Policy vacuum in book procurement
The observation of the office of the Principal Accountant General (AG) (Audit), Assam, during its audit that the Directorate of Library Service, Assam, does not have any specific book procurement policy is a startling revelation. According to AG, the Directorate neither asks for any requirement of books from district/sub-district and rural libraries nor does it seek suggestions or feedback from readers, scholars, students or other national or international institutes in selecting titles.
In its observation on the procurement and distribution of books by the State Directorate of Library Service issued on May 18, 2022, the Accountant General (Audit) also said that the choices for book selection before the book selection committee narrowed and depended on proposals submitted by suppliers. "In the absence of any policy, the State Directorate of Library Service could not ensure the acquisition of critically acclaimed books," the Accountant General (Audit) observed.
The Accountant General (Audit) also observed that the State Directorate of Library Service published an advertisement only in a single newspaper instead of two – one vernacular and one English) — that too, without mentioning required qualifications, evaluation criteria of bidders etc., in blithe disregard to the criteria laid on the selection of vendors by the committee. The audit found that the Directorate purchased 134 titles without qualifying the criteria mentioned in the advertisement.
An order (BB12/2000/7 dated 14-09-2001) provides for drawing a maximum amount of Rs 5,000 by self-cheque from banks for day-to-day activities. However, if it is necessary to draw money more than the ceiling amount, the authority concerned needs to make the payment through 'account payee crossed cheques. However, the test-cheque records of the State Directorate of Library Service revealed that the department had maintained an HDFC Bank account at its Ambari branch for the RRRLF (Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation) fund matching scheme. The RRRLF, Kolkata, released funds to the Director for payment to the contractors/suppliers relating to the improvement of library service in the state. "The directors had withdrawn Rs 60.54 lakh and paid to the suppliers for procurement of goods. The withdrawal of money from 14-12-16 to 01-04-22 through self-cheques not only constitutes a violation of financial discipline but also facilitated mismanagement/misappropriation of government money," the Accountant General (Audit) said.
Such irregularities take place in the State Directorate of Library Services despite the rules laid. Will the authority concerned in the State Directorate of Library Service do the needful to resolve the problem?
Ragging– a social evil
Recently, the ragging incident at Dibrugarh University hurt the hearts and souls of conscious citizens of the country. I directly hate and strongly condemn this unexpected and heinous incident. In fact, in our society, there is a need to seriously discuss the psychological reasons behind such ragging.
I would say directly that such ragging is in fact a social ill. This is a socio-psychological issue, of course. The brain infrastructure of a person who frequently commits crimes and gets brutal pleasure by torturing human beings is inconsistent to some extent. According to neuroscience, the human brain contains a number of specialized nerve cells that help maintain human values. The function of these nerve cells is impaired in criminals. This is the inconsistency of the brain infrastructure of the criminals. And as a result, criminals can commit one crime after another. Even these people can commit inhumane acts like ragging. Due to the inconsistency of the brain infrastructure, the human qualities like kindness, compassion, empathy, etc. of the criminals towards human beings are comparatively much less than that of the good human beings.
In fact, people who have always grown up in a negative environment usually have no qualms about committing a crime like ragging. Their brains are left to their own devices to figure out what the outcome of the ragging will be.
Recently, in the society in which we live, the stress of human beings is gradually increasing for various reasons. The biggest concern is that today's society, science and technology, the transformation of private sector enterprises is taking place at an unimaginable pace. There are some unwanted changes in it, which make many people feel uncomfortable adapting to the change. In fact, the people in our society do not have enough time to adapt to this change. In all cases Darwin's adaptation theory 'Survival of the fittest' is not applicable. On the other hand, human beings are unable to cope with certain situations. This has led to an increase in stress among people. The result of this stress is intolerance. As a result, recently in November in Dibrugarh University, a calm and polite youth like Ananad Sharma was brutally ragged at the hands of some senior students possessing a brutal character.
However, we wish that the ragging of Ananad Sharma be the last ragging. We don't want such incidents to happen in the future.
Proper waste disposal
Through the columns of your esteemed daily, I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the issues faced by the people of Golaghat Rupjyoti Nagar and Moinapara village due to the incautious disposal of municipal waste. Not just the disposal, but the burning of these wastes has resulted in polluted air quality. The survival of old as well as the young generation seems quite threatening owing to the poor air quality. It has been known that in the radius of about 1-2km from the disposal grounds, a number of about 5-6cancer patients have been diagnosed. A necessary step should be taken by the Golaghat municipality for a suitable place for dumping wastes without hampering the lives of the localities.
International Tea Day
Every year on December 15, tea-producing countries celebrate International Tea Day. The day seeks to draw the attention of governments and citizens around the world to the impact that tea trade has on workers and growers. The tea-producing countries that celebrate International Tea Day are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, Tanzania and India. Apart from water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world. The primary types of tea include white, black, green, oolong, herbal, and pu'erh. Tea is believed to have originated in China. There, drinkers used tea for medicinal reasons. In the 17th century, tea made its way to the UK.
Because of the large number of tea drinkers in the world, tea demands a massive production scale. Unfortunately, in many tea-producing countries, production comes with many challenges. Some of the obstacles tea-producing countries face include low wages for tea workers, lack of medical care for tea workers in rural areas, and a lack of clean and potable water on tea plantations. There is also a need for improved sanitation on tea plantations. Additionally, women make up 50 per cent of the workforce on tea plantations. These women usually don't have access to education.