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New way to measure backwardness

This refers to the editorial ‘Slicing the Central pie: Rajan formula effective, if no politics' (October 7). The Raghuram Rajan Committee has done a yeoman’s work by recommending a new index of backwardness of Indian states. It can play a positive role in removing regional disparities from our big country. The panel has studied very carefully the most important indicators for monthly per capita consumption expenditure, education, health, household amenities, poverty rate, female literacy and urbanisation rate, etc for measuring backwardness of different states. According to its findings, the most backward states are Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The poverty rate in Orissa and Bihar is very high. Kalahandi in Orissa has hit the headlines of our national dailies very often for starvation deaths. Such backward states must get special packages for fighting poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. It is quite painful that millions of rural poor continue migrating from these states to developed states like Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana in search of greener pastures. This massive inter-state migration within India can be effectively checked by developing such backward states thoughtfully. Punjab and Haryana should also get more funds as they have been improving their performance in the fields of rapid urbanisation, female literacy and industrialisation. There should be no politics in Central fund allocations to different states.


SC welfare?

This refers to the news item (October 3) regarding the Social Welfare Minister slamming the Centre for doing nothing for the Scheduled Castes in Punjab. The statement is absurd. I want to ask the Akali-BJP government and all Punjab SC ministers whether they really stand by the SC members? A minister should refrain from blaming other governments. Many SC candidates, who get merit positions in the general category in various competitive exams, are discriminated against. Various funds given by the Union government for the SCs are diverted by the state government. It is true that not a single SC minister can come forward to address their legitimate rights despite knowing about atrocities and discrimination against them in their very own state.

In Punjab the SC population is higher as compared to other states. Still they are deprived of their constitutional rights.


A good doctor

We are deeply grieved to know about the death of Dr Jai Gopal Jolly. Patients owe a great deal to him for getting safe blood. Before him, poor labourers and rickshaw-pullers used to sell blood, which was quite unsafe. These poor people, who have hardly any blood in their bodies, were compelled to sell blood for money. It was due to Dr Jolly’s efforts that blood banks were created and the practice of safe blood transfusion started.


Sunset soldiering

It was a great feeling of pride while reading "Sunset soldiering" (September 20) by Raj Kadyan. Being the wife of an army man and having seen them closely, I have no doubt in the abilities of men and women who adorn the uniform. "Once a fauji, always a fauji" needs no elaboration. The feeling of selflessness, brotherhood, organising capabilities and many more qualities are inbuilt in soldiers. No wonder in one of the surveys conducted by a TV channel, 43 per cent youth voted defence as the best organisation/ institution in the country closely followed by the media at 23 per cent.


Honour commitments

This refers to the report ‘Tatas to invest in Punjab’s infra projects' (October 6). The Punjab government has requested industrialists to set up industries in the state to which Infosys and the Tatas have responded. Lakshmi N Mittal, an NRI, had invested crores to set up the Bhatinda refinery. The Punjab government had promised to disburse an interest-free loan for Rs 250 crore to HPCL and Mittal Energy Ltd (HMEL) as per the deed signed in 2005 for the first five years amounting to Rs 1,250 crore at the end of each year beginning from the date of commercial production, but the government has not released money on time.

The state government should know that the industry in Ludhiana and Jalandhar has not been given electricity and other facilities. Meetings have not solved their problems. Big industrialists are leaving Punjab for states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The Punjab government is almost bankrupt.

SAHIL GARG, Chandigarh

Ill-timed pay panel

The government recently gave its nod for the Seventh Pay Commission. Though it was unwanted and untimely, I am sure it will generate votes. If we compare the efficiency of government employees with their remuneration, we find the employees, especially teachers, clerks and bureaucrats, are grossly overpaid. They aren't worth half of what they get. The clerical staff are known for pushing papers, a root cause of sponsoring corruption. Academic results speak a lot about the efficiency of teachers. Bureaucrats are infamous for delays and bottlenecks.

Our country’s financial health isn’t that sound to bear this huge burden. This proposal must be put on a back-burner for at least 10 years. In case it is impossible to revoke the decision, then freebies like free railway pass, fuel reimbursement, interest-free loans, free electricity and telephone calls up to specific units etc must be withdrawn.

The money saved can be better used to set up a domestic armament manufacturing unit, which will lessen the dependence on foreign suppliers and provide employment. The government always looks after the interests of its employees and ignores the huge workforce in the private sector. The Minimum Wages Act needs amendments so that private sector personnel can come on a par with government employees in terms of remuneration.




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