Responses to Sticklish Issues dated April 10

The salary, allowances and other perquisites in the banking industry are much more compared to private companies. The demand of pension increase does not warrant a strike. This can be settled along with the wage accord.

V. Venkitasubramanian, Kochi

The Finance Ministry should have resolved the issue. This strike has put the public throough a lot of hardship.

K. S. Sathyanarayanan, Chennai

Responses to Sticklish Issues dated March 27 on poll reforms

The former CEC, Mr T. S. Krishnamurthy, has rightly asked for debate on electoral reforms, as there is an urgent need to improve and change the quality of democracy prevailing in the country. Looking it as a process, intervention is required at every stage. To become eligible as a candidate, physical fitness and age should be a prerequisite in addition to a past track record free of criminal and civil offences.

At the time of preparation of electoral rolls, information technology can be applied so as to ensure that right person is able to cast his vote.

The government through the media should highlight the desirable qualities of candidates. Proportional representation should be introduced so that the Government is not at the mercy of smaller regional parties.

Even the provision of corporate contribution to political parties (for any political purpose up to 5 per cent of net profits if they have three years' profit-making track record) has been applied and deleted at different intervals.

Other contentious issues include state funding of elections and filing of tax returns as well as maintenance of accounts by political parties.

Anil Kumar Angrish, Mohali

I think that the demand for an open debate on poll issues by the former Chief Election Commissioner is timely.

To make elections transparent is the responsibility of the EC. An open debate on poll reforms will be a step in the right direction.

Anish Kumar Singla, e-mail

Before contemplating any action on the voters who fail to exercise their franchise, the Election Commission must ensure error-free electoral rolls.

Money and muscle power must be checked with an iron hand.

Considering the price rise in fuel and other materials, the ceiling for the election expenditure may be revised suitably so that the candidates file a genuine statement of expenditure.

At present, there is no provision in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the voters to register their "negative voting."

A button may be provided in the voting machines so that the voters can register their protests without any fear.

The above suggestions may be taken into account while considering poll reforms.

S. Nallasivan, Tirunelveli

Electoral reforms are the need of the hour.

First, the qualification for contesting the elections for Parliament and State Legislature should be enforced.

Graduation should be the minimum requirement.

Second, persons charge-sheeted should be debarred from contesting the elections.

Third, political parties should go for economical modes of electioneering.

Women should be given due recognition.

Ravi Sharma, Jammu

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 17, 2006)
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