Earlier in Forum

June 10, 2004
June 3, 2004
May 27, 2004



Manmohan SinghFORUM
Q: What should the government led by Dr Manmohan Singh do in running the affairs of the nation?

This is the fourth and final instalment of readers’ views that we have received in response to this question.

Give priority to health sector

The government should give top priority to the health sector, which has been neglected by all pervious regimes, resulting in a number of deaths due to preventable and curable diseases like TB, hepatitis, and cholera. Primary and preventive healthcare, access to safe drinking water and pollution-free environment should be recognised as rights and a collective national responsibility.

Only the really intelligent and dedicated should be made doctors and medical education should be made affordable for all.

Health should be declared an infrastructure sector and granted all benefits under this head. Drugs should be made available at reasonable rates and quackery should be abolished.

Involve private sector in various health programmes. Exclude doctors from the purview of the Consumer Protection Act.


Repeal repressive Police Act

The burgeoning population is the mother of all problems. The government should rope in panchayats and gram sabhas to promote the virtues of small families to target the rural population.

Enacted in the wake of the mutiny of 1857, the repressive Police Act of 1861 should be repealed with a new legislation that will have a human face.

Death and torture in police custody should be viewed sternly. No treatment should be given to politicians in jail. Cable-operators need to be disciplined and cable TV charges should be made uniform throughout India. Mini-secretariats of the Central Government need to be established in the North-East. These shall have representative offices of all Central Ministries and respective ministers should visit these from time to time to assuage the feeling of alienation in that region.

Give Punjab a huge power-generation-plant, but no free electricity should be given anywhere in India.

The syllabi in schools and universities should be uniform and tax deducted at source from non-taxable senior citizens should be stopped.

S. B. SINGH, Jalandhar

Lift the morale of colleagues

Dr Manmohan Singh's first priority should be to lift the morale and self-confidence of his colleagues. Only then will they be able to run the affairs of the state effectively. Lately, sycophancy in the Congress has been at its height.

Sycophancy dwarfs one's confidence and self-esteem. Sycophants tend to lavish non-existent virtues on their leader, who may only be a novice. This turns them into pygmies from stalwarts. I am afraid that this precisely is the condition of most Congress leaders.

Dr Manmohan Singh should encourage them to use their own initiative.

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

Redress grievances of the poor

The new government should redress grievances of the poor and the deprived. However, it will need a strong will for the implementation of anti-poverty programmes. As Rajiv Gandhi once remarked that only 15 per cent of the funds for these programmes reached the needy.

The government should pursue health and education policies more vigorously and bring more reforms in key sectors.

SONAL, Chandigarh

Create jobs in villages

The foremost task before the government is to revive agriculture and create jobs in the rural sector. Free power to the farmers must be ensured and funds for it be generated through planned taxation. Safe drinking water, health and primary education to the poorer sections should be ensured.


Begin by improving law and order

The Manmohan Singh government should start its innings by improving the law and order situation so that the people, especially women, could feel secure. It should get child bonded labourers freed and work diligently towards spreading education. There is an urgent need to improve the healthcare system.

The government must ensure that there is water and electricity in every home. The prices of essential commodities should be kept minimal, while those of luxury items should be enhanced. Unemployment should be met by encouraging self-employment, especially in the rural sector.

ATUL SHARMA, Chail, Solan.

Think of overall development

Dr Manmohan Singh has the capacity to sustain and stabilise the economy and bring back reforms for the benefit of the poor. His first priority should be overall development. Clean drinking water, affordable housing, reasonably priced food and elementary education must be in the reach of the common man.

By giving roti, kapda and makan to all those below poverty line, the crime rate will automatically come down. Besides, he must look into the problems of senior citizens and the middle class by controlling inflation.

BANT SINGH, Chandigarh

Revive Indian Education Service

Dr Manmohan Singh must give priority to education. The Indian Education Service (IES) should be revived to prepare educational administrators. The University Grants Commission should appoint vice-chancellors on merit. The directive of the apex court for reservation of 25 per cent seats for students of the weaker sections in all private schools in Delhi should be made a law extendable to all professional colleges and universities in India.

H. S. VIRK, SAS Nagar

Revert to old interest rates

The poor people depend much on the interest rates earned on their small savings. It is a sure and reasonable earning through bank deposits and small-saving schemes. The people have already lost much in shares during the Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh episodes and US-64. By slashing down saving rates, the government. is forcing people to invest in shares and even compelling them to adopt VRS. This VRS money also they will be forced to invest in shares and mutual funds, which are not dependable. If savings dwindle, each Indian will be poorer and in the grip of corporate bigwigs, who will ultimately be run by the Americans through the WTO. Let not the history repeat. Please revert to old rates.

H.L. SHARMA, Chandigarh

Disincentives to cut population

It is imperative to introduce incentives and disincentives as an essential part of population-control policy. Disincentives could be mild to start with. The government should follow such a policy boldly. Some of the disincentives could be no job reservation, no subsidised ration, no unemployment allowance, no elected position, no benefit under any welfare scheme.

Maj Gen S. S. JAWANDHA (retd), Ludhiana

Have uniform syllabi, stick to it

Education boards should be made to ensure that for each subject only one book is recommended in every school. That will reduce the unnecessary burden on students. There should be straight directions to scrap tuitions and introduce fair competition based on the common text of the syllabi.


We want trains on time

Most of the trains run late by several hours, which causes inconvenience to passengers. Let us ensure that each train runs on time.

RAJ PAUL SHARMA, Talwara, Hoshiarpur

Make peace, counter terror

Carry forward the peace process initiative taken by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Ensure transparent, accountable and corruption-free administration. The government should be pragmatic in devising strategies to counter terrorism, communalism, poverty, population growth and unemployment. Sustain the coalition for full five years but not at the cost of principles.


No more job reservation

Constitution makers granted reservation to the SC/ST for 15 years. Population was large, so the time limit was extended. The matter became a routine. No PM, however powerful, dared to change it. The OBCs got similar privileges. Reform is the modern way of reversing the order, inviting criticism, if not agitations.

B. S. Uppal, Lucknow

Restrict expenditure on tours

Check corruption and discourage politics of caste, religion and hatred. Mandal/ Kamandal should not be revived. Reservation and heavy school bags should go. Restrict the expenditure on official tours.

O. P. KAPUR, Kurukshetra

Reduce age of retirement

The Union of India should reduce the age of retirement from to 58. The number of seats for professional/technical courses should be limited and universities should stop minting money by means of unlimited admission.

The selections for appointment should be fair and secure; delay in this regard breeds corruption.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |