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Parliamentary form of govt on its knees

The parliamentary system of governance suffers from an inherent weakness as it struggles to consolidate its position through consensus. Very few politicians use decent language. Gone are the days when in Parliament, while putting across their point, leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, C Rajgopalachari or Atal Bihari Vajpayee, through their eloquence, exercised restraint in the face of provocation. In the name of a ‘strong’ Lokpal some prominent persons are shouting at length for hours to prove that they alone are a paragon of virtue and the intentions of all those running the nation are wrong. Sadly, some parliamentarians have preferred to do street plays instead of deliberations in Parliament.

Do the parliamentarians have no spine to act on their own wisdom and conscience? The country has a big stake in them. They owe responsibility to the citizens. Today’s Opposition is tomorrow’s ruling party and vice versa in this coalition era of democracy.

The government should neither sulk nor yield to useless pressure tactics. We need to clean Parliament by electing only those who have integrity and guts to realise the people’s vision. Our Parliament is not a fish market; it is a temple where India’s fate is decided.


ID schemes

The decision of the parliamentary standing committee on finance to reject the National Identification Authority of India Bill (NDAI), 2010, is nothing but a retrograde step.

Most of the objections raised by the committee are illogical and it appears that the committee has become a tool in the turf war between two ministries.

A project, which was supposed to be one of the biggest achievements of the UPA government, has been deserted midway. The National Population Register’s (NPR’s) assertion of duplication of efforts will lead to a waste of more than Rs 1,500 crore spent out of the tax payers’ hard-earned money. The objections of the committee are, in fact, on the same basics that apply to both the NPR and the UIDAI, as the NPR is also enrolling residents rather than citizens.

The security issue is a bogey just to defame project chairman Nandan Nilekani’s sincere efforts.

The UIDAI programme is well-designed, using cutting-edge technology and scalable open systems. Giving a political colour to a transformational project, which has been widely appreciated in India and abroad, is absurd. The two ministries of the government should correspond with each other before the UIDAI project suffers an untimely death.


Undue harassment

The Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) has been introduced in central and state government departments, public undertakings and government educational institutions. The idea behind the scheme is that if an employee is held up for a long period against a certain post due to stagnation, he should be given some incentive, maybe, the pay scale of the next higher post, assuming the existence of the higher post notionally.

Some departments, however, have not been able to comprehend the true spirit of the scheme. Instead of allowing a higher pay scale on fulfilment of the criterion of period for a particular post with the approval of the competent authority concerned, the employees entitled to incentives are made to appear before a selection board or committee for interview, as if they are to be given fresh appointment to posts of a higher scale.

This defeats the very purpose of the career advancement scheme. An employee with a satisfactory service record and requisite period of service may be rejected depending on the whims of the selection board. All the departments should follow the spirit of the scheme and not try to victimise an employee for extraneous reasons.

GR KALRA, Chandigarh

Shun Walmart

This refers to the article ‘No Walmart, please’ (December 17) by Justice Rajindar Sachar (retd). It was indeed shocking to know that 92 per cent of everything that Walmart sells comes from Chinese-owned companies. The Indian market is already flooded with cheap Chinese goods giving stiff competition to Indian manufacturers.

It is an open secret that the Chinese labour class leads a very poor life as they are not paid handsomely for their hard work. I am not somehow convinced on the need to invite more number of foreign enterprises to enter the Indian market sidelining the Indian retailer. In 15 years of Walmart entering the market, 31 super markets have gone bankrupt.

Out of 1.6 million Walmart employees, only 1.2 per cent makes a living above the poverty level and the remaining starve to make both ends meet. Keeping Walmart’s track record in mind as elaborated by Justice Sachar, is it intelligent enough for the government to still go ahead with FDI?


Surpass goals in life

This has reference to the middle ‘A life-changing experience’ (December 20). Some incidents leave such indelible in print on one’s mind that they continue guiding and lighting our path in the journey of life. The persons you meet very briefly sometimes become your idols; events teach you the lessons of life. I would like to share with the readers the positive vibrations and inspiration that I gained from a book, ‘A story about a real  man’ by Borris Polevoi. The book is based on the real experience of the hero of the Soviet Union, Alexei Maresyev, who toiled hard to become a fighter pilot and achieved his goal of taking part in combat operations even after losing both his legs. The zeal, the determination, the spirit, the dedication were so strong in him that he fought and overcame all the possible odds and destiny.

No doubt, such endeavours need total commitment, the role of society and cooperation of others in carrying forward such efforts cannot be negated. I would like to quote a couplet here:

Phenk de chahe hawadis rah se har baar door

Jayegi manzil kahan jab zindagi manzil mein hai

(The essence of life lies in the goals, life is not reaching milestones but it dwells in surpassing them)




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