High time for social security

The editorial “Ten commandments: At midpoint, PM turns to aam aadmi” (May 26) is candid enough to point out what prevents the Finance Minister from garnering sources out of industry. Political parties of all hues always pay lip-service to the common man, but do not want to disturb the core issue of social inequalities. The reason is, obviously, the vote bank.

The elite take pride in identifying themselves as givers of alms, thereby breeding unproductive human resources instead of contributing to the social uplift. They do not hesitate to ape the western lifestyle, but look the other way when told to follow the socialistic model of western countries. When Britain was fighting a deadly war against Nazis, the elite and the upper middle class had higher percentage of shirkers who evaded conscription.

At the extreme end were the poor who could not even afford clothes, though contributing their maximum to the war effort as they were the cutting edge of all battles. Where as the elite owned tidy private gardens, lush green exclusive playfield and protected properties.


Several western countries provide social security to senior citizens. In the UK, the National Social Security Bill became a benchmark for the otherwise feudal Britain and served as a doctrine of future with best political elements to fight vested interests.

As India is now on the road of economic boom, this is the right time for Parliament to enact legislation for social security based on corporate venture to ensure right to work, reasonable wages when unemployed and pension on retirement based on every individual’s period of employment.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana

Raw deal for Army

I endorse the views of Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd) in his article, “The ailing armed forces” (May 23). I do feel the pinch as an army officer’s wife, when it comes to running my house. Most Army officers’ wives have to work out of necessity, to augment their husbands’ meagre pay. Else, it will be difficult to even run the house in today’s rising prices.

As things stand now, leave aside ensuring the quality of life that an Army officer is expected to maintain, he can’t even think of sending his children to any good school, apart from Army schools. Army people, because of their poor pay are called becharas by businessmen and corrupt people. How painful for a soldier to be viewed like that!

When it comes to taxing, the biggest axe falls on the Army officers because they are the most honest tax payers. An army officer gives back to the exchequer nearly one-fifth of his salary in tax which is deducted at source. This further reduces his just adequate pay.

Most service officers have neither inclination for money matters nor have time for monetary manipulations. They are committed to their jobs and serving the nation. An officer holding a post in Siachen or at Bumla in Arunachal, or building a bridge near Uri, thinks only of his duty and not of money. It is the system which should look after his monetary health so that he can lead a quality of life commensurate to his rank and status.

The government should pay him well and milk him less in taxes. Investment in the Army is investment in the nation.

MADHU R.D. SINGH, Ambala Cantonment


Enforce the Act in toto

The Right to Education Act, 2005, which makes 8-year elementary education a fundamental right of the 6-14 age group children was passed with great fanfare. By now, it should have been implemented to rectify the mistake made in 1950 by the farmers of the Constitution who placed this provision in the Chapter on Directive Principles instead of the one on Fundamental Rights.

This Act also contemplates the common school system recommended by the Kothari Commission in 1966 and endorsed by the Central Advisory Board of Education in 2006. Sadly, the Act, which involves the future of crores of underprivileged sections, has been ignored by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

There is a need to enforce the Act in toto. The Centre must also issue comprehensive guidelines to the states on the methodology of its implementation and appointment of monitoring and evaluation agencies. The HRD Ministry should bring forward another Bill in Parliament, if necessary, and pave the way for its implementation at the national level.

Dr T.R. SHARMA, Patiala

Take up the cause

Just like the British government’s failure to abolish the Sati practice, the Centre and Kerala governments have also failed to resolve the controversy over non-Hindus’ entry into Sri Guruvayur temple in Kerala. When will India produce another great soul like Raja Ram Mohan Roy?

If social activists collectively take up the temple entry issue, they will be able to abolish the ban on untouchables entering temples.


Arbitrary attitude

The Punjab government issued directives on Feb 19, 1979, and Sept 20, 1979, under which Postgraduate masters became entitled to Lecturer scale. The Supreme Court upheld this in Bhed Parkash and Baij Nath cases in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

However, Punjab’s DPI, instead of implementing the judgement, has been creating hurdles. This has affected the old and weak masters very much. The government should give up this arbitrary attitude.

M.S. DIWANA,Gen Secy, PG Masters’ Union, Punjab, Batal



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