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NEW DELHI-Hesitant Beginning in Industrial Relations

Hesitant Beginning in Industrial Relations B M THE Indian Labour Conference, revived last week alter six years in cold storage, was a good starting point for normalising industrial relations after the lifting of the double Emergency. But it was not an occasion for coming to grips with the problems which have to be tackled decisively and expeditiously and the conference ended up by setting up working groups for a study of these problems on a tripartite basis. This was .supplemented by a promise on the part of the Labour Minister that the government would take decisions as- early us possible on some of the burning issues projected by the trade union leaders such as the restoration of the right to minimum bonus and ending the wage and DA freeze in the form of the Compulsory Deposit Scheme. These are gains in themselves arising iron' the restoration of democratic rights and civil liberties but they are hardly enough to cope with the growing industrial unrest which has come to the surface after the end of the Emergency.

NEW DELHI-Businessmen in Sack-Cloth

Businessmen in Sack-Cloth BUSINESSMEN who assembled for the golden jubilee session of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) had looked upon it as an occasion for opening an animated dialogue with the Janata government If carefully arranged, this could become the starting point for the establishment of a close rapport between the business community and the government. There were, therefore, high hopes and expectations among them. But these hopes and expectations did not materialise, at least not at this session of the FICCI. They now have to wait another and more propitious occasion.

NEW DELHI-Aid Diplomacy in Action

found in the series of inquiry reports that force was often used disproportionately and unnecessarily and not with a view to stopping the disturbance or preventing jail-escape. At a certain stage, force was used to take revenge on the prisoners who created the disturbance or attempted to escape from jail, Many hearts can be won by using tact with firmness rather than by breaking heads. In particular, warder gttarvls should be trained in how and when to resort to lathi-charge or gunfire to achieve the object without loss of life ami limbs as far as practicable. Not only is the method applied for tackling prisoners crude and archaic, the weapons supplied to and used by the jail staff are also crude and obsolete in modern days. The main weapons used are lathis and guns, but at the initial stage both can be avoided. In particular, the application of the water hose at the initial stage of a disturbance may be effective in very many cases. At the next stage, if necessary, teargas may be used to quell such disturbances. If these are found inadequate or ineffective only then lathis may be used oh appropriate parts of the body and in proper proportion so that there may not be unnecessary injuries or uncalled for deaths Lastly, the ammunition' supplied required overhauling. Bullet 403 is too dangerous, particularly foruse against unarmed prisoners and bullets should be used only in large disturbances where the prisoners are similarly armed. But in normal times. buckshots in smaller quantities should be enough. The Prison Administration and the state government should also consider the use of such weapons as are often used to shoot wild animals with a view to taming them rather than killing them.

NEW DELHI-Economic Policy Pressures

Economic Policy Pressures B M THE Janata government, enjoying a clear electoral mandate and the good- will of the people, will find it fairly easy to get rid of the more obnoxious features of the Emergency and restore a measure of normalcy in the running of the administration. But it is not going to be easy for it to solve the more intractable socio-economic problems which have been further aggravated by the Emergency. The pulls and pressures in economic policy and development planning are already beginning to surface and may be expected to tax the ingenuity and credibility of the government to the very limit within the next few weeks.

NEW DELHI- Low Priority for Development

of the corrupt and criminal politicians and their gang of bureaucrats must proceed with speed and in coordination with moves to buttress the frail democratic infrastructure of our continental system. This calls for a great deal of sensitivity linked with creative thought. We have to ensure to the best of our ability that our polity will not again be sabotaged overnight at the bidding of a cynical individual or cabal. The uncertainty which prevails about a fair election process, and the aftermath whatever the result, is a sad commentary on the psychological instability to which a nation of 600 millions has been reduced. Cutting across all party labels, the passion of the elections now under way is for justice, honesty, courage and purposefulness in public life.

NEW DELHI-Election-Eve Munificence

continue to receive undue attention from the embattled parties. And, yes, it is a fact that by and large the voters believe that the elections will be so Organised' as to give Indira Gandhi a victory, but the belief is dissolving with every day that passes.

NEW DELHI-Redefining Poverty

tice all those who wish to secure it; and in doing so, as a practical reformer, I have not hesitated to take in those, who I know are actuated by hatred. Even the latter are entitled to justice " He went on to say that, so long as they remained non-violent, they would be fit soldiers of his movement (Young India, February 16, 1921). Thus, the right to bring the rulers to book by direct action is a basic human right, it is not contingent upon virtue; it is certainly not contingent upon obtaining certificates of virtue from the rulers.

NEW DELHI-Trade Unions Hand-in-Hand with Industrialists

comfort. Hammett would not do so. He therefore had to go to prison, lean and gaunt and handcuffed, the crime fiction writer, the cynic, what an unlikely hero, but an authentic one, about the only one in that scoundrel time, Lillian Hellman writes

NEW DELHI-Investment Refuses to Oblige

January 22, 1977 with the Soviet Union on the management of the world and the second was to prevent national liberation wars. Kissinger's contribution lay in emphasising that the two need not be seen as related phenomena. He was clever enough to see and bold enough tacitly to admit that the growth and strengthening of a liberation movement in any particular area might owe something to Lenin but very little to present-day Soviet Union. In short, his policy was to treat these problems as something which could be talked over with the Soviet Union. Where talking with the Soviet Union would not help, nothing would help anyway. The detente with the Soviet Union was not to be sacrificed to achieve something which, in any THE hopes and expectations of a major thrust forward in investment and growth which were entertained in official quarters at the time of the presentation of last year's budget are somewhat subdued now as exercises on the budget for the next financial year are under way. The path of economic revival has evidently turned out to be more complex and arduous than was earlier assumed. There was even talk in high quarters some weeks ago about postponing the presentation of the budget from the conventional last day of February to gain more time for sorting out problems. But it appears that this idea was given up as inappropriate at a time when it was claimed that steps were being taken at the political plane for what is called relaxation of the emergency. This does not, of course, make the task of the finance ministry any easier.

NEW DELHI-Rethinking on Buffer-Stocks

Rethinking on Buffer-Stocks B M cumulated in government godowns while large masses of people have to go without enough food.
The government has been staking measures in recent months to stimulate demand for foodgrains in the open market. The zonal restrictions and controls on consumption have been relaxed with that end in view. But these measures have no more than touched the fringe of the problem. The question of exporting foodgrains, especially wheat, was considered at one time. But this was given up because of the possible adverse popular reaction to the export of foodgrains. The proposals now being actively canvassed are for unloading some part of the buffer-stock in the open market by various ways. Plans are being worked out to dispose of at least three million tonnes of foodgrains from the buffer by March next, over and above the present level of offtake from the public- distribution system. Two specific proposals in this connection are, first, to remove the zonal system altogether and, second, to just give grains to the traders at the procurement price for disposal in the open market. The wheat surplus states are still reluctant to agree to the removal of zonal restrictions. But they are expected to soon fall in line.

NEW DELHI- New Deal for Foreign Capital

MULTILATERAL or bilateral govern- ment-to-government aid is regarded as most valuable by the government of India and is being actively solicited by India's aid diplomats. Any misgivings about its availability have also been dispelled by the recent visit of the World Bank President, But the government's new initiatives intended to unshackle all the forces in the econo- nomy which can contribute to savings and capital formation have also opened up a significant new role for foreign private capital. This role is defined in official policy in clear and positive terms

NEW DELHI-Prices and the Poor

NEW DELHI Prices and the Poor B M THE Prime Minister called for a "deliberate policy" of public control on incomes and prices in her key-note address to the Jawaharnagar session of the AICC. What exactly she had in mind was not spelled out by hen But her anxiety over the rise in prices in recent months was evident enough and she pointedly related her idea of public control over incomes and prices with the price rise of certain com- modifies which she held to be entirely unjustified. That the pattern of income distribu- has a close bearing on the general level as well as the relative structure of prices is incontestable. But the question is what will be the order of priorities which should govern the application of public controls for holding the price-line and for regulating income distribution and the pattern of consumption. Government policies have clearly suffered from serious distortions and limitations in determining the right order of priorities.


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