Editorial 1/ Prodigal protest
Editorial 2/ Substandard
Missing the analogies
Letters to the editor
High speed systems, low speed minds
How political will can transform a daily battle

There was more at stake than the recommendations of the 11th finance commission in the meeting between the prime minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu. The gathering of six chief ministers at Mr Naidu�s behest was a signal that there was a growing disapproval in some states about the recommendations of the finance commission and about the criteria of resource allocation between the states and the Centre that are part of the commission�s recommendations. Mr Naidu is in the strongest position to wave the flag of disapproval because with 29 members of parliament, the Telegu Desam Party is best placed to threaten the stability of Mr Vajpayee�s government. It comes as a surprise to nobody that Mr Vajpayee listened amicably to whatever Mr Naidu had to say. The prime minister had little choice. This also explains Mr Vajpayee�s willingness to accommodate Mr Naidu�s demands and to modify some of the commission�s recommendations. It is significant � and Mr Naidu can count this as his major victory in the present round � that one of the suggested modifications involves the setting up of a fund for states whose share in Central revenues has been cut by the finance commission. There are no prizes for guessing that Andhra Pradesh is one of the states. To placate Mr Naidu, the prime minister has agreed to establish a separate fund to compensate for the finance commission�s recommendations. This reduces the commission to a farce but that is a small price for Mr Vajpayee�s survival.

The reasons that the finance commission gave for reducing Andhra Pradesh�s share in Central revenues are worth examining. One of the yardsticks that the finance commission has used this time is fiscal discipline. Andhra Pradesh�s track record in this sphere is rather poor. In the budget estimate for 1999-2000, the deficit was placed at Rs 3,860 crore; this is nearly three times more than the revised budgetary deficit for 1998-99. The deficit also masks the extent to which loans finance current expenditures. Andhra Pradesh�s indebtedness hovers around Rs 30,000 crore. Over and above, there are counter guarantees and contingent liabilities. If these were called in, the Andhra Pradesh government would be tottering on bankruptcy. Behind the facade of the hype involving India�s state for the future, there exists a murky reality. The consequences of Mr Naidu�s extravagance will have to be borne by subsequent governments of Andhra Pradesh. This record is not a strong enough ground to ask for largesse from the Centre. Mr Naidu�s position of cloutvis-�-vis Mr Vajpayee�s government has allowed him to find a way to bypass the finance commission�s recommendations and to secure resources for Andhra Pradesh. This might win populist plaudits for both Mr Vajpayee and Mr Naidu, but fiscal indiscipline is the path for long-term economic ruin. Mr Vajpayee�s decision to reward Mr Naidu�s fiscal profligacy will send wrong signals all around.    

The 118 sailors who died aboard the crippled submarine Kursk were, in a way, victims of a vestigial Soviet mindset in post-communist Russia. The Soviet Union was prone to treating its people�s lives cheaply. It had the trappings of a developed nation. But it had one of the world�s worst records for air safety and industrial disasters. It polluted its environment on a nightmarish scale. Determined to preserve the national image or let national production goals be derailed, Soviet leaders suppressed such news and pressed ahead with flawed policies. In a one party dictatorship sovereignty lies with the state, not with the populace. When the state blunders, none is held accountable. Few resources are used to find means to save people or reduce chances of mishap. Mr Vladimir Putin succumbed to the Soviet legacy when it came to the Kursk. Mr Putin wants to retain a superpower aura. So Russia has a nuclear submarine fleet even though its defence budget is only five billion dollars a year and its naval officers are paid less than Indian ones. Submarines like Kursk function on shoestrings. Maintenance is neglected. Rescue equipment is nonexistent. Moscow persists with symbols of power though it lacks the substance to sustain them. Mr Putin fell prey to another Soviet mindset. Namely, never let on to outsiders that the emperor has no clothes. As a matter of pride, Mr Putin and the Russian military refused to turn to the international community though indigenous rescue knowhow was backward. The Russian state put its pretensions before its people. Opinion polls show over two thirds of Russians believe their government should have accepted foreign assistance.

Is India any more concerned about those who wear its uniform? Its submarine fleet sails under a dark Russian shadow. Of its 18 submarines, only the four non-Russian ones have escape capsules that would carry the crew to safety in case of a breached hull. The Indian navy has none of the specialist submersible equipment needed for a Kursk style accident. There has been a proposal to negotiate an agreement with the United States under which, in the case of an Indian submarine accident, US rescue equipment would be airlifted to India. However, this is in deep freeze thanks to the Pokhran nuclear tests. While there may have been valid security reasons for the tests, the continuing failure of India to tie up the loose threads of Pokhran � such as signing the comprehensive test ban treaty � is mostly about national pride. With only two serious accidents in some 30 years, India�s submarine safety record is no reason for worry. But if there is one, and the present nuclear paralysis come in the way of help, the Indian state could be accused of having joined the Russian state in failing its citizens.    

Let there be no mistake. The recent history of Afghanistan is being repeated in Kashmir. Pakistan has learnt its lessons from the events in Kabul since the overthrow of Mohammed Najibullah�s government and General Pervez Musharraf is putting this experience to test across the border � so far with commendable success. The confusion in New Delhi over Kashmir that has dogged the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government ever since Abdul Majeed Dar�s July 24 offer of a ceasefire has two mistaken premises. One, that the entire Hizbul Mujahedin initiative for peace may have been a charade aimed at pulling up the organization by its bootstraps after serious internal divisions and a loss of cadre. Alternatively, that the ceasefire was the end product of an incestuous relationship over the years between the Hizbul and one of the many intelligence outfits which run their freelance operations in the valley.

Either of these conclusions betray a total lack of understanding of the history of recent struggles in the Islamic world. The window of opportunity for peace last month was the product of a process in which Pakistan�s sole objective was to reassert control over the insurgency in Kashmir, and more important, lend a fresh lease of life to this rebellion. Briefly, look at what has been happening in Kashmir. The last general to precede Musharraf in Islamabad, General Zia ul Haq, had a brilliant strategy for avenging Pakistan�s defeat in 1971 and the consequent break-up of his country. He stoked the fires of secession in Punjab and revived the insurgency in Kashmir, which had drifted towards normalcy after the ignominious surrender of the Pakistanis in Dhaka. Fortunately for India, Zia ul Haq did not live long enough to pursue his dream, but he left enough of his legacy for another general � Musharraf � to pick up even a decade after his death in a plane crash.

What Musharraf saw, even as he was fighting his turf battles with Nawaz Sharif, was that the last chance of vindicating Mohammed Ali Jinnah�s two-nation theory � the very raison d��tre for Pakistan � was disappearing. Through the Nineties, the Indians have been steadily, if slowly, reasserting control over Kashmir. International opinion on the half-century-old dispute between India and Pakistan was certainly becoming indifferent, even if it was not changing. The writing on the wall was that it was only a matter of time before Kashmir slipped back into its pre-1989 phase of normalcy.

What Musharraf saw as sinister was that the BJP, with its sense of realpolitik, may actually win over those in Kashmir who were on the warpath, but had a sense of purpose, self-esteem and pride in kashmiriyat. Where would that leave Pakistan? The generals in Rawalpindi had already faced such a dilemma in Afghanistan a few years earlier. These men in uniform had shed their sweat and blood to give control of Afghanistan to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Burhanuddin Rabbani and what did these worthies do? Few of those in charge in New Delhi now remember that at the first opportunity that presented itself, on an August 15 eve, the Mujahedin government in Kabul sent messages of congratulations to P.V. Narasimha Rao felicitating him on India�s Independence Day! Notwithstanding the fact that Rao was one of Najibullah�s best friends.

True, it was no accident on India�s part that they sent these messages to New Delhi. Had the men whom Islamabad put in charge in Kabul not been proud pushtoons who were unwilling to be Pakistan�s pawns beyond a point, this would never have happened. Rabbani and others who were sharing power in Kabul put Afghanistan first. The men who run New Delhi now forget, while making ponderous statements on Kashmir, that it was this change of heart in Kabul that led the Inter-Services Intelligence to create the taliban and retake control of Afghanistan. It is to Musharraf�s credit that unlike Benazir Bhutto and Sharif, he saw the writing on the wall in Kashmir. Musharraf knew that if he allowed the same kind of drift to take place in Kashmir that the generals in Rawalpindi had earlier seen in Kabul, all that they had invested in Kashmir�sazadi, would simply go up in smoke.

So, Musharraf plotted Kargil. Then he plotted the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar. The Indians may legitimately claim military victory in Kargil, but even if Pakistan lost the battle, Musharraf won handsomely in the process. The Kargil enterprise gave the general the kind of legitimacy among Pakistanis which no other leader in Pakistan since Zia ul Haq had. Benazir Bhutto and Sharif may have won huge mandates in their time, but neither of them had the sanction to touch one holy cow in Pakistan, namely Kashmir. When it came to tinkering with the so-called freedom struggle across the border, neither of these civilian leaders had any room for manoeuvre. But in Pakistani eyes, Kargil vindicated Musharraf�s right to fashion the Kashmir �struggle� in his own image. He planned and used the plane hijacking to start the process.

It will forever remain a blot on the BJP�s record that this party which had vowed to pull India out of the morass of being a soft state could not see that by releasing three militants in exchange for Indian Airlines passengers, the government was not bringing the crisis to an end. On the contrary, it was aiding Musharraf in setting the stage for the next phase of the insurgency in Kashmir. Just as the release of Rubaiya Sayeed a decade earlier had served as a catalyst to step up militancy in the valley, the release of Maulana Masood Azhar and two others from jail enabled Musharraf to put his Kashmir plans into top gear.

Faced with a shift of balance in Kashmir in favour of India and the possibility that Kashmiris may ultimately negotiate with a government in New Delhi which addresses their concerns, Musharraf did in Kashmir what his army general headquarters in Rawalpindi had done in Afghanistan nearly seven years earlier by creating the taliban.

After all, the ISI had done it in Kashmir itself once before: in 1994, when the popular Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front declared a ceasefire, the organization was discredited and replaced by a host of outfits under the direct control of Pakistan. With the newly released Masood Azhar as an icon of the �freedom struggle� in Kashmir, Musharraf�s men went about creating Kashmir�s taliban. It was floated under Azhar�s leadership in April this year and named Jaish-e-Mohammad. Other militant outfits directly controlled by Pakistan, such as Al Badr, Harkatul Mujahid and Tehrik-i-Jihad merged with Azhar�s new organization.

The idea was to take the �struggle� out of the hands of Kashmiris, who were no longer reliable and place it under the leadership of those whom Islamabad could control � men who had no stake in Kashmir but were willing to stake everything for the sake of the Muslim umma. As a strategy, it is not alien to the Muslim world. Egypt�s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Syria�s Hafez al Assad and Abdulrehman al Bakr, Saddam Hussein�s predecessor in Baghdad, had all done to the Palestinians what Musharraf is now doing to the Kashmiris. Nasser and every other leader in west Asia who had pan-Arab delusions sought to control the Palestinian struggle and use it for their legitimacy in the Arab world. The result was that the Palestinians did not have a voice in settling their problems until the recent intifada restored their vocal chords.

What Musharraf is attempting � so far successfully � is to do to the Kashmiris what the Arab leaders did to the Palestinians. The Hizbul Mujahedin�s ceasefire offer last month was the result of a realization among Kashmiris that their struggle against New Delhi was no longer being controlled by those who cared about Kashmir. As it is, there is no reason why Musharraf should not get away with what he is doing. There is no one in South Block�s policymaking nucleus who has the faintest historical perspective of recent Islamic struggles. What is worse, those who run South Block�s Afghanistan policy do not even have a comprehension of Afghanistan�s ethnic complexities. The composition of South Block, as it is, is one that Musharraf could not have hoped for even in friendly capitals. Therefore, if 100 odd people are being killed in Kashmir in a single day, New Delhi has only itself to blame for such a mess.    


Icons with feet of clay

Sir � Kapil-baiters may have finally got their way. But at what cost (�Kapil hands step down gift to board�, Aug 19)? Where one is dealing with a heap of rotten apples, taking away one or two can hardly make a significant difference. Especially so when the rottenness of the apple is itself in question. Kapil Dev�s guilt or complicity in the matchfixing scandal has not been conclusively proven yet, and given the tradition of highpowered investigations in the country, there is little chance of it in some time. The swollen ranks of �Kapil-baiters� had better ask themselves what they actually gain from the legendary fast bowler�s decision to remove himself from the game. Nothing more than a juvenile, and grossly misplaced, sense of satisfaction. There is no reason why Kapil Dev should be made to pay the price of being a greater icon, while the rest of the accused have it easy. The Kapil Devs of the world are certainly not made by the masses, but as events of the recent past have proved, are human enough to be undone by them.

Yours faithfully,
Sanjay Mishra, Calcutta

Schools for scandal

Sir � Why do school authorities always go on the defensive when the onus is on them? In the recent incident whereby a five year old child was crushed by the wheels of the very bus that was to reach her home safely, Sree Shikshayatan has conveniently washed its hands of the issue (�Child dies in school�, Aug 18). As the report said, the matter now lies with the girl�s parents � who are yet to complain against the school � and the traffic department. It goes without saying that the parents of Pragya Dalmia, like so many other Indian parents, would hardly pursue a case with the government, and much less against a school where their elder daughter is still a student.

But why must the school be allowed to get away with the argument that it cannot be blamed for negligence? When children as young as five year old infants are boarding buses, shouldn�t there have been a teacher to oversee the operation? Shouldn�t the school see to it that children as young as Pragya are prevented from alighting from their buses unless there is a valid reason?

Schools should be made to realize that they are entirely responsible for the children who come into their premises as pupils till they go home to their parents or are collected by their guardians from school. Parents also need to drum this fact home. As the editorial, �Unsafe haven� (Aug 21) pointed out, this will be possible only if and when parents form a part of the school management. Till then schools are bound to take the upper hand.

Yours faithfully,
Jai Ramakrishnan, Calcutta

Sir � The tragic death of Pragya Dalmia has left us speechless. No words can console the Dalmias who have lost a child. Shocking as it is, the incident provides an opportunity to see how other children can be prevented from meeting the same fate. Not only the class IV staff employed by schools, but also teachers, even heads of institutions should keep strict vigil during the hours when classes are not on and during tiffin hours. Most accidents occur during this time. Bus drivers have to be extra cautious since they are responsible for handing children back to their parents. Besides driving carefully, they need to have efficient helpers.

There are other safeguards schools need to provide for the safety of children. A police posting outside the school gate is a must. Schools should also debar vendors from selling junk food outside their premises. Besides causing distraction, their ware often endangers children�s health. Vehicular traffic must be slow in front of schools and a zebra crossing is essential on such roads. The line between life and death is a fine one. Necessary advice given to children, parents, and school staff can go a long way in ensuring that children go to school and reach home safely.

Yours faithfully,
Reena Mukherjee, Calcutta

Sir � The responsibility for Pragya Dalmia�s accidental death squarely devolves upon the school authorities. The director in charge of the primary section of the school certainly owes an explanation to the bereaved family for the death. This kind of criminal negligence on part of the school cannot be condoned, neither can passing the buck. The accident, after all, occurred within the school compound.

Yours faithfully,
Debal Kumar Chakravarti, Calcutta

Prized knowledge

Sir � It is disappointing to watch Kaun Banega Crorepati the Star Plus channel everyday from Monday to Thursday. The contestants are dull and slow. It is pathetic to see Amitabh Bachchan patiently helping them out so they can give the correct answers. Take one question for example. It was asked, which among the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic and Mediterranean was not an ocean. Can you imagine an educated person replying �Pacific�? Another simple question on the Independence Day special was about the date on which Jawaharlal Nehru became prime minister. The answer of the contestant was October 2.

If there is so much money to give away, why don�t the sponsors set up schools, hospitals or build roads?

Yours faithfully,
Soni Prashad, Calcutta

Sir � I appreciate the effort behind Kaun Banega Crorepati. That is not only because of the money people are earning, but because it is bringing common people from all over India closer together. This gives it a different appeal from that of daily stories of politicians and cricketers making money by corrupt means. Moreover, it is spreading general knowledge among people of all ages.

Last but not the least, kudos to Amitabh Bachchan, who has emerged a hero once again at a time when he was nearly fading from the public eye. He has proved that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Yours faithfully,
Purnima Vasudeva, Calcutta

Sir � On August 3, a contestant on Kaun Banega Crorepati walked away with the honours although the answer he had given was factually incorrect. It was asked what the highest peak of India was. The contestant asked for the helpline of �50-50�. Accordingly, out of the four optional answers, two were deleted, the answer, K2, being one of them.

Of the two remaining answers, Kanchenjunga was the obvious choice for the contestant. However, the highest peak of India is not Kanchenjunga, it is K2. The height of K2 is 8,610 metres while that of Kanchenjunga is 8,590 metres above sea level. Part of the Karakoram range in Jammu and Kashmir, K2 lies in the state. If Jammu and Kashmir is still considered part of India, K2 should still be regarded its highest peak.

Yours faithfully,
Amullya Chandra Roy, Calcutta

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Indian industrial and technological policies rightly insist foreign collaborators transfer their latest technologies, especially in instances where public money is involved. However, to avoid vigilance inquiries and parliamentary questions, negotiators insist technologies being transferred should have been commercially implemented for several years, backed by testimonials from satisfied customers. The result: projects in the public and government sectors use technology several generations behind those of their foreign collaborators, with no reasonable chance of catching up. A key criticism made by the parliamentary standing committee on communications against the proposed Sankhya Vahini project is that a major technology involved in it, dense wavelength division multiplexing, is not commercially proven, pilot trials having just commenced abroad.

In a report of April 13, 2000, the committee noted that the national task force on information technology did not assess the suitability of different technologies for Indian conditions. It selected a particular technology from among many similar technologies without evaluating its merits. The department of telecom services was kept out of the evaluation process in spite of its technical expertise.

One committee member, Nilotpal Basu of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said later, �When we asked DTS officials whether they had evaluated any alternative technologies from other companies, they confirmed that they had not done so at all, but had merely gone ahead with the decision of the task force.�

Sankhya Vahini will implement a high speed, broadband fibreoptic data communications network linking Indian universities and research institutions. As cleared by the cabinet in January, 49 per cent equity will be held by Inter-university Network, or IUNet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, 45 per cent by the department of telecom services and the rest by other Indian institutions. In its first year of operations, Sankhya Vahini plans to interconnect 10 Indian cities in a �ring of rings� architecture, with a 40 gigabytes per second capacity. This will make it the world�s most advanced datacommunications network.

The committee also criticized the fact the joint venture�s equipment will not be purchased through tenders. Instead it will be purchased directly by IUNet from Carnegie Mellon University�s long term suppliers such as Cisco, Nortel, Lucent and Sycamore. Although there is no Indian manufacturer of DWDM equipment, the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India has said, �DTS has proper guidelines for purchase of equipment which IUNet should also follow. Domestic manufacturers should not be neglected.�

IUNet�s president, V. S. Arunachalam, responded by saying, �All equipment purchases made by IUNet for Sankhya Vahini will be valued by an independent, internationally recognized agency following established procedures. The valuing agency will be appointed jointly by IUNet and the telecom commission of India.� A nongovernmental organization, Telecom Watchdog, took the opposite tack. It has filed public interest litigation in Delhi high court alleging the technology being brought in by IUNet is obsolete. It made the incredible claim that the educational and research network run by the ministry of information technology and the Sanchar Sagar network of DTS had higher bandwidth and provided wider coverage than Sankhya Vahini.

Obviously a technology cannot be both fledgling and obsolete simultaneously. The facts are that DWDM was developed in 1996, but only now is it being implemented for long haul transmission. A major US internet service provider, Cogent Communications, has just announced plans to build an internet backbone connecting New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and several other US cities using DWDM equipment supplied by Cisco and Pirelli. Compared to Sankhya Vahini�s 40 Gbps, Cogent�s intercity networks will operate at just 10 Gbps and intracity networks at just 2.5 Gbps. At the end of this year, an international carrier of carriers, Pangea, plans to connect Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg,

Dusseldorf and Amsterdam at just 10 Gbps. Pangea will purchase DWDM equipment worth $ 100 million from Nortel. Another leading US internet service provider, GTE Internetworking, plans to build a 10 Gbps internet backbone from Atlanta to Washington DC later this year using equipment supplied by Qtera. Cable and Wireless, France Telecom, Telefonica, and MCI Worldcom are also planning trials of DWDM.

The fact major European, Japanese and American corporations have started to manufacture DWDM equipment should reassure the parliamentary committee. DWDM has several advantages over other emerging technologies. Most important, it combines protocol transparency with very high data transfer rates. Each wavelength travelling down the fibre can carry traffic of any type, be it asynchronous transfer mode, synchronous digital hierarchy/synchronous optical network, fibre channel, gigabit ethernet or even a proprietary protocol. Other unique features of DWDM are very accurate dispersion compensation, forward error correction and Raman amplification. The last technology, only a few month�s old, enables an ordinary transmission fibre to act as one long distributed amplifier.

Increasing capacities of DWDM systems are also much cheaper than installing extra fibres. Capacities can be increased simply by adding more wavelengths via ,slot in transmitter cards. This will prevent Sankhya Vahini from becoming obsolete and take care of growth of traffic for the foreseeable future. A bold, if risky, aspect of Sankhya Vahini is that it will be the first time in the world that DWDM will be attempted for metropolitan area networking, as DWDM is essentially a long haul technology. Annelise Berendt, managing editor, Telecommunications magazine, cautions, �It is now widely accepted that DWDM is a major innovation for expanding the bandwidth of fibre in long haul networks.

But using DWDM in metropolitan area networks will involve a new set of challenges in managing optical traffic in a complex environment far removed from the relatively simple point to point connections that characterize long haul networks.� Bob Welch of Ericsson Microelectronics has also warned, �Managing thousands of wavelengths in a metropolitan area network is a considerably more challenging problem than long haul carriage. No one has yet solved these issues.�

Since DWDM is based on C.V. Raman�s discoveries, it would be fitting if it is first implemented in Raman�s homeland � provided the concerns raised by Parliament and the press are answered by IUNet. All the allegations made by Telecom Watchdog about obsolete technology being brought in by IUNet are totally false. But there should be vigilance that IUNet�s preferred vendors do not charge a high price. Other DWDM vendors should also be given a chance to participate.

The department of telecommunications has taken bold decisions before. When it chose the European global system for mobile communications as India�s sole cellular standard, the very first trial of GSM had started just a fortnight earlier in Copenhagen. Many politicians and bureaucrats criticized DoT�s decision on the grounds GSM was an unproven technology, even in its countries of origin. They argued India should go in for cheaper, time tested analog technologies. Pro-US lobbies also pushed for the latter. However DoT, with strong support from the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, stood firm in its insistence on the then untested GSM.

In retrospect, the choice of GSM proved to be an excellent decision. India�s cellular networks are as advanced and reliable as any in the world. It is the US which is stuck with obsolete analog technologies.    

There are legal provisions to grant the disabled equal opportunities with the rest. This was felt necessary since they are deprived from the rights that �normal� people enjoy. Though politicians offer several grants and opportunities to the minorities either on the basis of religion or caste, this is done chiefly with their eyes on the vote bank.

These politicians do not help create opportunities for the six per cent of the population in the country � the arbitrarily estimated population of the disabled � to enjoy their rights. Other than nongovernmental organizations and the families of the disabled, very few take any interest in them.

The double standards of the authorities is confusing. On the one hand, they show sympathy towards the cause of the disabled. But when it comes to the question of providing free education for handicapped children upto 18 years, they evade the issue by arguing that this is impossible when so many �normal� children are deprived of proper education.

Self-help options

Again, many implementing authorities show complete ignorance of legal provisions for the handicapped. The law provides six per cent job reservation for the handicapped in government jobs. Since the entire issue of reservation is problematic in India, it is unlikely that reservation for the disabled will work out successfully.

It is true that in spite of government instructions, there are no special provisions like seating arrangements in organizations that recruit the disabled. The only other option for them is self-employment. Reservation for the disabled has been successful in many countries. There are even strong penalties for non-compliance. In China, 70 per cent of the disabled are employed. Moreover, the self employed disabled enjoy tax exemption.

Grim indifference

In India, the situation is grim. There are about seven million disabled people waiting for employment. Only one lakh have been employed in the last 40 years. A firm employment policy is the need of the hour. Self-employment schemes, like loans from the National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation, can be helpful as long as the government cooperates. While many states are utilizing their funds from the NHFDC, the government of West Bengal has only recently taken the responsibility of giving away Rs one crore, only for loan disbursement, through the nodal agency.

In the absence of proper government support, nearly 80 per cent of the handicapped in India remain confined to their homes. Though the national trust bill has recently been put into effect, there is no governmental assistance to the parents of the disabled, who are supposed to hand over their assets to the trust body for the security of their children. Only the government can make any real and qualitative change.    


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