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Jokes called babus

Sir — The news that “the Centre wants to raise the cap on sizes of ministries to avert instability...in the smaller states” (“Ministry size rethink”, June 17) is an admission that the ministers are appointed to satisfy some groups rather than to serve the country. The present cap of 15 per cent of the seats is not considered adequate to accommodate all the groups, which leads to this line of thinking. Governed by the Right or Left, all states in India and also the Centre have mammoth ministerial size, which, when compared to international standards, looks ridiculous. Incidentally, countries like the United Kingdom and France run with 15-20 ministers while we have around 80 in our Central cabinet. Even the progressive socialist government of West Bengal has around four dozen ministers ,while France, with almost the same population, has only 15. Where in the world will one find a jail minister and a fire brigade minister but in West Bengal (when the number of jails and fire-brigade units in the state can be counted on one’s fingers)'

Yours faithfully,
Asoke C. Banerjee, Calcutta


Sir — The ‘Diary’ item, “Call of duty” (June 17), did well to expose the practice of sending civil servants nearing superannuation on study tours abroad — even to Harvard University — to equip themselves to provide leadership to the civil services. This reveals three distinct characteristics of the hopeless governance of the country. One, the officers are self-seeking individuals with very little dedication to the public services. Second, those who recommend them for these tours certainly do not do so without expecting glowing returns; and third, ministers sanctioning the tours are totally dependent on or incapable of reining in the babus, thus being complicit in the draining out of public money. No wonder that the government is a clumsy amalgam of incompetent politician-ministers and selfish bureaucrats who have together reduced the administration to a virtual animal farm.

Yours faithfully,
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta


Queered pitch

Sir — The selection of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the vice-captain of India for the Ireland and Scotland tour sends a positive message all around. Dhoni is not only a brilliant cricketer but also one who can handle a moment of crisis with his exemplary vigour and energy.

Yours faithfully,
Ashis Kr. Bhowmick, Calcutta


Sir — The editorial, “Reverse Gear” (June 14), seems to be out for the scalp of the members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India for appointing Chandu Borde as the manager of the Indian team. But in criticizing the decision, the editorial gives greater importance to Borde’s age, rather than his current health and ability or his cricketing records. It also conveniently misses the fact that Borde is still actively associated with the game, being involved in the Maharashtra Cricket Association coaching programme for under-19 cricketers. Therefore, the comment that he “has no direct exposure to the demands of modern cricket” sounds prejudiced and a tad derogatory. It is best to accept that not all men at 72 are senile or infirm. When a man of his experience and calibre has accepted the responsibility, how can we discourage him so uncharitably' Borde will always have experts like the bowling coach, Venkatesh Prasad, and the fielding coach, Robin Singh, to consult. Besides, there are several senior players in the team many of whom were inducted during his tenure as the chairman of the selectors. There is every reason to hope that the new manager and the team will perform well on foreign soil.

Yours faithfully,
P.K. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta


Sir — Fumbling and faltering on every hurdle has made the BCCI a laughing stock to the nation and the world. The special committee for the selection of the successor to Greg Chappell, despite having so many stalwarts, failed in its job. Why couldn’t the simple procedure of advertising for the post and inviting applications from candidates be resorted to' As it does with most issues, the BCCI handled the selection of the coach in a most unprofessional manner.

Yours faithfully,
Ajit Mukherjee, Jamshedpur


Sir — Ashok Guha is right in saying that the BCCI is all about the control of cricket, not its promotion (“In the name of the game”, June 12). The case for the change of name of the BCCI to something more contemporary like Cricket Australia or the Pakistan Cricket Board has been suggested by many. The traditions of a command-and-control economy die hard and all such suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. With both the Indian team and the BCCI down on their knees, it is high time that the board changes its style of management, to facilitate the promotion of the game and identification of fresh talent. The old, bureaucratic processes should be replaced with modern, corporate ones. Proper planning and implementation of the plans are as important as creating a good infrastructure and nurturing talent.

Yours faithfully,
Bhaskar Majumdar, Kuwait


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