Letters

Letters to the Editor dated March 25, 2020

| Updated on March 25, 2020 Published on March 25, 2020

Improve connectivity

This refers to ‘Fighting the Covid pandemic, digitally’ (March 25). With the telecom sector playing a key role in the nation’s economic and social development, it is an absolute necessity to keep the sector robust to enable it to provide speedy transmission of voice telephony and data. However, because of the high spectrum price and other levies imposed by the government, the sector is under continuous financial pressure, and are engaged in predatory pricing and unhealthy competition to garner market share, and this has resulted in the exit of many service providers from the industry.

In the present scenario, while the government is executing numerous measures to intensify social distancing, the telecom sector has a greater role in enabling the society to interconnect and transact. The availability of telecom facilities across the country is uneven, particularly in rural areas. It is essential to ensure strong connectivity across the country to make sure people don’t need to move around during these times.

VSK Pillai

Kottayam, Kerala

Ease the pain of the poor

The nationwide 21-day lockdown announced by the Prime Minister to break the chain of Covid-19 infections is indispensable at this crucial juncture where the country is marshalling all its resources to prevent the community transmission of the virus.

The worst affected by this unprecedented lockdown, especially those those living on the fringes such as migrants, daily-wage earners and construction workers, cannot be left to fend for themselves. While the Finance Minister’s relief measures, such as extending the deadline for filing of income tax and GST returns, to cushion the impact of Covid-19 on the middle-class and the business community are welcome, much more needs to be done to help the poor and underprivileged cope with the negative fallout.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, TN

House arrest

This is with reference to ‘India under house arrest’ (March 25). The coronavirus has put democracy and personal liberties under house arrest. The right to work, free movement, entertainment and pursuit of happiness have all been curtailed — hopefully, temporarily. But, then, the right to live is the most sacred human right and must be protected and preserved.

The nation must foresee the aftermath of the three-week lockdown — economic slowdown, supply chain disruptions, production losses, loan and payment defaults, real estate price correction, etc. Businesses will close, jobs will be lost and people will be put into hardship. The stock market is certainly the barometer prompting us to take corrective measures. Let us face it, overcome it and succeed. Hopefully, the government will go the extra mile to mitigate the sufferings of citizens.

Kanak R Nambiar

Kannur, Kerala

Pull up rating agencies

This refers to ‘Lapse in ratings’ (March 25). The credit rating industry has come under greater scrutiny since the 2008 credit crisis in view of faulty methodologies adopted, leading to over-rating complex mortgage-based products which proved worthless later. This had set in motion an economic tailspin that lasted for several years.

The IL&FS fiasco was next to follow and in spite of several adverse financial indicators, the rating agencies failed to see the financial trouble the investment company was facing which had put not only the entire NBFC sector but banks and the mutual fund industry off-guard. As rightly pointed out, these rating agencies suffer ‘conflict of interest’ because they are being paid by the same financial institutions and companies which prevent them from rating objectively. Further the techniques used by them to rate are obsolete, like using interpolation and extrapolation techniques using historical data devoid of market intelligence and other advanced tools.

In spite of such anomalies, rating agencies continue to thrive without assuming any responsibility towards market participants for their inflated ratings. It is high time that they are made accountable for their errors.

Srinivasan Velamur

Chennai

Send your letters by email to bleditor@thehindu.co.in or by post to ‘Letters to the Editor’, The Hindu Business Line, Kasturi Buildings, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002.

Published on March 25, 2020
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