Running govt: Let PM learn from Vajpayee

Apropos of Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s article “Challenges before the PM” (July 21), the calm and composed nature and overall psyche of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is an open secret. However, his nature and style of working are proving a bane for him now that he has become the Prime Minister. He seems to be lost somewhere in the crowd.

Dr Singh is the leader of the House as well as of the nation whereas he should not act like a backbencher. His Cabinet colleagues and partymen seem to be taking undue advantage of his humble and submissive behaviour. Everyone is busy propelling his own political ambitions. The Prime Minister should tell Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav to work for the interest of the common man, as yet another inquiry into the Godhra incident will not help the common man or his department in any way.

Coalition governments are not new to us. The NDA ruled the country for six years. Running a successful coalition is not an easy job, as Dr Singh may have found out by now. But Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee did a great job as Prime Minister. Mr Vajpayee too had dominating, selfish and outspoken allies. He took their blows quite often but outwitted them by being firm. Further, he was able to carve out a niche for himself. In a way, he was the right man but with wrong allies and friends.



The same holds good for Dr Manmohan Singh. He should learn from Mr Vajpayee.

If he can’t overcome such challenges, people will lose faith in him. He is the epicenter of our system now and hence, he should live up to the expectations.



Apropos of Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s article (July 21) listing out the challenges before the Prime Minister, he has rightly observed that Dr Manmohan Singh “ought to rise to the occasion. It will be a great tragedy if he does not.”

Owing to coalition politics as also on account of the towering personality of UPA Chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, it is doubtful whether Dr Singh would be able to rise to the occasion. I think, Mr Rajinder Puri has very aptly summed up the situation in his cartoon strip in The Sunday Tribune (July 25).

V.M. SETH, Hisar

Decline of engg education

WITH the mushrooming of engineering colleges in Punjab, the value of various engineering trades has steadily deteriorated. Paradoxically, the total number of seats in the state’s engineering colleges is much more than the aspirants. This has resulted in increasing number of vacant seats in the most sought after trade once. As a result, engineering colleges are forced to fill in the seats with those who have not even taken CET-2004!

A student who pays hefty fee while preparing for CET and meeting other expenses of the examination has the only advantage of getting admission in his choice station. On the other hand, just to fill up the vacant seats, admissions are also granted to those who have not even taken the CET. In other words, any student with non-medical stream till Class XII becomes eligible for such trades. Compartment cases are, of course, given conditional admission.

The state provides for additional seats in every college and every trade to make the institutions self-sufficient and for smooth functioning. But the number of jobs is less than the number of students who pass out. This breeds frustration and discontent among budding engineers.

The authorities concerned need to do serious introspection to save the future of the youth. The youth need suitable help and guidance for absorption in the fast growing technological market.

RAJEEV BHATIA, Jalandhar City


Economic reforms

When Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram raised the FDI limit, there was a hue and cry all around. If somebody from outside wants to invest here, how will it harm us?

A government under whom the country was making rapid progress has been voted out of power. Now we seem to be wanting to reverse the trend. Will illiterates track us how to get into the developed world? The question is: without liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, how do we become a developed nation?

Now, there is a proposal of reservation in the private sector. First you cripple it. Then you give death blows to it. Is this how we propose to compete and match Europe and America?

The present economic situation reminds me of India muffing up innumerable times in sports— the entire nation groans if our sportsmen miss goals and catches to lose the game by a whisker. Sounds familiar. Isn’t it? Well, we are set to miss economic growth too.


Changes in CWC

In the recent reshuffle, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has raised the strength of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to 48 to give representation to different regions, castes, women etc., in the new-look party organisation. Its strength has been steadily increased over the years. Once, it had only 13 members. Then it rose to 15, 18 and now it stands at 48.

There is a general impression that in such a big committee, the dignity and importance of the members will get dwindled. A small committee would be more assertive and effective. In such a body, it would be easier to forge consensus among members. Moreover, in a small and compact body, every member can function effectively and give his best to the party and the committee.

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh

Female foeticide

There is an urgent need to protect the fast disappearing girl child from society leading to the distortion in the sex ratio. People’s obsession for a male child has led to female foeticide. Females are selectively killed before they are born. As it is a social problem, it can be tackled by educating the masses, the Indian Medical Association, the Press and the religious leaders.

Many states including Punjab have banned the pre-natal diagnostic test for determining the sex of the unborn child. Ultrasound modality, a harmless method used to detect the congenital abnormalities in the uterus, and various pathologies in various organs in the body, can be useful if used by the specialist. The ultrasonologist should be properly qualified, but rules should specify the qualification he/she must possess to hold the post.

If the government is keen on checking female foeticide, it should stop the sale of ultrasound machines by companies to unqualified persons (with no DMRD or MD degree). Unqualified ultrasonologists are like midwives working like gynaecologists — they do not know the intricacies of the subject except for sex determination of the unborn child.

Dr B.L. JAIN, Former Professor (Radiology), Malerkotla

Floods in Assam

Floods in lower Assam and adjoining Bangladesh are a regular feature every monsoon. Short-term anti-flood control measures in the past have proved ineffective and inadequate. Unless the river Brahmaputra is tamed and forest degradation in the catchment area reduced, floods will keep taking a heavy toll every year.

To overcome this problem, India should persuade Bangladesh to allow the construction of a link canal through its territory for linking the Brahmaputra with the Ganges. This link canal will help both countries in controlling floods to a great extent.

It will help Bangladesh earn considerable revenue from Indian ships and crafts making use of this canal and also accelerate development in India’s north-eastern states. It will also augment waters of the Farakka barrage and the Hooghly river, thereby allowing bigger ships to make use of the Kolkota port.

Col D.S. DHALIWAL (retd), Patiala

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