Needless Scheme For  Retired Academicians

THIS is with reference to the government  scheme launched for roping in retired academicians holding Phd degrees to improve the quality of education. Holders of  Phd degrees can’t be saviour of  a failing education system. People get Phd degrees in different subjects, some may not be related to education; merely engaging people with Phd degree will not serve the purpose. The crucial question is: for  what purpose these scholars will be engaged?   If the purpose for roping them in is teaching and instruction then there can’t be threshold of a Phd degree.  If the scholars are needed in pursuance of  research then their  service could be engaged. There is no dearth of education experts in Goa. The government can very well rope in such academicians. The central government  has come out with the national education policy to take care of the quality of education and bring  changes in the sector. There is no need for one more committee  as the government has already constituted a taskforce to assess and overhaul the education sector. The engagement of retired academicians will only burden the already stressed state exchequer. Details of the scheme  indicate that it has been formulated to accommodate some retired teachers having allegiance to the ruling party.  I hope better sense  will prevail,  and the government will take back the  needless scheme so that funds from the depleting  coffers  are saved to fight the coronavirus pandemic.



THIS is with reference to the news report ‘COVID-19  no longer covered under DDSSY’ (NT, October 12, 2020). The withdrawal of  the COVID package treatment scheme in private hospitals covered by the Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva Yojana, is both unfortunate and a big blow to the middle class who can ill-afford the exorbitant charges at private hospitals, even after the capping of rates.  In the first place, the decision to have two  separate rates under the DDSSY  for mild and severe cases of COVID infection was a flawed one. Mild cases do not require hospitalisation, as they can be treated with home isolation. It is only the severe cases that entails hospitalisation. Secondly, under the dual system of charging patients  there is bound to be confusion at the time of admission, and in all likelihood it will be the higher rate that will be applicable to the patient, going by the prevailing culture in private hospitals. It is therefore necessary to  have only a single rate  for the 14-day package under the DDSSY, which  should be affordable and without additional charges.


Dream Of Green Cover

FOR over three years, a group of young men from the locality led by a college lecturer have been visiting the Mandrem hilltop to nurture saplings of indigenous trees. This group has planted around 2,500 saplings on the once barren hilltop since June 2017. Every Sunday the citizens and students spend around three hours watering, preparing water harvesting trenches or cutting the weeds that grow around these saplings. It is pertinent to note that the saplings that are planted have to be taken care of and guarded against stray animals during the initial stage of growth. It has been  observed that saplings  planted during Vanamahotsava functions are left to fend for themselves from the vagaries of nature and stray animals. As a result,  very few of these saplings grow into trees. It is the collective dream of the people of Mandrem to see this hilltop green again. To achieve the goal, the group has collaborated with the forest department to plant 700 casuarina saplings along the Mandrem coast.