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

Selecting the head of World Bank

After World War II, the World Bank was one of the five institutions created in 1944 to help developing countries. The most powerful countries in attendance were the United States and the United Kingdom, which dominated negotiations when the World Bank was created. The World Bank is, by custom, headed by an American, while the IMF is led by a European. The US has always chosen the president of the World Bank. In 2012, for the first time, some changes are taking place. Two candidates were nominated for the presidency of the World Bank who are not from the United States. President Barack Obama nominated Jim Young Kim as the next president of the bank.

In 2010, voting powers were revised to increase the voice of developing countries at the World Bank. Changes were brought about with the goal of making voting more universal, rule-based with objective indicators, and transparent.

Now, developing countries have an increased voice in the "pool model", backed especially by Europe. Additionally, voting power is based on economic size of the country. The ‘Delhi Declaration’ made by the BRICS countries with a view to end the hegemony of the West and to seek democratisation of multilateral financial institutions, affirmed that the heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund  be selected through  an open and  merit based process.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

‘Bharat Ratnas’

It would be unfair to say that sacrifices and loyalty of the armed forces have not been recognised by the nation. The guidelines for conferring national awards are clearly laid down. While Param Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Ashok Chakra are meant exclusively for defence personnel; the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri are awarded to civilians.

The defence personnel are authorised to use their awards as ‘suffix’ with their names, whereas all four civilian awards including “Bharat Ratna”, within the meaning of Article 18(i) of constitution do not amount to ‘title’ and hence cannot be used as prefixes and suffixes before the name of a recipient. Even the apex court has ruled that in the event of doing so, the recipient may be forfeited of that honour.


Plight of Punjab

Once a “rising star” of India, Punjab is lagging behind in every sphere of economic growth now (Prof RS Ghuman’s article “Enough of populism, now try growth”, March 28). Populism will ultimately prove dangerous for a state which does not have natural resources. There is no industry in Punjab. Youth want to flee from the state because future is bleak here. The grant of free doles has ruined our finances. One cannot hope to make good the mind-boggling deficit of Rs 80,000 crore in the next five years. Only a blame game will continue with the Centre for not pulling Punjab out of financial hell.

KS HOTHI, Chandigarh

Crime and politics

Many evils crept into our political system slowly after 1967, which represents a watershed. Our system of elections suffers the most, characterised by predominance of four Ms: Money, muscle, ministerial and media powers which are all-pervasive. The Vohra committee report vividly brought out 13 years ago the disturbing phenomenon of criminals and anti-national elements seeking to don the robes of politicians. After that the government announced with much fanfare the constitution of a high-power committee in August 1995 to break the nexus between criminals, politicians and industrialists. What the committee achieved is a national secret till date.

The indifference of the political parties and the government is evident from the fact that the issue of criminalisation of politics was not even on the agenda of a number of parleys held to push the agenda of electoral reforms after Vohra Commission’s report was made public.

It is only the Gujral government, acting on the direction of the Supreme Court, which decided to set up a ‘task force’ to deal with specific complaints relating to the criminal-politician nexus.

Former Election Commissioner GVR Krishnamurthi for the first time sought to stir the conscience of the politicians and the nation by presenting a grim picture of the extent of criminal rot in politics and thereby made out a strong case for immediate legislation and administrative measures.

The statistics given by Krishnamurthy make chilling revelations. One out of every 12 members in the Lok Sabha and one out of every 14 MLAs in state Assemblies are involved in criminal cases and trials are pending against them. One out of every 10 booths in the country is categorised as ‘hyper sensitive’.


Withering away

The Punjab government has bled the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy (“Punjab exchequer bleeds”, March 31).

Information collected under RTI Act, 2005, reveals that the Punjab Government has not reimbursed an amount of Rs. 162.18 crore to the warehousing corporation in respect of wheat procured and dispatched by it under Atta Dal Scheme. Adding interest on it, it amounts to over Rs 200 crore. The condition of agencies like Pungrain and other state procurement agencies might be similar.

The warehousing corporation took pride in giving maximum benefit to the government by its diversified and expanded activities and prospered by leaps and bounds since its inception when it owned no property in the sixties. Now, when the value of its assets has skyrocketed to trillions of rupees in the form of infrastructure, it is withering to become a non-entity. FCI also owes the warehousing corp an amount as Rs 439 crore imposed due to increase in storage charges.


Playing with students’ future

The statement given by the newly-appointed Panjab  Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka that a policy will be formed to stop the ‘loot' by private schools is timely. The so-called 'public schools' which have mushroomed in the rural areas of Punjab are fleecing the simple, uneducated and gullible villagers. They are making a mockery of education. They neither possess the required infrastructure nor trained staff.

Teachers who themselves cannot speak English are engaged in these 'English medium' schools at very low wages, to play with the future of children of poor farmers.

Besides exorbitant fees, students are forced to buy uniforms, textbooks, school bags and stationary at very high prices from prescribed shops.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |