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Letters to the editor

Russia is a reliable partner

Dec 30, 2023

Refer to ‘Russian partnership’; External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s assurance to the Kremlin could not have come at a more opportune time. It’s not surprising that Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov felt the need to highlight the two nations’ special relationship. During the 1971 India-Pakistan war, it was Russia that saved the day for India when our so-called strategic partner, the US, sent its Seventh Fleet to put pressure on our forces. Hats off to the time-tested friendship between India and Russia.

Vinayak G, new Delhi


Meeting on SYL canal

It is unfortunate that the recent meeting between the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana — the third in the past three years — aimed at finding a solution to the contentious Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal issue, proved to be inconclusive. Due to political compulsions, both CMs stuck to their respective positions. Considering the availability of water in the Sutlej, the CM, other political leaders and representatives of social and religious organisations may be right in asserting repeatedly that Punjab has no water to spare. Therefore, there is a need for an apolitical and rational consideration to develop a humane methodology for water-sharing between the two states.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal


Compensate MPhil students

Refer to ‘MPhil imbroglio’; wrong implementation of the UGC’s scheme to scrap MPhil degrees has caused suffering to students in terms of time and money. Despite the UGC’s decision to eliminate the MPhil course in 2020, some universities continue to offer this programme and exploit gullible students. The recent warning from the UGC against pursuing an MPhil degree, when students have already invested three years and significant funds in this course, is meaningless. The government must compensate students. If the UGC is at fault, it must recognise the MPhil degrees awarded during this period or tell the erring institutions to refund the entire fee along with interest.

Chanchal S Mann, Una


Integrate the use of organics

Concerns about food safety, arising from the pollution hazards of synthetic agrochemicals, have prompted an increased emphasis on organic production of foods. Enterprising farmers should capitalise on the rapidly growing market for these products. Instead of exclusively relying on pure organic farming, a more effective strategy involves adopting farming systems that integrate the use of organics (manure, crop residue, bio-pesticides, bio-preservatives, etc) alongside judicious application of synthetic chemical fertilisers, pesticides and preservatives. This balanced approach helps control the excessive accumulation of chemical inputs in soil and plants, mitigating pollution hazards.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar


Do away with reservation

Reservation has become a poll plank for politicians. They forget how harmful such a policy can be for the country. If reservation is deemed necessary, it should be for the children of martyrs who sacrifice their lives for the nation fighting wars, insurgencies or natural calamities. In reality, political parties often deceive the masses by announcing freebies during elections. Reservation is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. Therefore, it should be eliminated permanently, and merit should be the primary criterion for admissions and employment.

Param Paul, Hoshiarpur


Vijayakanth a Good Samaritan

The late Vijayakanth was an actor known for his exceptionally generous heart, filled with compassion and love for the poor and needy. The significant turnout of people who gathered to catch a final glimpse of their matinee idol unquestionably attests to the fact that he was a selfless Good Samaritan. One of his greatest virtues was the silence he maintained over the substantial donations he made to charities without seeking publicity. It is hard to find individuals of his kind in today’s world, where people focus only on themselves and their families.

Tharcius S Fernando, Chennai


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: [email protected]

Uphill task to take on BJP

Dec 29, 2023

Refer to ‘Rahul to set on Bharat Nyay Yatra’ in Manipur on Jan 14’; leave alone Congress, even for the INDIA bloc, it might be an uphill task to take on the might of the BJP in 2024. The results of the recent five state elections should have been an eye-opener for the Congress. If the grand old party and other parties comprising INDIA prioritise their partisan interests and fail to form a united front for the upcoming General Election, they must be prepared to shoulder the blame for potentially reducing the world’s largest democracy to a farce, given the absence of a crucial component — a formidable opposition.

HL Sharma, Amritsar


Civilian deaths in Poonch

Apropos of ‘In Rajouri, Rajnath tells soldiers to avoid mistakes that harm citizens’; the Defence Minister’s decision to visit the families of the three civilians who tragically lost their lives in the custody of the Army in Poonch is a commendable gesture. This move is expected to bring solace to the grieving family members and reassure the citizens of the border state about the Centre’s deep concern for their welfare. The minister’s advisory to the Army, urging them to avoid the repetition of such ‘mistakes’ in the future, is both timely and crucial.

MD Sharma, Shimla


Discrimination against Punjab

Refer to ‘Punjab doesn’t figure in R-day tableau list, again’; the exclusion of both Punjab and Delhi from the January 26 parade raises concerns of discrimination against a state that has made significant contributions to the country’s freedom struggle. Punjab, in particular, holds a distinguished record of sacrifices, with its soldiers making the maximum contributions during wars against the enemy. The perplexing decision to omit Punjab and Delhi from the parade prompts questions about whether it is influenced by the presence of AAP governments in these states.

Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala


Encroachment on panchayat land

Apropos of ‘Despite special drive, over 90K acre panchayat land under mafia control’; the disclosure of district-wise data on the encroachment of panchayat land highlights the extent and magnitude of the problem. This dismal scenario not only undermines the democratic spirit of the state but also has adverse direct and indirect impacts on society. Furthermore, it throws light on the prevalent tainted attitude towards public institutions, which serve as the bedrock of rural society. The appropriation of panchayat land and misappropriation of public funds have become common practices over the decades. To rectify the unsatisfactory outcomes of the 2022 special campaign launched to reclaim encroached panchayat land, it is essential to enhance the effectiveness of the supporting machinery to bring the endeavour to a logical conclusion.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala


Vacancies in educational institutions

Refer to ‘No reasons given, recruitment at govt-aided colleges banned’; the education system is the lifeblood of society and the nation as a whole. Not only in Haryana but across the country, posts of both teaching and non-teaching staff are lying vacant, thereby affecting the quality of education and the implementation of the New Education Policy. Proposals, plans and projects are deliberated upon and approved, but are hardly put into action. The bitter fact is that officers are not taking the initiative to get plans implemented. Despite the availability of trained and qualified professionals, there are vacancies in educational institutions.

Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra


Follow security protocol

Apropos of ‘Pandemonium at PM’s public meeting’; the write-up aptly emphasises the necessity of ensuring foolproof security for high dignitaries and VIPs at public functions of national importance, as well as political rallies. It is imperative for security agencies and personnel on duty to adhere to the security protocol and rulebook, treating every entrant to the function venue with a vigilant eye. It’s essential to acknowledge that no technology can discern the thoughts of potential miscreants. Besides, political leaders should permit security personnel and police officers on duty to function independently, without interference.

RAVI SHARMA, DHARIWAL


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: [email protected]

Nicaragua flight

Dec 28, 2023

Refer to ‘Nicaragua flight row’; the mystery surrounding the flight from Dubai to Nicaragua via France on a Romanian chartered plane needs to be probed. The fact that a few of these passengers decided against boarding the flight to Mumbai from France and sought political asylum in that country is also a pointer to their frustration. The authorities concerned must come forward and clear the air surrounding the events. The fact that passengers left the Mumbai airport in a huff raises suspicion. A thorough inquiry must be conducted and its findings made public at the earliest.

Deepak TAAK, Panchkula


Time to reflect

Refer to ‘Nicaragua flight row’; there is an alarming surge in Indians resorting to illegal means to enter the US. There are reports of many bogus immigration hubs in Punjab and Gujarat. The chartered flight which was grounded in France had many Punjabi and Gujarati passengers. The episode highlights the need to understand the reasons that are pushing citizens to leave India by paying huge amounts to smugglers. Extreme visa restrictions could be one of the reasons why people are going to the US and other countries through illegal means. Our government must initiate a serious exercise to know what is making Indians risk both their savings and lives.

MONA SINGH, by mail


Misuse of probe agencies

Apropos of ‘TN-ED face off’; the outcry over the misuse of Central probe agencies to target the Opposition is getting louder. But how one can close one’s eyes to the ED or income tax officials unearthing mounds of unaccounted cash from MPs of Opposition parties many a time? There is also a strong perception that those in power enjoy protection. In such a scenario, democracy and its institutions do take a hit. It is unfortunate that Central and state investigation agencies are on a collision course, encroaching upon each other’s jurisdiction. The ruling dispensation must ponder over the matter to allay the fears and doubts of the people. Judiciary, the last bastion of hope, must come forward to address this issue.

HMS Nagra, Faridabad


Bolstering ties

Apropos of ‘India-France ties on the upswing’; the invitation to French President Emmanuel Macron for India’s 75th Republic Day reflects the deepening strategic partnership between the two countries. India and France have reciprocated each other’s gestures of goodwill, as evidenced by PM Modi’s participation in the Bastille Day Parade in France this year. France has also endorsed India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative. This is a significant move in the context of China’s growing assertiveness and unilateral actions in the region, which pose a challenge to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific.

Jacob JP, Thiruvananthapuram


India on the side of peace

Refer to ‘India-France ties on the upswing’; in a world standing divided in blocks on geopolitical lines, India’s stance, which is in favour of peace, is worthy of emulation. India has never tried to attack its neighbouring countries. Nehru was among the few leaders of his times who adopted the policy of non-alignment and did not take sides. Prime Minister Modi has also taken bold steps to normalise relations with several countries, and it must be appreciated and encouraged. When Hamas attacked Israel, India was among the first countries to condemn the act of terror, but on seeing Gazans suffering, it immediately started sending relief material to Palestine on humanitarian grounds.

BM SINGH, AMRITSAR


EV charging stations

Apropos of ‘Drag on EV push, 6 of 7 public chargers on Delhi NH lying defunct’; the availability of electric vehicle charging stations is not commensurate with the production of EVs; this is causing inconvenience to the users. It will discourage people from switching over to e-vehicles, thereby defeating the purpose of the initiative. The government needs to establish more e-charging stations by giving subsidies and slashing taxes.

RS Narula, Patiala


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: [email protected]

Civilian killings not justified

Dec 27, 2023

Apropos of ‘J&K civilian deaths’; the targeting of civilians in response to terror activities in the state-turned-union territory is deeply troubling and unjustified. It’s essential to recognise that the Army, by venting anger on civilians, only worsens the situation in the volatile region and fuels local resentment and alienation. In order to find an effective solution to the J&K issue, New Delhi must genuinely address the legitimate political aspirations of the people of the region and safeguard their unique identity and culture.

Jahangir Shaikh, Mumbai


Win people’s trust

Refer to ‘J&K civilian deaths’; the Army’s decision to hold an inquiry into the alleged custodial death of three civilians in J&K is a welcome step. A time-bound and transparent probe is needed to assuage the ruffled feelings of the local people after the tragic development. Any reckless and violent action by the Army can boomerang, bringing the ground situation back to square one. It is extremely important to win back the trust of the local residents for the success of anti-terror operations. It will help restore democratic governance. Though terror-related violence has subsided considerably, sporadic eruption of such activities, especially in the Poonch-Rajouri area, suggests that much more still needs to be done in the sensitive border region in order to restore peace, stability and normalcy in J&K.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa


Threat to secular fabric

Refer to ‘Rescuing the religiosity of love and compassion’; politicians have divided the people of the nation in the name of religion and caste; the Ram temple has become a core issue for the forthcoming General Election. This may help the ruling party win the polls, but the progress of the nation cannot be ensured by such an agenda. Division of people on religious lines by politicians to win elections can cause irreversible damage to the secular fabric of the nation.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali


Religion as a political tool

Refer to ‘Rescuing the religiosity of love and compassion’; in our country, religious identity has become more important than the spiritual values of any religion. Religion should be a personal matter between man and his Maker. Unfortunately, it is being used as a tool by politicians to exert their influence. Had adherents of every religion followed the path laid down by their founders, it would have been a better world. The opulent lifestyles of spiritual gurus must serve as a red flag for their followers.

ANTHONY HENRIQUES, MUMBAI


Human trafficking allegations

Apropos of ‘Flight stopped in France set for Mumbai landing’; the unsettling incident raises critical questions about the transparency and effectiveness of international efforts to combat human trafficking. The gravity of the problem cannot be overstated, and any suspicion related to such a crime demands a thorough investigation and swift action. However, lack of detailed information regarding the allegations and subsequent handling of this situation has led to confusion and apprehension. While ensuring the safety and security of individuals is paramount, it is equally crucial to balance these concerns with transparency and due process. Incidents like this underscore the necessity for enhanced collaboration and coordination among nations to address the multifaceted challenges posed by human trafficking.

Maimul Safui, Howrah


Steering towards goals

Apropos of the middle ‘United by the football frenzy’; we can accomplish great things in life if, irrespective of the circumstances, we keep alive the desire to achieve our goals. This is a fundamental principle of life. It also indicates that adverse situations cannot pull us down for long and our lives will be transformed if we focus on our goals and strive till the mission is accomplished.

RAVI SHARMA, Dhariwal


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: [email protected]

Deepening India-France ties

Dec 26, 2023

Apropos of ‘Macron at R-Day’; over the years, France has become one of India’s closest partners in the war against terrorism. While dealing with France, India does not carry the colonial baggage that persists in the case of Britain. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the India-France strategic partnership. The scheduled visit of French President Emmanuel Macron as the Republic Day chief guest is another proof of the deepening relationship between the two countries.

RAMESH GUPTA, NARWANA


Technology and justice delivery

Refer to ‘SC shows the way’; justice remains a privilege for a few and not a right guaranteed to every person. Against this backdrop, the Supreme Court’s success in leveraging technology for streamlining case management sets a precedent. Courts at all levels of the judiciary need to replicate this initiative. The recently passed Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita has similar objectives. It aims to further the use of inclusive technology for investigations, FIR registration, summons and trials.

Shaswat Jena, Ghaziabad


Depoliticise sports

Refer to ‘In control of ex-officials: Govt suspends new WFI’; Indian sports bodies have always been managed by the ruling dispensation. Politicians run them as if they were their fiefdom. From the election of office-bearers to the selection of players, there is favouritism at play; dissent is curbed with an iron fist. Amid all this, the sport is the loser. Many promising careers have been ruined by this system, which needs an immediate overhaul. Let professionals or former players manage sports bodies. This will go a long way in making India a sporting superpower.

Sachin Kaushal, Patiala


Welcome step by ministry

Refer to ‘In control of ex-officials: Govt suspends new WFI’; it is a welcome decision by the Sports Ministry to suspend the newly elected executives of the WFI, headed by Sanjay Singh. He is a known loyalist of former chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is in the dock over sexual harassment allegations levelled by women wrestlers. The election result in favour of a Brij Bhushan aide shocked top wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, who decided to hang up her boots. That, perhaps, stirred the conscience of the ministry and on finding that the newly elected president was working under the influence and control of former office-bearers, it suspended the new WFI team. With this action, the beleaguered and disheartened world-class wrestlers may see the light at the end of tunnel.

MD SHARMA, Shimla


Surveillance and privacy

Apropos of ‘Strike a balance between surveillance and privacy’; developments in the field of artificial intelligence are laying the groundwork for surveillance capabilities of a magnitude like never before. Surveillance should be understood not only in terms of laws and regulations but also from moral and ethical perspectives. Not everything that is legal is morally desirable in society and we, therefore, need to understand various implications of digital development. The newly passed Telecom Bill must have adequate safeguards to prevent misuse.

Gaurav Badhwar, Rohtak


Misuse of drones

Apropos of ‘2nd Indian ship hit by drone, now in Red Sea’; to protect ships from drone attacks in conflict zones, there is a need to enhance advanced radar and surveillance systems that can detect and track drones in the vicinity of the vessels. This can help in early detection of potential threats. We must deploy anti-drone systems that can disrupt or disable the operation of unauthorised drones. These include radio frequency jammers, laser-based systems or even net-based apparatus to physically capture the drone. There is also a need to develop and enforce strict regulations and laws regarding the operation of drones in conflict zones. Their misuse poses a threat to the defence forces and governments.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar


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: [email protected]

Ensure parliamentary debate

Dec 25, 2023

Refer to ‘Temple of democracy needs its deity back’ (Nous Indica); the suspension of 146 Opposition MPs by the government reflects its autocratic functioning. Without debates, discussions and the exchange of ideas between the ruling and Opposition MPs, Parliament is akin to a temple without its deity. However, Parliament can function smoothly only when it is safe and secure. The recent security breach is worrisome. While ensuring foolproof security of Parliament, the government must encourage robust parliamentary debate, which is the quintessence of a vibrant democracy.

Chanchal S Mann, by mail


Democracy undermined

Apropos of ‘Temple of democracy needs its deity back’; the concept of ‘a government of the people, by the people and for the people’ seems to have lost its relevance in this country. The BJP-led government appears to believe that might is right, regardless of what the Constitution says. This government’s earlier slogan was ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, and now it’s virtually ‘Opposition-mukt Parliament’. The suspension of 146 Opposition MPs is nothing but a mockery of democracy. Parliament has been reduced to a theatrical institution. Important laws are passed without debate and unfavourable Supreme Court verdicts are nullified through ordinances.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar


Suspension of Opposition MPs

The almost en masse suspension of Opposition MPs in Parliament suggests that the ruling dispensation finds it more convenient to eject Opposition lawmakers from the House than to counter their questions with cogent answers. This situation brings to mind the popular Hindi proverb, ‘Na rahega baans, na bajegi bansuri’ (If there’s no bamboo, the question of making a flute and playing it does not arise). Is the largest democracy in the world being sabotaged by none other than those who are in the majority? The BJP often refers to the ‘dark days’ of the Emergency imposed by then PM Indira Gandhi. Are we witnessing a return to those ‘dark days’, albeit under BJP rule?

Avinash Godboley, Dewas (MP)


WFI election fallout

Refer to ‘WFI poll charade’; the new team of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has close ties with the outgoing dispensation led by BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. This suggests that this WFI election was influenced by him, making it a charade rather than a fair poll. The outcome of the WFI election prompted Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik to quit the sport in despair, and another prominent protester, Bajrang Punia, has returned the Padma Shri. This raises a troubling question: Will the existing WFI power structure ever inspire enough confidence in women, including those who have brought glory to our country? Brij Bhushan’s stamp of approval on the new WFI team sums up the unprofessional manner in which sports federations are run in India.

Mona Singh, by mail


Big achievement for SC

It is an achievement for the Supreme Court to have disposed of 52,191 cases against 49,191 filed in 2023. The saying ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ has long characterised the Indian legal system. Thus, this accomplishment is significant for the Supreme Court and a relief for the common man who relies on the courts for justice. This feat has been achieved through the right approach, coupled with the use of technological advancements and much-needed reforms in the listing of cases. The practice of delivering fast-paced justice must now be continued and adopted by the lower courts.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur


Patriarchy is rampant

Refer to the debate on curbing crime against women; laws are enacted with all necessary provisions to punish the culprits, but unfortunately, they often fail during the implementation stage, perhaps due to political interference or corruption. As a result, victims bear the brunt. Today, the sobering reality is a significant rise in crimes against women, representing an arduous battle to make the country a safe place for them. Patriarchy is rampant in households, perpetuating cruelty, abuse and subordination on women.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar


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: [email protected]

Justice elusive

Dec 23, 2023

Refer to ‘Sharan aide wins poll, Sakshi quits wrestling’; it is unfortunate that wrestler Sakshi Malik has retired unceremoniously, especially over the sexual harassment allegations against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The delay in delivering justice, coupled with the election of his aide to the WFI top post, exacerbates the disappointment of Sakshi and other wrestlers. This situation highlights a disheartening aspect of the Indian democracy, where it seems that might is right, and the honour and respect due to our sportspersons who bring laurels to the country may not always be upheld.

IPS Anand, Chandigarh


Change was overdue

Apropos of ‘Criminal law revamp’; the hallmark of any civilised society should be justice rather than mere punishment. The recent revisions of the country’s criminal laws seem to be in line with this principle. The overhaul of the criminal law system was overdue, especially concerning the sedition clause of the IPC, originally established by the British to safeguard its rule. Substituting sedition (rajdroh) with national crime (deshdroh) makes sense, but clear differentiation is crucial to prevent any ambiguity and potential misuse. The new Act’s effort to define terrorism is a welcome step. Additionally, capital punishment for mob lynching cases is seen as a deterrent. However, there is an urgent need to create awareness about these changed laws.

KR Bharti, Shimla


Shah’s dig at Sonia

After the passage of three criminal justice Bills in Parliament, Home Minister Amit Shah took a dig at Congress MP Sonia Gandhi, implying that people of Italian origin are not proud of India-made laws. Why was such a taunt directed at Sonia? She has suffered the tragic loss of her husband, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. She let go of the opportunity to become Prime Minister due to the controversy surrounding her Italian origin. She was instrumental in pushing the Women’s Reservation Bill in 2007, now credited to the BJP. One would like to ask the BJP leadership: what more must she do to be recognised as an Indian citizen?

Bhartendu Sood, Chandigarh


Parliament security breach

Refer to ‘Questions aplenty over security breach’; the importance lies in understanding the purpose, motive and message concealed behind the Parliament security breach, rather than solely focusing on the mechanics of how it occurred. With widespread distribution of free ration, escalating unemployment, soaring commodity prices and a growing trend of youth migration, there is a pressing need for introspection. Instead of merely punishing the perpetrators to suppress the incident, it is crucial to delve into their intentions and address the actual issues at hand.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali


Criminal law Bills

The 146 suspended MPs probably did not foresee that their protest would lead to their ouster for the rest of the session. Their demand for a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah or PM Modi was justified, given the grave security breach. However, their absence allowed the government to pass controversial criminal law Bills and others without a debate. If a proper debate had occurred before the session’s end, the Bills might not have passed so easily. Now, with legislative approval, the role of the courts has diminished. Despite unjustified suspensions, has the Opposition inadvertently played into the hands of the government?

MT Farooqi, Chennai


Work smarter, not longer

Refer to ‘The value of productivity’; the middle emphasises the significance of what one accomplishes during working hours. Countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark have showcased success with alternative work models, including three- or four-day workweeks. Despite shorter working hours, these nations consistently rank high in productivity and happiness indices. Danish workers, for instance, report higher satisfaction and wellbeing, challenging the idea that extended hours lead to greater productivity. The evolving concept of working smarter, not longer, is gaining global momentum.

Paramjeet Singh Kattu, Amritsar


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: [email protected]

New Covid variant

Dec 22, 2023

A new variant of the coronavirus is emerging rapidly across many regions in the country. While this is unsettling, it’s not entirely unexpected. Following the surge in 2021, we, as a society, adapted to a different way of life, especially in terms of public behaviour and sanitation. Unfortunately, we find ourselves on the brink of another potential disaster. This new variant is reported to spread quickly and has the potential to evolve further. Immediate social precautions, such as wearing masks in public, are essential to prevent its spread. It’s crucial that we apply the lessons learnt from our past encounters in dealing with this variant.

Deepak Taak, Panchkula


Mocking RS Chairman shameful

The mimicry of Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar by TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee is highly distasteful. The position held by the RS Chairman in Parliament commands great respect, and mocking it is indeed shameful. It’s noteworthy that the MP involved is highly educated and practises law in the High Court of West Bengal. Even more disconcerting is the fact that Rahul Gandhi, a prominent contender for the Prime Minister’s post, recorded the incident on his mobile. Such actions reveal the true character of our Opposition leaders, who are entrusted with defending the Constitution and holding the government accountable for the betterment of the people.

Karnail Singh, Kharar


Dhankhar mimicry row

The disgraceful theatrics exhibited by some MPs, particularly within the Parliament complex, are a source of national pain and shame. The mimicking and humiliation of Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar by Opposition MPs during a protest not only dishonoured Dhankhar as an individual but also undermined the dignity of a high constitutional post. Beyond causing distress to Dhankhar, the disruption of parliamentary proceedings has resulted in the loss of valuable work hours. Citizens expect their elected representatives to come together and deliberate on issues crucial to the country and its people. Unfortunately, petty politics and mud-slinging have taken precedence, failing to serve the national cause.

NK Gosain, Bathinda


American democracy

Refer to ‘Trump verdict’; it underscores the importance of constitutional norms and the efficiency of the system. The Colorado Supreme Court verdict on Trump highlights the judicial approach to cases involving the highest political office. This decision aligns with the longstanding tradition of US judges responding to contemporary politics and politicians regardless of their position in the political hierarchy. In a mature democracy, the firm adherence to constitutional norms is essential and fundamental to the democratic system. Evolving democracies can benefit by strengthening their systems and adopting practices of mature democracies. This approach is crucial for India’s democratic evolution.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala


Prioritise seat-sharing

Apropos of ‘Sense of consensus eludes INDIA’; the issue of seat-sharing has consistently been sidelined during INDIA group meetings, in neglect of the prevailing reality. The Congress has shown little initiative in addressing this matter. While the BJP’s recent victory in three states is noteworthy, history does not strongly support a repeat in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress and other Opposition parties can strategise to prevent an encore by the BJP. The INDIA bloc should prioritise finalising seat-sharing arrangements and crafting a unified programme. This collective effort can offer a progressive, socially just, equitable and supportive alternative to the current regime.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana


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: [email protected]

Democratic recession

Dec 21, 2023

Refer to ‘Suspension spree’; the BJP-led Centre suspended 143 MPs within a week, disregarding democratic norms. India’s apparent shift to a ‘hybrid regime’ is contributing to the global democratic recession, showcasing a concerning trend. The manner in which India’s democratic decline is unfolding highlights that a democracy no longer witnesses a dramatic coup or midnight arrests; instead, it sees methods such as harassing the Opposition, suspending top leaders, intimidating the media and centralising the executive power. For the fifth consecutive year, India holds the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s largest offender among democracies in consistently enforcing Internet shutdowns.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar


Attack on freedom of speech

Refer to ‘Telecom Bill’; this new Bill is not an improvement over the Bills it seeks to replace. On the contrary, it is an attack on the constitutional right of freedom of speech and expression. The provision that allows the government to take over a telecom company in the interest of national security is suggestive of a state following a totalitarian trajectory. Hitler and Mussolini ‘took over’ the entire private sector of their countries in the name of national security. Those who opposed the creation of a national identity, Aadhaar, were reassured by its proponents that it was only to facilitate welfare services. However, after the passing of the Bill, Aadhaar verification would be required to create a simple email or WhatsApp account.

Aman Preet Singh, New Chandigarh


Honour privacy

Apropos of ‘Telecom Bill’; the imperatives of honouring the privacy of the people and ensuring the security of the nation must be carefully balanced. Therefore, a magisterial authority must be specified for granting permission to authorised officers to intercept private communication. Social media platforms should develop standard operating procedures and algorithms based on artificial intelligence to curb anti-social or anti-national activity on their apps.

Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali


IPL auction

In the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in 2008, each franchise had a salary cap of Rs 20 crore. Fast-forward to 2023: Australian cricketers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were sold for Rs 24.75 crore and Rs 20.5 crore, respectively. Cricket enthusiasts appreciate the recognition of Cummins’ worth, considering his $50,000 donation to the PM CARES Fund in 2021 at the height of the Covid pandemic. However, spending such exorbitant amounts on players like Cummins and especially Starc is worrisome. While Cummins might contribute occasionally with wickets or runs, Starc is perceived to be almost a spent force. There should be a mechanism to assess the performance of players, given the significant investments involved.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad


Decline in dropout rate

Refer to ‘At 20.6%, Punjab’s Class X dropout highest in North’; the soaring dropout rate of Class X in Punjab, ranking the highest among northern states, is a matter of serious concern that demands immediate attention from the state government. This alarming statistic underscores the precarious state of the education sector and reflects governmental neglect, which is an unhealthy sign. It is crucial to investigate the causes behind this significant decline and implement remedial measures to improve the dropout ratio. Mere initiatives such as sending teachers to Singapore for learning are unlikely to be effective without addressing the fundamental issues.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar


Markets operate on sentiments

Refer to ‘Market buoyancy based on data, reflects reality’; it is hard to agree with the writer’s viewpoint since markets operate on sentiments and psychology rather than mere data, making them inherently unpredictable. The ongoing bull run likely stems from excessive liquidity and increased retail participation. Despite favourable GDP numbers, the discrepancy between company valuations and last quarter’s results raises concerns. The unemployment rate (10 per cent) challenges the positive outlook. Soft crude prices may be providing some support to the market. Investors should bear in mind that the current trend can easily reverse with changing conditions.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai


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: [email protected]

Opposition protests

Dec 20, 2023

Opposition parties have resorted to unruly protests in Parliament. Unparliamentary methods of protest are akin to putting the cart before the horse, solely aimed at disrupting the proceedings of the House and impeding the government from introducing crucial Bills in the current session, potentially the last one before the 2024 General Election. Through such tactics, the INDIA bloc is making a mockery of democracy, imposing a financial burden on the state exchequer, and wasting time and manpower. Parties should reconsider their disruptive protest strategies, or the public might express their dissatisfaction in the upcoming elections.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar


Suspension of MPs

Refer to ‘Oppn MPs suspended from Parl amid ruckus over security breach’; who is to blame for the unprecedented situation, the government, the MPs, or both? The Speaker’s pleas to maintain the sanctity and decorum of the House went unheeded. Mass suspension may be an extreme step, but should the unruly conduct of the MPs be ignored? The Home Minister was avoiding a statement in the House, but why was the Opposition adamant on it? The government wanted the Opposition to wait for the probe report. Why wasn’t that acceptable to it? Both have turned it into a prestige issue. They should introspect and sit together to end the logjam.

WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), Jalandhar


Accumulation of court cases

Apropos of ‘Not enough judges’; one of the major causes for the unprecedented accumulation of pending cases is the indifferent attitude of the government to filling numerous sanctioned vacancies and increasing the number of posts for judges commensurate with the rise in caseload. Merely assigning Hindi names to existing laws governing our criminal justice system cannot erase India’s colonial past, especially when much of the original language remains unaltered. The failure of the existing criminal justice system in providing justice within a reasonable timeframe at an affordable cost can be attributed either to the glaring loopholes in the law or to the apathetic attitude of those manning the system.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa


Revamp security system

Refer to ‘Plug the gaping holes in Parliament security setup’; in light of intelligence inputs warning of a potential attack on Parliament on December 13, the security should have been significantly heightened. Unfortunately, what transpired on the ground was a stark deficiency at every layer. There was a lack of coordination among various security agencies, and negligence in the performance of duties led to a severe security breach. Despite specially selected staff deployed for Parliament security, equipped with high-tech modern gadgets, the breach occurred. The entire security system must undergo a massive revamp under the close supervision of experts.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi


Unemployment affects economy

Apropos of ‘Generating jobs’; unemployment negatively impacts the country’s economy as the workforce, which could have contributed to resource generation, becomes dependent on the remaining working population. This increases socio-economic costs for the state. The issue of unemployment has reached a critical stage in rapidly growing economies like India. Fortunately, there are substantial possibilities for improvement in addressing unemployment. If government schemes effectively reach the ground, and if both the senior and local officials take the problem seriously, significant progress can be made. To completely solve the issue of joblessness, addressing the root cause, which is the large population of India, is essential.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla


Target contraband sources

Apropos of ‘Cops take sports route to keep youth away from drugs’; Punjab’s youth are grappling with drug addiction. While organising events and involving the youth in sports to channel their energies is a positive initiative, the government must also take stringent steps to curb the menace of drugs in the state. Efforts should be directed towards identifying the sources of contraband supplies and those involved in the illicit trade. Punjab’s youth, known for their strength and energy, are caught in the destructive cycle of drug addiction, and urgent measures are needed to address this critical issue.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali


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: [email protected]

Technological threats

Dec 19, 2023

Refer to ‘AI declaration’; in a constantly evolving and dynamic world, it is imperative that we stand united in the fight against tech-savvy perpetrators. The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of AI. While everyone would like to make the most of platforms like Google AI, Microsoft Azure and OpenAI, one must comprehensively weigh all associated risks. Stringent regulatory controls are only possible when major countries unite in letter and spirit; nothing can happen in isolation.

Bal Govind, Noida


First secure livelihoods

Refer to ‘Modi’s guarantee’, India to be among top 3 economies in my third term: PM’; Modi’s optimism about his re-election is not unfounded. The commitment to make India figure among the top three economies, along with the ambitious goals of achieving a $5 trillion or $10 trillion economy, should logically translate into proportionate job growth and secure livelihoods even for the lowest stratum of society. The fact that the government is providing free ration to 81 crore Indians reflects the glaring disparities in our economic growth.

Hira Sharma, by mail


Unbiased action needed

Refer to ‘Polluting distilleries’; distilleries, often owned by big industrial houses or politicians, have been involved in blatant transgressions; they have been releasing untreated toxic effluents into water bodies, posing a threat to human and aquatic life. Despite court orders, pollution control board advisories and penalties imposed by the National Green Tribunal, these powerful industrial houses have not been deterred. It is imperative that a combination of political will and business ethics be employed to halt this environmental pollution. Strict and unbiased action is essential to curb this hazardous approach and prevent further damage to the environment.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali


Deal with Canada firmly

Refer to ‘India must stand firm against Canada’; Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s public stance on Khalistani separatism and the breach of espionage code raise concerns. India should draw lessons from the UAE’s successful strategy of compelling Canada to address its legitimate concerns. India’s recent shift in public diplomacy, moving from blunt denial to addressing media reports with earnestness, is a positive step. Trudeau’s admission of escalating tensions with India due to media fear highlights weaknesses in his leadership. Nevertheless, until diplomatic ties are back on track, it is essential for India to keep all channels open for a dialogue with Canada.

Chanchal S Mann, Una


Introduce evening courts

Refer to ‘21K judges struggle to clear 5 cr cases’; frequent adjournments on flimsy grounds and inordinate delays, often advantageous to lawyers, adversely impact helpless litigants. The judiciary, burdened and stressed, faces a serious concern regarding the insufficient number of judges for the dispensation of justice. A substantial backlog of pending cases, particularly in lower courts, exacerbates the issue. The efficiency and competence of judges in terms of case disposal are also lacking. The introduction of evening courts could be instrumental in clearing this backlog. The role of the courts in safeguarding the rights of the poor is not as prominent or effective as it should be. Urgent corrective measures are needed, involving better planning, management and the integration of information and communication technology into the judicial process.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar


Set up agro-processing complexes

Refer to ‘How farmers can add value to their produce’; the authors are correct in emphasising that to maximise the benefits of their farming, it is advantageous for farmers to sell their produce after processing and proper packing. Kinnow farmers in Hoshiarpur, Muktsar and Bathinda often sell their produce at Rs 5-8 per kg, which is much below the input cost. However, if they establish juice processing units to manufacture squash, ketchup, chutney, jams, etc., they have the potential to earn higher profits. The Punjab Government should consider establishing agro-processing complexes in kinnow-growing areas to enable farmers to fetch better prices for their produce.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana


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: [email protected]

Article 370 fuelled secessionism

Dec 18, 2023

Apropos of ‘The moral context of Article 370’ (Nous Indica); the writeup underlines how the Kashmir pot was kept boiling by vested interests since 1947. The situation worsened when the regional satraps dashed the hopes of the youth to join politics. Now, since the shield of Article 370, under which the secessionists were waging a war against the nation, has been demolished for good, India needs to be more proactive. Those sponsoring terrorism from across the Line of Control should be warned of dire consequences. A strong message should also be sent out to the gullible local residents of Kashmir.

Col Sajjan kundu (retd), Hisar


Kashmir’s historical shifts

‘The moral context of Article 370’ examines the Kashmir issue from historical and contemporary perspectives. It delves into the transformation of prominent figures like Sheikh Abdullah, emphasising the need to pinpoint the factors behind such changes. Similarly, the transformation of a staunch Congressman, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, prompts reflection among secular individuals in India, encouraging them to avoid this path so as to ensure better outcomes in 21st-century India. Allowing new values in sync with our times to prevail is crucial for fostering a better polity, economy and society in India, which has endured fanatic religiosity.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala


Action too stern

Refer to ‘Suspension of MPs’; the BJP government appears to have become so sensitive that it suspends Opposition MPs at the drop of a hat. Having different yardsticks for dealing with members of the ruling dispensation and the Opposition is a blot on democracy. The law is the same for all. Any discrimination on this account would only violate our Constitution. The Opposition MPs had rightly demanded a statement from the Home Minister as the matter related to the security breach of the Parliament building, endangering the lives of all parliamentarians. Had the Home Minister given a statement in this regard in the House, important proceedings of Parliament would not have been hampered.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar


Decline in values

Apropos of ‘Karnataka horror’; when the Nirbhaya incident occurred in 2012, the entire country stood united against the heinous crime. Consequently, laws were made more stringent, and everyone hoped that crimes against women would cease. However, crimes against women continue to occur in various states; this is a matter of grave concern. The Karnataka incident has shaken the conscience of every sensible citizen of the country. It indicates that people have no fear of the law. This also reflects the decline in values in society.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal


Atrocities against women

The recurrence of public atrocities against women in this day and age highlights the existing challenges in our society, underscoring the urgent need for progress and change. Those witnessing such crimes must strive to effect change. Instead of being mere onlookers, everyone should be mindful and proactively prevent such mishaps by advocating for strict measures, promptly reporting incidents to the authorities, and demanding stringent actions against wrongdoers. The next time such an incident occurs, one should be wary of understanding its gravity and act on it as soon as possible.

Shaswat Jena, Ghaziabad


COP28 outcomes

Refer to ‘Fossil fuels on climate agenda a step forward’; at the COP28 summit, the call for countries to contribute to transitioning away from fossil fuels is a welcome and positive step. The declaration at the Dubai meet has also urged countries to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030. However, COP28 has not presented a roadmap to achieve this ambitious target. These incremental steps toward clean energy may help sustain the Paris pact, and there is genuine progress in renewables today. However, the economic imperative of fossil fuel use remains strong.

Mona Singh, Amritsar


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: [email protected]

Security setup under scrutiny

Dec 16, 2023

Apropos of ‘Security breach’; in India, the Parliament complex symbolises the nation’s strength and security. Hailed as one of the most secure places globally, the new Parliament building was believed to surpass its predecessor in terms of security measures. However, the December 13 incident unfolded just hours after the entire Parliament paid tributes to the martyrs of the 2001 terror attack. On a day when heightened security would have been expected, the breach raises serious questions about the efficacy of the security and intelligence services tasked with safeguarding such a critical institution.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru


Generate job opportunities

The breach, despite a multi-tier security setup, has shamed the nation. The chaos caused by young individuals can be attributed to frustration, having remained unemployed for an extended period despite being highly qualified. Distressed and unemployed youth often join criminal gangs, fall prey to schemes for making money and succumb to drug addiction. The incident should not be merely viewed as a law and order problem but serve as a wake-up call for the ruling dispensation, which is fond of vacuous rhetoric. It calls for remedial measures, focusing on investing in resources to generate job opportunities rather than squandering them on freebies.

Bakhshi Gurprit Singh, Jalandhar


Identify shortcomings

Refer to ‘Security breach’; with several agencies, such as Delhi Police, CRPF and the NSG, being assigned the same task, a security breach like this was bound to happen. Everybody’s business is nobody’s business. Is there one designated officer to oversee all agencies? Or, is there proper coordination between them? Many questions arise, and someone has to answer. The probe committee should conduct an audit, identify shortcomings and make appropriate recommendations. All loopholes should be plugged.

WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), Jalandhar


Time favourable for Modi

Refer to ‘A balancing act in Hindi heartland’; it was a thought-provoking article. Indeed, the current time seems to be very favourable for PM Modi, owing to several significant incidents. Firstly, the Supreme Court’s approval of the abrogation of Article 370 is noteworthy, especially considering the potential concerns if the SC had not supported it. Secondly, the outcomes in the Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland were in favour of his party, BJP. Additionally, his selection of CMs has been remarkable. Modi has demonstrated his competence, while the Congress could not have accomplished such a feat.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram


Need for UN reform

Persistent military action by Israel in the Gaza conflict, despite a United Nations (UN) resolution for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, and similar patterns in the Russia-Ukraine war raise serious concerns about the effectiveness of the UN. The loss of innocent lives is unacceptable. The compromised UN requires urgent reform to ensure universal adherence to international law for lasting peace. All parties must comply with international humanitarian laws, particularly for the protection of civilians. Global leaders must seize the opportunity to collectively revamp the UN, fostering an environment of diplomatic efforts, dialogue and a steadfast commitment to upholding human dignity.

K Kumar, Panchkula


Over-reliance on specialists

Apropos of ‘Promoting family medicine vital for universal healthcare’; the article offers valuable suggestions. Many ailments can be effectively treated by consulting an MBBS doctor, with only a few requiring specialised treatment. The unnecessary haste to go to super-specialists must be addressed as it leads to avoidable expenditure, opens the door for unethical practices and consumes valuable time and energy of specialists. Nowadays, it’s rare to find a doctor with just an MBBS degree setting up practice. There is a pressing need for reviewing the medical education framework to address routine diseases at the basic level.

AG Rajmohan, Anantapur (AP)


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: [email protected]

Parl intrusion raises questions

Dec 15, 2023

The Parliament security breach, occurring 22 years after a terror attack, has brought shame to the nation. The failure of a multi-layered security system and scrutiny of visitors raises serious questions about the security of Parliament. While Pakistan was responsible for the earlier attack, the accountability for the recent breach needs to be fixed. Despite being a nation with the fourth-largest armed forces, India could not secure its Parliament, posing a potential threat to members attending the winter session. Those responsible for entry passes and security checks need to be thoroughly interrogated to pinpoint the lapses. The safety of countrymen can be well imagined from the security of Parliament.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali


Conduct independent probe

Refer to ‘On 22nd anniv of Parliament terror attack, major security breach in LS; five arrested’; the incident has laid bare gaps in the security arrangements in the newly built Parliament building. However, it is difficult to comprehend how ordinary citizens could breach the high-level security. The incident is extremely alarming for the country’s internal security. It warrants an independent investigation and a comprehensive review of the existing security setup.

Jagdish Chander, Jalandhar


India’s stance commendable

Apropos of ‘India backs resolution’; this is a commendable and bold move on the part of India. Unlike in October, when India took its relations with Israel and the US into consideration, this time it went by its independent foreign policy and the principles of peace and coexistence. Not succumbing to pressure, New Delhi demonstrated a strong stance, supporting what is required on humanitarian grounds for the suffering people of Gaza. In a way, India has succeeded in further isolating Israel and the US on the international stage.

Surinder Kumar Mahna, Karnal


Bills must undergo scrutiny

Apropos of ‘Criminal law Bills’; the fundamental requirement of laws is to provide even-handed justice, protection for all and contribute to the good and welfare of society. Mandatory provisions of accountability, a high level of scrutiny and adherence to due process through debate and discussion, preferably arriving at a consensus, are essential elements in a vibrant and healthy democracy. The three redrafted criminal law Bills must undergo thorough scrutiny. Shashi Tharoor raised valid questions about their purpose, function and certain faults in a convincing debate; these issues must be addressed before pushing the Bills through on the strength of numerical majority.

BM Singh, Amritsar


BJP’s choice of CMs

Refer to ‘BJP’s CM picks’; this choice of unexpected leaders is not new for the BJP — Narendra Modi is one such example, being selected as Gujarat CM in 2001. Among the three chosen leaders, the elevation of Vishnu Deo Sai, former president of Chhattisgarh BJP, is seen as an extension of tribal community representation. In MP, Mohan Yadav hails from the dominant OBC community and in Rajasthan, Bhajan Lal Sharma, a first-time MLA, is from the Brahmin community, with his deputies being a Dalit and a Rajput. This clearly indicates that the BJP is aiming for a combination of caste and community appeal, along with regional balance, in each state.

LJ Singh, by mail


Challenges after retirement

Apropos of ‘The kidnapping of a retired man’; after retirement, many people face a myriad of challenges. Family members may lose privileges that were available during the breadwinner’s service period, potentially leading to changes in their attitude. Financial considerations come to the fore, especially as retirees receive a substantial amount at the end of service. Unfortunately, fraudsters often target this wealth, and many retirees suffer financial losses due to cybercrimes. Veterans need to be vigilant to avoid falling prey to criminals. Seeking reliable professional help is crucial to managing finances in a secure and beneficial manner.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi


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: [email protected]

No merit in selection

Dec 14, 2023

Refer to ‘BJP’s CM picks’; the party’s choices are not determined by the candidates’ merit and popularity but rather by the decisions of the high command. This is exemplified by the sidelining of the longest-serving Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan to make way for Mohan Yadav, a three-time MLA, whose name had not been prominently discussed among potential candidates. Similar dynamics were observed in the case of ML Khattar, who was chosen as the Haryana CM due to his proximity to the PM and his RSS background. These instances raise questions about the transparency of the selection process, emphasising the influence of political connections over qualifications and public mandate.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa


Caste card in CM picks

Apropos of ‘OBC face Mohan Yadav set to take over reins of MP’; the emphasis is on ‘OBC’ rather than ‘MLA’. The news report also states: ‘SC leader Devda, MLA Shukla chosen Dy CMs’, where the stress is on the word ‘SC’. Likewise, the tribal card has been played in Chhattisgarh by appointing Vishnu Deo Sai, an ST leader, as CM. Our Constitution has declared India to be a secular state; it prohibits discrimination on the grounds of caste, colour, creed or religion. However, recent political moves appear to go against the spirit of a secular state. The decisions are aimed at garnering SC, ST and OBC votes, rather than focusing on the welfare of the people.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya


Generate ample employment

Refer to ‘Oz tightens entry’; after Britain and Canada, Australia is also set to reduce visas by 50 per cent due to housing and infrastructure issues. This drastic measure will impact many students and low-skilled job seekers. Unemployment has reached alarming levels. Considering the recent stringent global visa policies, the government must swiftly create abundant employment opportunities to harness the immense potential of our youth for the progress and prosperity of the nation.

Chanchal S Mann, Una


Colonial plunder

Apropos of ‘It’s time for the homecoming of looted treasures’; as a nation, we take pride in the glories of the past, yet we do little or nothing to repatriate looted treasures from England, a step taken by many other nations. In a country with millions of scientists, engineers and doctors, the number of historians is noticeably low. Few young individuals choose history for postgraduate courses. With such an attitude, it’s not surprising that we don’t value our own history as much as we should. The disparity in the attention given to historical pursuits compared to other fields raises questions about the broader appreciation of our cultural heritage.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai


Japanese positivity

Refer to ‘The timeless timepiece’; the write-up reflects the positive attitude of the Japanese towards humanity. Visitors to the country often express admiration for various aspects of Japanese life. Despite experiencing devastation during World War II and facing several earthquakes, Japan stands majestically and competes prominently on the global stage. This resilience and success are attributed to three key traits of the Japanese people: the qualities of punctuality, patience and politeness play a crucial role in the prosperity of the nation and its people.

VK Anand, Chandigarh


Adopt a prudent approach

Refer to ‘Sacred union and joyous reunion’; the author accurately highlights the joy derived by the hosts during functions leading up to the wedding day. However, in contemporary times, these events are often organised by professionals and executed on a lavish scale, leading to substantial expenditure for the families of the bride and the groom. While these functions serve the purpose of bringing families together, there is a need for a prudent approach to their execution. This would ensure that the ceremonies fulfil their intended purpose without imposing excessive financial burden on the parties involved. Striking a judicious balance between the significance of the ceremonies and their associated expenses is crucial.

Rajesh Kumar Malik, Mohali


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: [email protected]

End of special status

Dec 13, 2023

Refer to ‘SC verdict on Art 370’; the unanimous judgment by the Supreme Court, affirming the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, is a milestone. In contemporary India, two dates stand out: August 5, 2019, when the government revoked Article 370, and December 11, 2023, when the SC upheld the Centre’s decision. These will be remembered as historic occasions when past errors were rectified by the government. Now, J&K stands on a par with the rest of India. In the coming years, one can expect a significant boost in J&K tourism.

Ramesh G Jethwani, Bengaluru


No malice in Art 370 abrogation

Apropos of ‘SC verdict on Article 370’; the decision can be unequivocally termed as epoch-making. In essence, it brings a definitive conclusion to the controversy surrounding the abolition of the special status enjoyed by J&K. The SC verdict has dispelled every ambiguity, making the matter transparent. The court rightly asserted that there was no malice behind the abrogation of Article 370, emphasising the legality and constitutionality of the entire process.

RK Arora, Mohali


Centre’s discriminatory attitude

Refer to ‘Fund crunch’; despite Punjab making 16,831 arrests related to drugs in 2022, the second-highest in the country, the Centre has not allocated funds to the state for narcotics control over the past five years. This reflects a discriminatory attitude by the Union government towards the state. Being a sensitive border state, Punjab deserves and requires more funds to effectively combat this menace. It is perplexing that while most other states have received funds under this scheme, Punjab is yet to receive its due share. In a democratic setup like India’s, whims and fancies of any individual, no matter how influential, should not impede the delivery of justice to the states.

NK Gosain, Bathinda


From a panch to CM

Vishnu Deo Sai has been chosen as the Chhattisgarh CM. This is a well-deserved recognition of his unwavering commitment to community service. From serving as a panch and sarpanch in his village to becoming an MLA, MP and now getting the top post of Chief Minister, Sai’s journey reflects his dedication to the welfare of his village, state and the country. The BJP’s national leadership, known for its selflessness, has duly recognised his contribution. This is testament to India’s democracy, where even an ordinary and economically disadvantaged citizen, regardless of gender, caste, religion or region, can ascend to a high constitutional office.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal


Preserving artefacts

Refer to ‘It’s time for the homecoming of looted treasures’; while the intention behind the write-up is commendable, it prompts a serious question about our readiness to recover ‘looted’ artefacts. The state of our museums raises concerns, with many lacking professional staff. Take, for instance, the Government Museum of Chandigarh, which holds a significant collection of valuable artefacts but has been without a professional director and curator for decades. The theft of 102 rare miniatures from this museum in 1970 was a stark reminder of its vulnerabilities. Until we achieve self-reliance in preserving our art heritage, let these artefacts remain with their current custodians — who not only maintain them well but also showcase rich Indian culture to the Western world.

Balvinder, Chandigarh


UN Charter and human rights

Apropos of ‘UN Charter’s human rights journey’; the journey of human rights within the framework of the UN Charter reflects a commendable global commitment to safeguarding human dignity. This article thoroughly explores the evolution of this pivotal document, tracing its historical trajectory and emphasising its enduring relevance. Such international initiatives are crucial in nurturing a world where fundamental rights are upheld and protected. The UN Charter serves as a platform and a beacon for nations to collectively address challenges and champion the wellbeing of all individuals.

Ashok Kumar, Una


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: [email protected]

Will discourage students

Dec 12, 2023

Apropos of ‘Studying in Canada’; in a significant move that can impact foreign students, including those from India, Canada has more than doubled the amount of Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) money they need to have in their accounts as a ‘cost-of-living’ financial requirement while entering the country on a study visa. The steep increase is expected to affect the cost of studying in Canada. Students are already grappling with financial strain due to increased college fees, high rental charges, transportation and the high cost of living in that country. This move by the Canadian government may discourage many Indian students, particularly from Punjab, from choosing Canada for higher studies. Instead, many may now opt for countries such as the US, Australia and the UK.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar


Cost-of-living funds in Canada

Refer to ‘Studying in Canada’; Canada has more than doubled the amount of money that foreign students must keep in their accounts as a ‘cost-of-living’ requirement while entering the country on a student visa. Simultaneously, the Canadian authorities have hinted at capping working hours. They must recognise that students would be reluctant to spend more on studying in Canada, especially when the job market there is contracting.

Upendra Sharma, by mail


Misconduct on the campus

Refer to ‘Now, Kaithal horror’; another case of misconduct has been reported in a government school, where an outsider used to sit with the school principal; he allegedly made overtures to girl students, who were forced by the principal to serve him water and food. These incidents of sexual harassment in schools are just the tip of the iceberg in Haryana; unfortunately, they are prevalent pan-India, demanding exemplary punishment for the erring teachers.

Ashok Kumar, by mail


Molestation a social evil

Apropos of ‘Now, Kaithal horror’; these incidents are widely prevalent in Haryana, occurring in many government schools up to the senior secondary level. The molestation of girls, especially in educational institutions, is a social evil. Unfortunately, there is currently no effective mechanism to address this issue, and even the POCSO Act lacks the requisite teeth. The responsibility for solving this problem lies with society at large, encompassing educationists, police, lawyers, judges and politicians.

Ashwani Chhabra, Yamunanagar


Moitra’s expulsion

Refer to ‘Moitra expelled from Lok Sabha’; then MLA Hardwari Lal was expelled from the Haryana Assembly for writing two booklets against the then Chief Minister, Bansi Lal, in 1974. He filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the decision. The petition was heard by a Bench of five judges, and Hardwari Lal argued his own case. In April 1977, the Bench concluded that neither the Assembly nor Parliament has the power to expel a duly elected member, as such expulsion amounts to reconstitution of the House. It was also emphasised that undesirable or unethical conduct of any member should be addressed under the provisions of the IPC and not through expulsion. The judgment still stands, and Moitra, who has approached the Supreme Court, can seek refuge under that ruling.

RN Malik, Gurugram


Human rights violations

World Human Rights Day, observed on December 10, aims to protect and promote human rights. However, despite the global declaration of human rights, a substantial portion of the world’s population still faces the consequences of social imbalance and division. When we consider human rights in India, it becomes evident that only a section of the population enjoys these rights, based on its financial status. Human rights violations persist, particularly in states like UP, MP and Rajasthan, where literacy levels are relatively low. It becomes increasingly crucial to curb human rights violations, whether it’s custodial violence or the abuse of power. Addressing human rights violations is a complex task, but it becomes achievable with the right political intentions.

Mohd Ashraf Siddiqui, Lucknow


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: [email protected]

Dirty politics

Dec 11, 2023

Refer to ‘The fig leaf of the north-south divide’ (Nous Indica); as soon as the Assembly poll results were announced on December 3, the north-south bipolarity became the subject of a heated debate in political and media circles. It is condemnable to refer to north Indian states as ‘gaumutra’ states. What the Congress needs now is robust leadership and deep introspection, not sycophants who say anything just to please the top leadership. The latest election trends need to be seen objectively so that they do not become a source of acrimony between states or regions.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana


Cong still a force to reckon with

Apropos of ‘The fig leaf of the north-south divide’ (Nous Indica); the electoral history of independent India shows that the Congress is the only party that has enjoyed acceptability across the length and breadth of the country for decades. Its dominance over north India has gone hand in hand with its influence in south India. For over half a century, the BJP was almost non-existent in the south. The Congress’ victory in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in the 2018 Assembly elections and its retention of its vote share there in the recently held polls suggest that while the BJP may have won the majority, the Congress is still a force to reckon with in these states.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa


Moitra’s expulsion unites INDIA

Refer to ‘Trinamool MP Moitra expelled from LS in cash-for-query case’; the Congress’ decision to go solo in the recent Assembly elections had sown the seeds of distrust in the Opposition camp. However, Moitra’s expulsion can help in reuniting the INDIA constituents. While the BJP may still win the 2024 General Election, the INDIA bloc may put up a strong fight if it presents a united front. Expelling Moitra would hardly matter, as she is likely to get re-elected on the TMC ticket next year. Issuing a stern warning to the erring MP would have sufficed. However, it seems that the BJP-dominated Lok Sabha wanted to teach her a lesson.

WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), Jalandhar


RBI’s cautious approach

The Reserve Bank of India keeping its key lending rates unchanged for the fifth time in a row did not come as a surprise. The fact that the RBI has adopted a cautious approach in a bid to strike a balance between economic stability and sustainable growth, even as reining in inflation continues to be its top priority, needs no elaboration. Notably, as the central bank does not have control over food inflation, the government has stepped in by banning the export of wheat and imposing curbs on the export of sugar, onion and rice. While 7.6 per cent growth in the July-September quarter may have spurred the RBI to revise its forecast for economic growth in the ongoing financial year to 7 per cent from 6.5 per cent, achieving its medium-term targeted rate of retail inflation, 4 per cent, still remains shrouded in uncertainty.

Vinayak G, New Delhi


Reforestation is only a fig leaf

Apropos of ‘Forest land diversion’; it is highly unfortunate that despite the warnings nature has been giving, we persist with decimating forests in the name of development. Whom does this development benefit? Not the locals, whose interests should come first. The tragedy is that often, it is these very locals who have to face the wrath of nature, while those who benefit from the so-called development watch the devastation from afar. Reforestation is only a fig leaf to cover up the cardinal sin of destroying what nature has endowed us with. A ban on infrastructure projects has become imperative.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai


Economy and ecology

Refer to the debate on the phase-out of fossil fuels; both articles underscore the imperative to phase out fossil fuels to address crucial climate change issues. One writer’s argument for an urgent shift to solar thermal fuels for clean energy is persuasive, but due to the high costs involved, it is not viable for poor countries without the support of wealthy nations. The second writer’s argument for a gradual phase-out of fossil fuels, coupled with addressing challenges faced by the developing world, is both valid and feasible. A vibrant economy and a clean environment must go hand in hand for the bright future of our coming generations.

Chanchal S Mann, Una


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: [email protected]

UN’s failure

Dec 09, 2023

Refer to ‘Gaza ceasefire’; the failure of the UN Security Council in addressing conflicts such as the Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars has raised serious concerns about its effectiveness. The killing of civilians in military action is unjustifiable. While countries have the right to safeguard their sovereignty, indiscriminate bombardment resulting in the death of children and women cannot be justified in the pursuit of terrorists. The heinous attack by Hamas on Israel deserves condemnation. However, the murder of civilians, instead of targeted efforts against terrorists, is unacceptable. Similarly, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is indefensible.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali


School horror again

Apropos of ‘Kaithal principal touched girl students, was foul-mouthed’; it is a matter of grave concern that Haryana has recently been in the headlines due to a rise in cases of molestation involving girl students from government schools at the hands of their principals. Previously, the principal of a school in Jind was dismissed for his involvement in the molestation and sexual harassment of over 100 girls. While the legal process will unfold, it is surprising that both individuals had a history of controversial allegations during previous postings, and yet they were considered suitable for similar roles again. This raises reasonable suspicion that they may have connections with political figures.

MD Sharma, Shimla


Cong must be accommodative

Refer to ‘BJP on a roll, Oppn needs to regroup’; the INDIA bloc has met thrice and was expected to meet before the current winter session of Parliament. However, due to the absence of Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee, the meeting had to be postponed to the third week of December. This gathering holds importance as the Congress must set aside its ego and allow other parties to play a substantial role. It needs to accommodate other regional parties, as only a united Opposition can challenge the BJP. While the Congress remains a critical component of INDIA, it cannot be the fulcrum.

Bal Govind, Noida


A towering personality

Refer to ‘India needs to uphold Parkash Singh Badal’s legacy’; we often appreciate the true worth of a person only after his or her demise. Badal was such a towering personality in this region that his absence is keenly felt by all those who want Punjab to prosper. This sentiment is especially profound for the Shiromani Akali Dal, resembling a ship without an anchor, left adrift in the sea of politics today. Badal was unwavering in his simple convictions, shaped by his deep understanding of Punjabi culture and its rich heritage.

Deepak Taak, Panchkula


Will enhance employability

The Punjab Government’s initiative to introduce skill training schemes in the state is commendable as it will enhance the employability of the youth in the region. The scheme proposes the launch of short-term practical training courses designed to equip academically qualified candidates with the necessary hands-on skills required for an effective performance in various industries. Students from vulnerable sections of society, who may face financial constraints in pursuing expensive training programmes, stand to gain significantly from this scheme.

NK Gosain, Bathinda


Global bond index

The upcoming inclusion in the global bond index will undoubtedly raise awareness among local investors about the untapped bond market, providing a plethora of investment opportunities. The inflow of foreign money definitely helps a country’s economy to grow but it comes at a cost. The government and central bank come under a lot of scrutiny, requiring them to work in tandem to balance growth and potential inflation. While riding the wave of growth is relatively easy, the actual challenge lies in managing the downturn when inflation and the potential for the depreciation of the local currency increase.

Himanshu Chopra, Chandigarh


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: [email protected]

INDIA’s unity crucial for 2024 poll

Dec 08, 2023

Refer to ‘INDIA under strain’; had the INDIA bloc presented a united front against the BJP/NDA in the recent elections in five states, it might have had an impact on its prospects in the 2024 General Election, regardless of the results. However, it now seems it would be a challenge for the 28 parties to get together as a formidable force in 2024. Nevertheless, it is a ‘unite or perish’ situation for them, considering the electoral arsenal of the BJP. A robust democracy requires a strong Opposition.

Hira Sharma, by mail


All is not lost for Oppn

Apropos of ‘INDIA under strain’; the Congress’ defeat in the Hindi heartland is a significant setback for both INDIA and the party itself. What is intriguing is that the Congress is unable to shed its ‘big brother attitude’, which has led to its alienation with other members of INDIA. Unfortunately, the division of votes only played into the hands of the BJP. However, all is not lost for INDIA, and it should now formulate a strategic plan to effectively counter the BJP in the parliamentary elections. Internal conflicts and speaking against each other will only poison the political atmosphere in the group, providing a boost to the ruling dispensation.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar


Polluted air

Refer to ‘Cleansing the air for healthier lives’; if ruling parties cannot fulfil a fundamental need of the citizens, such as clean air, do they deserve to remain in power? India is not the only predominantly agricultural nation globally, and there is an opportunity to learn how other countries address stubble burning. The public bears the consequences of breathing polluted air, with children being particularly vulnerable. While our nation’s soil is revered by its citizens, it’s essential to recognise that we are committing the unpardonable sin of polluting it.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai


Mitigation and adaptation needed

Apropos of ‘Hottest decade’; a two-pronged approach involving mitigation and adaptation is necessary to address global warming and climate change. The primary focus of mitigation is a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, with the ultimate goal of complete cessation. However, achieving this objective faces political, economic and technical constraints, along with the inadequate availability of clean energy sources in various countries. The past decade, from 2011 to 2020, was the hottest on record, and 2023 stands out as the warmest year ever. At this critical juncture, mitigation alone is insufficient; adaptation measures are imperative to effectively address climate change.

O Prasada Rao, Hyderabad


Jind school horror

Refer to ‘Jind sexual abuse: Women activists meet SP, demand fair inquiry’; the provisions of the POCSO Act and the anti-sexual harassment committees in educational institutions either seem to be diluted or not properly implemented. Despite recorded statements of victimised girls, the government’s silence on this sensitive matter is baffling, especially considering its publicised initiatives like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and ‘Aapki Beti Hamaari Beti’. Girls being harassed in schools is a matter of concern. The apparent mishandling of the situation and the girls being subjected to distress are deeply troubling. The situation raises suspicions of political interference or an attempt to sweep the case under the rug, so that it could die quietly.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar


Timely help will save lives

Apropos of ‘Now, Rs 2K reward for taking mishap victim to hospital’; the Punjab government has taken a significant step by assuring free treatment to road accident victims within the first 48 hours of the mishap. The announcement of a Rs 2,000 reward for individuals who take accident victims to hospital is a thoughtful initiative that aims to ensure timely medical assistance for the victims. This proactive approach is crucial for saving lives, as many victims often succumb to injuries while waiting to be transported to hospitals. The introduction of such a government initiative is expected to allay fears of commuters, encouraging more people to come forward and assist accident victims.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali


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: [email protected]