Combating desertification

| Updated on September 11, 2019


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land in the country by 2030 to combat desertification deserves praise. Since the degradation of land leads to the loss of its ability to absorb carbon, one of the main contributors to global warming, we cannot afford to treat land degradation as a trivial matter. Recognising the importance of eco-system services such as watershed management, bio-diversity conservation and improving soil health is the need of the hour.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, TN

Capital problems

The article ‘Why the govt owning 90% of many PSBs is a problem’ (September 11), opens a debate which was overdue. First, whether PSBs are facing problems or not, the Centre’s investment in the share capital of banks is growing and perhaps giving some annual return. Second, raising the authorised capital of individual banks may not pose any legal hurdles.

Just as the RBI has got its Economic Capital Framework (ECF) studied by an expert group, the government and the RBI may consider appointing a panel of experts to study the capital and reserves framework of statutory bodies and banks (including private sector banks).

The expert panel may make comparisons with international practices and make recommendations keeping in view the Indian context and compliance requirements recommended by international organisations.

MG Warrier


Govt must cut stake in PSBs

Time and again experts have emphasised that the government should not be in the business of lending and must gradually reduce its stake in public sector banks. But, in reality, the opposite is happening.

The government should keep an arm’s length distance from the to day-to-day functioning and lending decision of banks. But with such massive holdings how can that happen? The government must reduce its holdings in PSBs to below 50 per cent at the earliest.

Bal Govind


Towards a healthy diet

This is with reference to ‘Pathways to healthy diet, sustainable land-use’ (September 11). A healthy workforce is a precondition for growth and hence we should encourage healthy food habits among our youngsters.

Banning hawkers from the vicinity of schools is not the way to discourage children from eating junk food, but by apprising and educating them about the harmful effects of such food. Teachers can play a pivotal role in this. Work pressure, living away from families and time shortage are forcing our youngsters to go for these fast foods, which are detrimental to their health.

One way to wean them away is to popularise healthy Indian food items by encouraging small-scale units that deal in these items.

One of the main reasons for the popularity of Western junk food like noodles, pizzas and high sugar beverages is that our film-stars and sports-persons endorse these products. These celebrities should look beyond financial gains and endorse only those products which are good for a healthy life.

Also, policymakers, while drafting the FDI policy related to food items, must put the nation’s interest and health above the narrow goal of attracting foreign investments.

Veena Shenoy


Road safety

Thanks to the strict enforcement by traffic authorities across the nation, there has a been massive rise in the collection of fines for violations. The steep hike in fines is a step in the right direction, as it will help bring down accident rates and improve road safety.

The traffic enforcement authorities should conduct a large scale awareness drive on road safety and on the recent amendments that have brought in several changes.

As riders become aware of the new rules it may lead to much safer roads. Extensive effort is also required to improve the conditions of the roads.

Varun Dambal


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Published on September 11, 2019

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