L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Need for education reform panel

Vipul Grover has written a timely, meaningful and analytical piece, “Coaching industry: A parallel education system” (July 27). It is sad that for IAS, state civil services, IITs, IIMs, AIEEE, AIIMS, NDA, one requires the coaching of private tuition shops. It is a matter of concern that the Ministry of HRD has not yet given a serious thought to this issue.

Of course, this menace warrants a multifaceted strategy to be adopted by the UGC and other autonomous bodies.

To tackle the problem at the macro-level, there should be changes in curricula, pattern of entrance tests, and above all, the mindset of students. Why can’t universities, colleges and secondary schools introduce counselling of students? We have to start from somewhere to check the growth of teaching shops. The Ministry of HRD should constitute an education reforms commission. The terms of reference of this commission should be restricted to coaching industry in India. 

Dr VK ANAND, Bathinda 


The article, “Coaching industry — A parallel education system” (July 27), has raised a pertinent issue of coaching classes. It must be kept in mind that coaching classes, by no means, are running any parallel education system. These classes have only tried to fill the void left behind by our schools and colleges. There is nothing wrong in having such centres, which are helping students to prepare for various competitive examinations. It is for the parents to decide whether they want to send their wards to these centres. Private tutors have been around for the last several years. Some educated persons have taken up the same concept and converted it into a business venture.

It must be appreciated that so long as these centres fufil their promises, there is no reason to feel the burden. If a child approaches a coaching centre for preparations and succeeds, there is hardly any reason to complain. There may be some coaching centres, which do not deliver after charging money. But all centres do not cheat their students.


Empower the CBI

This refers to the article, “The drive for Lokpal” (July 19). Going back to the people, as has been suggested by the writer, may not help, as the same bad lot may return again. Parliamentary democracy in its present form, tried for 60 long years, has not delivered. I think it is time to bring about a few changes.

A candidate should get a minimum of 50 per cent votes to be declared elected. There should be provision for recall, blocking entry of criminals, derecognition of parties who fail to secure a minimum prescribed number of seats.

About the Lokpal, the government has a point that it may lead to a parallel authority. Both the CBI and the Lokpal doing the same job would be an unnecessary duplication. One should be happy with a single authority, say the CBI, if it is made totally independent. The CBI should be empowered with all the features that we want the Lokpal to have.

Meanwhile, Anna Hazare should reconsider his decision to go on fast again. He has made his point. The government should also reciprocate with a positive mind. Ego and arrogance will lead us nowhere.

Wg-Cdr C L SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Storage houses

This refers to the article, “Avoidable Wastage of Food” (July 26). The article quite rightly depicts the deplorable condition of foodgrain management in our country and its consequences in the context of the Food Security Bill.

The agencies, responsible for storing nation’s foodgrains, are totally mismanaged and require complete overhauling and fine-tuning. The loss during procurement and distribution should be made public every year. An effective solution to such a serious problem lies in developing hi-tech storage houses. But all this depends heavily on the will of the political leadership in the country.


Indian Railways

The article, “Managing the Railways” (July 23), has failed to highlight the real issues plaguing the Railways. The Indian Railways has outgrown its size, and needs immediate restructuring. One way to reduce its obesity is to allow the states to develop and operate their own railway services within the states, and the Central Railways to run only the interstate lines. This single step will bring a lot of efficiency. The two great advantages of expanding the railway system are that trains can be run electrically saving a huge amount of fuel and foreign exchange. The problems facing the Indian Railways are: overloading of interstate lines and underutilisation of regional lines; slow rate of electrification and doubling of tracks i.e. 180 km per year (only 35% track length electrified so far); tardy progress of laying new lines within the states, and unlike Air-India, total absence of private sector participation.

The running of super-fast trains has become difficult because there is a local station after every 5 km. Presently, India needs new super-fast tracks to allow the trains to run at an average speed of 150 kmph. All these problems will be solved only if the Railway Ministry is thoroughly restructured and the portfolio is with the Prime Minister. The work of the ministry was almost paralysed when Mamata Banerjee operated it from Kolkata for two years.

RAM NIWAS MALIK, Engineer-in-Chief (retd), Gurgaon

A chameleon in disguise

The middle, “Double Standards” (July 25) by KR Bharti, has reflected the bitter truth, which is commonly known as haathi ke daant, khane ke aur, dikhane ke aur. This is deeply rooted in our society and prevails at all levels.

Once during a girl’s marriage ceremony I noticed “dowry items” being loaded on a truck with a bold slogan, “dulhan hi dahej hai”, written on its sides. What people often preach, they do not follow.

A doctor may ask his patient not to smoke and drink. But he himself may be a heavy drinker and smoker. A politician may lay emphasis on family planning, but he himself may have a large family. A teacher preaching punctuality may turn out to be a habitual late-comer.

These are a few examples of double standards. Some people have all the features of a chameleon, and they change ‘colour’ in no time.




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