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Ills affecting Indian universities

In his article (The Tribune, Sept 24) Prof BS Ghuman laments, justifiably, on the deterioration in academic quality in the universities in India. The critic in the learned Professor introspects. He highlights that the noble profession of teaching has begun to acquire the very qualities of obfuscation and lack of accountability that the academics abhor. The issue is: Can we bring in a system whereby performance at all levels in the academic world is objectively appraised, measured and rewarded, or punished, as deserved?

The Government of India has introduced a system of performance management and evaluation of all institutions of the government, be they ministries or departments. Every ministry designs empirical indicators to adjudge its own performance. This measure of administrative reform is based essentially on self-assessment, followed by a critical review, within the Cabinet Secretariat, by a panel of distinguished independent experts.

Most state governments have designed similar performance management systems on the pattern of the Government of India. In the face of doubt from within the echelons of the government itself, some slow and hesitant steps are being taken in the country.

Following Professor Ghuman's lucid analysis of the ills afflicting the universities, is it possible for the temples of learning themselves to design arrangements for appraisal and accountability at all levels within? Considering that the universities have abundant intellectual inputs readily available in-house, they can assuredly create systems that promote excellence with their existing resources. Perhaps Panjab University, Chandigarh, could lead the innovation.

Performance Management,
Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public administration, Punjab

Fight for credit

This is with reference to the editorial 'Playing the credit card: Shameful fight over Sangrur centre' (October 11). The controversy raised by political leaders on the invitation slugfest at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of a cancer hospital at Sangrur has lowered the politicians in the estimation of the public.

Although the annoyance of Parkash Singh Badal for not being invited to the Congress-dominated function is understandable, he must realise that 'who pays the piper has the tune'. The Congress in Punjab is a divided house and they perhaps wisely preferred to avoid confusion being more confounded to save Punjab from disrepute in full public view. The SAD's acerbic charges against the Congress that the hospital was not the Gandhi family's personal property and that it was not being constructed out of their personal funds were in bad taste. Why should politicians stoop so low for taking the credit while the aam aadmi pretty well knows who deserves it. It is good that the Punjab Chief Minister has conveyed his displeasure to the Prime Minister. It is enough to snub his political adversaries for infringing the niceties of protocol in public.

R M RAMAUL, Paonta Sahib


At such a high-profile ceremony, the Punjab Chief Minister ought to have been invited as a matter of course. It has been observed on many occasions that the ruling party wants to give the impression that all the social benefits and development activities in the states are going on with the funds made available by the Central government. The state governments (which are mostly governed by opposition parties), on the other hand, claim that they carry out these works. This tug-of-war over social benefit schemes between the Centre and the state governments is not confined to ambulance, MNREGA and PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yogna), but also extends to foundation stones and opening ceremonies of bridges, roads, stadiums, sewerage, overbridges, etc.


Unwanted flab

Apropos the editorial ‘Unwanted flab’ (October 15), how come a veteran leader like Parkash Singh Badal needs Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and media advisers to run the government? It is either a case of jobs for the boys or his lack of confidence in the competence and capabilities of his Cabinet colleagues. In any case, the Punjab government needs to get rid of such unwanted posts as the state's economy is already in bad shape.

SACHDI NANDA, Chandigarh

City Beautiful

In his middle 'Do not take away my hills’ (October 7), Rajnish Wattas has rightly pointed out that much harm has already been done, but can we stop the City Beautiful from becoming a concrete Jungle?

I would like to start a movement, named “Save Chandigarh Campaign”, by filing a PIL against the Ministry of Environment and Forests which has issued an NOC to Tata’s Camelot project. The government can ask the builder to reduce the number of storeys from 35 to 4, and accommodate others with flats somewhere else.


Needless ministerial ranks

This report, 'Punjab advisers with ministerial ranks bereft of legal sanctity' by Kanwar Sandhu and Ruchika M Khanna (October 14) exposes the truth and sincerity in the tall claims of austerity measures of the Punjab government. I personally feel that the money collected from me in the form of various taxes could have been used in a much better and efficient manner.

On the one hand, our cash-starved governments claim to be taking austerity measures, on the other public money is wasted by them just to serve the political purpose of keeping the flock together.

In case so many advisers are really needed in our ministries, a reshuffle is the need of the hour to give place to wiser people who can render good work without the need for this battery of advisers or sycophants.




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