Home Opinion Commentary LETTERS TO THE EDITOR



Keeping Titular Post of President
THE constitutional post of President of India is a white elephant, which entails  expenditure of crores of rupees to maintain it. This money comes from taxpayers, which otherwise would be spent in providing facilities to the poor.

The taxpayer money should not be squandered away in keeping the titular post of President of India. While millions of people wallow  in abject poverty in villages, cities and towns  and are at the mercy of the vagaries of  nature our President, who is a  public servant, lives in a palace-like magnificent mansion with 300 to 400 spacious halls and rooms, which was the residence of the viceroy during the British Raj. The pomp and splendour, glory and glitz associated with the President on certain ceremonial occasions — a   legacy of the colonial past — is simply nauseating, besides it costs colossal amount. These meaningless rituals and colonial legacy should be done away with. And to cap it all, the present President of India, Ms Pratibha Patil is pressurising the Centre to provide her post-retirement accommodation, something like ‘mini’ Rashtrapati  Bhavan in posh cantonment area in Pune. She should be emphatically and unequivocally told to take it or leave it whatever is gracefully given for her grandiose service rendered to the nation.

Centre’s Diktat on Movie Telecast
LAST week there was suspense over the TV telecast of the movie The Dirty Picture during primetime. The Centre’s directive was that the film should be screened after 11 p.m. i.e. after children go to bed. Ultimately, the TV channel cancelled the telecast as a mark of protest. Although the actress of this movie has won a national award yet the movie was found to be unsuitable for TV viewing. The Centre’s diktat seems to be ironic considering some of the serials and programmes like dance contests.  There are dance contests wherein five-six years old children   gyrate to the beats of music without even understanding the lyrics of songs. Some of the body movements are dangerous like spinning on head and neck. Neither the parents of these children nor the jury stop them from doing such stunts. Similarly, there are comedy programmes wherein children rattle off jokes that have double meanings. Perhaps there should be monitoring or ban on such TV programmes since they reach out to a much wider audience.
Crackdown on Ill-gotten Wealth in MP
THE crackdown on ill-gotten wealth of a divisional forest officer of Madhya Pradesh on May 1 speaks volumes about the massive corruption eating into the vitals of the MP administration. The DFO, who had started off as a forest ranger in 1985, amassed the ill-gotten wealth worth over `32 crore. He reportedly owns properties and assets, including several bungalows, plots of land, a petrol pump, eight cars and a lot of  jewellery. It is safe to presume that none of the superiors of  the DFO deemed it fit to report against him when he was busy amassing all that he was found with — assets 60 times higher than the salary he got in a service of 27 years.
R J KHURANA, Bhopal.
Unhygienic Restaurants at Cuncolim
THE two restaurants at Cuncolim junction pose danger to public health as they are shabbily maintained and unhygienic. The health department and the municipality should take immediate steps to change the situation. 
Indians Not a Happy Lot 
WHO are the happiest people in the world? Definitely not the Indians. ‘Incredible India’ and ‘India Shining’ are sheer slogans but not the actual state of the country. High inflation, moderate economic growth and low education levels appears to have taken away the ‘feel good’ factor for many Indians. According to a study by Gallup’s Financial Wellbeing Index, 31 per cent of Indians have reportedly rated their present and future lives as “suffering” compared to 24 per cent  a year ago and only 13 per cent said they were thriving as compared to 21 per cent last year. The economic slowdown, because of high interest rates and government inaction, has left a bad taste. Many companies are shying away from starting new projects. As a result of this the unemployment graph has risen. People can consider themselves as happy if they have sufficient money for food, shelter and healthcare. But the economic struggles that the people have to face are not the right recipe for happiness. The price rise of essential commodities has meant that people have been finding it difficult to make both ends meet. The ‘Financial Wellbeing Index’ of 29 for the country is reportedly well below the Asian level of 38 and much below that of China which is 42 and Brazil which is 40. The study has also shown that 36 per cent of rural population has reportedly said that they were suffering compared to 21 per cent in urban areas. Happy people make for a happy nation. But Indians have not had much to cheer about. The number of people living below the poverty line is on the rise. While millions go to bed on any empty stomach, ironically the country produces enough food grain to feed every Indian. But most of the food grains just rot in the various government go-downs. An inefficient public distribution system  has been the bane of the country for far too long. Unless food, shelter healthcare and education reach the poorest of the poor, Indians will never be a happy lot.



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