declining fast and after a decade or two it is very likely to be less than half of what it is today. Representations from various educational bodies have fallen on deaf ears.

VINOD MAZAAR, Yamunanagar

What ails Congress

Mr S. Nihal Singh’s article “BJP turns the tables on Congress” (Dec. 9) dwelling in length on the electoral verdict in the recent assembly elections in four states is noteworthy for its forthright tone and tenor. The article merits serious attention, especially by the Congress leadership.

Over the years, the historic party seems to have been captured by “wheeler-dealers” pushing dedicated leaders and devoted party workers to the background. In the process, the party has lost its distinctive character which instinctively inspired public confidence. No wonder, the party is getting increasingly sick and suffers from general debility.

The situation calls for drastic changes not only in the organisational setup of the Congress but also its policies and programmes. Mere “window-dressing” would not help improve matters, as the article opines.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Basmati export zone

Why is the Haryana government not emulating Punjab in declaring a Basmati export zone? Basmati is the key crop of the several districts in Haryana. It would have attracted huge investments from home and abroad. This in turn would have been a boon for farmers and for the state revenue.

However, while providing the facility priority should be given to farmers by giving them tax rebates so that they may be saved from the clutches of professional exporters. The farmers deserve handsome remuneration for their hard work.


Selection of lecturers

The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) is holding screening-cum-merit test for recruitment of college lecturers in the first week of January, 2004. It should not overlook the fact that the lecturers are required to teach through the medium of Punjabi and Hindi. Therefore, the lecturers to be selected should be competent enough to teach in Punjabi or Hindi or in both languages.

The selected candidates must be fully conversant with authentic Punjabi and Hindi terminologies relating to their subjects. The screening-cum-merit test must also test the knowledge in Punjabi and Hindi of the candidates.


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