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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 13, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Wtrfntwfay, IS, 1973 THE IFTHBRIDGE HERAID 47 Serious problems confronting India's Indira Gandhi New York Times Service NEW DELHI Min- iater Indira Gandhi is confront- ed with serious economic and political troubles, marked by violent riots across India, wide- spread hunger, labor unreal and ipiraling unemployment, and allegations of party cor- ruption and governmental mis- management. Some critics and commenta- tators describe problems that face Mrs. Gandhi and India as the most profound in the prime minister's seven years in office. They point out that her popularity and prestige have plummeted two years after an overwhelming election mandate and 18 months after India humbled Pakistan in the Bangladesh war. At that point her power was unsurpassed. Since theif India has suffer- ed two severe droughts, and Mrs. Gandhi has come under bruising attack from critics on the right and left for failing to carry out her stated policy of abolishing poverty. Beyond this there is a perceptible, almost melancholy, sense of disillusion and gloom that has emerged in recent weeks in a nation torn by food riots, by a police re- bellion in one state that involv- ed a violent confrontation with the army, by bitter charges of government bungling. But the critics are not per- suaded. "There has been too much laxity, drift, compromise, cor- ruption, incompetence and de- basement of the moderate Hindustan Times commented. "There is a sad erosion of moral authority. The people are cynical and impatient and near the break- ing point." And Ronicsh Thapar, a col- umnist in the Economic and Political Weekly, an influential left-wing journal, said: "The slogan of Socialism has come to mean all manner of messy theories with little relevance to Indian realities. In the capital, for the first time, the feeling is general that Indira Gandhi must bear full responsibility for the state of drift and develop- ing paralysis." Associates of the prime min- ister insist that the govern- ment's mounting problems re- sult from two interacting forces: the worst drought in a decade, coupled with an econo- my afflicted with growing pains. They maintain that despite the drought Mrs. Gandhi's pro- grams, are effectively taking shape: the effort to spur self- reliance and break off "crip- ling" dependence on foreign aid; the struggle to expand a sluggish agrarian economy with remains a P. N. attempt to level wealth, bring about social progress and un- dertake radical economic mea- sures in the context of a free- wheeling and open democracy. "The basic vitality and resi- lience of the Indian economy mains a P. N. Dhar, Mrs. Gandhi's personal secre- tary and one of her closest ad- visers, said recently. Dhar and others point out that the over-all growth rate, which is virtually zero' this year, is expected to climb with- in the next few years to 5.5 per cent, and exports are ex- pected to rise from two per cent of output this year to seven per cent in 1974. More- over, in early 1950's India depended on the import of manufactured good for 40 per cent of her requirements; now it is 10 per cent. "Our aims are growth, so- cial justice and said K. C. Pant, minister of state for home affairs. "We are succeeding. If we have set- backs they are natural and they are temporary." At this point opposition to Mrs. Gandhi and the govern- ing new congress party is fragmented among half a dozen national and regional parties that have failed to emerge as a cohesive threat. Despite grow- ing personal criticism, the 55- year-old prime minister is the dominant figure in Indian poli- tics and is likely to remain so. Elections are scheduled for 1976. Nevertheless, the erosion of Mrs. Gandhi's power has been swift and unmistakable. A re- cent local election in the southern state of Tamil Nadu saw the New Congress candi- date receive only two per cent of the vote, a humiliating de- feat. Two state governments, REMEMBER DAD JUNE 17 Sure fire gifts to please dads in the know Precision engineered watches a-4 R man's 17 jewel Tradition. Calendar. Swiss-made. Shockprotected. Yellow gold colour top case. Reg. b-4 R man's 25 jewel Tradition. Day-date calendar. Auto- matic. Swiss-made. Shockprotected. Water-resistant yellow gold colour top case. 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