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Poll manifestos reflect freebie culture

The editorial ‘Poll promises in Punjab’ (January 24) has rationally reflected the similarities in the manifestos of both the SAD and the Congress. A long-term vision for development of the state is lacking in both. Both promise to make the Lokayukta stronger to combat corruption without putting the Vigilance Bureau under the Lokpal. They want the VB to function independently without political interference and pressure from the government.

Both political parties indulge in competitive populism for wooing the gullible voters through electoral allurements. Both offer free power to farmers and weaker sections instead of reviving the state power corporation which is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Neither party talks of functional sewerage, sick industrial units, cutting administrative extravagance by politicians and bureaucrats, providing transparent governance, curbing river and ground water pollution. Certainly, real issues and basic needs of citizens are completely ignored by freebie culture and state debt continues to escalate. Are these freebies justifiable?

Capt SK DATTA, Abohar


The SAD manifesto makes a promise to the people of Punjab to make the state a wonderland. Its leadership has been promising to develop the state on the pattern of California which is a distant dream. It promises laptops to class XI and XII students which appears to be impossible as Punjab is heavily in debt. It failed to give old-age pension, DA arrears to the pensioners and other benefits. If it really intends to bring the economy on rails, it should stop all the freebies, shun VIP culture, reduce security staff and other unplanned expenditure. It should put a complete embargo on foreign tours till economy improves.

PREM SINGH, Advocate, Mohali


One feels ashamed to read the manifestos released by the political parties to woo the electorate as they still promise to provide basic facilities to the people like water, sanitation, etc. After 60 years of independence, India has failed to provide basic amenities to its people.

So wooing the voters with these promises is not enough. The party that comes to power should rule because of its development work and not because of words alone.


Mega wastage

It is shocking to read the controversy on the UIDAI project between the Home Ministry and Planning commission. It is mega wastage of public money by two government bodies for the same kind of project. The Home Ministry is working separately on preparing National Population Register (NPR) with biometrics with an estimated cost of Rs 6,649 cr while the Planning Commission has appointed Nandan Nilekani to prepare the UIDAI which is given a budget of Rs18,000 cr.

People refer this project as Dr Manmohan Singh’s pet project which is now being opposed by the Home Minister after two years of take off. Biometrics collected by Nandan Nilekani are more authentic and efficient. All private players collecting biometrics for UIDAI cannot be ‘thugs’ as feared by PC Chidambaram.

The system offered and adopted by the government to prepare NPR is defective. Last year an enumerator visited our house twice to issue an undated acknowledgement slip with NPR No.0009 7774 and assured that somebody would come to take a photograph and other biometrics. Nobody has turned up till date. It would be better if all the three departments — voter I card, NPR and UIDAI — are merged under one authority/ commission and a register is made under one family code system by UIDAI to avoid duplication and wastage of money.

Dr BS AGGARWAL, Panchkula

API scoring

This has reference to the article ‘Evaluating Teachers’ (January 24). It can’t be denied that the UGC regulation on career advancement (CA) based on Academic Performance Indicators (APIs) is likely to turn teachers into credit-hunters for attaining higher API scores but the need for ranking applicants for higher positions in institutes of higher education can’t be undermined.

In this context, the CA scheme being pursued at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, deserves merit .It has all the ingredients of UGC regulations minus the API scoring. The fact that the scheme has been serving the interests of all activities related to teaching, research and extension education for more than 20 years deserves appreciation and consideration by academicians.

Dr YP GUPTA, Ludhiana

Thermocol harmful

These days school children are given various projects and models to be made to boost their imagination and practical knowledge, which indeed is a good step. Children use scrap, files and thermocol. After the project is made and submitted, it finds its place in dustbins of the school.

Thermocol (polystyrene) is a non-biodegradable plastic. Though it can be recycled, the rising prices of oil has had its impact on its recycling. As a result, thermocol has become a big source of pollution today. The question arises whether it is right to pollute the environment to make a model on ‘pollution’? Schools must take necessary steps to avoid unnecessary use of thermocol to curb pollution.


Epitome of honesty

The middle ‘Politics then and now’(January 25) gives two immortal examples of the austere and honest lives of two great politicians — former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri and Akali stalwart Giani Kartar Singh. Though honesty is the biggest casualty in politics and public life these days, great men like Sahstriji have left behind their indelible footprints regarding probity in public life and high places.

I am reminded of a telling anecdote that Shastriji’s son Sunil Shastri, a former MP, had a long time back shared with the media. Shastriji was then PM and Sunil, a teenager. Once Sunil insisted on having a joy-ride in his official car. An otherwise reluctant driver relented to the boy’s insistence and gave him ‘jhootey’(joy-ride). When Shastriji came to know of it, he immediately deposited in the treasury  the amount of money spent on petrol from his pocket and forbade the driver from repeating the blunder. What an epitome of honesty!

The Pope aptly says, ‘An honest man is the noblest work of God.’




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