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Separate defence budget

As an economist, I read Lt Gen SS Mehta’s May 23 article “Defence expenditure: Get value for money” with conviction. Akin to Railways, the new government should consider a separate budget for defence. Only then will be expenditure on defence be considered a basic necessity in our country and more emphasis will be laid on infrastructure development. There is a strong case for enhancing the defence budget so as to meet the tough challenges in view of the internal and external security threats.

Working in the Army should be made compulsory for the youth for five years, a step that will instil discipline in them. The economy, as such, will get a boost and problems like unemployment and farmers’ suicides will also be dealt with naturally.

The domain of military activities will have to be increased to include the agriculture industry in some manner. With Rs 22.24 lakh crore being earmarked for defence (a 10 per cent raise as compared to last year) in the interim budget for 2014-15, it is in tune with the objectives of inclusive and steady growth.

Prof MM GOEL, Kurukshetra

An eye-opener

The article by Lt Gen SS Mehta should act as an eye-opener for all readers, including those who claim to be experts on defence. Post 9/11, it took three presidential directives to set up the US Department of Homeland on Security. But all we have achieved post 26/11 is an investigative agency. The lack of coordination between various departments has been a huge letdown and reflects the casual approach of the governments. Imagine the impact on the moral of our soldiers when they are informed that the government has challenged their legitimate rights in the SC. And even after winning the case, the government fails to compensate. In such circumstances, how can we talk about a National Security Policy? What is wrong with our policy? Well, to begin with, we don’t have a National Security Policy, nor do we have the competence to frame one under the present system of bureaucratic controls.


Politics in defence

This refers to the article “Top Army brass at war with itself” (May 15) by Dinesh Kumar. The armed forces that once used to feel proud of being above the politics of caste, creed, religion and region no more enjoy that old respect. An avid reader of The Tribune since 1945, I have had the honour of being an instructor for training midshipmen onboard the INS Tir.

The Army’s reputation received a beating when the controversy surrounding the date of birth (DoB) of former Army chief General VK Singh surfaced. He had alleged that his DoB was deliberately manipulated to deny a particular officer the opportunity to head the Army. If not political manipulation, what else does Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s recent thanksgiving to the Centre over the appointment of Lt Gen DS Suhag (a Jat) as the next Army Chief signify? Couldn’t the UPA wait for the new government to clear the appointment?

Even during the NDA regime, the buzz was that the then Defence Minister George Fernandes dismissed Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat to pave way for his own man on the seat. Admiral Bhagwat did not commit any act of disobedience. Whatever he did was according to the Navy Act made by Parliament. Such decisions compel one to think that the armed forces are not immune to politics. The need of the hour is to ensure such politics is ruled out while making appointments to the top posts. Only the officers with an impeccable integrity should be allowed to handle national security.


HP: Cess on power projects

Sadly but indisputably, financial bungling seems to have plagued Himachal Pradesh increasingly over the past years. Populist policies by the successive state governments have aggravated the problem.

The fund-starved state should be allowed to impose a reasonable cess on electricity generated by hydro-electric projects located in its territory. Instead of closing the loss-making public sector undertakings, stringent steps should be taken to tone up their functioning. Fiscal discipline and efficiency are imperative to achieve this.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Welcoming daughters

Apropos the news item “Sonepat couple celebrates birth of third daughter (May 8)”, it is a giant step towards eradicating the menace of female foeticide in Haryana. Gender bias and alarming gap in ratio between male-female is an embarrassing factor. Orthodoxy, illiteracy and traditionally male-dominated society are some of the main reasons for female foeticide. Efforts by the government, media and NGOs to check the menace have borne fruit. Pre-natal sex determination tests are banned and social awareness has brought about the desired results.

Educated girls are doing wonders in every field. They are becoming self-dependant and are no more a burden but are now a source of pride for their parents. Haryana girls are also doing well in the field of sports at the national and international levels. By celebrating the birth of their third daughter, Bijender Singh and Rakhi of Pritampura village have set an example to be emulated by those who consider the birth of girl child a curse.


Army doing yeoman’s job

This refers to the middle “The curriculum vitae of a soldier” by Col IPS Kohli published on April 29. The truth is that there is nothing common between the corporate sector and government services. But undermining the capability of a soldier, he may be of any rank, is a wrong perception. Wherever the paramilitary or the police fail, the Army is deployed, it be during natural disasters or to complete delayed projects. Their unique job profile is based on dedication and discipline. There is a huge shortage in the officer ranks and the government should form a policy to extend their services when they are in demand. A change in attitude towards the Army is desired.

AS ANAND, Ludhiana

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



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