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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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

MNREGA can help in farm diversification

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) aimed at providing employment to the rural poor. It mainly focuses at taking up small projects/works by the village panchayats that employ the local people for repair/construction of village roads and small water channels based on local needs. The work done, so far, has given a boost to the road connectivity in the villages and it has become quite popular among the Scheduled Castes and other backward classes (OBC) group of women folk because of soft labour and an assured source of monthly income. However, the output of the work under the programme is quite low as compared to the wage rate paid to the worker which has also led to a dependency culture among the workers and they are hardly willing to work in other activities such as agriculture and allied occupations even at higher wages.

The small and marginal farmers have already lost interest in farming because of costly inputs and lack of timely availability of labour has further deteriorated the adoption of any component of improved technology. The MNREGA programme has, however, adversely affected the farm sector because of the unavailability of any labour in villages. In agriculture, the timeliness of operations is of critical importance. In spite of heavy mechanisation of agriculture, some of the jobs are labour-specific, and there is large-scale scarcity of labour for certain timely crucial agricultural operations. The problem of unavailability of labour has, further, taken a serious turn in the hill states like Himachal Pradesh, where agriculture remains less mechanised.

In order to have an overall development of the rural areas and to make the best use of the MNREGA, there is need to revamp/strengthen this programme in terms of an integrated approach so as to diversify agriculture in terms of horticutlure, floriculture and dairying etc. with the expert guidance of the state departments concerned and farmers as part of MNREGA. This, however, would be possible through the availability of agricultural labour for critical agricultural operations in time.

Dr. RANJODH SINGH, Palampur.



Tragedies

Why do some incidents/tragedies keep repeating? After the Delhi gang-rape incident, many incidents of rape and violence against women were reported. Recently, our jawans were killed by Pakistani troops without any provocation. Why do we see a repeat of the killing of soldiers along the LoC? Why do mid-day meal tragedies keep surfacing?

A repeat of such incidents exposes the lack of seriousness on our government's part. Merely announcing compensation is not a solution to these problems. Unless the government takes strict action as the US and many European countries do, we will never be able to check their recurrence.

DR MONIKA SINGH, Pathankot

Reply the US way

There have been many ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Its soldiers behead, mutilate and kill our brave soldiers; our political leaders issue conflicting statements only to demoralise the forces.

US President Barack Obama recently cancelled his meeting with Russia because it granted asylum to former US spy contractor Edward Snowden. Why do not we take such a stand against Pakistan? We should cancel all our engagements and peace talks with Pakistan. Merely lodging a strong-worded protest with the Pakistan High Commission would not help.

GURDEEP SINGH, Shahbad (Kurukshetra)

A gimmick

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh has claimed that he met Shankar Dayal Sharma, the then President of India, two days before the demolition of the Babri Masjid and that during the meeting, the President revealed to him about the demolition plan of the structure. I want to ask him: Is there any record of that statement? Why did he reveal the same only to Mulayam?

DR K V SHARMA, Karnal

Pension anomalies

The anomalies in the one rank, one pension scheme for ex-servicemen was sorted out by the government and a letter was issued on January 17 this year for the implementation of the decision. The anomalies were to be rectified from January 1, 2006, but the letter signed by an under-secretary of the ex-servicemen welfare cell ordered that the payments would be made only from September 24, 2012, and no arrears were to be paid. I fail to understand why from September 24 and not from January 2006. It is not bakshis, but their money and right which they are being deprived of by the government. Is it a welfare or anti-welfare cell of the Defence Ministry?

SQN LDR DHARAM SINGH (RETD), Kurukshetra





Forum for curative petitions

K K Puri's views in the letter 'Are Judges independent of executive?' (July 30) that "there is no dearth of judges who have delivered biased and partial judgments in favour of the government" are widely shared. After deep deliberations by legal luminaries, such aberrations in the dispensation of justice were sought to be corrected by providing a remedy in the form of "curative petition" in 2002.

However, this path-breaking legal reform has never been implemented, and not a single curative petition has been accepted so far, obviously because the judges are most reluctant to own their acts of omission and commission. In order to honour and implement the noble sentiments which went into devising the remedy of "curative petition", a special high-powered bench comprising retired judges and leading jurists should be set up to review and decide all curative petitions filed since 2002 on merits and not merely on technicalities. Leading intellectuals of the country, lawyers and social thinkers must press, and agitate for, the setting up of such a forum.

ASHWANI DUTTA, RTI activist, Panipat

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com

Editor-in-Chief

 

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