Opinion

Letters to the Editor dated Feb 23, 2022

George Verghese 4772 | Updated on: Feb 23, 2022

Gains of fortified rice

Apropos ‘Tackling undernourishment with fortified rice’ (February 23), the Centre’s initiatives on accelerating distribution of fortified rice through existing schemes of PDS and ICDS in all parts of the country by 2024 look impressive. Fortified rice is enriched with micronutrients to help bridge the gap in nutritional and dietary needs of people, especially in backward areas.

Several countries have implemented rice fortification programmes. The results of trials done by the Food Fortification Initiative are encouraging, leading to lower iron deficiency and anaemia.

RV Baskaran

Chennai

Quantum of pension

It is laudable that the Parliamentary Standing Committee has proposed additional quantum of pension to Central pensioners at 5 per cent, 10 per cent and 15 per cent on attaining the age of 65, 70 and 75, respectively. At present, additional pension is applicable only to pensioners who are 80 years and above.

Many pensioners are facing economic, health and social problems. Due to emergence of nuclear families, they are compelled to live independently. For them, pension is the only means of sustenance after retirement. But the present pensions, especially in the lower rungs, are meagre and not commensurate with the elevated cost of living.

In these circumstances, the Centre should implement the said recommendation at the earliest.

PV Prasad

Vijayawada

Trade policy shift

This refers to ‘Looking outward, again’ (February 23). The Covid era is a throwback to the 2008 global downturn that overhauled monetary and fiscal policies. Individual nations had gladly tapped into the advantages provided by globalisation but were reluctant to share common problems . They did not factor in the time needed for economic recovery after a crisis and dragged each other down as their economies contracted.

India’s current inclination towards pragmatic trade policies is timely as the spectrum of trade components are changing with shifting epicentres of growth. New technologies are altering the volume and direction of trade flows. In times of crises, larger trade imbalances impact global growth. Yet, every trade fora put deterrence over dialogue. The narrative needs to be rewritten.

R Narayanan

Navi Mumbai

UP elections

The ongoing ‘seven phased’ elections to the UP State Assembly are getting murkier and off the track too with each passing day. What else could explain the highly unbecoming ‘tone and tenor’ of the electoral rallies led by top ranking leaders of various contesting political parties. Apart from playing the religious card, none of them is refraining from leveling wild ‘accusations’ against their political rivals.

Kumar Gupt

Panchkula, Haryana

Protect Neem trees

In ‘Neem, the great healer, battling for life’ (February 23), it is a known fact that Neem, because of its multiple health benefits, is used in many medicines. The disease that is spreading in Telangana and other parts of the country is dangerous. Relying on Neem trees’ own strength to come out of this disease is not the right approach. Some amount of chemical pesticides should be used to save the trees and prevent the disease from spreading to other geographical areas.

Bal Govind

Noida

Fallout of Ukraine crisis

This refers to ‘Ukraine crisis shells markets’ (February 23). Just when the global economy seemed to be stepping out of the iron grip of the pandemic and supply chain bottlenecks, a Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent a new set of shivers. Even a limited war will send oil prices spiralling from the current high of around $97 a barrel. For India, which imports around 80 per cent of its oil needs, this spells disaster.

A war in Ukraine will bear down on two important areas — higher food and energy prices. On both these segments, it is the poor that spend a disproportionately high percentage of their income. India and other nations must do all they can to ensure that the war clouds over Europe recede quickly.

N Sadhasiva Reddy

Bengaluru

Wages and productivity

This is with reference to ‘Productivity-linked wages will be a win-win in plantation sector’ (February 23). Plantation, tourism, healthcare, education and off-shore fishing are sectors which have huge potential for the development in Kerala. The Kerala Government, for various reasons, has not been able to vigorously pursue and convincingly “market” the initiatives taken by it.

The average minimum wages in Kerala have remained high. The proposal to link wages to productivity should be welcomed by the workforce in Kerala.

MG Warrier

Thiruvananthapuram

Published on February 23, 2022
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