Letters to the editor dated February 15, 2021

| Updated on February 15, 2021

Rerailing the Railways

With reference to the editorial ‘Rerailing the Railways’ (February 15), with a massive allocation of ₹1.10 lakh crore, this year’s Budget has focussed mainly on infra creation. Completion of the North-East Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), 100 per cent electrification of tracks by 2023 and expanding the rail network in J&K region, online freight services, ease of ticket booking and introduction of low-fare full fledged A/c III tier coaches are some of the initiatives the Railways is embarking on now.

For augmenting revenues, besides the thrust on assets monetisation, the Railway Ministry can hike the suburban ticket fare, review the existing norms for fare concessions extended to various categories, which can match with the projected expenditure planned for this fiscal.

RV Baskaran


The wealth of working class

With reference to the editorial ‘Watershed moment’ (February 12), while hailing “wealth creators” one should not lose sight of the crucial role played by other sections of society in wealth creation. Can entrepreneurs create wealth without the sweat and toil of the working class? The wide economic disparity inherent in “capitalism” cannot be wished away. That wealth will not trickle down on its own as has been clearly borne out by empirical evidence from across the globe.

The mixed economy adopted by our country appears the right choice . It is absurd to believe that propping up wealth creators can bring about prosperity while others are made to feel excluded. Economic inequality will definitely spawn social tensions which in turn can decelerate growth. Further, a nation serious about progress cannot afford to fritter away its energy on divisive issues .

Manohar Alembath


Side-stepping tenders

With reference to the report ‘India to insist on govt-to-govt pact versus taking tender route’, the government is striving to pluck low-hanging fruits by having a government-to-government arrangement and sidestepping public tender. It has cited that this route shall rule out the possibility of any Chinese company bagging the contract of WCT. India has to execute and operationalise the contract by private players from the country. The Opposition is already charging the government with crony capitalism. The government must be ready with a cogent riposte. It should not be a replay of Rafale like controversy. Furthermore, government officials tasked with the job may milk the situation for their vested interests as it lacks transparency and they are highly prone to corruption.

Deepak Singhal


Tendulkar’s dilemma

Apropos to the article ‘Tendulkar’s political correctness’ (February 14), the cricketer is not only a national icon, but also much admired in all cricket playing nations for his exemplary conduct on and off the field. A perfect gentleman, he wouldn’t even make eye contact with the smarting bowler after scoring runs off him.

It is therefore surprising that the Maharashtra government is probing Sachin’s innocuous tweet criticising external forces, for fishing in troubled waters created by the farmers agitation, in India. If pop star Rihanna can tweet in support of the agitation, to say that the master blaster ‘should not speak about fields other than cricket’ is bereft of all logic and reasoning. Just as a politician has the right to speak about anything under the Sun, so too does a sportsman, in his capacity as a voter and citizen of India, if not as a celebrity.

V Jayaraman


Advantage micro loans

With reference to the article ‘Micro loans to women improve livelihoods’, the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana must be lauded for its contribution to the rural families and rural women in particular. Empowering rural women and improving their livelihoods are crucial for the rural economy. Further, lenders too benefit, as micro loans have low and manageable default rates. The government and local administration can help Self Help Groups by mentoring them which would also help diversify their sources of earnings.

Bal Govind


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Published on February 15, 2021
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