Blueprint for economic growth

After a spate of recent electoral defeats, both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs Sonia Gandhi must be realising that something is seriously wrong with the running of the UPA government. If a mid-course correction is not applied, the party may face more embarrassment in the general elections.

The Prime Minister’s first duty was to draw a roadmap of economic development and develop a strategy for its aggressive implementation. Unfortunately, like earlier Prime Ministers (Jawaharlal Nehru was the only exception), Dr Manmohan Singh also slipped on this issue.

The pressing issues confronting the nation are, population control, development of water resources and hydropower by building storage dams across various rivers, reduction of the heavy oil import bill, developing 50,000 MW power from thermal power plants at coat pit heads, sanitation and health programme, popularising solar energy and building strong infrastructure.


The Centre did very little to grapple with these issues and kept on parroting only one song ad nauseum “India has been maintaining 8 per cent growth. Indian economic may overtake Chinese by 2031. India must achieve double digit growth during the XI Five-year Plan”. People have already rejected the growth-sensex-feel good factor philosophy during the 2004 elections when the NDA government had achieved 8 per cent growth during 2003-04.

Similarly, though the Bharat Nirman programme was the UPA’s grand project, it was not executed effectively. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme too has generated more heat than light. The problem of jobless rural youth has remained unaddressed. As only two years are left, the UPA government would do well to chalk out a new strategy to regain the lost ground.



The UPA government’s three-year Report Card does not tell us much about how the aam aadmi has benefited from its rule because it refuses to focus on the real issues that are of concern to the common man.

It is only when figures are provided about the change in the number of decently compensated jobs, the change in the real wage rate, the change in the infant and maternal mortality rate that it will be possible to say whether the UPA government has really benefited the common man.

Boasts about the 9 per cent growth in the GDP mean nothing as much aggregate figures tell us nothing about the actual quality of life of the poor and whether improvements have taken place.

SUNIL M. CALEB, Chandigarh

Dhuri-Sirsa link

In Doaba after Ludhiana, there are several branch link lines from Phillaur, Phagwara, Jalandhar Cantonment, Jalandhar City and even from Beas (Amritsar) but there is no rail link from Dhuri up to Jakhal i.e. a distance of about 65 km.

There should be a rail link from Dhuri to Sirsa via Kanjla, Dug Bahadurpur, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal, Bhikhi, Mansa, Sardulgah and Sirsa (Haryana). This rail link will be beneficial to the government and people in the area.

It will connect Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Longowal, Bhikhi, Sardulgarh and other villages. These and villages like Dhuri, Mansa and Sirsa will all develop. The people’s representatives in the region should convince the Railway Ministry about the rail link.


Farmers must tread with caution

The Haryana government’s incentives to promote horticulture may help farmers diversify. However, those planning to switch over to horticulture should tread with caution.

State-owned power units like the UHBVNL may harass farmers when their orchards start blooming. They may no longer treat the farmers’ electric connections under the agriculture head and bill them as LT connections in the absence of subsidised power tariff for horticulture.

Consider our case. For over 25 years, we have been nursing mango trees in our 16-acre farm at Faizpur of Yamunanagar district. As the orchard came of age, the UHBVNL, Chhachrauli, peremptorily converted our 10 HP agriculture power connection to LT. For 12 months (Sept 2005 to Aug 2006), we were slapped a bill of Rs 38,000 as against the usual agriculture power bill of Rs 4200 for the same period. To save our mango trees, we paid the bill under protest and appealed to the authorities for justice, but to no avail.

As horticulture requires much less irrigation as compared to agricultural crops such as sugarcane, rice and wheat, the Haryana government should treat horticulture power as agriculture power connection.

R.L. SEHGAL, Faridabad

Rupee appreciation

The Indian rupee appreciated in terms of the US dollar. Exporters are making noise about the losses they will suffer due to this and the resultant adverse impact on balance of payment position.

However, there is good news for those planning to go abroad on vacation, for higher studies or for some other reason. Their travel cost is likely to come down as the Indian rupee gathers strength against the US dollar. An appreciating rupee has some benefits because the cost of all imports will come down. India imports three-fourths of its oil. As the value of dollar goes down, oil import becomes cheaper. Since oil prices are directly related to the rise in the prices of other goods and commodities in India, their prices will also fall down.

Dr MANDEEP SINGH, Yamunanagar

Real tribute

Important public places in our country are mostly named after political leaders. But what about our heroes of freedom movement whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated this year? All the public places should be named after freedom fighters or martyrs so that their names do not remain confined to history books.





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