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Haryana: Blazing a new trail

The editorial, “Bravo Haryana!” (Oct 16) aptly lauded Haryana for blazing a new trail at the Commonwealth Games when its sportspersons bagged 15 golds, four silvers and eight bronze medals. Remarkably, 54 sportsmen and women from Haryana constituted only 11 per cent of the 600-plus Indian contingent but got 27 medals, thus sharing a haul of 27 per cent of the 101 medals secured by the country.

Indeed, the Haryana government, according to its revised sports policy, has increased the annual budget for sports and youth affairs from Rs 1,400 crore in 2005 to Rs 3,200 crore. This has paid rich dividends in the international sports arena. Its earnest policy to promote sports is laudable.

Through an incentive programme, primary school students are encouraged to play at least one sport, ranging from kabadi and hockey to handball and boxing, in the school under an initiative called ‘Play for India’, thereby expanding horizons beyond the national obsession — cricket.

Clearly, such initiatives create a supportive environment and help generate and sustain the youth’s interest in sports. To encourage talented players to make a career in sport (less than lucrative unless one happens to play for the Indian cricket team), the Haryana government offers cash and government jobs as incentives. This allows athletes to pursue their passion without the fear of being driven to abject poverty (since many of them come from poor backgrounds) due to an injury or a slump.

DILBAG RAI, Chandigarh

A note of caution

While the probe into the Commonwealth Games mess is welcome, a note of caution is imperative. There is prima facie truth in the media reports about the bungling in the execution of infrastructure projects (jacking up of the rates and poor quality of the work done). This has been proved by the collapse of the foot overbridge near the games venue. This issue has been dealt with in a routine manner by blacklisting the contractor. The nation is yet to know about the exact cause of the bridge collapse.

The multiplicity of agencies inquiring into various aspects of the scam will hinder its time-bound determination and may cause confusion in the findings. This will stand the wrong doers in good stead.

The government has not made any administrative reshuffle to ensure that those involved are unable to affect the impartiality of the probe. Heads must roll and prominent players of this dirty game should be removed from the departments they are now heading.

The murky media stories about the perceived wrongs have caused immense damage to India’s image and one expects the probe will not be another exercise in futility.

S.C. CHABBA, Patiala

Focus on science

I read Dr V.G. Siddharth’s article, “Indian science is divorced from people” (Oct 16). Sir V.S. Naipaul’s opinion needs to be endorsed because most scientists follow the policy of least resistance and are engaged in incremental research and development programme rather then innovative projects.

Scientist alone should not be blamed for the present mess. In a situation where a scientist is expected to first look at the problem and then find a solution and then look for business opportunity, the majority is likely to look for the least resistance path, i.e. incremental science.

If the system can evolve a feedback mechanism where local societal problems requiring scientific attention are identified and then fed to the appropriate scientific community with well-defined objectives and time frame, the scenario of science divorced from people may change as indicated by Noble Laureate Prof Roald Hoffman.

In all this, care should be taken to ensure that the team that is addressing small local societal problems gets equal importance as with scientists working on problems to get nod from western institutions.

S.K. ANGRA, Scientist ‘G’ (retd), Chandigarh

Ratan’s gift

Ratan Tata’s historic gift of $50 million to Harvard Business School is sure to have stunned many American philanthropists. Ratan Tata is quiet correct when he called the donation a “privilege,” adding that it was a pleasure to “give back to Harvard a little bit of what it gave to me.”

Though his little donation was the largest received by the School, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust were not only the donors but Infosys Narayan Murthy’s $5 million to the Clay Sanskrit Library and the Mahindra and Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra’s $10 million donation to the Harvard Humanities Centre and few others raise eyebrows.

While the above donors keep in touch with Harvard University, they are not interested to donate the prestigious institute because higher educational institutions in the country are state-funded and not autonomous like Harvard. But people wonder why the Tatas, the Mahindras, the Murthys and others have not established educational institutions like the Harvard or our own IIMs with their donations which will give a boost to our education.


Pay pension arrears in full

After some initial reluctance, the Punjab government has finally decided to pay its employees and pensioners arrears of pay and pension in three yearly instalments. Apparently, no thought has been given to the very old pensioners in their late eighties and nineties who are in the evening of their life. Their number is not very large.

Shouldn’t they be paid arrears in full promptly so that they get better medical care before they fade away? In fact, all the pensioners above 75 years of age deserve special consideration in this regard.

Punjab is rich in resources. What is needed is a well thought-out economic policy and its efficient execution, and a check on wastage, populist expenditure and malpractices.

Dr P.S. CHANANA, Patiala



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