Improving elementary education

Dr Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Education Commission, has advised the Centre to spend more money on primary education, even by diverting funds from higher education. This is welcome as more and better students will reach higher levels and bring about qualitative improvement there.

The suggestion is more relevant for Punjab wherein as against the national average of 51 per cent, only 28 per cent of total education budget is spent on elementary education. This has resulted in inadequate supply of teachers and infrastructure in the form of classrooms, furniture, teaching aids, drinking water, etc. The drop-out rate has gone up from 22 per cent in 2000 to 53 per cent in 2005 and the teacher-pupil ratio has increased from 1:40 to 1:60.

Education at the foundational level must be broad-based. Primary schools have only to depend upon the government to generate their financial resources. The Constitution has rightly entrusted this responsibility to the states under Article 21A. Sadly, the Punjab government is showing disregard even to the Constitution by not filling 30,000 teachers’ vacancies in the schools.

Dr T.R. SHARMA, Patiala

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NRIs’ ways

I would like to refer to the news-item, “Wife-deserting: NRIs may be booked for rape” (May 21, 2005), and the Internet question, “Should the government have special cells to prosecute NRIs who desert their wives?” (Aug 12, 2003).

Surprisingly, the government has not done anything in the matter despite several reminders to the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Commission for Women. We need an effective law to deal firmly with such NRIs.

J. SINGH, Delhi

Sports university

I do not agree with Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s off-the-cuff decision to establish a defence university at the cost of the National Institute of Sports (NIS) at Patiala. If at all NIS is being wound up, we should not lose out on the huge infrastructure created by spending crores of public money.

It would have added to his prudence had the Chief minister asked for a sports university at the present NIS location using the existing sports facilities. The land available near Aviation Club could be used for the proposed defence university.

The announcement was probably made keeping in view the coming Assembly elections to garner a major chunk of the ex-servicemen’s large vote bank.

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala

A heinous crime

According to the news-item “Youth kills sister” (Dec 18), Amit Kumar of Garhi village in Kaithal district killed his sister Reena for having eloped with Sukhdev of the same village and the same gotra (clan).

In North India, marriage in the same gotra is a social taboo. This has a scientific basis as inbreeding can affect the health of the offspring. The incidence of insanity in Indian Parsis is a case in point. But then, murder is not the answer for the fault of the young couple. The perpetuators of the murder must be severally punished for the heinous crime.

Admittedly, such honour killings and the purdah system of women are the carryover of the tradition prevalent during the past Muslim rule in the country. Suffice it to mention, honour killing is still prevalent in Pakistan.

Such conflicts are a result of the fast changing world where village children now study and work in far off places. The village panchayats and the media have an important role to play in inculcating modern views and perceptions among the rural people.

Dr K.S. BALAIN, Sonepat


Keep religion at bay

For many decades, Hindutva has been the political ideology of some politicians. After the RSS, the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have promoted it. A political ideology should inspire many people as it is a goal that unites all sections of the country and gives a common platform to voice their concerns.

But the question is whether we are ready to delink religion from politics or are we still under the shadow of politicians who instigate people to vote on religious lines. From 1999 to 2004, the BJP, known for its Hindutva ideology, ruled the country during which the Gujarat riots occurred. The same group is accused of masterminding the Babri Masjid demolition.

India needs people who can govern it on the basis of needs and priorities rather than religion.


Fish harvesting

The Rajasthan government auctions harvesting of fish in Indira Gandhi Canal every year during lean season. The same procedure can be followed by other states. There is greater scope to use village ponds for aquaculture. Village ponds are free from industrial waste. Auction of village ponds for aquaculture will ensure desilting as well as farming of fisheries.

Canals can also be auctioned from barrage to barrage stretches. Seeding of fish can be done on the upstream of barrage or in the reservoir. There is a huge quantity of silt (load) in each canal to maintain the flow of water. Over a period of time, the silt gets converted to sand which settles down at the bottom of the canal.

During lean season, these canals can be auctioned in stretches for harvesting of fish as well as collection of sand. Keeping the construction boom in view, all canals will get desilted as also earn huge revenue for the states.

Col C.J. PAL, Hyderabad

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