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Test of reforms rests with babudom

It is a happy augury that the Punjab government has taken an initiative to introduce administrative reforms like simplification of procedures, providing single-window services with a view to giving speedy services to the people (editorial, “Responsive governance: Will babus do what is needed?”, Nov 30 ). However, I agree with the editorial comment that the “proof of the pudding will lie in the eating.”

Even if the proposed reforms are fully backed by political will, the babudom is such a powerful though rusted steel frame that it will not let it happen easily. There have been instances when bureaucrats have used Red Cross funds for their own comforts. The manipulation of the policy by the babus speaks volumes of the integrity of this elite service to deliver justice and to give good governance to the people of the country.

On the other hand political bosses more often than not remain busy in their internecine political rivalries and in amassing wealth which they gather to fight the next elections and send their children abroad for studies. Whatever more time they find, it is used to get their favourite government servants adjusted in key positions in their constituencies who may act as their political agents to get them elected in the elections. Being so keenly involved in these pursuits, how can political bosses have time to monitor the implementation of the policies they had framed for the benefit of aam aadmi?

The editorial has rightly concluded that the touchstone of the success of reforms will be whether or not the common man is benefited and his grievances redressed.

R M RAMAUL, Paonta Sahib

Letters to the Editor

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Parliament standoff

H K Dua and Kuldip Nayar’s articles (Dec 1) rightly lambasted the present standoff between the BJP and the Congress, which has led to Parliament becoming almost paralysed and dysfunctional for more than a  fortnight now.

 In their succinct analyses, the writers have held the unholy nexus between some greedy politicians and corrupt bureaucrats as solely responsible for this particular impasse as well as for widespread corruption and deteriorating moral standards in the country.

The unruly scenes witnessed within Parliament recently are not in consonance with the well-established standards of decency, decorum and discipline that we once boasted about.

While Mr Dua advocates, on behalf of the ruling party, “JPC is not the only way to get the truth out of the government on the 2G scam”, Mr Nayar makes no bones about calling the entire system as “rotten”; after recalling the bitter experience of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the “strong and united” bureaucracy that prevented his government from functioning.     

It is time our political leaders, constitutional experts and other right-thinking citizens combined their efforts to debate relevant issues for the restoration of primacy of Parliament. Other important aspects like reining-in the corrupt bureaucracy and punishing the guilty too must be discussed. An erring bunch of corrupt bureaucrats and unscrupulous politicians cannot be allowed to take the entire system for a ride.


Don’t question India’s integrity 

The events that took place in the last few days shook my faith in the so-called intellectual class of India. It filled my heart with pain when I saw Ms Arundhati Roy boasting of her patriotic credentials committing a faux pas unparalleled in my experience.

As a righteous youth I want to ask the following questions from these so- called intellectuals: Do we as Indians still lack a proper base to define what this country is all about? Do we have to declare that the freedom to express is far more important than the integrity which secures that freedom? Do we still need a discussion even after 60 years as to what constitutes Indian territory? 

I repudiate the claim of Ms Roy at the very first instance with the following arguments: Do you want every Indian to question the integrity of our nation just because he/she is facing problems?  

Today’s youth doesn’t have an idea as to what our country is all about and is likely to get more puzzled with her statement. If this trend goes on, the day is not too far when we may be fighting to write another Constitution to fight all these issues. But it is not the Constitution that has failed us. Rather it is we who have failed the Constitution. 

Let us fight together against sinister designs to divert our attention from core concerns. The real fight is to make the country work and not to question the country. We must stand united against any attempt to question the identity and integrity of our nation because it is the whole that is far greater than its parts.




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