PM’s focus on infrastructure timely

This has reference to the report “Manmohan’s New Year resolutions” (Jan 3) followed by the editorial “Design for the new year” (Jan 4). The Prime Minister’s declarations will augur well for the common man if his resolve to ensure grassroots participation and support from the state governments and district level administrations succeeds.

Admittedly, the most serious threat to programme implementation is from the states. The quality of political leadership and official machinery in the states can hardly match the national level.

The Prime Minister’s continuing focus on the infrastructure sector, especially power, considering the dismal failure of planners on this front, will inspire the corporate sector and entrepreneurs to strive for better growth rates. One hopes his assured announcement of new policy initiatives to encourage labour and skilled employment-generating investments in agriculture, manufacturing and services sector too are finalised soon.


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DDA in doldrums

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has reportedly decided to auction residential plots in the city. It will sell residential plots to affluent people and high income groups, totally neglecting the needs of middle income and low income groups. The land value will go up, hitting the urban poor and middle class very hard.

During his tenure as DDA Vice-Chairman, Mr Jagmohan had conceived successfully housing programmes for the higher, middle income groups and urban poor in a comprehensive manner.

The Union Ministry of Urban Development should direct the DDA not to auction land for residential purposes. Otherwise, this would deprive the urban poor of shelter. The DDA should use the vacant land for massive housing programmes in accordance with the Delhi’s Master Plan of 2021 AD.

The auction of residential land is against the objective of DDA’s role and function. Apparently, it is considering housing for the rich and not for the middle income group and poor people. This is unjustifiable.


Helping each other

At Hyderabad’s Pravasi Divas recently, most delegates did not turn up compared with last year, notwithstanding the much-awaited citizenship concessions announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Questions are asked about the NRIs’ contribution for India’s growth. This may not be enough when compared with the Chinese diaspora. But the latter does not face the administrative bottlenecks that we face here.

The Union Ministry for Overseas Indians is not of much help to individual NRIs. Our Missions abroad are least concerned about the NRIs’ problems, especially their treatment at airports, railway stations, bus stations and tourist spots in India.

Worse, the very attitude of the banks operating non-resident external accounts is not encouraging. Most of us have purchased properties in India. Its related issues from overseas are badly treated by Indian authorities and there is no consideration. Let us sincerely try to forge constructive understanding and better cooperation for mutual gains.

B.K. CHAUDHARI, Bromsgrove (UK)

Arduous task

There is hectic lobbying for the posts of chairpersons of various boards and corporations in Haryana. It is the Chief Minister’s prerogative to make appointments to these posts. Though he is guided by political factors to satisfy all sections, justice demands that appointments ought to be made on the basis of one’s talent and expertise to run the boards in a sound, competitive and professional manner.

This is important because many boards and corporations in other states are going bankrupt and ultimately being wound up owing to improper and unfair functioning. Of course, there should be no bar on selecting legislators to these positions, but appointments must be based on their technical expertise and knowledge and not on political factors and compulsions.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda should not toe the line of his predecessors in this regard. It is an arduous task, but he must set an example and be a role model for other states.


Quotas in IITs

By proposing quotas in the IITs, the Centre is jeopardising the growth prospects of other competent candidates belonging to the general category. Over the years, quotas for the Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Other Backward Classes and so on have been a part of almost all academic avenues. But education is a necessity for all and all are equally entitled to get their fair and equitable slice of the cake.

Too many considerations and further additions to the existing quota would prove to be jarring and counter-productive for society as a whole. If the government continues to the reservation spree, a day will come when the general category would go into minority and quotas will have to be fixed for them. While maintaining the number of seats in the general category, the government should fix a quota for the SC/ST, OBCs all in one, which will then be a win-win situation for all.


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