Religious tourism

This refers to ‘Culture as a driver of economic growth’ (July 5). Festivals in India trigger spending among all categories of people. Per statistics, the Kumbh Mela in 2019 had generated a total business of ₹1.2-lakh crore in all spheres, ranging from transportation, accommodation, food and other conveniences. India is a land of temples. Apart from popular religious places like Kashi, Rameswaram, Tirupathi, Madurai, Tiruchi and the recently added Ayodhi, there are hundreds of religious heritage places across all States. India has 42 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Twenty-seven new pilgrimage sites have been identified across India for developing basic infrastructure and other amenities for enhancing religious tourism under the Centre’s Prashad scheme. This would generate a lot of employment and business opportunities locally.

RV Baskaran


Privatisation no panacea

Apropos ‘Don’t privatise essential services’ (July 5), India must not ignore the UK experience, where privatisation of electricity, gas, water and railways has not worked. Reasonably speaking, the government must take a cue therefrom instead of treating privatisation as some magical wand for getting rid of various economic ills and several other administrative infirmities.

However, the government of the day seems to firmly believe that ‘privatisation’ better serves the larger public interests. What else could explain opening up the nation’s key defence sector for several private entrepreneurs in India. Also, the maintenance of most of our national/State highways (earlier dealt with by Centre/States) is currently handled by the private vendors through ever increasing toll. Ironically, banking on privatisation has become more a rule than exception.

SK Gupta

New Delhi

Rein in finfluencers

Apropos ‘Smart move’ (July 5), at a time when banks are seeing a drop in deposits and domestic savings moving into the stock market, directly or via mutual funds, it is important that unregistered finfluencers are reined in. Market needs to have broader participation from all stakeholders, including retail investors.

SEBI has taken the right steps to rein in these influencers who, often in conduit with regulated entities, try to mislead innocent retail investors. As far as mis-selling insurance products is concerned, unfortunately it has been going on for many years. So ideally, RBI, IRDAI and PFRDA should join hands to tackle the menace.

Bal Govind


Water-cycle balance

The news item ‘India must take forward initiatives to restore water-cycle balance’ (July5) points to the need for concrete action in fostering sustainable water culture. That we have thrown the water-cycle out of balance is a fact we have not fully understood and we are still very lackadaisical in our usage of water, water bodies and aquifers. Fast-paced urbanisation, over exploitation of water for agriculture and industry, and ‘can’t care less’ attitude at the individual level all add up to put stress on usable water resources.

Concerted efforts — coordinated for optimum outcomes — aimed at improving our approach to water resources and ensuring sustainable water management, can no longer wait.

Jose Abraham

Vaikom, Kerala