CAG&’s functioning must be transparent
SIR, ~ This is with reference to Sam Rajappa&’s valued article, “Undermining the CAG”  (19 July). Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and of any law framed by Parliament, the conditions of service of those serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts department and the administrative powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General shall be prescribed  by rules made by the President after consultations with the Comptroller and Auditor-General. The CAG shall be appointed by the President with the warrant under his hand and seal and shall only be removed from office in the manner as a  Supreme Court judge is removed.
But if the incumbent has favoured his political masters while serving in other departments previously, then the very office of CAG comes under a cloud. It is an institution of democratic polity; the accountability of the executive to Parliament is exercised through the exchequer. There must be a transparent approach both in accounting and auditing. The incumbent must, therefore, have a clean record.
yours. etc.. suman dey, kolkata, 19 july.
Breaking news
SIR, ~ Usha Mahadevan&’s despatch from Delhi, “The Last Dispatch” (19 July), is quite interesting. Many a senior citizen is filled with nostalgia for an age when telegrams played a vital role in the country&’s social, political and cultural life. Edward F. Elwin, a Christian missionary who lived for many years in Pune, wrote in his book, India and the Indians, published in London in 1913 ~ “The telegraph has become rather popular amongst Indians…Amongst the more well-to-do a death is now almost always announced by telegraph. It is a new and impressive way of showing respect to the deceased. In cases of sickness, telegrams are despatched to relations, summoning them urgently and at once. Relations hurry off from long distances at great expense, and arrive perhaps to find the sick person walking about.”
Naughty boys often indulged in cruel jokes. As Elwin writes , “A mother got a telegram to the effect that her son was going to be hanged on the following Thursday, and that she must come at once. A telegram was sent to the Governor of the gaol where the lad was supposed to be.
A reply was promptly returned saying that there was no prisoner of that name in the gaol. The whole thing proved to be an absurd attempt on the part of the lad himself to get his mother to come to the place where he was living. To have merely telegraphed that he was ill might not have had the desired effect, but the appalling contents of the false telegram he thought were bound to be effective.”
yours, etc., somnath roy, kolkata, 19 july.
Upheaval in Egypt
SIR, ~ Apropos your well-argued editorial, ‘Cairo coup’ (6 July), there is no denying that the intervention of the military, a legacy of the previous regime, led to the ouster of President Mohamad Morsi. Egypt has witnessed the second upheaval in two years, and the army has backed the protestors. The people have emphatically rejected the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist outfit heading an ineffectual successor dispensation, resulting in a renewed bout of instability. Millions of people were alienated.
In fact, the spirited demand for the removal of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood exceeded the scale of the mass street protests in the twilight phase of the Mubarak regime in February 2011.
The recent outburst of public fury was against the new leader as well as the political dominance of the Islamists who in 2012 had propped him up to the presidential pedestal. The recent developments clearly underline the extent of public anger against the successor regime of Morsi, crippled by political instability. Besides, the renewed crisis can by and large be attributed to the country&’s inherent structural contradictions ~ chiefly a judiciary that is a legacy of the Mubarak regime and a legislature, reduced to a lame-duck entity by the courts. The Morsi regime, therefore, practically rested on a brittle foundation.
The Muslim Brotherhood could achieve little. It exploited its electoral triumph to buttress its Islamist agenda. The deepening economic crisis had virtually alienated a vast majority of the population. The Brotherhood had, moreover, turned out to be its own worst enemy. It  frittered away its gains and failed to assess the degree of popular anger.
yours, etc., arun kumar bhaduri, kolkata, 7 july.
Mandela Day
SIR, ~   Through these columns  I would like to congratulate the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, a very happy birthday. The date has been designated as International Mandela Day by the United Nations. A campaign styled “67 minutes for Mandela” was also launched in South Africa, encouraging all citizens to donate 67 minutes of their time in some form of community service to mark the number of years he spent fighting to end apartheid and bring democracy to South Africa.
   The people took to the streets in celebration of their national hero. Biker gangs cleaned streets, volunteers planted trees and politicians spent 67 minutes on worthy projects ~ to mark Mr Mandela’s 67 years of public service. The UN had declared the Nobel Peace laureate’s birthday Mandela Day in 2010, but for many this year is particularly poignant. He has spent the past 41 days in a Pretoria hospital in a critical but stable condition after being admitted for a recurring lung infection on June 8. May he get well soon.
yours, etc., raju sharma, kolkata, 20 july.