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EDITORIALS

Killers on the prowl
Communal harmony must be maintained
L
EST anyone thought that messengers of death had been forced to lie low, they have hit with a vengeance at Varanasi, killing many innocent people in cold blood. The blasts on Tuesday were meticulously planned and carried out to cause maximum damage.

Strategic interests safe
N-deal has made no such compromise
T
HE plan for the separation of India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities under the July 18, 2005, Indo-US deal, as presented to Parliament by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, allays the concerns voiced by the scientific and strategic communities.



EARLIER STORIES

Finances in good health
March 8, 2006
Plain-speaking in Pindi
March 7, 2006
Test of fire
March 6, 2006
My idealism is not Utopian, says Shyam Benegal
March 5, 2006
Karachi blast
March 4, 2006
Election time
March 3, 2006
Mulayam should bow out
March 2, 2006
With hope and confidence
March 1, 2006
Justice!
February 28, 2006
Retrial is the only option
February 27, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Yesterday’s foe, today’s friend
Vaiko walks into Jaya’s parlour
E
VEN within the leathery walls of cynical opportunism that define our politics, MDMK chief Vaiko’s crossing over from the DMK to join hands with Ms J. Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK for the assembly elections, is astonishingly brazen.

ARTICLE

Bush visit to South Asia
Some change in US thinking on Pakistan
by G. Parthasarathy
N
EVER before has the visit of an American President to South Asia created such a political storm as the recent one by President George W. Bush to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. India remained obsessed with whether or not the “nuclear deal” would move forward.

MIDDLE

Of personal letters
by Suchita Malik
M
Y “Indo-Amrikan” nephew and I are very good pen-pals. The correspondence began almost a decade back when he and I, sharing almost similar literary tastes and interests, began to write to each other almost on a fortnightly basis.

OPED

Making panchayati raj effective in Haryana
by Ranbir Singh
T
HE enactment and implementation of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, for restructuring the system of decentralised rural governance in Haryana in accordance with the provisions of the 73rd Amendment Act (1993), the devolution of functions pertaining to 16 departments, devolution of powers regarding 12 departments and the constitution of the gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zila parishads and holding of the panchayati raj elections in the state in 1994, 2000 and 2005 have created the myth of Panchayati Raj in Haryana.

UN: women denied representation
by Maxine Frith
M
illions of women around the world, are being denied effective representation because of the low numbers of female politicians, judges and employers, the United Nations has warned.

New UK rules for low-skilled workers
by David Barret
L
ow-skilled workers from outside the EU will not normally be allowed into Britain under the Government’s new immigration system, it was announced on Tuesday. Home Secretary Charles Clarke revealed details of a controversial points-based system which will focus on foreigners who are highly skilled or who have been sponsored by industry or colleges.

From the pages of

Editorial cartoon by Rajinder Puri

 
 REFLECTIONS

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Killers on the prowl
Communal harmony must be maintained

LEST anyone thought that messengers of death had been forced to lie low, they have hit with a vengeance at Varanasi, killing many innocent people in cold blood. The blasts on Tuesday were meticulously planned and carried out to cause maximum damage. The aim was not only to kill as many persons as possible, but also to arouse communal feelings. Targeting Tuesday worshippers was a devious plan to provoke the Hindus. The killers must be waiting with bated breath to see if there is a violent reaction from the majority community, because that will only further their diabolical agenda. That is why it is imperative for the Hindus to resist the temptation of repaying in kind. What is heartening is the fact that the Hindus and Muslims in Varanasi have come together on a joint platform to state that they will maintain communal harmony. This noble example has to be emulated all over the country to defeat the designs of the terrorists and communalists.

While common men have showed such laudable maturity, it is expected of community and political leaders to play a similarly constructive role. Instead of inflaming communal passions, as they have done many times in the past, they must use their influence to reduce the friction between various communities. All those who are fond of saying that their religion does not teach violence are expected to strengthen the cause of secularism in such trying times.

In a country of the size of India, there will always be soft targets, because it is just not possible to depute security personnel at every nook and corner. The only effective step that can be taken against the killers is stricter vigil. There is just no room for complacency. It has been noticed that the police tends to lower its guard if there is no incident for a long time. It has now been proved time and again that each such lull is used by the terrorists to prepare quietly and strike again when the time is ripe. It will be necessary to be one step ahead of them and take them by surprise instead. A wider intelligence network is the need of the hour. Unfortunately, an insensitive police force has alienated itself from the public and only a rare few people come forward to assist the security personnel with vital information.

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Strategic interests safe
N-deal has made no such compromise

THE plan for the separation of India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities under the July 18, 2005, Indo-US deal, as presented to Parliament by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, allays the concerns voiced by the scientific and strategic communities. The commitments made by the government do not compromise India’s strategic interests. India’s nuclear deterrent capability remains beyond the purview of the nuclear deal, which has begun to be given a practical shape after US President George W. Bush’s visit to New Delhi. India’s 14 of the 22 thermal power reactors will come under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards by 2014. This means that 65 per cent of the total nuclear energy generation will be covered by the safeguards regime, but actually India will be adding only 46 per cent more, as 19 per cent of these were already under such an arrangement.

It must be appreciated that the Prime Minister has tried to ensure at every stage that the concerns expressed by our scientists are taken into consideration. The scientists did not want any outside interference under any circumstances in the key nuclear installations like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Hence the decision to shut down the outdated CIRUS research reactors and shift the APSARA reactors to a new location till 2010. Both have been functioning at the premises of the Bhabha Centre. The Americans have been told in unambiguous terms that India cannot accept any inspection regime for its Fast Breeder Reactor programme.

No government can afford to jeopardise the country’s strategic interests, whatever the compulsions. That is why the Prime Minister has made it clear that which nuclear facilities are included in the civilian list will be India’s prerogative, not only today but tomorrow also. Happily, the Americans have acceded to this key demand, as Dr Manmohan Singh pointed out in Parliament. There is no loophole left to threaten an uninterrupted fuel supply to the civilian nuclear reactors. In case of an unforeseen development with regard to fuel supply, the US and India will together approach friendly nuclear supplier countries like Russia and France to tackle the problem urgently. This was imperative in view of the experience in the case of the Tarapur facility. India has nothing to worry about. Now it is for the Bush administration to push through the required legislation in the Congress and also make other members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group fall in line.

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Yesterday’s foe, today’s friend
Vaiko walks into Jaya’s parlour

EVEN within the leathery walls of cynical opportunism that define our politics, MDMK chief Vaiko’s crossing over from the DMK to join hands with Ms J. Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK for the assembly elections, is astonishingly brazen. Yes, this is the same Vaiko who was slammed behind bars, for 19 months, under the draconian POTA by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in 2002. And, neither Mr Vaiko nor Ms Jayalalithaa is the least shamefaced about coming together. “This is the finest hour in the political history of Tamil Nadu”, declared Mr Vaiko in the company of Ms Jayalalithaa after they had agreed on 35 assembly seats for the MDMK to contest as an AIADMK ally. Ideology has no place in electoral politics these days, asserted Mr Vaiko to justify his decision to break away from the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance.

Although Mr Vaiko was aligned with the AIADMK for the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, soon thereafter he drifted towards the DMK, with which he remained till the last general election in 2004. His arrest under POTA by the Jayalalithaa regime caused outrage, and not only in Tamil Nadu, because it was seen as blatant misuse of the law for political vendetta; and there followed a state-wide campaign against his undemocratic detention.

Tamil Nadu politics is taking a turn for the worse with every election. Ideology, issues, policies and programmes appear to have become irrelevant in the calculus of caste and communal mobilisation that has come to vitiate the political scene. Mr Vaiko represents this trend at its worst. This explains his deserting the DMK – because he wanted more than the 22 seats offered – which, along with allies, had made a clean sweep of all the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the last election.

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Thought for the day

Caution is the parent of safety.

— American proverb

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Bush visit to South Asia
Some change in US thinking on Pakistan
by G. Parthasarathy

NEVER before has the visit of an American President to South Asia created such a political storm as the recent one by President George W. Bush to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. India remained obsessed with whether or not the “nuclear deal” would move forward. Pakistan persisted with its insistence on the Americans blessing its quest for “parity” with India. Few people had, however, noticed the profound changes emerging in the US thinking on the reliability of Pakistan as a self-professed “ally” in the “war on terrorism”. By the time Mr Bush left for South Asia there was seething anger in the Pentagon about Pakistani assistance to the Taliban, which was reemerging as a serious challenge to stability in Afghanistan.

An emboldened Taliban, reinforced by Pakistani jihadis, operating out of secure hideouts in Baluchistan and the NWFP, had mounted suicide attacks on American and Afghan forces. President Karzai visited Pakistan on February 16 and gave General Musharraf details of Taliban leaders residing in Pakistan and the confessions of 13 Pakistani terrorists arrested in Afghanistan.

Washington had evidently noted that Islamabad had tacitly encouraged the anti-Western riots in Lahore during the controversy over the blasphemous cartoons published in Denmark. Washington also appears to have realised that in his quest to remain in power beyond 2007, General Musharraf was evidently contemplating extension of the term of the present National Assembly to 2008, so that he could be reelected by its members in 2007, rather than having to face the uncertainty of seeking reelection by a newly elected National Assembly, whose members may not be enthusiastic about giving him another term.

Further, Ms Benazir Bhutto visited Washington and appears to have made a plausible case about why the next elections have to be made free, fair and universal if what she has called the “Mullah, Military, and Madarsa Alliance” is to be prevented from coming to power and continuing with the present policies of harbouring the Taliban while professing “enlightened moderation”.

Just before he left Washington, Mr Bush remarked that Pakistan “still has some distance to travel on the road to democracy,” adding that the elections scheduled next year “need to be open and honest”. The suicide bomb attack that killed an American diplomat in Karachi on March 2 appears to have persuaded Mr Bush that General Musharraf had to be told that the Americans had other options also in Pakistan.

Few people in India paid attention to the importance of the repeated praise that Mr Bush lavished on New Delhi for the economic assistance of $ 565 million that India was providing to Afghanistan. Mr Bush also went out of the way to praise Indian assistance for the construction of a new parliament building in Kabul. Implicit in this was a rebuke for those who were attempting to destabilise the new, democratically elected dispensation in Kabul.

New Delhi’s references to continuing cross-border terrorism, therefore, received understanding and attention. The Americans know of the nexus between the ISI-backed groups promoting terrorism in India like the Lashkar-e-Toiba on the one hand and the Taliban and Al-Qaeda on the other. It is for this reason that for the first time Mr Bush spoke of both the US and India being victims of terrorism and specifically alluded to the December 13, 2001, terrorist attack on Parliament and the bomb blasts on the eve of last Diwali.

The body language at the Islamabad Press conference on March 4 was revealing. In response to a question about General Musharraf’s assertion that Pakistan should receive the same treatment as India on nuclear energy cooperation, Mr Bush frankly stated: “I explained that Pakistan and India are two different countries, with different needs and different histories. So, as we proceed forward, our strategy will take in effect those known differences.” Bluntly put, Mr Bush told his hosts that it was hardly appropriate to equate India with a country that supplied uranium enrichment centrifuges and Chinese nuclear weapon designs to Libya, North Korea and Iran.

Referring to the reasons for his visit to Islamabad, Mr Bush stated: “Part of my mission was to determine whether or not the President (General Musharraf) is as committed as he has been in the past in bringing terrorists to justice, and he is.” American officials accompanying Mr Bush clarified in Islamabad on March 4 that there can be no question of a nuclear deal with Pakistan when American concerns on proliferation and terrorism sponsored by that country remained.

The current euphoria in New Delhi about the agreement on nuclear separation needs to be tempered with caution and circumspection. The draft legislation to be submitted to the US Congress by the Bush Administration is going to face serious objections from influential American newspapers, academics and the “Ayatollahs of Nonproliferation”. While the agreement has been welcomed by major powers like France, Russia, the UK and Japan, and has been endorsed by Nobel Prize-winning IAEA Director-General Mohammed El-Baradei, China has voiced reservations, with its Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang demanding that India should sign the NPT and dismantle its nuclear weapons.

A nexus between China, Pakistan and former Clinton Administration officials, to oppose removal of sanctions against India appears set to emerge. Within the Nuclear Suppliers Group, China will attempt to undermine the moves to remove sanctions against India by demanding that its partner in proliferation, Pakistan, should be treated similarly. There is also a similar need for caution in the efforts underway by the Bush Administration to promote democracy worldwide. Our strategic interests in countries like Myanmar cannot be compromised on this score. India can help those countries that request for assistance by providing expertise in democratic practices. But India should not be seen by others to be preaching democratic values and perhaps, in the process, undermining the interests of friends like Russia, in Central Asia.

A disturbing feature of Indo-US relations in recent days has been the inclination of some political parties in India to give a communal orientation to foreign policy formulation, because of perceived Muslim anger with the United States. We had a CPM leader sharing a common platform with Shia clerics in Lucknow to denounce the Iran vote in the IAEA. He conveniently forgot that his Communist comrades in China had also voted like us on Iran — a country that has banned its Communist (Tudeh) Party. A CPI leader addressed a huge gathering organised by the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind in the Ramlila Grounds in Delhi where the visiting American President was labelled as a “terrorist”. Would these worthy gentlemen hold similar demonstrations against Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism in India? The communal riots in Lucknow are the inevitable outcome of the resort to such crass communal politics.

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Of personal letters
by Suchita Malik

MY “Indo-Amrikan” nephew and I are very good pen-pals. The correspondence began almost a decade back when he and I, sharing almost similar literary tastes and interests, began to write to each other almost on a fortnightly basis. I was fascinated by his literary sensitivity as also for his urge to communicate with people of diverse cultures so as to chance upon, perhaps innovative ideas. He, too, reciprocated the same feelings.

Then came the advent of superfast technology in the form of internet. Instant messaging with unbelievable high speed became the order of the day. We, too, fell for its charm. One could talk almost everyday, anywhere, anytime. It seemed amazing in the beginning but gradually the messages became too short, mechanical, to the point and lacking in warmth or thought. It became a different “short-hand lingo” and lost out on its freshness. The zing in communication went missing with no looking for the mailbox, no pleasure of eager opening of the letter and no charm of the written word. The creative flow of ideas, too, came to an abrupt end.

Gradually, we reverted to our age-old habit of writing personal letters only. The slowly dying art, that has been relegated to the periphery of modern education, needs to be revived for its old-world charm as also for its free play of ideas as well as expression.

The often overlooked genre of the “personal letter” had also been used in the past by poets to arrive at new ways of thinking about their poems. The exchange of thoughts among the intellectuals and poets certainly gave rise to the quality of lyricism in their work.

In fact, the “personal letter” has always been a balanced genre — part practical necessity and part literary performance. It has also been the most cowardly way to break up with your lady love to say something that one would feel shy of expressing otherwise.

Today’s letter is flat, straight, devoid of the web of emotions and makes a very lousy read. The other day, I chanced upon a letter that came for my daughter from her bosom friend and classmate of more than a decade. I quote: “Yaar... Kokil ‘n’ Carmel confetti ka add. De... hwz life... result out? Hwz akanksha? 4gt to call her... ragged ur juniors? I did n was caght in a gr8 panga... newayz learn 2 keep ur cl wid urself... un u cumin 2 chd? Wishing u d v best in life...”

I sat non-plussed for sometime, lost in thought, wondering at the amazing flexibility of the language, reducing it to the level of mockery itself. And as I have been tackling some of Keats’ great Odes in the college this semester, I was completely out of my wits on seeing a text message version of Keats’ famous explanation of “negative capability” (as originally set forth in a letter to his brothers, George and Thomas):

J Keats I : Iz try N 2 dev mor neg cap.

G&T Keats : Watz dat?

J Keats I : dat bn N uncertainties - miseries —— doubts w/o NE irritable reachN aftr fact & reasN

G&T Keats : kewl

As it is, the concept of “negative capability” in Keats is not easy to explain to the students. The above reproduced text remains even a greater mystery to me. Considering the state of “negative capability”, I almost swore to stick to my obsolete habit of writing the letter or rather pen down the personal letter even in this modern age and still feel proud of it.

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Making panchayati raj effective in Haryana
by Ranbir Singh

THE enactment and implementation of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, for restructuring the system of decentralised rural governance in Haryana in accordance with the provisions of the 73rd Amendment Act (1993), the devolution of functions pertaining to 16 departments, devolution of powers regarding 12 departments and the constitution of the gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zila parishads and holding of the panchayati raj elections in the state in 1994, 2000 and 2005 have created the myth of Panchayati Raj in Haryana.

It has, however, not become a reality because the Panchayati Raj Institutions have not been given control over the official functionaries of 15 of the 18 departments, the powers of which are supposed to have been devolved on them.

Even in the case of these three departments, the powers of the chairpersons at various levels for writing some comments in the annual confidential reports of their officials have remained mostly on paper as these documents are not in most cases submitted to them for necessary action.

The District Planning Committees (DPCs) have also not been created so far in Haryana despite a gazette notification for that in 1997. Contrary to the spirit of the 73rd Amendment Act, the Gram Panchayat has not been given powers over its secretary, the Gram Sachiv; the Panchayat Samiti has no control over its executive officer, the BDPOs and the Zila Parishad has no authority over its chief executive officer, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of the district.

So much so that the successive governments of Haryana from 1995 to 2005 have not bothered at all about the 150 recommendations arrived at during the seven round tables of state ministers of panchayati raj held from time to time for suggesting the ways and means for strengthening democracy at the grass-roots.

Not only that, the PRIs remain under the control of political leaders and the bureaucracy in Haryana and elected representatives of these have merely responsibilities without powers. The status, authority, honorarium and perks legitimately due to them have also been denied so far. Only the President and the Vice- President of Zila Parishads and the Chairperson of Panchayat Samiti are given a token honorarium.

The persistence of this dismal state of affairs has to be ascribed on the one hand to the lack of political will in the successive governments and attitude of the political leaders and bureaucracy and to the lack of awareness, assertion, unity and organisation in the elected representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions on the other.

Haryana has become economically one of the most developed states of the Indian Union from a backward region of Punjab due to the role of its dynamic political leadership, efficient bureaucracy and technology, and the hard working people after the attainment of statehood by it on November 1, 1966.

But it lags far behind most of the states in the matter of decentralised rural governance as it remains predominantly a traditional society despite its rapid modernisation in terms of increased urbanisation, industrialisation education and development of means and the media of communication during the past four decades.

It also continues to have a neo feudal political culture in spite of having institutions of parliamentary democracy at the state level and decentralised democracy at the local level — the zila parishad, panchayat samiti and gram panchayat and gram sabha in the rural areas and the municipalities in the towns and cities — on account of its cultural backwardness despite its fast economic development.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda signed a memorandum of understanding with the Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, Mani Shankar Aiyer, on August 22, 2005, promising implementation of 150 recommendations arrived at during the seven round tables of state ministers of panchayati raj; to issue an activity maping notification by November 2005; to involve PRIs in planning, supervising and monitoring most of the schemes being implemented by different departments; to create a panchayat sector in the state Budget from 2006-07; to make all employees involved with functions devolved to the panchayati raj institutions accountable to them; to ensure that the DPCs function in accordance with Article 243 ZD of the Constitution by October 2005; to prepare the Eleventh Five Year Plan through the consolidation of gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and zila parishad plans by the DPCs; to encourage the PRIs to levy taxes and user charges; to form standing committees at all the three levels; to consider favourably the slowing down of the reservation cycle so that the option to reserve seats for more than one term remains open to ensure empowerment of women and the scheduled castes and to review the two child norm

The Chief Minister of Haryana can certainly convert the Panchayati Raj in the state into reality if he sincerely implements these promises. He can do so provided he has the will to do so. But he will also have to overcome the resistance of political leaders and the bureaucracy in this context.

The elected representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions will also have to be made more aware about their powers by making training compulsory for them.

However, for ensuring that the memorandum of understanding between the Government of India and the Government of Haryana is implemented, the elected representatives of the PRIs will also have to unite and organise themselves for exerting pressure on the state government, not through an agitation, but through a dialogue.

The present government of Haryana, which is committed to democratic decentralisation, is bound to accept their demands. This would also be in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA Government at the Centre.

Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar and Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda released on February 17 a document on activity mapping regarding devolution of functions, functionaries and funds pertaining to 10 departments to the PRIs in this context.

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UN: women denied representation
by Maxine Frith

Millions of women around the world, are being denied effective representation because of the low numbers of female politicians, judges and employers, the United Nations has warned.

Campaigners say that unless urgent action is taken on the status of women, the Millennium Development Goals on reducing poverty, infant deaths and standards of education will not be met.

To mark International Women’s Day, the UN has published a report that says rates of female participation in governments across the developed and developing world are still appallingly low. The report says that for women to be adequately represented in their country, at least 30 per cent of parliamentary seats should have a female representative.

United Nations figures also show that 70 per cent of the world’s 1.2 billion people who are estimated to live in poverty are women and children. A woman dies every minute from complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth, and HIV rates are now rising faster among women than men. Charities say that 700 million women are living without adequate food, water, sanitation and education.

Even in the developed world, women face endemic discrimination. Full-time female workers in Japan earn just 51 per cent of the wages of their male counterparts, while only one in five managers in Italy is a woman and just 14 per cent of the seats in the US Congress are taken by women.

This is your life (if you are a woman):

1% of the titled land in the world is owned by women

A baby girl born in the UK is likely to live to 81 — but if she is born in Swaziland, she is likely to die at 39

70% of the 1.2 bn people living in poverty are women and children

21% of the world’s managers are female

62% of unpaid family workers are female

9% of judges, 10% of company directors and 10% of top police officers in the UK are women

Women comprise 55% of the world’s population aged over 60 years old and 65% of those aged over 80

£970,000 is the difference between lifetime earnings of men and women in the UK finance sector

85m girls worldwide are unable to attend school, compared with 45m boys. In Chad, just 4% of girls go to school.

700,000,000 women are without adequate food, water, sanitation, health care or education (compared with 400,000,000 men)

Women in full-time jobs earn an average 17% less than British men

Women in part-time jobs earn an average 42% less than British men

67% of all illiterate adults are women

1,440 women die each day during childbirth (a rate of one death every minute)

1 in 7 women in Ethiopia die in pregnancy or childbirth (it is one in 19,000 in Britain)

In the US, 35% of lawyers are women but just 5% are partners in law firms

In the EU, women comprise 3% of chief execs of major companies

12 is the number of world leaders who are women (out of 191 members of the United Nations). Men directed 9 out of every 10 films made in 2004

Women are better prepared for retirement than men, according to research. Only 16 per cent of women expect to rely on state pensions, compared to 22 per cent of men. One in five women have already consulted their bank about their retirement plans, compared to only 16 per cent of men, a survey for HSBC found.

— The Independent

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New UK rules for low-skilled workers
by David Barret

Low-skilled workers from outside the EU will not normally be allowed into Britain under the Government’s new immigration system, it was announced on Tuesday.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke revealed details of a controversial points-based system which will focus on foreigners who are highly skilled or who have been sponsored by industry or colleges.

Like similar schemes in the US and Australia, people who want to come to the UK will be awarded points for factors including their age, qualifications, previous earnings and whether they have a job offer.

It will consolidate more than 80 existing work and study immigration schemes into five tiers:

  • Tier One — highly skilled individuals such as doctors, scientists or entrepreneurs;
  • Tier Two — skilled workers with a job offer such as nurses, teachers or engineers;
  • Tier Three — low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages such as builders for a particular project;
  • Tier Four — students;
  • Tier Five — “youth mobility” and temporary workers, such as working holidaymakers, musicians coming to play a concert, sportspeople coming to compete, volunteers or non-preaching religious workers.

Existing immigration routes, such as one run by the Department of Health for postgraduate doctors and dentists, will end as the new system is phased in, the Home Office said.

Mr Clarke said the new regime would “not take effect overnight” but added that constructive talks had already been established between industry and the Government.

Proposals for the new system, which was first announced in February last year, said: “Our starting point is that employers should look first to recruit from the UK and expanded EU before recruiting migrants from outside the EU.

“The system should therefore be focused primarily on bringing in migrants who are highly skilled or to do key jobs that cannot be filled from the domestic labour force or from the EU.”

Routes into the UK will only be open to low-skilled workers from Tier Three if a new skills advisory body identifies particular labour shortages.

The schemes would be run by an operator and could require immigrants to have open return tickets and to have their biometrics taken in a bid to prevent them disappearing into the black market.

These low-skilled workers would only be allowed to stay for 12 months maximum and would not be allowed to bring spouses or children to Britain with them.

In the students category, colleges and universities will have to be on a list of approved sponsors in a bid to crack down on people who apply to bogus colleges and disappear into the black market.

Tier Five for young people coming to work temporarily into the UK will apply to those aged 18 to 30 and will allow them to stay for up to two years.

Today’s document said there may be a need to cap overall numbers in Tier Five, adding: “The overall figure could initially be based roughly on the number of people entering through existing schemes and then adjusted according to changing demands, the level of abuse of the scheme, or the state of the UK economy.”

Chief executive Habib Rahman said: “We welcome the Government’s acknowledgement of the positive economic contribution of migrants and recognise the positive intention behind the points system to restore public confidence in the immigration system and ensure migrants are welcome in the UK.

— The Independent

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From the pages of

April 16, 1931

Outburst against Mahatma

IT is not difficult to understand or explain M. Shaukat Ali’s vitriolic outburst at Bombay. At Delhi, he spoke with a certain amount of restraint and moderation, because he had not yet fully realised the implication of Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that the communal solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem, put forward by the Muslims, to be acceptable, must have at least the merit of being unanimous. He was not without hope at the time, just as we ourselves were not without fear, that the nationalist Muslims might weakly succumb to pressure from their more aggressive co-religionists. The bold and essentially patriotic stand which the Muslim Nationalists have taken has entirely disconcerted as well as disillusioned M. Shaukat Ali. He now finds that his game is up, and that he can no longer make an ignorant world believe that the Muslim community stands solidly behind the demand for separate electorates. Thus, thwarted in his purpose, it is no wonder that he should make a savage attack upon Mahatma Gandhi whom he considers to be chiefly responsible for exposing the hollowness of his pretensions.

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It was the cowards who died many times before their death.

— Mahatma Gandhi

When there isn’t a trace of creation or destruction why do you meditate?

— Kabir

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