Quotas: Merit must prevail at any cost

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has recently exhorted the private sector to provide reservation to the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, emulating the public sector and other government departments. The Congress has supported the same. As elections are fast approaching, political parties would like to woo them for votes.

This is nothing but politics of appeasement. Already our system is under strain. Administrative efficiency is at its lowest ebb. Its quality has deteriorated due to the ever-increasing reservation system. If quotas are given by private sector also, it would be like the last straw on the camel’s back.

Why play with the system in the name of uplifting those who had been victims of social discrimination? What about social justice when talented and meritorious youth are denied their due? Let us not allow mediocrity to rule over meritocracy. The Centre and the states, instead of generating more gainful jobs for the unemployed youth, are wasting time on such gimmicks which can play havoc with our system. Let us not misuse the constitutional provisions which never allowed merit to be abused or downgraded.

PROF K.L. BATRA, Yamuna Nagar

Pension for MPs

It’s party time for MPs with the new amendment in the Salary, Allowance and Pension of Members of Parliament Bill. Ironically, on the one hand, the government makes a proclamation stating disinvestment of PSUs and re-investing the same in other sectors viz health, education, public awareness etc and, on the other, the bill regarding extra and irrelevant facilities is passed unanimously.


On a different plane, the condition of the common man is going from bad to worse. Freeze in fresh recruitments in the government, availability of pension subject to self-contribution are some of the surprise shocks given to the people. On an average, a lower division clerk is not able to earn in a year what some ministers spend in a month. This may be one of the reasons why any person thinks twice before paying the tax due on him or her, since he is the only one who has earned the money with extraordinary efforts. If India should develop, we will have to stop wastage of funds like this.


Tainted victory

The capture of former Iraqi President by the American-led coalition troops has been reported in screaming banner headlines in the newspapers. But what is so earth-shaking about it? It has taken the occupation forces of the most powerful, the most militarised and the mightest of the mighty nation in the world all of eight months and more to locate Mr Saddam Hussein. At best it is a tainted, transient “victory” of the brute force and brigandry operating through the US.

With Uncle Sam acting as both the prosecutor and the judge — apart from being a celebrated accused — there is little likelihood of any peace, confidence and justice returning to hapless Iraq in the forseeable future.


Key to employment

Mr H. K. Dua’s article “Despair of the jobless” (Dec 19) poignantly points towards the dangers of socio-political instability that the country might have to face if the present political complacency in regard to providing jobs to the jobless continues. And the supersonic speed with which the problems of unemployment and population explosion are mounting, the doomsday does not seem to be too far. To achieve success in this regard, the ailing education system should be streamlined. Mere constitutional amendments that “promise” free basic education for all are no solution.

Is it not paradoxical that while the local youth fail to find work here and remain jobless, people from distant land find this place a “greener” pasture in the job market. It is because we do not teach our youth to respect work, a missing work culture has aggravated the problem here.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

Congress is a divided house

IT is quite sad to see a party which ruled the country for almost half a century after Independence fast losing its sheen. If the recent assembly election results are any indication, the BJP has emerged a clear winner and has found much wider acceptability. The Congress appears more a divided house in many states, mostly on the leadership issue.

In Punjab, the Congress will have to put its act together fast and give to the people good governance. The crusade against corruption has lost steam and seems to have rather become an instrument to settle political scores. The litmus test for reduction in corruption level would be when a pensioner in Punjab can get his/her dues on the day of retirement.

When half of the ruling party members seek change of leadership, then it is futile to lead such a team. Perhaps a Manmohan Singh or Buta Singh may be able to unite the awfully divided party in Punjab.



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