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Time to make elections cleaner

V Eshwar Anand has presented a comprehensive analysis of the challenges which must be addressed by the Election Commission to save the democracy (“Electoral reforms: Election Commission has to do a lot more”, Feb 17). The EC must ensure a strict ban on the entry of persons convicted by courts of the land into the state legislatures and Parliament. Money and muscle power in elections have attained gigantic proportions.

The writer has rightly observed: “The statutory expenditure ceiling for every candidate—Rs 25 lakh for a Lok Sabha seat and Rs 10 lakh for an Assembly seat—is observed more in breach than in practice.” Expenditure incurred by and on behalf of the candidate should be taken together to consider the violation of the statutory ceiling. Only then, the culprits can be booked and the menace of money power in elections can be curbed.



The Election Commission appoints observers (expenditure) in each constituency to keep a check on the expenditure being incurred by each contesting candidate. In practice, generally these observers take such duties as paid holidays with additional perks like hospitality etc, provided by the local administration. They don’t try to get real inputs on money being spent by the main contestants, and send reports on the basis of data provided to them by junior functionaries attached with them by the local administration. Hence, the Election Commission doesn’t get the desired input to curb the menace of ever-increasing role of money power in elections.

All political parties try their best to circumvent the statutory ceiling by not making public the sources of their income and details of the expenditure. There must be a statutory body to regulate the flow of funds to political parties and disposal thereof, particularly during the elections.


Police training

The training of the police personnel is an imperative (editorial, “Policing Punjab”, Feb 17). The police will have to change radically in order to become people-friendly. During their basic training, policemen need to be sensitised about human rights and how to handle sensitive cases.

Our police personnel need to be taught skills and sensitised about handling complainants who are already traumatised due to the mishap, which brings them to the police station in the first place. Another important element in police reforms is adequate manpower. Most state police departments are woefully understaffed with a large number of vacancies.

Another major reform that requires immediate attention is modernisation of the police force. The Indian police is one of the most ill-equipped in the world, even though India is one of the worst sufferers of terrorism. The police lacks fast vehicles, communication equipment and even proper weapons. The government should allocate more funds to the police for its modernisation.

RAJIV ARORA, Ferozepur City

Improve education

The editorial “Educated, in name only” (Feb 16) presented the real picture of the education system in India. If students of Class V in rural India can only read textbooks of Class II, teachers alone are to be blamed. In fact, education in rural areas is most neglected.

Surprise checks conducted by education authorities have often found that teachers are either absent or sitting idle. They are not serious about imparting education to students.

Besides, there is lack of discipline and condition of schools and infrastructure leaves much to be desired. India has not been able to set its education system right even after six decades of Independence.

HARISH K MONGA, Ferozepur City

Challenge khaps

It is gratifying that the persistent efforts of the media, especially The Tribune, against the inhuman and unlawful activities of khap panchayats have started bearing fruit (editorial, “Khaps beware!”, Feb 13).

Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala deserves all praise and support for his strong stand against the tyrannical khap panchayats. The firm stand taken by Kavita shows her will power to fight against these panchayats.

The need of the hour is to launch a strong movement against the khaps. The youth of the state need to be mobilised. Public debates, discussions and seminars should be organised to educate the people. The media can provide the needed momentum to the movement.

The government, social reformers, intelligentsia, religious leaders, political leaders, constitutionally elected panchayats and educational institutions should do their best to create public opinion against khaps.


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed in double space, should not exceed the 150-word limit. These can be sent by post to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030. Letters can also be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com
— Editor-in-Chief



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