Can’t dumb down competition

No such exam, like the UPSC can be a ‘Pappu exam’ as long as there are two or more people competing for one vacancy. And there always exist serious players from those fields, dedicated to preparing for a particular exam 24/7. A competition, anywhere, is and has to be invariably intense. How one can take any competitive exam for granted? Non-English candidates can take ‘Public Administration’ as an optional subject. And when they get selected for the interview, the “success-rate” looks huge, compared to basic and medical sciences and engineering from the English stream.

One must prepare with a positive attitude that “I’ll study hard and I’ll get selected”. Every Tom, Dick and Harry can’t be given a job (or a groom/bride), just because s/he had taken an UPSC exam! In short, there can’t be consolation prizes for participating in the UPSC. According to government rules, one-third of All India services vacancies are to be filled by State Service promotees.  Only, they’re known as promotee IAS. Aren’t these available for such aspirants?

Subrahmanian S H

Sewing centenarians in Chhattisgarh

You will not find this in Robert Ripley’s ‘Believe it or not!’ book, but Chhattisgarh, one of the best BJP-ruled states for last 15 years, has many centenarian women sewing and riding bicycles. As per RTI information obtained by activist Sanjeev Aggarwal, about 19,399 sewing machines were distributed to women in the unorganised sector under the Chief Minister Silai Sahayta Yojana in Raipur. The list of beneficiaries includes 6,189 women, who were shown aged 114 years, six women aged 202 years, three aged 212 years, two aged 282 years, 14 above 300 years of age, seven in their 400s and the age of Usha Jamgare, Jagjivan Ram Ward 40, Raipur (address should be verified) was mentioned as 532 years. People hope that the next edition of Dinanath Batra’s six textbooks, which the Gujarat Government has declared part of the state education curriculum as compulsory reading, will include these statistics. After all it is possible in Hindustan!

But what are the officials doing?  Deputy Labour Commissioner Savita Mishra has said this mistake could have happened because of a software malfunction—nothing but a lame excuse. As a regular visitor to Chhattisgarh, I have found that it is full of corrupt government employees who work undercover for corrupt local politicians. Hence, this RTI information is a clear indication of how middlemen deflect funds from government programmes and make money by colluding with corrupt officials.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

We need to hear the PM’s views

From reports that are appearing in the print and electronic media, for the common man, it seems all is not well in the country. I refer to the report of an MP force-feeding an IRCTC employee, a deputy chief minister of a state wants to make India a Hindu rashtra and so on. Before these remarks, were all those really insightful outlooks on rape.  Then we have read about the bugging devices found in the house of a minister. The minister concerned has denied the news report, but the discussions go on. The most responsible person, the Prime Minister has not made any comment. The place where matters have to be clarified is the Parliament.  The nation needs an explanation from the Prime Minister in Parliament on what is the correct position on the various issues that are being talked about by some of his party leaders.

S S Nair

UP flare-ups cause concern

The rising sectarian conflicts in Uttar Pradesh are a matter of concern. There are communal flare-ups on issues which could be solved amicably. These conflicts or riots are a matter of national security, as they threaten the unity of our nation. It is a matter of self-introspection for the UP Government, why their law and order machinery has failed time and again to control such sectarian strife. Peace and communal harmony should be restored in Saharanpur as soon as possible and life should be back to normal.

Sanket Ravi Pawar

Bad debts are doing banks in

Once again, rumours about PSU bank mergers are doing the rounds. I feel this is a tactic of the finance ministry. PSU bank mergers will not solve the main problem of bad loans in banking. The formation of special Debt Recovery Tribunals, SARFAESI Act 2002, Assets Reconstruction Companies have all failed to recover bad loans. This is because banks were on a loan-giving spree for the last 10 years. The mere size of a bank is not important. It is the health of the bank’s balance sheet that matters. Merging PSU banks will reduce promotion opportunities for bank executives, as the number of CMD, and ED posts will be reduced. The government too will not be able to accommodate many on bank boards. This rumour will also die in a few days.

Sudhir Keshav Bhave

HDI rating is a shocker

This refers to the editorial, ‘Long way to go’(July 29).  The surprise element is less in the United Nations Development Programme( UNDP) report because we all know that our country’s planners are high on ideas, but low on vision and execution. Many reasonable welfare schemes suffer due to their ineffective and patchy implementation. The many layers a programme has to breach to reach the common man is mind-boggling. The stratification of society into groups like high income, medium income and low income, has curbed certain sections from attaining their full potential.  People are yet to come to terms with “empowerment.” Some professions and occupations are still viewed as limited to certain classes, which has hindered versatility and has promoted monopoly. There are serious gender equality issues in India, and the right to the health and education of the girl child is a far cry.  All this shows in the report.

Ganapathi Bhat

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