Villages as epicentre of growth

Mohan Dharia’s article “Lacking direction: Budget overlooks basic issues” (April 2) calls for a couple of related comments. A big mistake made by Nehru and his government after Independence in 1947 was to neglect rural India. No one really planned and cared for the pitiable living conditions in the villages. Nehru thus seemed to have abandoned Gandhiji’s line of thinking where village was to be the epicentre of natural development.

Gandhiji’s “Swadesh” approach of development got another jolt when Nehru chose a Russian socialistic model of heavy industry in early 1950s. The focus should have been on reviving the age-old village cottage industries like handlooms, textiles and handicrafts utilising local skills and raw materials. This would have easily empowered rural India to march towards modernity by way of creation of entrepreneurship, employment and scientific outlook of the vast populace.

Yes, India is still paying dearly for the early and subsequent neglect of the villages. We thus have this pathetic scenario of “Shining India” and “Aam India” consisting of almost 80 per cent of semiliterate, undernourished and frustrated people of the villages and slums living side by side. The present UPA government, like its predecessor, is erroneously following a highly flawed American economic system of consumerism.

The late Pope John Paul II had openly called the American consumerist society as the “culture of death”. India thus should adopt an economic model which is sustainable and environment friendly, coupled with a heavy dose of social justice.

Dr K.S. BALAIN, (Former MD, Hartron), Sonepat

Privatisation blues

Prof B.S. Ghuman’s article “Social audit of privatisation” gives a balanced appraisal of privatisation. Evidently, privatisation is not helping unskilled and semiskilled workers, women and socially backward classes, which form a major part of our population.

It will have a negative impact on aspects like employment generation, poverty alleviation programmes, uplift of the poor and the backward classes, social service etc., as it is profit-oriented, and not welfare-oriented.

A handful of rich population may support it for better facilities. But what about the middle and lower classes? Can they afford these facilities with meagre earnings? Moreover, when countries like the US and the UK, after experiencing privatisation, are one again in favour of re-nationalising, why should we follow the same path leading to social unevenness and polarisation? The need of hour is better and honest management of resources rather than privatisation.




Let’s try to conserve water

On World Water Day (March 22), the government stressed the need for conserving water through proper management in view of the depleting water resources and increasing demand. The print and the electronic media too highlighted the magnitude of the problem.

However, the people of Chandigarh do not seem to bother about water conservation. Water is indiscriminately used every day on car washing, watering the lawns and so on. In large families, maidservants waste lot of water on washing of clothes, cleaning of utensils etc. With proper care and planning, water can be conserved.

Strangely, while in some parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the per capita use of water per day is only five litres, Chandigarhians find even 400-500 litres insufficient. The authorities spend crores of rupees on augmentation of water supply schemes. They should take stringent measures against those wasting water and spread public awareness on the problem.

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh


Clash of exams

Himachal Pradesh University has fixed the dates of competitive examination for MBBS and BDS for the session 2004-2005 on May 27. This test is clashing with Uttar Pradesh’s Combined Premedical Test. As a result, many students will be deprived of appearing in both exams.

Similarly, the tests for Bharti Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune, and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sewagram, Wardha, are scheduled on April 17. There is yet another problem. The All-India Engineering/Architecture Examinations and the All-India Common Entrance Examination for admission to Veterinary and Animal Husbandry courses are due on May 8. On behalf of many students, I appeal to the authorities concerned to revise the examinations’ schedule so that they do not clash.


Welcome step

The Punjab School Education Board passed a resolution on April 1 to debar heads of senior secondary schools who have crossed 62 years. This is a welcome step. This principle should also be made applicable to teachers and others. If this is followed in the CBSE system, thousands will get jobs in the vacancies thus created.

N.K. JAIN, Ludhiana


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