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What about teaching standards?

In the editorial “Teacher’s gain” (Dec 18), you have rightly observed that the pay hike will help attract talent. However, the pursuit of learning and its dissemination have rewards beyond pay parities and hierarchical equivalence.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has a direct responsibility for the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research in universities. How many universities has the UGC pulled up for not maintaining standards? Sadly, the UGC has stood by while universities and colleges have been set up in the most unplanned manner.

It is the duty of the teachers to provide quality education. They must play a crucial role in educational advancement. High levels of scholarship and a deep concern for the welfare of students must be their motto.

There is a need for continuous review and assessment of the professional excellence of these high services. Alas, the profession is cluttered with far too many people resting on “withered” laurels.


Distraught farmers

The editorial “Farmers in distress” (Dec 16) reminds us that in spite of six decades of planning and significant achievements in the agricultural sector, farmers are still committing suicide. Concerted efforts must be made to make small farming economically viable.

The policymakers have to change their mindset and recognise farmers and non-farm workers as the most vulnerable producers.

High priority should be given to investment plans in small-scale farming. Plus, a strategy for empowering farmers, within and outside agriculture, has to be evolved.

Low-risk farm-production and income enhancing technologies need to be adopted. Remunerative marketing and assured price support systems for the farm produce have to be developed. The banking and credit systems must be revamped and farm equipment made available for hiring at affordable rates.

A policy to control the exodus of farmers from farming activities to the cities must be coupled with reforms in the land-lease market. “ Agro-economic zones” can be set up. Plus, every village panchayat should establish a knowledge cell with IT connectivity especially with small farmers in mind.

Besides improving rural infrastructure, civil society should recognise small farmers as major contributors in making our country self-sufficient in food.

DR M S BAJWA, Former Director of Research, PAU, Ludhiana

Keep it up

The middle “Sound and fury” (Dec 18) by A J Philip was interesting. I am reminded of Mr Prem Bhatia, former Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of papers, who, like Khushwant Singh, would often share interesting and informative episodes from his distinguished diplomatic and journalistic career with the readers.

The Tribune was established on February 2, 1881, and continues to adhere to a unique set of values and standards concerning the common man. It would do well to introduce a daily column “From The Tribune, a century ago”, highlighting events and activities of yore for informative education and inspiration.



Mr AR Antulay, Minister of Minority Affairs, should know that he couldn’t be flippant in his utterances on an issue that has traumatised the entire nation. His remark on ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s killing demolishes the case of the Government of India that the killing was the handiwork of a bunch of Pakistani terrorists. It is an endorsement of what the Pakistani media has been alleging all along.

What’s more, one of the terrorists, Ajmal Amir Qasab, who was captured alive, admitted to the killing of Karkare and two of his colleagues. In this backdrop, Antulay’s irresponsible remarks are undoubtedly part of a calculated design to divert attention from Pakistan, provide ammunition to the Pakistanis to hit back at India, ridicule India’s charge and ignite the communal cauldron.

Mr Antulay must be fired, here and now. The government’s or the Congress party distancing from his so-called “personal observation” is not enough. It doesn’t even amount to condemnation and falls far short of what the situation demands.



The comments made by Mr Antulay, linking Hemant Karkare’s death with the ongoing Malegaon blasts case, are outrageous and irresponsible. The insinuation that so-called “Hindu terrorists” might be behind this episode is reprehensible. Mr Antulay has provided beleaguered Pakistan with proverbial “straw” to swim over international condemnation on the issue of export of terror from its soil.

His remarks remind one of the Batla House encounter episode where the sacrifice of Delhi police officer M C Sharma was questioned. Mr Antulay should have, at least, waited till the credibility of the ruling party had been restored in the eyes of the public after 26/11.




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