Letters to the Editor dated December 31, 2019

| Updated on December 30, 2019 Published on December 30, 2019

Discard PAN, keep Aadhaar

This refers to ‘In 2 days, your PAN could become inoperative without Aadhaar link’ (December 30). The government may not stick to December 31, 2019 as the extant deadline of mandatorily linking PAN with Aadhaar. In fact, it may be further extended till March 31, 2020 at the eleventh hour, under the guise of providing the ‘last opportunity’ to all the left out taxpayers.

While the government’s desired move could, by itself, appreciably be aimed at ensuring the unique identity of PAN card-holders, apart from preventing the misuse of PAN and potential tax frauds, the fact still remains that simultaneously persisting with the ‘twin’ sets of these identity instruments makes little sense. Why not make 12-digit Aadhar Cards as the ‘sole’ proof of identity and be gainfully utilised for all practical purposes? Moreover, the relevant details could always be ‘cross-checked’ (in case of any doubts) by the tax authorities from the database currently managed by the the UIDAI

Kumar Gupt

Panchkula (Haryana)

Shareholder participation

This is with reference to ‘Are shareholders exercising their vote?’ (December 30). The role of shareholders remains paramount, not only in protecting their investment interests, but also vetoing proposals likely to impair organisational growth. However, the lack of interest and dismal participation in meetings by shareholders in exercising their franchise is unhealthy for corporate growth. Earlier, some companies would issue discount coupons on their products and present material gifts at their annual meetings, as an incentive for active participation by the shareholders. Unless such measures with some riders are restored, the sustainability of healthy corporate governance through vigilant participation of shareholders cannot be assured.

Sitaram Popuri


Data privacy and protection

This refers to ‘Democracy is down, but not out’ (Decmeber 30). In 2011, the UPA government finalised a draft Bill on privacy and set up a committee of experts headed by the former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, AP Shah to, inter alia, “study the privacy laws and related Bills promulgated by various countries” and make specific suggestions for the proposed draft Bill on privacy. The Bill never saw the light of the day. In 2017, the need for a legal framework on data protection was underlined in the landmark judgment of Justice KS Puttaswamy versus Union of India. Against this backdrop, it became imperative for the NDA government to take up data protection with all seriousness and intervene with regulatory safeguards.

As the government deliberates upon the final legislation on data protection, it should think of facilitating a ‘Host in India’ campaign in the spirit of ‘Make in India’ and encourage local and foreign companies to build ‘data centre parks’. This will also have a positive impact on the speed (low latency) and delivery a user has while accessing Internet services. To allay all fears concerning management and protection of data, all stakeholders should come together to develop a robust digital policy framework that prevents ‘e-colonisation’ of the country by promoting a a ‘privacy-enabled environment.

Shreyans Jain


Ground-water management

Not long ago,the NITI Aayog had painted a very grim picture about the health of the country’s aquifers, by saying that 21 cities including Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru will run out of ground water by the year 2020, besides articulating in certain terms that 70 per cent of water resources are contaminated. In this context, the unveiling of Atal Bhujal Yojana by the Jal Sakthi Ministry deserves praise. While we have had the Groundwater Management and Regulation scheme since 2013, it has not created the desired impact on the ground.

With groundwater contributing to more than 60 per cent of country’s irrigation resources and heavily subsided electricity tariffs for farmers leading to unsustainable extraction of ground water, the time has come to balance the demands of farmers with the imperatives of reviving the country’s aquifers.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, TN

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Published on December 30, 2019
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