The Tribune India : Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

British first Other

Oct 31, 2022

WITH reference to ‘Not our man in London’ (Nous Indica), the author has rightly pointed out that Indians are unduly going overboard over Rishi Sunak’s elevation as Prime Minister of UK. He is of Indian origin but will undoubtedly safeguard the interests of the British people. The all-important question is: Why has it taken Britain so long to have a person from a minority community at 10 Downing Street?

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Little to cheer

There is great hype around Rishi Sunak, the new PM of Britain (‘Not our man in London’). Indeed, there may not be any reason for Indians to celebrate. If he is a Churchill or Enoch Powell worshipper, like many Tories, India has to be circumspect in dealing with the UK. Sunak has already kicked up a row by appointing an ‘anti-immigration’ Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, who has courted controversy over her comments on migrants. Sunak is at the mercy of his constituents and Tory colleagues. It would be his priority to protect the ruling party’s policies vis-a-vis British national interests.


Why him; why now?

Apropos of ‘Not our man in London’ (Nous Indica); there have been instances in the past when economies were dwindling and governments were failing that a woman was put at the head of the government. Ministers knew that eventually the government would fail, but they would have a woman to blame for it. The article raises a pertinent question — ‘Why appoint a man of diversity as the head of a nation known to pride itself on its customs?’ The UK economy is failing, inflation is high, and at such a time, a man of colour has been put in charge. Strange, indeed.

Rewant Sharma, by mail

Pay parity, finally

Refer to ‘Fair play’; BCCI is the second cricket board, after New Zealand Cricket, to implement equal pay to male and women players. Putting women cricketers on a par with their male counterparts, albeit for international match fees only, will encourage more girls to opt for sports activities, particularly cricket. However, to ensure fair play, parity in other emoluments, such as annual contract and retainership amount, is needed for recognising equal hard work and dedication put in by women players. Also, pay parity at the national and state levels should follow soon.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

BCCI shows way

BCCI’s pay equity policy is a historic decision. Promoting gender equality and equal pay for equal work is a significant step that will set the platform for growth and development of women’s cricket in India. It will also encourage young girls to opt for cricket as a career. Such a decision should be implemented in other fields and professions, too, eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and growth.

Shivani Sharma, Panchkula

Uniformity in uniform

Reference to ‘PM Modi moots idea of “One Nation, One Uniform” for police’; Modi has also sought close cooperation among states to tackle crimes and criminals through cooperative federalism, being the joint responsibility of the states and the Centre. Though it may now be for the state home ministers to take a call, such an innovative idea should not be ignored owing to the difference in political ideologies in various states.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

GM mustard trials

Reference to ‘GM mustard crop’; though it is a great scientific achievement to indigenously develop genetically modified seeds, we must be conscious of any adverse effect it might have on the ecology. An area of concern is that GM trials are compromised due to business interests. The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee’s recommendations to conduct more field trials to assess their performance and impact in the Indian context, before using the variety full-scale, should be heeded.


Delay in medical college

A medical college at Kapurthala was sanctioned by the Centre in 2019 on the occasion of the 550th birth celebrations of Guru Nanak. The IMA has already approved the MBBS and other classes from session 2023-24. The basic designs are complete. People of the area, which is medically backward, shall be grateful if the foundation stone of Guru Nanak medical college is laid on Gurpurb on November 8. It is hard to understand why such a long delay. A large number of posts of specialist medical officer/general medical officer and nurse are lying vacant in the district.

Gurdip Singh Bansal, Kapurthala

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Pay parity Other

Oct 29, 2022

The decision of the Board of Control for Cricket to bring pay parity in the sport by paying same fee to women cricketers as is being paid to their male counterparts for international matches is a historic one. This is indeed a commendable step in the direction of tackling gender-based discrimination. The difference in earnings of male and female cricketers is staggeringly unfair. This step would go a long way in bridging the gap. The decision will inspire many more girls to take cricket as profession. This step should be emulated by governing bodies of other games too.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Will bridge gender gap

Apropos of ‘Fair play’; the BCCI’s landmark decision with regard to gender pay parity for international cricket matches deserves unstinted appreciation and adulation. The difference in the earnings of male and female cricketers is staggeringly unfair. The decision will help bridge the gender gap considerably and inspire more girls with latent talent to join professional cricket. Such incentives will equip our cricket team with more talented and dedicated players, enhancing our competitive mettle and prowess.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Attempt to sow fear

Apropos of ‘Bloodshed in Kashmir’; terrorists resorting to killing Kashmiri Pandits, non-Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims and even security personnel shows a concerted attempt to sow fear among residents of Kashmir and challenge the efforts to attain normalcy since the nullification of Article 370. Targeted killings are difficult to prevent as security personnel have no way of knowing who will be the next target of militants. This is in contrast to bigger terror operations that can be tracked through effective intelligence gathering. Earlier, Kashmiri Muslim civilians were targeted, but in recent months there has been a clear attempt to terrorise Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus/Sikhs in J&K. Their objective is to give a clear message to these minorities that they are not welcome in the Valley.

EL Singh, By mail

Bring in private players

Apropos of ‘Stubble-burning cases double in five days’; contrary to the tall claim by Punjab state officials, incidents of straw burning have surpassed last year’s figures with paddy harvest likely to peak in most of the areas under cultivation. The state government’s soft approach against farmers in such cases has sent wrong signals and deflated all means and measures taken by the government, including equipment subsidy, to contain farm fires. Time has come to hand over stubble management to private players. This will not only help the government in containment of farm fires, but will also give monetary benefit to farmers by selling stubble residue to private firms.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Review fixed incentive

Refer to ‘India 2nd to implement equal pay’; it is vividly clear that fixation of cash incentive for Test, ODI and T20I has been done taking into account the length of the play. It would have been better had quality been the criterion instead of length. Shorter the time of play, less is the time for player to show his/her full potential.

Manjeet S Rurkikhas, Garhshankar

Opposition divided

Reference to ‘Notes to likely 2024 winner’; the writer has aptly pointed out that Narendra Modi-led BJP will win the 2024 General Election without any problem. The opposition is a divided house and cannot put up a united show against the BJP leadership. There is no visible challenge to the Modi-Shah combine.

Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram

Food security

Apropos of ‘GM mustard crop’; though quite belated, but approval for GM crops like mustard seeds is a welcome step towards food security. If things go well, commercial use of mustard seeds should fructify in two years. Mustard, if trials work, will be the second GM crop after Bt cotton in commercial production. Even though the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee had cleared GM mustard few years earlier, the Centre had asked for more studies. But, GM mustard now has a better chance of gaining final approval, though it has again evoked opposition from farmers. Their apprehensions are misplaced as now safety assessment methods for GM crops are available. Besides, there is no scientific evidence of harmful effects of GM crops on human or animal health.

Lajwant Singh, by mail

Weird suggestion

The Delhi CM’s proposal to print pictures of Hindu deities on notes is farcical. Of late, we have been witnessing deadly cocktail of religion and politics and this weird suggestion will make the concoction more lethal. Kejriwal has been given the mandate for good governance and not involving Gods to serve his political interests.

Deepak Singhal, Noida

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Harming environment Other

Oct 28, 2022

Reference to ‘Haryana’s stinking Diwali’; Diwali is the festival of lights, but firecrackers cause a lot of damage to the environment. Firecrackers have not only caused damage in Haryana, but also other states have suffered heavy losses. Bursting of crackers releases many types of dangerous gases into the air. Carbon dioxide harms the environment as well as the body. Besides, carbon monoxide, a poisonous and odourless gas released from crackers, affects the heart’s muscles. Apart from air pollution, crackers also cause noise pollution. People should celebrate Diwali with happiness and see that they do not cause any harm to the environment.

Sikandar Bansal, Shimla

Sanctity lost

Even two days after Diwali, crackers were being burst late into the night. The cracker time norms issued by the government were not followed. The sanctity of the festival is lost by such activities. Costly crackers, bought with ill-earned money by some, are the main reason for these violations. This is also due to the laxity of the authorities in implementing the order.

Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala

Shun crackers

Apropos of ‘Haryana’s stinking Diwali’; firecrackers are disastrous for human health and should be avoided. We need a regulation and awareness on crackers, just like we have on tobacco and alcohol. Cleanliness and hygiene are very important for everyone. People should work together to clean up this mess by educating people about the importance of social hygiene. Diwali was never a festival of chemicals and crackers, which are just for human entertainment. It was, and always will be, the festival of lights and the triumph of light over darkness.

Tithi Trivedi, Ujjain

US using Pakistan

Refer to the article ‘General who calls the shots’; China has been pursuing the policy of expansionism for decades and Pakistan’s business is exporting terrorism. After the creation of Pakistan, there has never been true democracy. The ISI is the real ruler. After facing defeat in all wars, Pakistani Generals changed the attack mode and started using terrorists. Pakistan has full support and protection of China in these activities. Its economy is in ruins and it is surviving only through loans and aid. China and the US are using Pakistan for their ulterior motives. America occasionally gives meaningless statements such as ‘Pakistan is the most dangerous country’ that ‘keeps snakes in the backyard’, and simultaneously, extends millions of dollars in aid to it. There is no choice for India but to adopt an offensive defence strategy at the LoC and LAC.

Subhash Vaid, by mail

Absurd demand

Apropos of ‘Print Lakshmi, Ganesha images on notes: Kejriwal’; the Delhi CM’s demand is preposterous and against the fundamental ethos of a secular country like India. We are a multi-religious society and such an absurd demand will set in motion unstoppable similar demands by Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. Such demands would adversely affect religious harmony. Arvind Kejriwal’s demand is not only myopic, but also flouts the secular tenets enshrined in our Constitution.

Prem Singh Dahiya, Rohtak

Photos on notes

Currency notes are sparingly used by ordinary citizens to meet their day-to-day needs. However, these are extensively used by outlaws, corrupt politicians and officers and dishonest traders to finance terrorists, to pay for narcotics and to run parallel black economy. It is an insult to the Father of the Nation, whose picture appears on these notes. He would have protested to get his picture removed. The idea of using Lakshmi and Ganesha images on notes is all the more absurd.

BS Aggarwal, Panchkula

One up on BJP

The BJP is unabashedly a communal entity swearing by Hindutva, though here and there it uses the word ‘secular’ to remain on the correct side of the Constitution. In some other time and clime, it would have willingly printed photos of Lakshmi and Ganesh on currency notes. But an astute politician, Kejriwal has wrested the initiative from the BJP by suggesting the ruling party to print Lakshmi and Ganesha images on currency notes. The BJP would have been delighted, but since the idea has come from Kejriwal, party leaders are accusing him of using the Hindu card. Everything is fair in love and war, and in politics as well. Sly Kejriwal has beaten the BJP at its own game.

Beant Singh Bedi, Mohali

Not India’s achievement Other

Oct 27, 2022

Reference to ‘PM Rishi Sunak’; Sunak has made it to the office of the Prime Minister because the Conservative Party has finally trusted his capability and suitability after Liz Truss, its prior choice, blundered her way out of the office. His Indian origin or his being a Hindu, which is being overplayed in India, has nothing to do with his success. His priority would be to put his country’s economy on the right track. Those looking for favours for India in bilateral ties, trade, immigrant issues, etc., may be disappointed. Dirty politics has already started in India even on this, coupled with senseless statements from some politicians. Better sense should prevail in our country that does not mind the exodus of youth, but projects every achievement of any NRI or person of Indian origin as a national achievement.

Hira Sharma, by mail

Unethical comparison

Refer to ‘PM Rishi Sunak’; it has been mentioned that ‘India has been way ahead, having had Presidents and Prime Ministers from the minority communities over the decades.’ It is unethical to compare Indian leaders, whose forefathers were denizens of India since time immemorial and suffered during Partition, with Rishi Sunak and others as they were/are Indian citizens. Sunak and others themselves or their parents/grandparents were born or settled abroad decades ago. A majority of freedom fighters, who were hanged during the Independence movement, belonged to the minuscule Sikh community. Indian migrants have not made such sacrifices for their adopted nations.

Phuman Singh, Chandigarh

Testimony to hard work

Apropos of ‘Indian-origin Sunak takes charge as UK PM’; it is satisfying that the UK has got the youngest PM after a gap of over two centuries. It is a testimony to the hard work of Indian-origin persons, who sweat it out in foreign lands under all odds and rise to occupy high positions of authority in governments and corporates. His elevation is purely sentimental and may be, at best, a source of inspiration, but expecting a major turnaround for India is perhaps wishful thinking. Sunak is UK PM not because he is a Hindu or a person of Indian-origin, but he has shown the merit, mettle and potential to lift Britain out of its present economic and political mess.

Gp Capt JS Boparai (Retd), by mail

Sunak best for Britons

The rise of Indian-origin Rishi Sunak as Britain’s 57th Prime Minister is a matter of pride for us. Born and brought up in Britain, Sunak is a Briton for all purposes. His patriotism lies in being a devout Briton, which he no doubt is. Religiosity practised within the four walls of one’s home is a secondary issue. Therefore, let’s hope and wish that Sunak proves to be a true Briton and brings about all good that Britain at present needs for ushering in economic development and social and political well-being of the Britons at large. Besides, if he maintains good ties with India, it will be the icing on the cake.

KL Noatay, by mail

Prism of communalism

After Rishi Sunak was chosen as the UK Prime Minister, votebank politics has started in India. Several Opposition leaders, including Shashi Tharoor and P Chidambaram, have demanded the PM’s post for minority communities. According to so-called secularists, the minority means Muslims only. Dr Manmohan Singh belonged to the minority Sikh community and remained Prime Minister for 10 years. Many Muslims have occupied the posts of President, Vice-President and even Chief Justice of India. Politicians should not see everything through the prism of communalism.

RK Arora, Mohali

Xi’s China

Apropos of the article ‘Xi tightens grip on power’; there should be no room for party ‘supremos’ and ‘life-long Presidents’ in a democratically organised Communist party. Even famous communist leaders in the past committed avoidable mistakes in India, China and Russia when their individual prestige and popularity overshadowed and dented central committees, politburos and state committees. Shocked by the end of the seven-decade-old rule of the Communist Party of Soviet Union, Deng Xiaoping reorganised the CPC along democratic lines. Xi Jinping’s tremendous appeal among the CPC cadres rests only on his strong anti-American stance and anti-neoliberal model of economic growth. The shoes of Mao and Deng are too big to fit Xi. Communist leaders can also turn into dictators in the absence of collective leadership.


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:

Learn from 1962 war Other

Oct 26, 2022

Apropos of ‘Make pre-emptive moves to ward off China’; our political leaders should learn a lesson from India’s humiliating 1962 debacle. How can the Army leadership be blamed for this defeat when the government of the day failed to address various concerns of the Army? Only a well-armed Army with proper logistic support can be expected to decimate the enemy. The ground reality then was otherwise as the political leadership was more focused on the Panchsheel Agreement and ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ rhetoric instead of providing the required infrastructure and weapons to the Army to face the PLA.

Ravinder Singh, Jalandhar

Don’t tolerate hate

Refer to ‘Punish hate-mongers’; it appears that it is either a deliberate failure of the executive or some invisible forces have been preventing the executive from taking action against hate-mongers. Hate-mongers are active everywhere, including in the electronic media, social media and other forums. They need to be curbed before it is too late. It is unfortunate that some hate-mongers are moving freely with no legal action initiated against them. Hate in any form should not be allowed to vitiate our centuries-old culture of 'unity in diversity'.

Roop Singh Negi, Solan

Protect secular character

Refer to ‘Punish hate-mongers’; the SC’s order to states to take suo motu action against hate-mongers is praiseworthy. Action against the perpetrators of hatred should be prompt and non-selective. India is a secular country. All those found guilty of injecting caste or creed-based poison in society should not be allowed to go unpunished. All three organs of the state — the legislature, the executive and the judiciary — should make all-out efforts to protect the secular character of the country as enshrined in the Constitution.

CS Mann, Una

Justice with employees

In an appreciable step, the Punjab Cabinet has undone the wrong done by the previous government regarding pension. Now, all employees will get pension on superannuation according to the old pattern. Government employees covered under the Civil Services Rules should not be treated differently for pensionary benefits. The Bhagwant Mann-led government deserves praise for doing justice with the employees. But what about the retired employees of aided colleges? These unfortunate people, despite putting in 30-35 years of regular service and contributing their bit to nation-building, are getting neither the new nor the old-pattern pension. Without monetary support from any quarter at the fag end of their lives, these people are forced to lead a miserable life.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Delightful moment

There was a time when a country ruled many other countries and looted them. The same country had ruled India. Today, the UK’s economic condition has gone from bad to worse. Call it the law of karma: we are celebrating 75 years of Independence and Indian-origin Rishi Sunak has become the PM of the UK. It is a delightful moment for India as the UK now seems to have faith in people with Indian roots. It is hoped that Sunak is able to stabilise Britain’s economy.

Navneet Singh Kushwah, By mail

Back to roots

This time there was a tangible change in the Diwali celebrations in the country. People seem to be returning to their cultural and socio-economic roots. Traditional sweets, lights and gifts were more in demand this year than in the past few years. The visible return to 'Made in India' products is a happy and healthy sign for the country's economy. Reverting to traditional or homemade sweetmeats instead of candies and chocolates is a pleasant change in the celebratory attitude of the youth of the day. The Narendra Modi government's push for 'vocal for local' has borne fruit.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Another smoky Diwali

All efforts of the state governments, social organisations, educational institutions etc to encourage people to celebrate a cracker-free Diwali were futile, as, like every year, this year too it was a smoky Diwali. I fail to understand why we people are so reluctant to change their mentality. Why are we so casual about the welfare of our environment? At this time of the year, the atmosphere is already polluted due to stubble burning and to make things worse, people burst crackers during Diwali. The government had allotted a two-hour window to burst crackers, but the deafening sound of the fireworks could be heard even after midnight. We need to develop a responsible attitude towards our environment.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur

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:

Killings in Kashmir Other

Oct 24, 2022

Reference to ‘Targeted killings reveal societal divide in Kashmir’; the writer suggests constituting an SIT to probe the killings in Kashmir. Killings have been a permanent feature of the Valley for more than three decades. What is there for an SIT to find out? Intentions of the terrorists are very clear and these are known even to a child. Enquiry committees are a sure way to postpone action indefinitely. But here we are trying to find out something that is written on the wall. In fact, the headline carries the answer to what we intend to find out through the SIT. It is societal divide and it is not hidden from anyone. Whatever glorious past Kashmir may have, it has been shattered by terrorism. Political parties of the 1990s were mute spectators to the massacre and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. The damage caused is enormous and reversal is difficult. It will be a long-drawn process to resettle the Pandits in the Valley.



Refer to ‘AIIMS’ SOP for MPs, patients referred by them draws flak’; AIIMS is not attached to Parliament, hence there cannot be any priority for patients referred by ministers and MPs, but can be on the basis of seriousness of the condition of a patient, like anyone coming to the institute. It is wrong to have an SOP. A patient should be treated on first-come-first-served basis in OPD and admitted to casualty if the condition is serious and depending on the availability of bed. It will be unethical to discharge a patient prematurely to accommodate a patient referred by an MP. AIIMS should function as a referral hospital only. There should be a separate hospital for ministers etc., and their referred patients.


VIP culture

Apropos of ‘AIIMS withdraws letter on SOP for treatment of MPs’; it is appreciable that AIIMS was forced to withdraw the controversial letter promising SOP for treatment and facilities for MPs and patients referred by them at the institute. The letter had caused a lot of heartburn among the public, which was peeved at the new move to promote VIP culture. MPs are public representatives and nobody objects to the special privileges enjoyed by them. But they cannot be allowed to extend these privileges to others.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

‘Crackers’ of hate

The Delhi Government has banned crackers and violators will face six-month jail. But our politicians’ deadly fireworks of hate speech, communal disharmony and bulldozers to win elections and capture power continue to go unchecked. The media uses the ‘crackers’ of fake news and blames opposition leaders without proof, thereby, disturbing harmony and fanning ill will. Can any other Diwali cracker cause so much damage to the society permanently? These political and media crackers of hate and fake news must be banned.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Spreading hate

Reference to the news report ‘Hate speech shocking...’; since the past eight years, there has been an unprecedented spurt in hate speeches by political leaders. In majority of the cases, no action is taken against such people by the police. It seems that they enjoy the tacit support of the ‘higher leadership’. Very rightly, the SC judges have emphasised the importance of scientific temper which has been enshrined in Article 51A of our Constitution.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

Truss’ resignation

Apropos of ‘Chaos in UK’; Liz Truss’ sudden resignation from the post has made her the shortest serving PM in UK history. However, her honest admission of failure to deliver the mandate is noteworthy. She had promised tax cuts funded by borrowing, deregulation and a sharp shift to the right on cultural and social issues. As the saying goes, ‘what is bad for the goose need not be so for the gander’. Not many countries hold their elected leaders accountable for economic chaos. India, too, witnessed disastrous economic policies under the current regime.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Domicile duration

In reference to the AAP government making 50% marks mandatory in Punjabi language test for eligibility in government jobs is a welcome step. However, to strictly prioritise the interest of people of Punjab, a domicile duration should also be fixed, with exemption only to the Army, Central government employees and their wards posted in Punjab. Punjabi language test is not very difficult. It also doesn’t make the person qualified to understand the ground-level terminologies and work style in Punjabi. With no domicile rule, it is just like a one-time key to get a government job.

Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala

Last hope in SC Other

Oct 22, 2022

In reference to ‘Bilkis case shocker’; the release of 11 convicts might destroy the last hope of the common man in honourable courts, the executive and political setup. The members of the Advisory Committee appointed by the government has used the modus operandi of pick and choose. It might have worked for them on the directions of those in power. The Supreme Court may resurrect and nurture the extremely vulnerable fibre of faith in the judiciary. The convicts may take advantage of doubt, lack of evidence, preparing the chargesheet by investigating officers and deliberate manipulations made under the pressure of vested interests. It may render various declarations on the safety of women meaningless. The last hope lies with the Supreme Court.

Dilwar Ali Meerak, tohana

Linguistic chaos

Refer to ‘Tread cautiously on MBBS in mother tongue’; the government’s move to teach MBBS students in Hindi is not feasible. India with its vast variety of languages can’t emulate Japan or China whose languages are largely uniform. If medical education is imparted in different languages, it would lead to linguistic chaos. Translation often leads to poor quality of content. If the government really wants to help students who are weak in English, necessary steps should be taken to improve their English skills.


Regulated banking

Reference to ‘Why modern banks are inherently unstable’; banks in India have withstood the risks coming in the way from time to time. It is on account of sound regulatory mechanism and resilience in the system. The deposit insurance cover of the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation up to Rs 5 lakh protects 98% of the total number of accounts as against the international benchmark of 80%. A well-regulated banking system and deposit insurance cover provides a fair degree of confidence in the system amongst customers against any economic or financial crisis, thus alluding to any run on the banks. Further, it is governance rather than structure (public or private) in banks which determines the soundness of a particular bank. Due to its dynamic nature, our banking sector is going through a period of churning, wherein the regulatory role of the RBI is important, besides allowing public sector banks a competitive level playing field with its private peers.

KB Singh, Ludhiana

Give and take

The article ‘India lost and learnt’; suggests that a way forward is to let China keep Aksai Chin and India keeps Arunachal Pradesh. Aksai Chin was never delimited formally and claims and counter-claims are based on traditions, customs and history. During the 19th century, British India made some attempts unilaterally to demarcate the boundary since China did not participate on the ground that boundary is sufficiently and distinctly fixed. WA John, the officer in the Survey of British India, was then appointed to mark the boundary. He showed the boundary much north of the Karakoram mountains and it was further pushed to Keun Kun mountains. A proposal was also made showing Aksai Chin divided along the Lak Tsang Range. No belligerent attitude, skirmishes and even Russia-Ukraine type of war can alter the existing situation. Ultimately, the way to settle the dispute is via mutual discussions and give-and-take attitude.

Brig LC Jaswal (retd), Shimla

Himachal elections

Apropos of ‘HP election battle’, the elections are especially crucial for BJP as well as the Congress, as the state has alternated between both these parties from the 1990s. But even history may not favour the Congress any longer, particularly when Kejriwal’s AAP has jumped into the electoral arena. But it also appears from Kejriwal’s electioneering that the AAP has been investing more time in Gujarat than Himachal. As for the Congress, it desperately needs a win, after having lost both Uttarakhand and Punjab.

MS KHOKHAR, by mail

Scrapping plan

The quashing of the proposed Shimla Development Plan by the NGT is a severe reprimand for the powers that be. The government prepared a draft development plan after a hiatus of about four decades. It was in contrast to the directions of the environment watchdog. The department must have spent a few crores of taxpayers’ money to pay the consultants who prepared the ill-conceived plan. Political parties have long encouraged illegal construction in this heritage town and promised regularisation. The gullible have been taken for a ride but this leaves the town with about 10,000 unauthorised structures. The order is welcome and in consonance with the planning needs of this hill town.

Gurjyot Singh, Shimla

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Kharge’s new job Other

Oct 21, 2022

Refer to ‘New Congress chief’; it does look like Kharge will be at the helm of the party, but the Gandhis will not loosen their grip. What else could explain Kharge saying that he would have no shame in taking the advice and support of the Gandhi family in running the party’s affairs? It implies that he may also be remote-controlled from 10, Janpath, like the former PM, Dr Manmohan Singh. Kharge’s new challenges include exercising full control over the party’s internal bickerings and saving the sinking political ship by turning the extant adverse political tide in the party’s favour during the forthcoming state Assembly polls and the 2024 General Election. It may be easier said than done.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

Cosmetic change

Apropos of ‘New Congress chief’; the Gandhis have finally managed a reprieve for themselves. The new non- Gandhi chief, though a seasoned party veteran, will have an arduous task ahead — rejuvenating the party and remaining on the right side of the Gandhis. Hopefully, he will get a free hand, though it is unlikely if we go by the past experience. The Congress actually needed a more charismatic leader rather than a cosmetic change. A younger and more dynamic leader could have suited the situation more appropriately to energise the party at the grassroot level. But the Gandhis would not have accepted that for obvious reasons.


Medical education

Refer to ‘Tread cautiously on MBBS in mother tongue’; undoubtedly, the books for medical classes and allied reference books, manuals and journals are available in English. Translating them into mother tongue would be a mammoth challenge and exercise. Retaining the medical terminology in English would be the best option. However, those who wish to write their papers in their mother languages also need to be given an opportunity to do so in order to provide them a level playing field. If someone opts for his mother tongue to write papers, will it mean he is less capable a doctor than the one having cleared the papers in English medium? And does it mean that the doctor clearing his papers in Hindi may not know English?

RAVI SHARMA, by mail

Don’t rush in

Under the New Education Policy, the government is planning to start technical and medical courses in regional languages (‘Tread cautiously on MBBS in mother tongue’). This decision seems more to do with emotional appeal than enhancing the skills of students. Experts in support of the new policy quote the example of Russia, Japan and China, where English is replaced by one national language. In our country, there are numerous regional languages. Also, no preparation has been made for the translation of research journals and papers from English to other languages.

Naresh Johar, Amritsar

War lessons

The article ‘India lost and learnt’ is informative as most of the provocative markers of the 1962 India-China war have been highlighted. It was, indeed, a diplomatic and strategic blunder. India has surely learnt from the defeat and now holds a much better position both diplomatically and strategically. But India should further strengthen the infrastructure along the LAC.

Manpreet Singh, Ropar

Always alert

Apropos of ‘India lost and learnt’; the debacle of the Indian Army in 1962 was a blunder on the part of the then Nehru regime. The expansionist policies of China, which are based on mere whims, continue to be a roadblock in resolving the age-old border dispute. In the current scenario, where China leaves no stone unturned to hamper Indian interests, India should not let its guard down and must work steadfastly on bolstering its defences.

Ishan Chauhan, Jalandhar Cantt

J&K violence

During his recent visit to J&K, Home Minister Amit Shah lambasted local political parties and held them responsible for terrorism in the state (‘For how long will people of J&K bear human cost?’). But since the abrogation of Article 370, there has been continuous targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandits, police personnel, political workers and migrant labourers and the government has virtually failed in arresting the trend of violence in the Valley. The Union government cannot afford to snub local leaders as they have considerable sway among local residents. There is now a trust deficit in the Valley. Kashmiri Pandits have been on protest for the past couple of months. Cracking down on terrorism and rebuilding trust are the pre-requisites for peace in J&K. The government needs to change its Kashmir policy and talk to mainstream political parties. It also needs to conduct free and fair elections.

SK khosla, Chandigarh

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Biased report Other

Oct 20, 2022

Reference to ‘Less poor but hungrier?’; the reports are contradictory. India has rejected one of them as misleading and unfavourable for a country which is progressing conspicuously in many facets of development. Indeed, how can a country which has numerous programmes of health and nutrition, like Aarogya, Ayushman Bharat, Health for All, free food in schools and easy access to PDS slip down on the hunger index? India fought against all odds during Covid and rendered yeoman’s service by supplying medicines to needy nations which developed countries could not do. It also arranged colossal stocks of foodgrains for countries like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. How can a country that is among top five economic giants accept such a biased report? Gurdwaras and temples feed crores of people every day.


Food management

Apropos of ‘Less poor but hungrier?’; these figures are odd. In India, almost 60% of the land is covered under agriculture, which means that we have enough food supplies and we are self-reliant. Recent international studies have projected that India’s economic recovery is faster than China’s. But still its people do not have easy access to food. It shows that our food management techniques are not enough, and there is a need to modernise the system. Every year tonnes of foodgrain is wasted due to poor management. Schemes like the midday meal and PMKSY are not enough to resolve this problem. Addressing one issue at a time was acceptable during the pandemic but continuing it further will bring more problems. India may have to face global ignominy.

Kushagar Bansal, by mail

Governor’s objection

Governor’s objection in the appointment of PAU Vice-Chancellor is uncalled for. People of my age, born immediately after Independence, can vouch for the fact that such unfortunate situations never arose in the past. Exemplary contributions of VCs of the stature of Dr AC Joshi, Dr MS Randhawa and AL Fletcher in nurturing Panjab University, Punjab Agricultural University and Haryana Agricultural University, respectively, proved to be a golden chapter in the development of these universities. No one interfered in these model appointments, which were in accordance to the recommendations of the then chief ministers. Any drift in the normal administrative course of appointments of VCs will establish a wrong precedent.

VK Anand, Chandigarh

Thrash it out

The missive of the Punjab Governor to the Chief Minister, asking him to remove the present Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University from his post, as the government has made the appointment ‘without following the UGC norms and approval of the Chancellor’ is shocking and unfortunate. People know that the relations between the two top authorities are far from cordial. Whatever be the logic of both the parties, the sad fact is that the government tends to ignore, and even bypass the set official norms while making appointments at top positions. The government may be right in selecting the best person, but proper procedure should be followed. First, Dr Wander, and now Dr Gosal has fallen a victim to the discord between the state government and Raj Bhavan. The confrontation between the two is not in the interest of the state. Keeping aside their egos, both should sort out their differences. An administrative issue should not be made a political one. Both of them should jointly work for the development and betterment of Punjab.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Bribe for promotion

Reference to the bribe for promotion case in Punjab; this is not a new development as due to the vague promotion policy, hardly rules are followed during promotion. People have to wait their whole life to get a promotion. But if someone wants a promotion real bad, even if not competent, a senior can be bribed, thereby superseding meritorious officials. If the Punjab Government initiates an audit of promotions in its departments, boards and corporations, such cases will be found in every organisation. But the government is not serious about it.

Avinash goyal, Chandigarh

Shielding terrorists

Once again, on the global stage, China has emerged as a ‘role model’ for the terrorists of Pakistan by blocking a proposal by India and the US at the UN to put Pakistan-based Lashkar terrorist Shahid Mahmood on the list of global terrorists. China has been shielding Pakistani terrorists in the past too. It is for the fourth time in four months that it has stayed a world body’s attempt to put a terrorist on the banned list. China can be called the saviour of terrorists.

RK Arora, Mohali

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Chinese designs Other

Oct 19, 2022

Apropos of ‘Belligerent as ever’; having strengthened the LAC by constructing bunkers, helipads, roads and lines of communications, President Xi Jinping has declared to enhance the effectiveness of the People’s Liberation Army by accelerated modernisation and combat preparedness. Though the thrust of his address at the National Congress was directed at the US, Indian concerns cannot be ignored. There is no indication of diversion from its expansionist policy which includes annexation of Taiwan. It is vital for India to make its side of the LAC impregnable to prevent PLA’s frequent incursions. China’s aggressive designs must be countered by close coordination among all of our armed forces and utilising paramilitary units as force multipliers. Determined efforts in all the relevant spheres may be urgently implemented to counter China’s hostile activities.

Subhash Vaid, by mail

Quashing Shimla plan

Apropos of ‘Saving Shimla’; quashing of the development plan by the NGT will pave the way for saving Shimla. It is anybody’s guess how and why unauthorised construction in core and green areas is allowed despite the fact that the NGT had imposed a ban on new construction in 2017 and also clearly told not to regularise unauthorised buildings raised in violation of provisions of the town and country planning department.


Delayed initiative

Reference to the editorial ‘Saving Shimla’; the scrapping of the development plan by the NGT reminds one of the iconic song ‘Sab kuchh lutaake hosh mein aaye....’Had those at the helm of affairs of the state, including our political system, been wary, the Queen of the Hills would have been saved from turning into a city of concrete. The decision, albeit delayed, is a must to check Shimla from further ruin. The plan ignores the mobility angle in the development charter, entailing a flat loss worth billions of rupees on account of tapping tourism potential. There is a dire need for drafting a new development plan, taking on the spectre of haphazard growth by cracking a whip against the mafia, jeopardising lives of residents and tourists. The first and foremost step should be to decongest Shimla, which is highly vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural catastrophes.


BJP’s new gimmick

Apropos of ‘Addressing the deeply emotive language issue’; most politicians, media and others who advocate Hindi and other Indian languages have their own children studying in English-medium public schools abroad. It seems that they only advocate education, particularly technical, in Indian languages so that ordinary persons don’t pose any challenge for their families. Shah’s idea for medical education in Hindi will be a problem for students in a country like India with numerous languages and scripts. A person educated in, say, Hindi will find it difficult to practice in the South and vice versa. This is a gimmick to get votes by showing the poor golden dreams. It is absurd to cite other countries, where there is near-uniformity, both in speech and writing. In a country as diverse as India, this move of the BJP will open another front of confrontation at a time when we are facing other sensitive issues.

RC Goyel, Solan

Hopes from new CJI

Refer to the news report ‘Justice Chandrachud next CJI, oath on Nov 9’; Justice Chandrachud, who would be the 50th CJI, happens to be the first person to head the Indian judiciary whose father also held this revered constitutional post from 1978 to 1985. He will serve as the CJI for two years — a long period in recent years. All who make it to this post are experts in the law of the land and have authority over nuances of jurisprudence, besides being exponents of judicial etiquette. Challenges before the Indian judiciary are increasing day by day. An alarming number of pending cases and an ever-swelling number of undertrials being the foremost. Besides, legal tussles between the Centre and states or between states are also on the rise because of our politics which is touching a new low. As a guardian of the Constitution and democracy, the role of the CJI and the judiciary is always watched with hope and trust by all.

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Not enough food

In reference to ‘Malnutrition challenge’; it is a matter of grave concern that India is lagging behind in combating hunger. Astonishingly, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are better performers. India could not even maintain its last year’s ranking. Though we have refused to accept this ‘model based’ ranking, there are several reasons that are hampering the optimum use of foodgrains and proper implementation of schemes meant for addressing hunger. There is an urgent need to revamp schemes relating to food for the needy.


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Treading with caution Other

Oct 18, 2022

Reference to ‘HP electoral battle’; aspirants of all parties have started lobbying for tickets. The parties are overcautious in the declaration of the list of candidates as they fear that those disgruntled may join the opposition. Few Congress leaders have already joined the BJP. Government employees and farmers can tilt the wave in any party’s favour. The BJP is banking on star leaders and the Congress on anti-incumbency. The Congress did win the bypolls.

Virender Sharma, Shimla

Himachal elections

Apropos of ‘HP electoral battle’; the BJP seems to have somewhat recovered — at least in public perception — since its electoral drubbing in the byelections last year. The BJP’s poor hold on administration, confrontation with employees’ lobby and incumbency may come in the way of its ‘repeat mission’ ambition. Timely hand-holding by the Centre, the PM’s visit and a number of development schemes may make a difference. Riding high on Punjab success, the AAP is upbeat but the bubble may not survive the ground situation. It may have to wait for meaningful electoral presence. The state is poised for an interesting contest and no one can take the public for granted.


Going hungry

Refer to ‘Malnutrition challenge’; it is a matter of deep concern that India ranks 107 among 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index. Even Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are ahead of India. The report is reflective of the stark reality of the government not being able to feed its population. The fault lies not with the report, but with the government’s failure to address the unequal distribution of wealth. Given the better GDP, one wonders why people are going hungry.


Low on index

The Global Hunger Index is shameful for India. The government has been rejecting the hunger index reports. The index is a peer-reviewed annual report that endeavours to measure and track hunger at global, regional and country level. Certain government schemes might have helped ease the situation, but have fallen short of being adequate. Our food systems need to be re-designed for equity, sustainability and nutrition, which are not possible in a corporatised world.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Stubble burning fine

Refer to ‘India’s biggest bio-energy plant begins ops tomorrow’ and ‘Rs 1.52 lakh fine imposed on farmers burning stubble’; both news items are linked — stubble can be used as another raw material in the bio-energy plant. Stubble can get transformed from liability to asset as the farmers, instead of burning it, can sell it to the plant. The state government provides a cash incentive of Rs 1,000 per acre to farmers for not burning stubble, yet they continue to set it on fire. The fine of Rs 1.52 lakh covers a small fraction of the total burning cases in the state. Instead of giving incentive, the government can set up small-capacity decentralised plants catering to, say, 1,000 acres near agricultural lands so that transportation cost for stubble can be minimum. Fine is a small amount and cannot deter the farmers from burning stubble. The best way to avoid pollution is to use it.


Poor comparison

Comparison of Sisodia and Jain with Shaheed Bhagat Singh by AAP chief Kejriwal has no logic. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and all other freedom fighters had to face hard and cruel conditions under British rule, but these ministers are enjoying every comfort of life in Independent India.


Spurious milk

Apropos of ‘41% milk samples found substandard’; it is shocking that such a huge number of milk samples have been found substandard and unsafe for consumption. During the festival season, in view of the public demand, sweets of various kinds are prepared in huge quantities using milk products. To make a fast buck, manufacturers are using substandard and spurious material to prepare sweets. The biggest challenge to public health is posed by the use of adulterated milk, paneer and khoya. Often, these items are synthetic and thus harmful for humans. Even aluminium leaf is used instead of pure silver which is not good for health. Edible oil, too, is of poor quality. Unfortunately, most raids and checking campaigns are reduced to a mere formality during the festival season. Safeguarding public health is the primary duty of the government.


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Where did we go wrong? Other

Oct 17, 2022

Apropos of ‘Liberal values are absolute’ (Nous Indica), there is only one path towards inclusivity, but when and where did ‘We the People’ fail to put it into practice? Liberal values are not imposed from outside. These values are sanskars that the intelligentsia needs to incorporate in the intellectual discourse that moulds the minds of the masses. Gandhi had given a furrowed field, sown with seeds of liberal values, to the nation. Intellectuals failed to water and fertilise the field because of their skewed notion of secularism. The split verdict of the apex court in the hijab case reflects the true picture of our society’s psyche.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Reformers missing

Apropos of ‘Liberal values are absolute’ (Nous Indica), the genesis of regression lies in identity or vote-bank politics and those supporting the hijab are echoing their will, which is ‘pre-scripted’ by conservative parents and other elders. Sadly, great reformers like Guru Nanak, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who ushered in a renaissance in social and religious practices, are missing in the Muslim world. A uniform civil code is the panacea that ought not brook any delay as our welfare state is obliged to uplift all.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Hijab should go

The regressive hijab should not be imposed on young girls in schools. It is religious fanatics who take such irrational decisions. A uniform dress instils in students a sense of equality. In Iran women have taken to the streets against hijab. Are all Muslim girls willing to always remain covered in hijabs or burqas? The larger Bench of the SC should take on board all stakeholders while deciding this sensitive issue, including the girls who will be directly impacted by the verdict.

Amarjeet Mann, Nangal

Not serious about RTI

Refer to ‘RTI Act at 17’; the present government is doing all it can to scuttle the Act by refusing to appoint adequate number of personnel needed for the job. The pendency of over three lakh cases makes a mockery of the intent of the Act. Violence against RTI activists is quite common and the delay in providing information increases their vulnerability to such attacks. The BJP used the Act effectively to uncover corruption during the UPA regime, but claims that there are no cases of corruption under the present government. Perhaps the claims would be busted if it allowed the Act to be used in the way it was meant to be used.


Ignore referendum call

Apropos of ‘India serves demarche on Ottawa...’, rather than reacting to referendum calls by such fringe elements and giving them undue publicity, we should simply ignore them. A large majority of these people don’t even have Indian citizenship anymore. This shows how much love they have for India and Punjab. Their leaders collect large donations in the name of ‘Khalistan’ from gullible Punjabis and have a lavish lifestyle. Once their bank balance goes down, a fresh call is given in the name of ‘Khalistan’.

Lt Col HS Dullat (Retd), Patiala

Vande Bharat

The launch of Vande Bharat Express is an exciting and important initiative taken by the Modi government. As a huge developing country, India can grow sustainably through tourism. This train will attract tourists from different parts and the increase in connectivity with other states would surely help. Such initiatives will go a long way in making ‘Dream India’ a reality.

Vibha Khurana, Jalandhar

Drug regulation must

It is a matter of concern that India’s image as a major supplier of medicines is jeopardised by the death of Gambian children (‘Save India’s image as pharma hub’). A reliable regulatory system should be in place to save lives at home and abroad. Non-compliance of recommendations of various committees highlights a casual approach, even towards grave matters. Committees and commissions are of no use if their recommendations are to be dumped.

Sadhna Saini, by mail

Procedural lapses

Reference to ‘Dr Wander out of VC race’; it is an irony that the noted cardiologist had to withdraw due to a confrontation between the Governor and the CM’s office. It is a matter of concern that recurring procedural lapses are being committed in matters pertaining to the Governor’s office. Either the bureaucracy or the AAP government is ignorant of basic rules and procedures or there is a communication gap between the two responsible for Wander’s ignominious exit. CM Bhagwant Mann should set his office in order to avoid such incidents in future.

Anil vinayak, by mail

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Hijab issue Other

Oct 15, 2022

Reference to ‘Let modernity prevail’; if only the SC had delivered a unanimous verdict on this highly emotive issue. Since the appeals will now be decided by a larger Bench to be constituted by the CJI, one hopes that the BJP doesn’t play its communal and votebank card. At the same time, Muslim clergy should take a liberal view. The ongoing protests by Iranian women against the hijab should also show the mirror to all concerned in India. Let us hope that wiser counsel will prevail upon all stakeholders till the matter is finally decided by the Supreme Court.

Vinayak G, bymail

Communal fallout

Apropos of ‘Let modernity prevail’, why do such issues, like the hijab row, leading to a communal fallout, crop up only in BJP-ruled states? The issue seems to be more of a conflict between leaders of two communities to let down the other with the intent to derive political mileage. This issue, resolved either way, is bound to cause a sense of hurt, humiliation and antagonism in the mind of the ‘losing’ community. Another disturbing ramification of such issues is that the verdict is likely to be influenced by the personal predilections of judges. Religious harmony is imperilled when such issues are raised. Unless our political class changes its mindset, these issues will continue to affect communal harmony, slowly pushing us towards the recurrence of the horrors witnessed at the time of the Partition. Sectarian and divisive forces must be quelled in the larger interests of the country.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Wasting time, resources

What a pity that government resources and the judiciary’s precious time is being wasted on non-issues like hijab, especially when the country is facing multiple hardships, such as record unemployment, slow growth of economy and record inflation. If the government and the media spent some time on these issues, it would be better for the country. Raising non-issues comes in the way of real progress.

Bhupinder Kochhar, Panchkula

Rendered meaningless

Refer to ‘RTI Act at 17’; unfortunately, this cherished Act has proved to be a toothless tiger, having lost its credibility due to political appointments of state and Central Information Commissioners, mainly superannuated ‘crafty’ bureaucrats who have nothing at stake. Since inception, I have been using this Act to expose maladministration in our universities and colleges, but to no effect. Most of the Public Information Officers (mainly superintendents on the verge of retirement) and first appellate authorities have no sound knowledge of law and pass the buck on flimsy grounds to other public authorities. The Information Commissions hardly initiate any penal action against apathetic and delinquent PIOs, thereby emboldening them to perpetuate mismanagement to the detriment of aggrieved RTI applicants. The attitude of majority of Information Commissioners is arrogant and autocratic discouraging information seekers. The Act can be effective only when the authorities act in accordance with law by providing accurate information as per rules.

Anil Bhatia, Hisar

Undermining women

Apropos of the news report ‘Beauty contest raises residents’ hackles’, it is strange that some unknown persons are going to hold a beauty contest in Bathinda, in which the ‘general caste’ winner will get a chance to marry a person having a Canadian PR! Such a contest not only undermines the female fraternity but also is an attempt to divide society on the basis of caste. It is also unfortunate that the organisers dragged the name of a hotel without the consent of its owner and are evading phone calls to verify the veracity of the event. The police should contact the owner of the printing press to get a clue about the organisers.

Vijaya Sharma, by mail

NRI racket

Reference to ‘Sunder ladkiyon ka mukabla’, where the winner will get a chance to marry a person having a Canadian PR; this is a new ‘revolution’ in the matrimonial industry. The hotel has denied any booking for such an event and there is no information regarding the organisers, though their contact number was given on the posters pasted on walls in Bathinda. This racket is going on and hundreds of innocent women have been cheated by fake NRIs. The police must catch these culprits.

Capt Amar Jeet (retd), Kharar

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Economic recovery Other

Oct 14, 2022

Refer to ‘Green shoots’; high crude prices are taking a toll on Indian economy, even though all other aspects are on the right track. Massive infrastructure expansion is going on. New expressways, airports, seaports, railway freight corridors are being built to solve India’s logistics problems. Unemployment is going down but slowly. There is a need to create more jobs to achieve 8-9 per cent growth rate. India has the capability to come back stronger. Every country is dealing with inflation, which is one of the major concerns of developing countries.

Tithi Trivedi, Ujjain

Hoping against hope

Refer to ‘FM Nirmala Sitharaman says Budget to address growth, inflation concerns’; it seems unbelievable that faced with the challenges of slowing growth rate and high inflation, Nirmala has pronounced that the Budget would be 'very carefully structured' to help the economy sustain growth momentum and rein in prices, even as she has identified high energy prices among the biggest problems facing the economy. All this comes amid the fact that almost all institutional bodies (including the IMF and RBI), apart from various subject experts, have cut their projections for India’s GDP growth in the current FY 2022-23 based on RBI’s tighter monetary policy hugely denting demand and the economy facing headwinds from a global slowdown. Achieving the desired level of economic growth vis-a-vis reining in inflation remain inversely related and it may be a Herculean task to strike any worthy balance between the two.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

‘Planned’ menace

Refer to ‘Hate speech’; the frequency of hate speeches have been increasing. Religion is being used to spread hatred in society. Every religion preaches peace and goodwill but followers use it as a tool. Politically biased security agencies hardly take any action against the defaulters. People from a particular faith get caught under various sections of the IPC, even though others with serious charges remain protected through their political affiliations. Courts need to initiate suo motu cognisance to maintain peace among people of various religions. Hate speeches have sparked riots at many places, yet nothing concrete has been done by the government. The negligible conviction rate also encourages hate speeches. Religious fundamentalists must be punished to curb this ‘planned’ menace.

Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali

Binny as BCCI chief

Apropos of ‘Roger that, Binny set to take over from Ganguly’; it is a pleasure to learn that cricketer Roger Binny is set to take over as president of BCCI. A member of the Indian cricket team that won the 1983 World Cup, Binny played an important role by taking 18 wickets in the tournament. Hopefully, he will be responsive to the requirements and demands of the upcoming cricketers representing various teams in different formats of the game.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Substandard drugs

The WHO instructions to recall Indian cough syrup has brought our pharma export market under a scanner. Below par Indian manufacturers are targeting poor countries with lax regulatory norms. The death of several children in J&K in 2020 due to adulterated cough syrup manufactured by a Himachal Pradesh unit is also a case of gross negligence. Recent reports showing zero active ingredient in a high-end antibiotic from three Punjab and HP-based companies has opened the Pandora’s box of how profits are made at the cost of human lives. Drug rules in India are strict but very poorly implemented. The alliance between manufacturers and regulatory authorities is alarming. The manufacturer is under pressure to recover his investment and earn profit in the background of uncertain and fluctuating API rates, coupled with heavy expenses he has to meet at the FDA office to get the requisite licence. Hence, quality is compromised. Unless the government seriously monitors the functioning of institutes like DCGI and CDSCO, we are just waiting for another tragedy to take place. Besides preventive measures, strict action is required against those found guilty. Temporary cancellation of licence is not a solution.


US marijuana policy

In a recent shift in the US policy on marijuana, around 6,500 people convicted of possessing the drug were pardoned. Apart from paving the way for them to be smoothly reintegrated into society, it looks into the possibility of separating marijuana from the legal category of dangerous semi-synthetic drugs. India too should decriminalise marijuana as it will help reduce the dependability of addicts on lethal drugs. Though in the past few years, some states have regularised cannabis cultivation or has removed bhang from the list of intoxicating drugs, a lot needs to be done.

Maitri Chahal, Chandigarh

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Give EC more powers Other

Oct 13, 2022

Reference to ‘Curbing hate speech’; hate speech is like cancer which is eating away our country’s traditions of tolerance and mutual goodwill. Most riots and clashes in the world have been preceded by hate speech. Undeterred and blatant use of hate during elections creates an atmosphere of impunity. The Election Commission recently submitted in the Supreme Court that it has no power to derecognise a political party or disqualify its members if the party or members make hate speeches. Many television debates also seem to encourage hate speech to boost TRP. A comprehensive policy is needed to check this trend. The court should give directions on time-bound trial of hate speech cases. The Representation of the People Act needs to be amended for empowering the EC. Also, responsibility of the media needs to be fixed on the use of such speeches on its platforms.

Prateek Bansal, by mail

Toxic speech

Refer to ‘Curbing hate speech’; I felt impelled to pen down the following lines: Hate the hatred that eats into/ And hollows out the age-old bonds/ Through vicious voices and bully-taunts/ Emerging out of dark deep prejudice. Speak, if you must, not in toxic tongue/ Pray, speak out of loving, tonic lungs/ Endlessly creating goodwill all around/ Endlessly reverberating the humane sound/ Cooperating with the universal endeavours of Humanity’s fraternal affinity,/ breaking new ground. (The capital letters of the verse spell out HATE SPEECH.)

Amritlal Madan, Kaithal

Broker peace

Apropos of ‘Escalation in Ukraine’; it is not understood why the way out of the war should be ‘honourable’ for Russia and not-so- honourable for Ukraine? Russia is the aggressor, killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure and exposing the living to existential risks without energy and food. Ukrainians have made immense sacrifices and are reclaiming their lost territories inch by inch by launching successful counter attacks. Putin is now holding the world hostage to nuclear and energy blackmail. Even if ceasefire is agreed upon, Russia will use the opportunity to regroup and launch further attacks. The only honourable way out of the war is for both countries to return to the pre-February 24 positions. Any other option will only set a precedent for the powerful to grab the territory of the weak. Might cannot be right. The world must ostracise Putin and continue to support Ukraine.

Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali

Put goodwill to use

Reference to ‘Escalation in Ukraine’; the missile attacks on Kyiv and other cities have caused a great loss in terms of life and destruction of buildings. The horrors of a conflict can be noticed for the first time on this scale since World War II. So far as India’s role is concerned, it should use its goodwill with both countries to make a strong call for an end to the war. The international community should also make serious efforts to find a peaceful solution to this problem.

Satish Sharma Majra, Kaithal

Subsidise power

Reference to ‘Groundwater crisis’; with the average annual rainfall and forest cover decreasing and the reality of global warming, it will only make the situation worse. With the availability of free power for tubewells, farmers at many places have filled up water channels (khals) to usurp whatever land was occupied by the khals. The priority of the government should be to install underground pipes to replace the khals. Farmers need to know that canal water is much more beneficial for crops. The share of river waters due to Punjab should be restored for agricultural use and power supply should be heavily subsidised, like fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, rather than free, as it will preclude wastage of both water and electricity. Solar-run tubewells should be installed with 50 per cent subsidy. Rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharging, crop diversification and increasing forest cover should be a priority for both the people and the government. Apart from this, canal water should be stored during monsoon season when it is least needed and goes waste. Experts can reveal the ways and means for such conservation of water.


Suspension of employees

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij recently suspended three Ambala Sadar MC employees for inefficiency. He often remains in news for his proactive approach in ensuring people's welfare and pulling up errant government functionaries. People earnestly desire to have accountable and honest government officials. Perhaps such suspensions should become the order of the day for emulation by other ministers as well to promote efficiency in service.

RS Khurb, Panchkula

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Learning from Mulayam Other

Oct 12, 2022

Refer to ‘The somersault king’; many a time, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s survival tactics in politics diluted his socialist origin and disappointed his allies. Yet, this is also a fact that there was a time in national politics when the country’s most respectable leaders, like Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Chaudhary Charan Singh, admired him as a firm supporter of communal harmony and social justice in UP. He was a bold mass leader of the rural poor, backward castes and minorities. He belonged to the Yadav clan, but he won reliable friends and colleagues among Kurmis, Rajputs and Brahmins. He was accessible and helpful towards his party workers as well as leaders and cadres of his allies, including the Left parties of UP. As the defence minister, he ensured that martyrs’ bodies were carried with dignity to their native villages for the last rites. Today’s leaders can learn a lot from his achievements as well as his failures.


Leader of masses

In the year 1996, my regiment was at Babina and we were conducting the annual field firing at the firing ranges there. We were told that the then Raksha Mantri, Mulayam Singh Yadav, would be visiting us at the ranges. The next day, he visited us. Everyone in the regiment was there to have tea with him. He enjoyed a hearty conversation with the JCOs and jawans, and was seen hugging them. By the time he left, the troops were in a higher state of morale. Mulayam Yadav was indeed a leader of the masses.

Col VK Sharma (retd), by mail

WHO alert

Reference to ‘Regulatory clean-up’; after the Gambian tragedy and WHO’s alert, a rigorous drug testing regulatory regime has become imperative to ensure that India’s pharma industry remains globally competitive. Though the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has now started investigations, it should have taken strict action when some Indian children’s deaths were reported due to the use of spurious cough syrup. Heavy deterrent penalties could have nudged offenders to reform. Due to this criminal negligence, too many children and their families have paid a heavy price, and Indian pharma’s global reputation, once again — after Ranbaxy — is at risk. If a drug fails quality test in one state, the obvious thing to do is to suspend the manufacturing licence. Maiden Pharmaceuticals escaped such punishment. Due to regulatory failures, a problematic company and a dangerous contaminant escaped the attention of drug controllers. It is unfortunate.

SK SINGH, by mail

Playing with fire

Apropos of ‘Hopes belied, again’; people of Punjab are now used to the problem of stubble burning. The government cannot spare funds to tackle this menace, even though millions are approved for farmers as loan waivers every year. The AAP government is fulfilling many poll promises, like 300 free units of electricity per month and job regularisation, but it, too, has failed to deal with this issue. All stakeholders should prioritise finding a solution to this problem. Otherwise, that day is not far when every second person would be suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems.

Kushagar Bansal, by mail

Leave religion alone

It was disheartening to see the high-voltage drama enacted by Sikh religious leaders by felicitating the Haryana CM at Nada Sahib gurdwara. Religious places are meant for purely devotional purposes and not to further narrow political interests to hold control of gurdwaras. They call themselves ‘param sewaks’, but often this trait is absent. The Chief Minister should keep equidistance from all religions. His address was loaded with petty party politics about the management of gurdwaras, which should be wisely left to the Sikh community.


Why split celebrations?

The IAF celebrations have just ended, but why did we have split celebrations? The Air Force Day parade was held at the IAF station, Chandigarh, at 9 am, but the air display was scheduled for late afternoon at the Sukhna Lake, which has no relevance to the Air Force. Aircraft from eight air bases were flown in for the airshow. Late afternoon was too close to dusk for the safe return of the aircraft to their bases. All celebrations should have been held at the IAF station itself, and that too in the morning. A static display of aircraft, missiles, radar systems, etc., with an air warrior stationed there to disseminate information and answer queries should have been arranged for the public.


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The way out Other

Oct 11, 2022

The deteriorating level of air quality index in the Delhi-NCR region, which causes coronary and respiratory diseases in winter, remains a serious concern (‘Hopes belied, again’). Stubble fires in Punjab, Haryana and UP are a major factor. Despite several initiatives taken by the Centre and state governments for straw management, and declaring burning a punishable offence, the problem goes on unabated. This is due to the lack of visionary leadership, political will, efficient legal framework and personal self-restraint and discipline. Enhanced public awareness, increased budgetary allocation for monetary incentives and provision of more machines at subsidised rates to farmers, efficient monitoring and compliance mechanism, and strict implementation of laws will curb this unhealthy practice. Corporates should also recognise their social responsibility in this regard.

DS Kang, Hoshiarpur

Farmers’ lobby

Refer to ‘Hopes belied, again’; stubble burning continues unchecked. The incidence of stubble burning might swell this year because the late-season rain has delayed harvesting. The smoke spewed by burning of crop residues is a major contributor to the rise in pollution levels between October and November. Action needs to be taken by adjoining states, but it isn’t forthcoming in adequate measure. The farmers’ lobby is powerful and the government machinery is wary of stopping them from burning stubble. This has become an annual feature and there is no solution in sight.


Working for gangsters

The presence of mobile phones and drugs in jails, gangsters’ activities from jails and the escape of gangster Tinu from custody indicate the presence of cops who work for gangsters and draw salary from the government as bonus. They misuse their official powers and other government amenities for the operations of the gangsters. The Punjab Government is working to eliminate these gangs, but before that, it is imperative to root out the gangsters in uniform, who negate all government plans. There is a dire need to identify the black sheep and give them exemplary punishment.

Ss Bhathal, by mail

Protocol ‘faux pas’

The seating ‘faux pas’ at the recent IAF Day celebration show, prompting Haryana to take umbrage to the Governor’s seat away from the President (unlike his Punjab counterpart), does warrant corrective action. Haryana’s resentment at discrimination in the appointment of UT Administrator also lingers. To address the bane of multiplicity of power centres in the UT, it is imperative to modify the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, to provide for a common Governor who can be ex-officio UT Administrator. Besides optimising synergy in administration of the UT and the bond between the twin states, there would be a huge saving in maintaining separate Governors and the wherewithal attached with it.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Moonlighting conditions

Apropos of ‘Fresh perspective on moonlighting needed’; moonlighting has been going on not only in the IT sector but also in health, hospitality and other sectors all over India and abroad. Rent in cities is not less than Rs 20,000 for one BHK. In that scenario, employees are compelled to take up another job to keep their body and soul together. But, at times, the second job is done on the quiet, not for need, but for greed. Doctors and other health professionals work for other hospitals after their duty hours or on holidays for additional income. Even government health professionals indulge in this practice. Second job should not be allowed in essential services where there may be round-the-clock requirement of a professional.

KR Bharti, Shimla

A silver lining

The common man is least bothered about religious issues, but self-serving politicians keep dividing the ordinary struggling people along religious lines to promote their personal agenda (‘Noor & Malti, a symbol of hope’). The striking comradeship between Noor and Malti stands out as a silver lining for people living together peacefully, irrespective of their religious backgrounds. Such examples would go a long way in thwarting the ill-designs of the divisive forces and keeping the nation strong and united.

Amarjeet Mann, Nangal

Need to take stand

The middle ‘Noor and Malti, a symbol of hope’ correctly suggests that it is the common people who will have to stand up against the divisive forces and affirm that human lives are much peaceful and joyful when lived harmoniously. In a nation bearing the brunt of divisive policies of politicians, more and more efforts from people to stay united would be the right thing to do.

Parveen Malik, Chandigarh

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Always a victim Other

Oct 10, 2022

Reference to ‘Hushing up rape case’; schools are considered to be the most secure place after home, but the Delhi gangrape incident belies this notion. When the 11-year-old victim approached the school authorities to seek justice, they whitewashed the whole incident for the sake of the school’s image. This action reflects the mindset of society which keeps the victim in shackles but the perpetrator is let off. The stringent laws framed to tackle the surge in rape cases are proving futile. The plight of women will not improve till society remains indifferent to their suffering.

Rishika Kriti, Jalandhar

Stigma of rape

Apropos of ‘Hushing up rape case’; it is unfortunate that incidents of rape are still being hushed up in our society. The victim is left to herself to bear the pain and stigma of the brutality inflicted on her, not only by the perpetrator of the crime but also an indifferent society. There is need to bring about a change in the misogynistic mindset of society, which should be empathetic and supportive towards the victim. Justice delivery too should be speeded up and punitive measures adopted to curb such crimes. Most importantly, we, as individuals, need to stand up with the victim.

Sumita Kanwar, Yamunanagar

Congress election

Reference to ‘Presidential polls: Tharoor urges everyone to join him to make rejuvenated Congress’; after nearly 22 years the Congress will hold election for the post of president. Tharoor is in contest with senior party leader Kharge. The party has not fared well in elections. Tharoor has expressed his desire to decentralise the decision-making process and has been forthright about bringing reforms within the party to take it forward. On the other hand, Kharge has enough political experience but his road map for the party is not clear, even though he is a respected face in the Congress.

Devendra Khurana, Bhopal

Credibility at stake

Apropos of the article ‘The Gambian tragedy’, the families of 66 children have paid a heavy price for the gross negligence of a drug manufacturer. The incident has also put a question mark on the Indian pharma industry’s credibility. It is unfortunate that drug controllers responsible for issuing licence and ensuring quality control are working independently. If a drug fails quality test in one state, the licence of the unit must be suspended in the state of its location. The company’s claim that the two excipients termed as ‘contaminants’ by the WHO were supplied by a third party is no excuse. The overall responsibility for quality and testing lies with the manufacturer. Worse, the Haryana drug controller certified the company as WHO-compliant. The central regulator, CDSCO, should be held accountable for the failures. The Indian Government must put in place a meticulous regulatory system.


Drug companies

A large number of licensed drug companies are listed as defaulters by the authorities of different countries. Simply cancelling the licence is not enough. Indian drug controllers must ensure the quality of medicines. Such cases have been reported earlier too, but no solid action was taken. Various medicines are banned in some countries but are still supplied in India. The government should check if there are any complaints against companies and penalise them for tarnishing the image of India’s pharma industry.

Tashi Baheti, Ujjain

Locking school

Apropos of the news report ‘Pupils lock Maura govt school, seek transfer of staff’; students are compelled to take such extreme steps only when the situation worsens and gets out of control. When the matter reached the police station, the authorities should have taken remedial measures and transferred the guilty teacher. Fights between teachers have a long-lasting impact on the minds of students and vitiate the school atmosphere.

Upendra Sharma, by mail

Religion is secondary

The stories of Noor and Malti have been narrated in an exquisite manner in the middle ‘Noor and Malti, a symbol of hope’. The common man, whether in a rural or an urban landscape, is primarily concerned about two meals a day, sans any thought or concern for religiosity. It is a secondary issue for the aam aadmi. Religion is the opium of only bigwigs, who keep looking for opportunities to divide and rule the struggling populace.

KL Noatay, by mail

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Will tarnish image Other

Oct 08, 2022

Apropos of ‘Cough syrup probe’; it is shocking that 66 children have died in the Gambia following the intake of syrup manufactured by a Haryana-based pharmaceutical company. The cough syrup contained ‘unacceptable’ levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol which can cause severe damage to kidneys. India is one of the leading exporters of medicines. PM Modi recently stressed that Indian drugs had earned the world’s trust and that India could be called the ‘pharmacy to the world’. However, such negative reports on the quality and safety of our medicines will be a massive blow to the country’s image as a source of cheap generic drugs to the world.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

Drug regulation

It is a sad commentary on the drug regulatory system in India that spurious drugs are in the market. It is shocking that cough syrup manufactured in Haryana claimed the lives of 66 children. It will tarnish India’s reputation of being a global pharma hub. The drug regulatory authority should have been on its toes to see that no substandard and adulterated drug rolls out in the market — local or global. Otherwise, it will undo whatever good work has been done in the past by Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Maheshwer Sharma, by mail

Take strict action

Reference to the editorial ‘Cough syrup probe’; the development highlights the pain and agony of the parents who gave their children the syrup to cure their disease, but unfortunately, it caused their death. These kinds of incidents bring a bad name to the country and its pharmaceutical industry. It will take India a long time to rebuild its lost image and credibility. The government should take strict action against the drug manufacturer and ensure that such incidents do not recur.

Virender Sharma, Shimla

Deaths in Gambia

The recall of the drugs by the Gambia and a WHO alert have put the spotlight on the monitoring of quality and due diligence by drug companies (‘Cough syrup probe’). There is need for stricter inspection by regulators. Poor quality medicines can reach the market through substandard production of legitimate drugs and inadequate quality control processes during manufacture. Deliberate fraudulent practices can’t be ruled out. As Indian pharma products, including generic medicines, are exported to many countries, India risks tarnishing its image as a supplier.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Extend deadline

Reference to ‘Curbing pollution, job loss’; shutting down of thousands of industrial units in the NCR and lakhs of workers facing the prospect of losing jobs and pandemic-like dislocation has created a difficult situation. Since setting up clean infrastructure is a top priority, the government should give subsidies to industrialists to meet the expenses involved. It should also issue a fresh deadline for shifting to green fuel. This will save lakhs of poor workers from being rendered jobless.


Protect jobs

In reference to ‘Curbing pollution, job loss’; industrial units facing closure might render a huge number of people jobless. India has two most polluted cities — New Delhi and Kolkata — on the list of top 10 most-polluted cities in the world. The Centre and state governments should provide subsidies, rebate in GST and other taxes, provide moratorium in the recovery of loans and should extend the deadline. The government should allot land to shift the units. Long-term planning under some authority is crucial. This NCR model may be followed by other industrial cities in future. It is a welcome and necessary step to minimise pollution through fossil and traditional fuels, but jobs should be saved by allocating sufficient funds and relaxations to the units, previously affected by the Covid lockdown.

Dilwar Ali Meerak, TOHANA

UK migration policy

With regard to the report ‘UK’s Home Secretary not in favour of “open border” migration policy’; the statement is against India’s interest and has come at a time when even the US has become a bit acrimonious and has put Indian visitors on an eight-month wait. Braverman has claimed that the maximum number of persons who have overstayed are Indians. Also, there is alarming news from the UK and Canada, where temples have been vandalised. Hate crime is on the rise in the US where a family has been done to death. These countries should not forget that Indian diaspora has made massive contributions in the overall development of these countries.


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Use party fund Other

Oct 07, 2022

Refer to ‘Feasibility of freebies’; why have freebies been announced before elections and given to few beneficiaries from taxpayers’ money? Political parties must calculate the funds required for the freebies and the source of funds for the purpose. The next most important issue is the selection of beneficiaries. Very few people pay tax in India, but parties spend the tax collected to enrich their votebank. Taxpayers never get any freebies. The parties must give freebies of education, healthcare facilities and employment, so that people can earn their livelihood. The Supreme Court and the Election Commission should make freebies a legal document and their disbursement must be made compulsory for all, without any discrimination, except in case of natural calamities. There should be a ban on using taxpayers’ money on advertisements in print and electronic media. The parties can spend money on advertisements from their own fund.

Wg Cdr Jasbir S Minhas (retd), Mohali

Non-merit services

The socio-economic policies of the government should revolve around a welfare state. Subsidies and freebies are tools for bridging the gaps. But it is important to differentiate between merit and non-merit services. Providing education, healthcare, water supply, sanitation, employment etc., are merit goods and services. Anything that keeps prices artificially below market price or a cash payment or a tax exemption is a subsidy. On the other hand, in the case of freebies, no price is charged, like free power, transportation, waiving of utility bills and loans. This leads to distortion in decision-making and are non-merit goods and services. Everything has an opportunity cost (the alternative good on which resources are not spent) and positive externalities. A true welfare state is built by taking care of future generations rather than the current votebank.

KB Singh, Ludhiana

Driving in hills

Reference to ‘Crash barriers’; it is not just Himachal Pradesh but all mountainous regions which see a dangerously high number of accidents. The locals are better equipped and more experienced on how to drive on treacherous mountain roads. Trying to emulate local drivers, those used to driving in the plains are likely to make an error in judgement. A split-second error is likely to have their vehicles come down hurtling, causing death or serious injuries. The proposal to have barricades around steep slopes and hairpin bends in the state has come a little late in the day, as many other states already have them. But better late than never.


Air Force fleet

Refer to ‘IAF eyes 200 jets to tide over fleet shortage’; the Air Chief has spelled out an ambitious plan of inducting indigenous fighter jets over the next 10 years to replace our ageing aircraft. By the time the IAF celebrates its centenary in 2032, it would have attained full sanctioned strength of its fighter squadrons — hopefully, most, if not all, equipped with the latest variants of indigenous aircraft. The Chief reiterated IAF’s apprehensions over the proposed theatre commands, saying that it would be operationally unwise to divide the limited air assets. The new CDS should take a dispassionate relook on the issue.


AIIMS at Bilaspur

The inauguration of AIIMS at Bilaspur hardly helps the cause of quaternary healthcare in Himachal Pradesh. After recruiting faculty at a step higher than their previous designation(s) from various medical colleges, the management has done great disservice. This will not only vitiate the culture of the institute, but will also not allow original research to blossom there. Institutes like AIIMS and PGI distinguish themselves because of pioneering research by the faculty. The current model depletes colleges like Shimla and Tanda of faculty, while making AIIMS-Bilaspur no better than a state medical college. The argument that such institutes develop over time rings hollow as a right culture with faculty of eminence is required to set things in order at the very beginning. The management seems to have missed this critical aspect while hurrying to put up infrastructure and inaugurate it before the elections.

Gurjyot Singh, Shimla

Science awards

The latest ill-conceived proposal of the MHA to abolish the majority of scientific awards lacks rationality (‘Abolishing science awards is demotivating’). In any arena, be it sports, cinema or literature, motivation plays a positive role. Demotivating the scientific community by weaning it from motivational component will dilute the quality of research. CV Raman won the Noble Prize in physics in 1930. Since then, India with a population of 1.41 billion and 1,057 universities has failed to win a Noble Prize in sciences. This decision will act as a deterrent in the field of scientific excellence.

VK Anand, 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: