Freebies and sops won’t help Punjab

Dr Birinder Pal Singh’s article, “What ails Punjab’s economy” and former Lieutenant General Harwant Singh’s piece “High time for harsh decisions” (Sunday Oped, Jan 20) were very perceptive. I agree with their views that sops and freebies can never be permanent solutions to the people’s problems. People want quality education in government institutions, adequate health services in government hospitals, creative and productive skills for their children in government technical institutions and employment opportunities.

In the given circumstances, is the state government in a position to provide all the basic facilities to the people in rural and urban areas? No doubt, the farming community is facing acute financial crisis but have sops provided so far improved their financial condition? No. This is because their children don’t get opportunities to get the facilities mentioned above. All these facilities are very costly in the private sector.


Why don’t the government discuss the state’s financial health with all political parties, intelligentsia and specialists? Setting up of Adarash schools at the cost of existing ones, unproductive projects, etc. will not solve the basic problems. Power crisis is becoming acute day by day. The water table is depleting because of “agrarian wrongs”. The Malwa belt is in the grip of cancer. There is no end to tax evasion and other economic offences. The bureaucracy is partisan and not people-friendly. Wastage and corruption are rampant.

Where should the people go in the absence of basic essentialities of life? Why does not the government encourage the formation of self-help groups? The youth must be saved from drugs and violence.



Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd) rightly condemned the bribe of subsidies to voters at the cost of priority spending, i.e. education, healthcare, infrastructure etc. Many candidates even fail to clear the written officers’ entrance test due to poor standard of education, caused by the illogical caste-based admissions in elite institutions. The Army is having a dearth of officers. How will it have dedicated officers if this is the state of affairs?

In welfare democracies the world over, the crutches of reservation are given only to the physically challenged. This is the general norm abroad. It is only in India that we follow the feudal era’s merit-killing caste-based reservations.


Life and sorrow

Khushwant Singh’s “Life and Sorrow” explains how Mirza Ghalib expressed pain and sorrow through his poetry. Actually Ghalib’s own life was full of sorrows. The biggest tragedy of his life was that he had no child. His wife gave birth to seven children but none of them survived. Ultimately, after living a secluded life for many years, his wife decided to adopt her sister’s son.

Ghalib opposed the idea fearing that the adopted son might also die. But his wife adopted her sister’s son who was a promising poet. Mirza Ghalib’s fear turned out to be true. His adopted son also died in his twenties, leaving behind two sons.

Ghalib remained penniless throughout his life. He was fond of English liquor and was also a spendthrift. He would spend his salary within few weeks so he used to borrow money either from his friends or moneylenders. Ghalib, however, led a cheerful life. His sense of humour is as popular as his poetry. He never lost his inner strength and weathered all life’s storms boldly. We are so sensitive that even a minor issue can become the reason of our permanent depression. We must learn a lesson from Ghalib.


Making distant education popular

I read Harihar Swarup’s column, (Perspective, January 20). The Tribune, has given a new twist to the education development in our country. The pioneer of distant education, Prof. V. N. R. Pillai, currently Vice-Chancellor of IGNOU, and Chairman, Distant Education Council, has revolutionarised the traditional form of learning into a new education movement for those who cannot join the educational institutions due to economic and social obligations.

The distant education which only 22 years old, has done commendable job in sustainable development of our country. Therefore, through the sustainable development in education, it will benefit those students who fail to get admission in the IITs and IIMs and other coursed to turn their dreams into reality.

The distant education through correspondence by IGNOU and other universities in India is a real boon for those who are unable to get admission or have left their studies in between, especially in rural areas where higher education facilities are not available.

In the present scenario, there is a huge challenge before open and distant education system to make it a “movement of education” to contribute more and open new roads for the development of future generations.

D.V. SONI, Nalagarh (HP)



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