Sir — What does the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration mean by “there has been a conscious effort to strip our intellectual assets” (“College teacher shortage alarm rings”, Jan 28)' It directs much of its venom at the state governments, but is the human resources development ministry free of blame' Why has the outlay for education shrunk every year' If resources were so short in supply, why have the payscales of professors and college teachers been so drastically enhanced by successive pay commissions' The HRD ministry should follow up this critical exercise with some soul-searching.
S. Bhattacharya, Jamshedpur
Sir — The three day Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, which ended on January 11, was primarily aimed at conveying the Centre’s long-awaited decision of granting dual citizenship to non-resident Indians, although it could also be seen as an attempt to salvage India’s image post-Godhra. The editorial, “Passport to two worlds” (Jan 12) points to the need of granting such citizenship as it would help India widen business and investment opportunities in the country. However, one should remember that the privilege has only been granted to NRIs who reside in the West. Those inhabiting west Asia have been excluded. Is this because of security considerations or is the government merely extending its communal bias to the NRI segment as well'
Phani Bhusan Saha, Balurghat
Sir — In the highly publicized NRI meet, the government of India chose to award those who have done the country proud by their achievements in their adopted countries. The former prime minister of Fiji, Mahendra Choudhry, was conspicuously absent from the list. It is well- known that Choudhry fought for the rights of not only Indians in Fiji but also of the people of Fiji. It is apparent that he has been excluded because of the narrow interests of some Indian businessmen who feel that recognition of the work done by Choudhry would further enhance ethnic antagonism in Fiji and affect their business adversely. It is shameful that the government should surrender to the business lobby and ignore Choudhry.
Rajindar Sachar, New Delhi
Sir — It is a lamentable that till now, the NRI investment in India’s economy is negligible in comparison to that of the Chinese diaspora in the Chinese economy. However, the concern of the Indian government should not be restricted to NRI investments or retention of skilled manpower in the country but in building up the confidence of these NRIs in our administrative and legal machinery. Thus the grant of dual citizenship alone will not suffice. Administrative and legal reforms will make India an attractive destination to not only NRIs but also to the global business community.
R.N. Lakhotia, New Delhi
Sir — The insistence in some quarters to brand NRIs as “non-reliable Indians” is quite intriguing. While the rest of the country recognizes the incredible potential that lies in mobilizing the 20 million expatriates, Bengalis continue to adopt the crab in the basket approach. I sincerely hope that this will not be the official attitude of the West Bengal government.
It is human to strive for success and the ambitious are justified in moving on to greener pastures. The NRIs’ achievement in their adopted countries will stand India in good stead. But what NRIs need at this point is not empty rhetoric and emotional blackmail but creation of opportunities to accommodate and utilize the expertise and professionalism that NRIs can bring back with them. One hopes that West Bengal too will wake up to the potential and think positively.
Indranil Chakravorty, London
Sir — NRIs are people who have shamelessly exploited the precious resources of the country for their selfish interests. They should be forced to pay back the country its dues.
N. Chatterjee, Calcutta