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Take steps to reduce infant mortality rate

The figures revealed in the editorial Infant mortality(March 10) are not only shocking but also an eye opener. Early marriages, early pregnancies and reduced gap between pregnancies have been the major factors contributing to high infant mortality rate in India. The apathy of the Madhya Pradesh Government towards this vital aspect of health care is deplorable. On the one hand, the country is moving towards passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill while on the other hand we are keeping our women impoverished and undernourished.

The fact that states will not be able to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals related to maternal mortality rate by 2010 shows how serious the Centre and state governments are in taking care of the vulnerable sections of society.

A large number of women in India are anaemic and the discrimination against the fair sex begins from their birth. Low birth weight, lack of care of mothers during pregnancy and lack of proper medical facilities during delivery are major factors that contribute towards high infant mortality rate. Indeed, reasons cannot be an excuse for the inaction of the state governments. It is time the state governments woke up and took effective steps to reduce both infant and maternal mortality rate.


Quota Bill

The passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha is a beginning of a new chapter in Indian political history (editorial, Overwhelming response, March 11). However, the disorderly behaviour of the MPs of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and a handful of others was uncalled for and against the sanctity of Parliament (editorial, “Suspension of members”, March 12). 

The Bill represents a change in the male dominated society and is a welcome step in the right direction. Still it is a long journey. Besides reservations, education plays a key role in empowering women.

Dr SANJIV GUPTA, Perth,Australia


The editorial has rightly eulogised the Upper House of Parliament for the successful passage of one of the most significant Bills in India’s Parliamentary history. Indeed, history was created, when, after a delay of about a decade and half the Women’s Reservation Bill crossed the first hurdle. The Congress, the BJP and the Left also deserve accolades for showing political sagacity and ensuring the passage of this Bill.

Dr M K BAJAJ, Zirakpur


Being impartial to the intentions behind the quota for women’s Bill, one can say that it will help in the upliftment of women in the Indian society. Women have been marginalised in the male dominated society.

However, adequate precautions need to be taken to see to it that the most marginalised sections like Muslims and other minorities get their share of this reservation. The current overall representation of Muslims in almost all sectors of economy, bureaucracy, judiciary, legislature and other bodies is abysmal. Steps must be taken to bring them into the mainstream of the development process.



Indeed it is a matter of satisfaction that the Women’s Reservation Bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha which was hanging fire for nearly 14 years. If the Bill is also passed in the Lok Sabha women will have a greater voice in the development of the nation.



If the major national parties join hands on vital issues of national interest then they can achieve a lot. The Congress, the BJP and the Left have shown maturity in backing the Bill for women’s reservation. This is a great step forward and will provide a better place to women in society. Only those societies are considered developed which give an equal status to women.


Power of speech

IM Soni’s middle Sparkle in speech(March 12) was interesting and amusing. Hitler and Churchill made epoch-making war speeches and prepared the countrymen for supreme sacrifices. Today’s godmen too have the gift of the gab with which they hypnotise devotees. A speech is like a love affair. Any fool can start it, but ending it requires considerable skill and articulation.

BM SINGH, Amritsar

Sahayak’s need

To the news report Abolish sahayak system: House panel to Army(March 5) I would like to add that sahayak term is a misnomer and also highly misunderstood. A sahayak is certainly not supposed to work in the home of an officer or a junior commissioned officer. Rather he is an important link between the officer’s residence and his office. He is a selected person who can be asked to carry an important message, verbal or written, or a file from office to residence and vice versa. This task cannot be entrusted to a private servant. Sahayak could be termed an assistant.

Col M S BEHL(retd), Gurdaspur

Real empowerment

It is an irony that the celebration of International Women’s Day has become a ritual with juicy speeches, photographs of bigwigs and a microscopic minority of high society women stealing the limelight (Indu Swami’s article Empowering women: Celebrate the past, plan for future, March 8). The actual celebration of International Women’s Day will be meaningful only when a woman rag-picker, construction brick-kiln labourer, a sweeper and a housemaid are paid equal and adequate wages so that she can lead a happier life with dignity.

It is important that poor, illiterate, unemployed and socially disadvantaged women are organised so that they can fight for their rights. That alone will be true empowerment.

PURAN SINGH, Nilokheri 



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