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Marching with the Khaki – But why Not?


I read with great amusement the article by Mr. Bhogtoram Mawroh (ST Jan 30,2016) titled :Marching with the Khaki – A fight back by a disappearing people”. What caught my attention was, to quote “Its (RSS) ideology of an exclusive Hindu nation which does not recognize other belief systems has always been a threat to the idea of a secular and plural India” unquote.

In this regard, it may be stated that a belief in the concepts of secularism and plurality must first begin at home. I, for sure, am aware of many Khasi individuals, males and females, who have either been coerced or duped into conversion, especially upon the arrival of the first child. Are we, therefore to believe that other socio-religious denominations are more secular and pluralistic than the RSS.

And by the way, the most successful and secular Congress Prime Minister who brought a change to this country, had started life as a Pracharak.

Yours etc.

B.K. Dey Sawian

Shillong – 5

Growth not visible


Apropos the news item “Opp leaders question veracity of report on State’s growth record” (ST 3rd February 2016) , Mr Jemino Mawthoh, MLA has driven home his point in stating that growth should not be based only on the basis of GSDP but parameters like quality education, good health, infrastructure, proper sanitation, good water supply and housing should be taken into account when measuring economic growth. However one cannot ignore State Domestic Product or State Income or Gross Domestic Product as it stands today in the country. We study in Statistics that there are three degrees of lying and that is lies, damned lies and statistics but we cannot run away from the fact that statistics is more acceptable than lies and damned lies. The Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) at 2004-05 prices based on the data provided in the Basic Statistics of North Eastern Region, 2015 published by the North Eastern Council, a statutory Regional Planning Body of the NER shows that the growth rate of GSDP in Meghalaya during the 11th Five Year Plan was 9.42 percent and this has shot up to 12.41 percent in 2013-14.

During 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) the sector wise growth rate recorded 2.6 percent in respect of Agriculture and Allied activities, 2.65 percent in Mining and Quarrying, 5.95 percent in manufacturing, Construction 32.42 percent, Electricity, Gas and Water supply -0.86 percent, Transport, Storage and Communication 9.79 percent, Trade, Hotels and Restaurants 7.29 percent, Banking and Insurance registered a growth rate of 21.89 percent, Real Estate, Ownership of Dwelling and Business services 1.91 percent, Public Administration 10.38% and Other services 18.22 percent. During 2013-14 the sectors referred to above registered a growth rate of 5.07, 1.25, 13.43, 15.61, 2.11, 12.55, 10.47, 15.63, 5.35, 12.21 and 29.99 percent respectively. Comparing the data of these two periods, the growth rate in Mining and Quarrying and Construction sector have come down from 2.65% to 1.25% and from 32.42% to 15.61% respectively in 2013-14.
We cannot look for the parameters mentioned by Mr Jemino Mawthoh, in the data given in the State Domestic Product. The data on such parameters at best would be available from the Social Sector. As per the data compiled by NITI Aaayog the unemployment rate in Meghalaya in 2011-12 is 9 percent placing Meghalaya in 2nd place in the country. Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000 live) is 47 and Meghalaya ranks 23rd in the Country. The percentage of underweight children under 5 years is 42.9 and Meghalaya ranks 24th. The percentage of households with access to improved sources of drinking water in rural area is 70.4 and in urban areas it is 94.5 respectively. The percentage of household with latrine facilities is 62.9 and Meghalaya ranks 13th in the country. In connectivity infrastructure Meghalaya ranks 3rd in the country in terms of highway length per and 17th on state highways. The per capita consumption of electricity (kWh) is 690.02 ranking 19th and household electrified is 60.9 ranking 22nd in India. The energy deficit is minus 12.1 and the position is 22nd. The percentage of telecommunication density in rural area is 42.7 and 153 in urban area positioning the State on 12th and 9th position respectively. According to State Based Report, the number of MSME units registered under Udyog Aaadhar number is just 1 under small enterprises. This sums up the present Socio economic progress in Meghalaya. It would be interesting to note that the State has invested a sum of Rs 34141.43 as planned investment since the 4th Five Year Plan (1969-74) to 2015-16(4th Year of the 12th Five Year Plan) and a question would naturally have to be raised whether the assets of such a huge investment financed by the Government of India is visible in the State today.

Yours etc.,

V K Lyngdoh,

Via email

Women in Indian army


Every woman has a right to choose her own path in life. I have seen many girls who dream of joining the Indian Army. The general mindset is that women are physically weaker, so they can’t do what men can do. But physical strength is not the only criterion required to join the armed forces. Women can become stronger with adequate training and reach a very high levels of proficiency in the armed forces than men. Also, we live in an age where women can no longer be sidelined as weaklings, not even physically in many cases. The government has to remove all barriers that prevent women from getting permanent commissions in every branch of the military, including combat operations. The role of women as soldiers and warriors is evident in history the world over for centuries. Indian military history also boasts of a fair share of women soldiers, Razia Sultan and the Rani of Jhansi being the most famous. The thrill and pride of serving one’s motherland is an additional attraction. Research has shown that women are more perceptive and intuitive and endowed with organisational skills that help plan right down to minute details. Nature has given different attributes to both men and women and it is only right that to optimize one’s productivity and the organisation’s efficiency, the right person be chosen for the right job. Issues like gender discrimination have no place in decisions like these. We all must encourage girls to join the Defence services. Best of luck to all women defense aspirants.


Yours etc.,

Arnab Dey


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