Letters to the Editor dated December 17, 2019

| Updated on December 17, 2019 Published on December 17, 2019

Education system

This is with reference to the editorial ‘Loan imbroglio’ (December 17). Banks’ education loan schemes are designed to support economically backward students who are unable to pay for their higher studies on their own. However, the growing cost of higher education, insistence by banks of equal amount of collateral for higher quantum of loans, and the absence of employment opportunities are preventing many deserving students from pursuing higher education. Also, as suggested correctly, it would be prudent to realign the cost of higher education to market realities and to revamp the technical education system in the country.

Sitaram Popuri


Lending terms

It is indeed disturbing that lenders have become cautious about education loan disbursement, though they are within their rights to do so. Besides IITs, IIMs and other elite institutions, there are thousands of other higher education institutions where students enrol themselves with financial assistance, but when it comes to final placement or jobs these students either get a low-paying job, or no job at all. The repayment of loans is directly linked with the jobs and their salaries. So, the current economic downturn is largely responsible for this issue.

Banks should be more flexible in their approach and not insist on large collateral; at the same time, they should be judicious in the credit-assessment process.

Bal Govind


Agri insurance

This is in reference to ‘Nashik farmers sowing seeds of own insurance firm’ (December 17).

This looks like a desperate attempt by the farmers as the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has failed to deliver on the ground, despite its positive intent. To increase the chances of success, few important considerations need to be kept in mind.

Farmers and their advisers can possibly learn from the multi-tiered cooperative structure popularised by Amul. Farmers can organise as per size of land, coverage and crop types and seek help of professionals to run the entity and help with claim settlements and premium collection. This will ensure the protection of small as well as big farmers.

To make the proposition attractive for insurance companies, it is necessary for farmers in different regions to come together to hedge the risk of nature’s vagaries.

Crowd-sourcing can be used to assess crop damage. This will require some training, but would meet the manpower requirement for extensive assessments and would also speed up settlement time.

In the long run, analysis of claims can lead to actions that may reduce crop losses, and hence make agriculture more robust and predictable as a source of income.

Neeti Gupta


RTI applications

This refers to media reports about a three-member Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India rightly expressing concern over increasing misuse of the RTI Act.

However, observations by the Bench regarding filing of RTI applications by ‘activists’ not connected with the situation is not proper. In such cases, the people concerned will not file RTI applications in their own names for the fear of being black-listed.

A complete tender process, excluding exempted items, should be put on the RTI website. It may be recalled that a Division Bench of Madras High Court had once suo moto reversed its earlier order of requiring public interest as a necessary requirement for RTI applications.

But it can also not be denied that majority of the RTI applications nowadays are being aimlessly filed just for publicity and fun. Such tendency can and must be prevented by having a uniform RTI fees of ₹50, with the provision of providing the first 20 copied pages free of cost.

Attachment of ID proof should be a compulsory requirement with every RTI application to prevent fake applications being filed in names of others, in accordance with order from Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Subhash Chandra Agrawal


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Published on December 17, 2019
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