Food safety

| Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 15, 2017

‘Chilling silence on pesticide poisoning’ by Reena Gupta (November 15) reveals the challenges in food safety. Nearly 100 banned products are available across the counter. Pesticides are sold with limited knowledge of products and their effects.

Until recently, there was no standardisation of organic products. Farmers and consumers were more concerned about pricing than quality assurance. It is not only vegetables — milk-inducing hormones are injected indiscriminately into milching animals. The meat industry is no exception to such practices — quick growth stimulators are applied to poultry and cattle.

Regulating use at the end level may be difficult, but production and distribution can be banned or regulated. Spreading awareness about clean food should be the priority of FSSAI. Food scarcity can happen but we cannot have poisonous food.

S Veeraraghavan


Where’s the strategy?

With FPI investments witnessing a high outflow of late and rising oil prices having become a strong indicator of inflation in the near future, strategic measures are needed from the Government to control currency rates, reduce spending and curb imports. Reduction in GST rates on various commodities and services does serve the interest of the public and the retail business but has an impact on the Government’s earnings.

The possibility of an increase in fiscal deficit and the present low rate of interest should be used to advantage — the production surplus and exports should be encouraged to narrow the otherwise rising CAD. A low demand for the rupee coupled with ‘twin deficit’ is the last thing the economy needs.

Girish Lalwani


A kind of sabotage

With reference to ‘What is the job of the bureaucracy?’ by EA Ramaswamy (November 15), as long as there is limited accountability and the bureaucracy is assured of timely promotions based on a performance during entry level exams, why should one work? Had the steel frame worked tirelessly over the last 70 years we would not be in the mess we’re in at present. Although Maoist insurgency has bred in places with poor infrastructure, no action been taken against those responsible.

Rajesh Chidambaram


The indifference extends to workers in the formal sector. Many factories do not follow safety regulations, the working hours and welfare measures guaranteed under the Factories Act. Employers quieten the inspecting bureaucracy by offering allurement of various kinds.

The irony is that recent changes in labour laws would reduce inspector raj but may not ensure implementation of laws pertaining to workers’ interests.

The government must strengthen labour laws to protect the informal workforce along with liberalisation of laws to facilitate ease of business.

YG Chouksey


Between Peter and Paul

This refers to media reports indicating that the Government has sought special dividend from RBI to fund a part of its ₹2.11-lakh crore plan to recapitalise PSBs. It is also learnt that the RBI has not yet agreed to the Centre’s proposal to pay a special dividend apart from the yearly surplus. But the Government may possibly have last laugh. It may be recalled that the RBI had earlier transferred ₹30,659 crore of its surplus for the FY 2016-17, less than half of what it had transferred to the Centre for FY 2015-16.

This reduction may be attributed to the “huge” additional cost involved in printing the new 500 and 2,000-rupee notes apart from making substantial ‘interest’ payment to banks on the deposits made by them representing the surplus money they had received from the public after demonetisation.

But if the Centre ‘persuades the RBI to pay it may virtually amount to robbing Peter to pay Paul. No amount of financial doses will bring any changes to the position of NPAs.

S Kumar

New Delhi


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Published on November 15, 2017
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