High time to strengthen panchayats

I welcome the Haryana Administrative Reforms Commission’s decision to form a special committee to make suggestions to strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and municipal bodies. This was long overdue. Though all the mandatory provisions like constitution of election commission and holding of regular elections, providing reservations and setting up of state finance commission have been met after the enactment of the Constitution 73rd Amendment Act, little has been done to strengthen the PRIs. Nothing concrete has come out even after the signing of MoU between Union Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in August 2005.

The bureaucracy still dominates over the PRIs. The elected representatives have to look to the bureaucracy and technocracy. What has the government done to devolve funds, functions and functionaries? I would impress upon the HARC Chairman to focus on devolution of funds, functions and functionaries lock, stock and barrel to strengthen the institutional mechanism at the grassroots.


The Panchayat Sector should be created in the Budget and 40 per cent funds should flow to the PRIs on the Kerala pattern. The Zila Parishads should function like district governments. All the departments dealing with 29 subjects listed in XIth Schedule should be brought under the ZP umbrella.

There should be a secretariat in each gram panchayat. The Sarpanches’ honorarium should be raised from Rs 1,000 a month to Rs 3,000. The PRIs only can provide a regular and permanent institutional structure for delivery of services to the people.

PURAN SINGH, Chandigarh

Banish the evil

In the context of the increasing honour killings, social organisations and right-minded people should exert their influence to banish this evil. In a caste-ridden society, it is a great risk to marry one who is out of caste, that too, without parents’ consent. It is easy to go in for civil marriage, but it is well nigh impossible to maintain or sustain it in the face of caste or gotra norms and traditions. The police, the executive and even the judiciary are helpless in these sensitive and explosive cases. One cannot wish away religions, castes, sub-castes, ethnic groups and tribals whimsically.

The world has become a village. Discoveries, inventions, information technology, computer science and space navigation have created a new world in which age-old accepted values, deep-rooted traditions and taboos still persist, though new ways of life are being adopted to meet the fast changing world.

The new vision of world peace, universal economic prosperity, social security and human dignity is rising. A caste-less society is the need of the hour, but it will take a long time. In any case, dialectical change is inevitable.

Prof HARI SINGH, Kheri Jat (Jhajjar)

CBSE syllabus

The introduction of the CBSE syllabus in the Punjab School Board schools will adversely affect most schools since the standard of education has fallen. Last year, the matric exam result was 55.88 per cent and the middle exam result was 55.38 per cent (according to the old syllabus).

What will happen when the CBSE syllabus is introduced is beyond the comprehension of most teachers and students. Even in the CBSE schools, the students get private tuition in science and mathematics where as Punjab school students cannot afford to incur such expenditure on tuition.

Moreover, teaching of three languages has hampered the progress of teaching of science and mathematics. It is time to think about the consequences of the results of  middle and matric examinations in future.


Drop the clause

I read the news-item, “Drop unearned income clause: Minister” (Feb 12). As per statutory rules for the allotment of land to societies, the society members can sell/transfer their houses/flats after five years from the allotment of land to the society. Nevertheless, the Chandigarh Housing Board, while allotting land on behalf of Chandigarh Administration to the societies, laid down the stipulation of 15 years from the sale/transfer of flats. This stipulation, being repugnant to the original condition of five years as per rules, is invalid.

The Chandigarh Administration has, therefore, rightly decided to withdraw the condition of 15 years and restore the original provision of five years. However, why was the clause on unearned income to be paid introduced for those who have already purchased the houses/flats from the original allottees? They are in possession of the houses and cannot be asked to pay at this stage any amount of unearned money.

The Chandigarh Administration should drop this clause and order transfer of houses to them in all cases where the period of five years has clasped since the allotment of land to the society.

G. R. KALRA, Chandigarh

Wrong name

In my article on Justice Khanna (Perspective Page, March 2), I have attributed certain remarks made in 1976 to US President Reagan. I am sorry, by inadvertence, a wrong name has been mentioned. The remarks attributed were made by President Gerald Ford.


Flip side of the economy

India may be leading at the forefront in terms of robust economic growth, but what about the plight of the poor people who are struggling to eke out a living? According to a report, 83.6 crore people are able to spend only Rs 20 a day on an average.

In the Human Development Index, India ranks 128 in the world. This is sad. Since the majority of the population resides in rural areas and their major occupation is agriculture, our farmers are suffering from fund crunch. The government’s anti-agriculture policies have led to farmers’ suicide.

The government must frame strong pro-agriculture policies so that the farmers get the maximum benefit such as timely financial assistance and so on. Needless to say, India’s overall growth depends upon the growth of agriculture.

MAHESH GARG, Guglehar (Una)



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