Vote bank politics will not help

It is an irony that the Congress and all other so-called secular parties are depending on the Muslim vote bank to capture seats and run the government at the Centre and in the states. In this context, the Prime Minister is also criticised for appointing a high-powered committee on the social, economic and educational status of Muslims.

There are many poorest of the poor living miserably in slums on the outskirts of cities and towns having no food, shelter, clothing and health care. Are they Indians or foreigners? They are a blot on the so-called secular government. It is time the Congress shed the vote- bank phobia and protected all the minorities equitably irrespective of caste, religion or creed. Provide them all basic needs to live happily and honourably.

D.R. SHARDA, Chandigarh



Health insurance for all

Rajesh K Aggarwal’s article, “Healthy option: Insurance for all should be the goal” (Nov 17) is timely. When diseases like AIDS and dengue are spreading their tentacles, health insurance has been marginalised. As the writer has pointed out, it is a fact to ponder how would a poor man pay for a single hospitalisation. His budget will go awry all of a sudden. The only option is to get a health insurance cover.

This sector needs to be improved. Health insurance policies of private and semi-government agencies are meant for the rich people (the premium for Mediclaim is about Rs 3000 for Rs 1 lakh!). Moreover, these schemes are not pro-customer, but company-oriented.

The problem with the government is that the country is confronted with too many diseases due to poverty, polluted environment, contaminated food etc. Consequently, the cases of hospitalisation are much more in India than in any other developing country. In such a scenario, health insurance, that too, with very low premium, would be suicidal.

We are between the devil and the deep sea. Private sector health insurance is not for the poor. And government-based health insurance is practically not possible. There must be some other mechanism (other than state-run) to help the poor.

SUDESH K. JAIN,Roorkee (Uttaranchal)

Rural university

The Punjab government’s nod to a rural university at Talwandi Sabo is yet another feather in the cap of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Earlier, by enacting The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 and later by setting up a veterinary university at Ludhiana, he had demonstrated his concern about the farmers, especially those in the Malwa region.

Punjab is basically an agricultural state with highest percentage (about 30 per cent) of the Dalit population in India. Situated below the river Sutlej, the plateau of Malwa constitutes two-thirds of Punjab area and houses bulk (about 60 per cent) of its people.

It is, therefore, hoped that the above measures will go a long way in bridging the rural-urban divide and reduce social inequalities in the most backward and underdeveloped natural geographical region of this north-west border state.

Prof S.M.S. CHAHAL, Punjabi University, Patiala

Print media vs TV

According to a survey, the print media is beating the television and has emerged stronger in the last three years. The reason: the increasing focus of the print media on localisation, colour, graphics and cheap price along with availability. The increasing literacy rate in the country is a positive sign for the newspaper industry.

However, the reason behind the television’s downfall is increasing competition among various channels. While running after money and profit, they forget to make a balance between the quality of news and quantity of advertisements and money.

Though print medium is showing a rapid growth, it should not forget its ethics. The front page should cover the news of national interest only. Television channels can improve their image and reputation if they stop showing the rubbish.


A futile exercise

The 24-hour strike by Leftists unions on December 14 was a futile exercise. The Leftists who master-minded the agitation, against the policies of the UPA government at the Centre, are sadly mistaken if the average Indians have taken their act seriously. In fact, they are fooling themselves by achieving nothing.

The UPA government survived with the support of the Leftists. If they are serious about the government’s failure to improve the workers’ welfare and benefits, what prevents them from withdrawing their support to the government? Apparently, they want to have the cake and eat it too. They know that once this government falls, they will be nowhere in Indian politics.

Capt O. MATHAI (retd), Thiruvananthapuram

Contract jobs

The pick and choose policy of awarding grades to various categories by the Punjab government and the Punjab State Electricity Board is quite unfair and undemocratic. This will cause mutual jealousy, suspicion and frustration among the employees which will not be in the government’s interest.

The government should do justice to all categories of employees. Moreover, the government’s financial health is not good. Mere propaganda and advertisements will not do.




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