A populist Budget
N Chandra Mohan in Missed the woods & trees (March 1) rightly states that had the Finance Minister allocated Rs 60,000 crore for developing adequate infrastructure in poverty-stricken areas, the farmers would have returned the loans. The current waiver has made them beggars of government alms and would encourage defaults. The farmers took loans to raise crops so that they can have roti at home.
Kevat Ram, via e-mail
Of late, the jargon ‘inclusive growth’ has become a buzzword for our Prime Minister and his ministers. If the government is so serious about ‘inclusive growth’, then the process should start from the poorest of the poor. In tribal and backward districts of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, almost 50 per cent people live below the poverty line. Unfortunately, these 70 million people do not constitute the vote-bank of the government.
JN Mahanty, Puri
Can a quota-maddened
Finance Minister be allowed to get away by offering a bribe of Rs 60,000 crore to help depressed farmers in an election year? This is akin to giving more reservations to the SCs, STs and OBCs without identifying the needy and the poor. Can the profligacy be limited to farmers? Will not other groups too be beggared in similar vein? This is dangerous for the country’s financial stability.
VN Balakrishna, via e-mail
N Chandra Mohan rightly doubts whether it will end the way the NREG scheme is going or genuinely alleviate the lot of crores of farmers. The Finance Minister has muted the opposition who were crying hoarse about suicides by the farmers and laid the foundation to serve as an electoral carrot with his proposals which have something for the salaried lot and pensioners.
Bapu Satyanarayana, Mysore
Fiscal Budget 2008, as for the last 60 years, consists of subsidies, grants, aids and now, waiver. Have these goodies ever reached the man who needs it? Rajiv Gandhi painstakingly calculated 15 paise reaching the aam aadmi, 85 paise going to the corrupt down the lane. The Congress leadership is delinked from the masses. We may despise Gujarat CM Narendra Modi but no one can deny that he delivered what the masses wanted. The FM must know this is the only way to reach the common man.
Samir Banerjee, Delhi
Apropos of the report Retired teachers to lecture same classes (March 5), the decision of the HRD Ministry to allow teachers in central universities to be employed till the age of 70 is a retrograde step. This could potentially damage institutions of higher learning. Vested interest groups seem to be bent on blocking youth from the portals of academia by occupying limited vacancies indefinitely. Instead of removing deadwood from the system, the government seems to have decided to accumulate it.
R Ram, via e-mail
Food for thought
Apropos of Sitaram Yechury’s article Come a cropper (March 6), India has the largest cultivable area in the world, but lowest productivity per hectare of land, per KW of energy and per litre of water. One wonders what really happened that a country which had surplus stocks of foodgrains in 2001, now imports foodgrains. Food, vegetables and fruits worth crores go to waste due to mismanagement of distribution. A huge proportion of our population goes to sleep hungry, though food is available but not affordable for those living on less than Rs 20 a day.
RK Malhotra, Delhi
Rob Peter, pay Paul
Abhishek Singhvi’s justification in The glass is half full (March 5) in support of the Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver for farmers is not convincing. It will not only vitiate the repayment culture of banks and other financial institutions but also act as a deterrent to the non-defaulters in the timely repayment of loans. The taxpayers will have bear this burden in the long-run.
Robi Shom, via e-mail
With reference to the editorial Manmohan sings (March 7), the Prime Minister has taken the right initiative in appealing to Atal Bihari Vajpayee to back the nuclear deal, dropping a subtle hint that the UPA government is only carrying forward the initiatives taken by the NDA. Vajpayee, who is known to rise above party politics, is expected to respond favourably leading to the inking of the agreement. The communists, who play politics without bothering about national interest, will be isolated.
Tarlok Singh, via e-mail
The report Scary vision: Going blind at 30 (March 6) is welcome news. Vision once lost due to glaucoma will be lost forever. The remedy, as Sanchita Sharma quotes, is to try to avoid hypertension and diabetes, take balanced diet and regular exercises, and get eye check-ups regularly.
Narendra Kumar, Delhi