Making Punjab a progressive state

As Punjab goes to elections on February 13 to elect a new State Assembly, there is concern about the state of affairs in various fields. Punjab was the only state which bore the brunt of chaos, pain and trauma of Partition in 1947. It took the resilience of the proud and hardworking Punjabi people to rebuild their lives, and stabilise their existence in the state.

The armed and paramilitary forces of the country are volunteer forces. Those who have served therein have also made the maximum sacrifices in defence of the country, in the wars fought on the borders, which for the most part are in Punjab. It’s a tale of sweat, toil, and tears for those who have laid down their lives and/or return wounded and disabled. The causalities have been maximum amongst Punjabi soldiers.

Punjabis have had to migrate overseas in search of livelihood. Their remittances of several hundred million dollars annually have contributed largely to the country’s reserves over the last two decades. These funds have not yet fully been invested in the state’s development projects.


The plains of East Punjab were not irrigated prior to 1947. The Bhakra project did help, but the huge investments in leveling and preparation of the uneven terrain was undertaken by private investment of the local peasantry. Moreover, the irrigation of 60 per cent area is undertaken by the installation of private tube wells, again, through investments of peasant proprietors. These initiatives have contributed significantly to the country’s food grain production.

Punjab’s demographics do get distorted due to the influx of millions of daily wage migrant workers from neighbouring states whose families are counted in the population statistics, but generally do not settle down to schooling for their children, and other social benefits in health and maternity services. Also Punjab contributes a disproportionately large share of taxes to the Centre’s coffers in the levy of central excise duties, and central sales tax etc on high value white goods, consumer durables, petrol and diesel sales, motor vehicles, etc.

Sadly, the political leadership and administrative bureaucracy have lowered the standards of governance. This gets reflected in the state’s development in recent years. Given a stable regime for a few years, Punjab will bounce back to the forefront of India’s progressive states.



As regard governance, one has to confess that it is least publicised where it truly exists. Illusionists do attempt at creating a mirage. Selective presentation of statistics to prove your point is now an old wive’s tale. True governance (or its absence) in Punjab is visible in the level of government staff actually present in various offices and the availability or access to district officers.

It is conspicuous in the level of safety and punctuality of road traffic and in the health and hygiene of our children and women. On this count, I agree that a state like Kerala or West Bengal is certainly better governed than Punjab which has shown a rising crime graph, a skewed gender ratio and falling school results. The new government must focus on the human dimension of development.


Parliament vs judiciary

Parliament is sovereign in our Constitution. But this sovereignty lies within its large parameters which the Constitution adopting the principle of separation of powers as its basic structure, has earmarked for it. Surely, the judiciary is the sole interpreter of the Constitution. Whatever is not compatible with the intentions so interpreted is ultra vires and carry no value — constitutional or legal.

Parliament has no right to interfere with this right of the judiciary. If it does so, it will amount to the infringement of the principle of separation of powers which comprises the basic structure of the Constitution. If Parliament thinks that this position does not befit the present times, it can call the nation to elect a new Constituent Assembly to get it re-written or reframed.

Keeping in view the present position in mind, Parliament need not be aggressive. Otherwise, it may influence the judgement of the Supreme Court in many pending cases in which the MPs are involved — the cash for query scam, the office of profit Amendment, the legislation on reservations, to name a few.

BALDEV SINGH KANG, Bassi Pathana (Fatehgarh Sahib)

Craze for casinos

Goa Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane who has been gambling his way to retain his chair, now feels that Goa needs five casinos.
Why not have only four and as the fifth, convert the grounded River Princess into a casino instead of the state exchequer having to shell out a steep Rs 5 crore for removing a vessel that has been grounded from June 2000 on Sinquerim beach with political patronage?

If the state government is determined to remove the vessel, it should be re-floated with all the 40 MLAs on aboard along with the Goa Regional Plan 2011 and sent to a destination from where they could not return to further damage this once beautiful state of ours.




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