Making defence services attractive

The article “Managing defence persons: Promotion policy calls for review” by Vice Admirals K.K. Nayyar and R.B. Suri (retd) is timely (Sept 16). Career in the defence services is so unattractive today that suitable youth do not join them. This has resulted in the shortage of officers. The Army alone is short of about 13,000 officers. Promotional prospects are few and perks and emoluments are the lowest in the world.

Competent youth are forced to retire with no worthwhile rehabilitation. Service conditions are difficult and the family life is disrupted due to frequent moves to field areas. In-house measures like cadre reviews have resulted in further devaluation of the rank. Colonels are now doing the jobs performed by Majors earlier. And Lieutenant-Generals are holding some appointments earlier held by Brigadiers.

The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence on the welfare of servicemen and ex-servicemen (2003) could not be implemented as the NDA government fell. Apparently, the UPA government is not interested to pursue it. The Group of Ministers is yet to examine it.



The All India Defence Brotherhood, our organisation, has written to the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and the three Services Chiefs to implement the report to make the defence services attractive and thus strengthen national security.

Brig HARWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Restore Palampur’s beauty

Palampur, with its moderate climate, sun-kissed landscape, lush fields, sprightly khuds/streams gurgling merrily down to join the Beas and, above all, the towering Dhauladhar, has the potential to be a jewel in Himachal Pradesh’s crown. However, bad governance — from the municipality to the State Secretariat — has adversely affected its growth and quality of life.

Construction activity in and around Palampur has reached its climax. There should be a moratorium on this at least within 5-10 km radius of the town. Effective steps should be taken to improve civic amenities — potable water, garbage disposal, public hygiene and sanitation.

Master plans should be prepared, in consultation with experts, to restore Palampur’s pristine beauty and charm. The state government should make all the important towns of the state environmentally sustainable, ecologically sound and aesthetically soothing.

SUBHASH C. SHARMA, Palampur (Kangra)

RSS-BJP ties

The editorial “An outcome of dual loyalty” (Sept 20) rightly observes that Mr L.K. Advani is seeking to disown his past but for a purpose to redefine the relationship between the RSS and the BJP. His central role is: What should be the role of the RSS vis-à-vis the BJP?

An impression has gained ground that no BJP leader can evolve a strategy that would help the party to reach out to more people by giving up Hindutva, the RSS’ main ideology. This is important because the BJP has been compelled to soften its exclusivist agenda and widen its base to contend for office.

The BJP has come of age and it expects a certain amount of autonomy in managing its political affairs. Moreover, it has evolved into a mass party. Having ruled the country for six years, it is the main contender for power at the Centre today. Politically, it would be wrong for one to treat it as an apron string of the RSS.


Fleecing patients

Ladwa in Kurukshetra district, with a population of about 40,000, is a place of great historical significance. Its grain market is one of the best (in terms of food grains) in Asia. However, people do not have basic facilities. The Government Civil Hospital has no specialist doctors, X-ray, ultra sound, ECG, CT scan and other facilities.

As a result, people are forced to seek treatment in private clinics even though they charge exorbitant fee. These clinics prescribe only those medicines which are available in their nursing homes. Such a system gives huge margin of profit to chemists. Is there no hope for the common people to get rid of this vicious circle?

VIPIN SEHGAL, Ladwa (Kurukshetra)

Rising share market

The government’s financial policies and taxation laws are solely responsible for the rising share market, which is against the public. As share market is mostly manipulated by interested parties, the people suffer.

Shares get easy money without hard work or labour. Its earnings are in speculative nature and like lotteries, luck plays the role in gains or losses in buying and selling it, trading in shares.

Shares must be bought only for long-term investments so that one gets a reasonable dividend each year. All tax concessions for shares must be withdrawn immediately.



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