How to check joblessness in Punjab

THE editorial “Trauma of Punjab’s jobless” (Jan 7) is thought-provoking. The Punjabi youth, both urban and rural, have really gone berserk due to unemployment. The rural scenario is grim and the urban picture is equally disturbing. The aspiring urban youth of the middle strata of society study hard after paying exorbitant fee only to face a bleak future. Whatever jobs are available, a big chunk of them are captured by reservation, an insignia-cum-medallion and a short cut to success.

Reservation ignores merit and instead offers lucrative benefits, leaving behind meritorious youth belonging to the General Category depressed, frustrated and devoid of job opportunities. Reservation, politicians’ ploy to woo the vote bank on the basis of caste, will have insidious consequences. Thus, reservation in any form should be scrapped immediately and only merit must be honoured.




The rural youth aspire for easy, quick greener pastures, shirk away from their ancestral agriculture business and hand over their own jobs to migrant labour. The need of the hour is to spread mechanised farm and agriculture awareness with the help of NGOs among the rural youth and bring them to the mainstream of agriculture. The government should check the mushrooming of engineering, IT, management institutes and instead establish agriculture institutes in every district and launch short-term need-based courses with reasonable fee structure in farm and agriculture technology. This would boost agriculture and the faltering economy, instil interest and confidence, open up new directions and avenues to the Punjabi youth.

The most suitable way of helping the backward classes is to provide them free education with liberal scholarships so that they can compete independently in the job market without the crutches of reservation. Merit should not be sacrificed but respected and honoured.

ASHA NARANG, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

In quest of new civilisations

APROPOS of your editorial “Spirit of Mars: NASA comes alive, but is there life out there?” (Jan 6), it is interesting to know that in his effort to seek new life forms and civilisations, man has since long been sending across radio signals and exploring robots into outer space, hoping to receive a positive response. As a thought this is indeed fantastic. Scientifically intriguing, it is an intrepid endeavour. And needless to say, very gratifying if it is meant to be extended as a patently sincere gesture in peace and friendship.

Surprisingly, however, in the same breath, man breathes fire down his brother’s neck, here on this infinitesimal Earth, without even realising the irony and futility of his enterprising space exercise vis-a-vis this context. He picks fights on the slightest pretext, wages wars and tries to annihilate civilisations in the name of civilising the “uncivilised world”.

To what purpose then, and with what moral stature and right, does man dare seek new civilisations? Could it be with a probable lust to inherit yet another fistful of dust?


Poor petrol quality

The Centre increases the price of petrol every other day. But it hardly pays any attention to the quality of petrol which ultimately affects the vehicles and their owners. The people are forced to pay hefty price for substandard petrol. The government would do well to assess the quality of petrol before deciding to hike its price. The officers should conduct surprise checks on the petrol pumps so that the dealers do not indulge in malpractice to increase their profits.


Feel-good factor

Over the last 3-4 months, a succession of events has contributed to the feel-good factor in the country. First, there is economic resurgence. The growth rate has crossed 8 per cent and the bourses have already shot the 6000-mark. Secondly, our neighbours seem to have reconciled to India being the greatest stabilising factor in the region without grudging its big-brotherliness, thanks to the mature leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Thirdly, there is rethinking in beleaguered Pakistan to mend fences with India, possibly because of its failure to get entry into the Arab-Islamic world and terrorism hitting it hard on the rebound. And last but not the least, our sterling performance in cricket against the Australians has also added to the present exuberance in the air.


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