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Need to remove bottlenecks in RTE

Harish Dhillon’s article, “Assessing school education” (Education Page, April 27) accentuates the urgency for a thorough brainstorming on various aspects of the Right to Education (RTE) Act for its efficacious implementation.

The thorny challenges like defining and identifying the neighbourhood schools, modalities for enrollments towards 25 per cent quota in private unaided schools (since screening test is banned), furnishing of adequate physical infrastructure and human resources, the rationale of substituted admission criterion of ‘skill-appropriate class’ with ‘age-appropriate class’, repercussions of keeping admissions open round the year and compulsory promotion of children to the next class from the standpoint of qualitative education need to be addressed immediately after eliciting the views of all stakeholders.

The RTE Act, if implemented, in its true spirit, which is possible only through collaboratory efforts of all facets of the state and civil society, will transform the constitutional vision of egalitarianism into reality.

RAJINDER GOYAL, Bahadurgarh (Haryana)

Dismal scenario

The editorial “Paying more for power” (April 26) rightly questioned the Punjab government’s decision to hike the power tariff in summer when there are frequent, unscheduled and prolonged power cuts. People’s hope that the unbundling of the PSEB would improve power supply has fallen flat.

Zirakpur and surrounding villages are worst hit by power cuts. Residents are unhappy. Students find it difficult to prepare for their examinations. What kind of electric shock is needed to awaken the power supply authorities from their deep slumber?

D.V. JOSHI, Bartana (Zirakpur)

The MCI scam

The damage caused by what Modi is purported to have done through the IPL pales into insignificance by what Ketan Desai, the Medical Council of India president of MCI, has done for many years now. Modi had made a phenomenal success of an idea, but in the process diverted money by clandestine means to his benami holders.

Desai, however, has struck at the roots of advanced professional education, holding in jeopardy the quality of doctors from such highly suspect institutions certified by him. What a travesty that Desai is even the president of the World Medical Council!

Desai’s shameful doings are unpardonable and he must be given exemplary punishment to act as a warning to heads of similar professional councils in the country.

R.NARAYANAN, Ghaziabad

Woes of undertrials

In his speech at the Madras High Court, Chief Justice of India Justice K.G. Balakrishnan has rightly pointed out that the country needed more courts and judges to reduce arrears. However, with over 30 million cases pending in various courts across the country, India would need prompt judicial reforms.

There are a quarter of a million undertrials languishing in jails. Over 20,000 of them are behind bars for more than five years. Of them, Bihar has 628, Punjab 334, UP 212 and Delhi 344. The right to speedy trial is almost a fundamental right, upheld umpteen times by the Supreme Court.

The Constitution guarantees the citizens the right to life and personal liberty and the state is duty-bound to protect it. As for the undertrials’ plight, the existing mechanism to vouchsafe their rights seems to have failed.

There is need for a foolproof system to settle the cases of undertrials in five years. If this is possible, the undertrials can be set free on completion of five years which otherwise is sufficient punishment in most criminal cases. This may be a short-term major, but it is essential to uphold their fundamental rights.

AJAY SHARMA, Advocate, Kurukshetra

Role of Pakistan Army

I read with interest Syed Nooruzzaman’s write-up, “Is Army takeover no longer possible?” (“Inside Pakistan”, The Tribune, April 24). As a retired soldier, I feel that this is a billion-dollar question that can only be answered by the Generals of the Pakistan Army and not by a democratic government.

If Asif Ali Zardari became the President of Pakistan, it was only with the blessing of General Kiyani. The same way, if Pakistan could get rid of the dictator who showed no sign of stepping down, it was again due to the role of the Army Chief.

Finally, if Zardari gave assent to the 18th Constitution Amendment Bill happily or otherwise, it was again due to the role played by the Army Chief. General Kiyani has so far steered himself away from a political role, and it appears that he is against Army takeover, not interested in creating any disruption in the way of the democratic process.

However, no law can prevent the Army from staging a coup as they are a law unto themselves. Bertrand Russel said, “Government can easily exist without law but the law cannot exist without the government”.


Perks of MPs

Very often our MPs grumble that they are poorly paid in comparison to their counterparts in other countries. Therefore, the Parliament Act pertaining to their salary, allowances and pension has been amended 26 times since 1954.

A dispassionate glance at their present salary and perks would reveal that our MPs are in no way less than their counterparts. Instead, it would be worthwhile to examine our MPs’ punctuality, attendance in the sessions and the number of the parliamentary meetings held, the number of questions asked per member, the percentage of participation in the debates, the number of motions moved and the standard of discipline and decorum maintained in and out of Parliament.




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