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RTI Act will improve governance

The editorial 'A retrograde move: Parties united to weaken RTI Act' (August 3) brings to the fore political parties' unwillingness to come within the ambit of the RTI Act. To escape its purview at a time when the elections are a few months away will affect the political prospects of some of major parties like the Congress and the BJP.

The RTI Act can be an effective tool in strengthening the process of democratisation of various institutions. Inculcating a democratic attitude, particularly in organised groups like political parties, is not an easy task at this transitional stage of development of free India. Besides, it is a goal worth pursuing for the achievement of the declared national objectives.

Political parties are basic institutions in a democratic polity; their composition and quality of functioning have an important bearing on the governance of the country which impacts the lives of the teeming millions in numerous ways. Bringing the political parties under the RTI is a step in consonance with the direction Indian society has chosen so consciously.


Gadgil's thesis

The PM's call to all parties to act together on the issue of so-called reforms is almost simultaneously contested by Madhav Gadgil's repudiation of imitation of the West. I agree with Gadgil and believe that a vast majority of the people of this country also do so. Unfortunately for the country, a vast majority continues to be essentially illiterate, thanks to the efforts of our leadership's desire to perpetuate this state of affairs (they find it more convenient). That is why this nation is unable to fully understand Gadgil's thesis and say loudly - to hell with reforms.

V C NANDA, Chandigarh

Durga's suspension

Apropos the editorial 'Mining mafia in UP' (August 3), the arbitrary decision of the UP government to order the suspension of Gautam Budh Nagar SDM Durga Shakti Nagpal, known for her plain-speak and propriety, has sent a shock wave among the dwindling tribe of upright IAS officers across the country.

Ironically, the suspension follows her tightening noose on the powerful sand mafia active in the area under the protective patronage of its top-rung political masters. The suspension was ordered without even instituting a formal inquiry into the allegations levelled against her. The plausible reason being cited by the government for her suspension was to pre-empt the chances of the likely outbreak of communal riots in the area, alleging she had ordered the demolition of a mosque wall without following an established legal process.

The step has come as a shot in the sand sharks' arms to continue their nefarious activities in connivance with their political godfathers. The Akhilesh Yadav government would do well to revoke her suspension.


Road accidents

Fatal accidents continue to happen in Punjab. Special investigation teams are constituted and immediate relief amounts announced. There are some of the major reasons for accidents which are conveniently ignored. Drivers and conductors are outsourced from private contractors who ask them to perform their duties day and night without rest. They are paid only Rs 7,000 as salary. Earlier, employees of the 108 ambulance service and A to Z private sanitation company were on strike with the same grievance. Since such employees are appointed on contract, they are always under a constant threat of being fired. They are treated like bonded labourers.


Unemployable graduates

This refers to the editorial 'Distanced from quality' (July 31). The Haryana government should take stern measures to curb the unchecked growth of substandard engineering colleges in the state. Unfortunately, higher education in our country has not only been commercialised but also vandalised.

One of the recommendations of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education in the US is that "service and other employment opportunities should be created for students between high school and college and at stop-out points in the college, and students should be actively encouraged to participate." Our economy may have to be vigorously prodded to provide such openings for experiential learning.

A report by Aspiring Minds, an employability solutions company, says that of the passed-out engineering graduates, as per a survey conducted on over 60,000 engineering graduates across India, nearly half are not fit for any job. A significant proportion of engineering graduates was found unemployable in any sector due to their lack of proficiency in the English language, technical and cognitive skills.




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