Letters to the editor dated May 12, 2020

| Updated on May 12, 2020 Published on May 12, 2020

Relief measures

The impact of the coronavirus on the society and the common man has been quite problematic, especially in the case of the economically poor sections and the rural folk. Although the States and the Centre have taken steps quite purposefully in providing relief to the affected, it is necessary that they appoint a panel consisting of officers and social leaders to oversee the relief provided to the affected. The panel should examine the plight of the affected about their relief and attend to requests for relief from other sections. The formation of the panel should be publicised. The government should also oversee its performance to ensure its effectiveness.

TR Anandan


Labour laws

Apropos ‘Race to the bottom’ (May 12). The editorial has rightly advocated that just deregulating labour laws providing safety, health and welfare measures with needed redress on disputes will not spur investment. Indeed, augmenting infrastructure facilities like road, ports, power, access to market, political stability, investor friendly taxation system, law and order and good governance are the factors that will lure both domestic and foreign investments. The move of few northern States in making ordinance for changes in the Factories Act 1948 and Industrial Disputes Act 1947 to strip the employees’ key rights is unfortunate. At this time, this kind of squeezing of labour rights will have negative impact on production and may create labour unrest.

NR Nagarajan


Lockdown extension?

This refers to ‘Economic activities to gather steam in coming days’ (May 12). It goes without saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exhaustive conference with the State Chief Ministers on containing the spread of Covid-19 while gradually restarting economic activity was visibly mired with varied degree of controversy, as most States differed in their priorities and suggestions. Interestingly, on one hand, the Punjab CM sought an extension to the lockdown, but on the other, he also wanted ‘great flexibility’ in planning ahead while demanding the operationalisation of the MSMEs even in the red zones with proper safeguards. Why such double standards?

Since there was no unanimity over the most appropriate action plan for reining in Covid-19 and resuming economic activities on a pan-India basis, any decision on the lockdown should be left to the respective wisdom of each State, keeping in view the gravity of the coronavirus at their own end. Moreover, with the Centre also having its own priorities with the sudden resumption of 15 premier passengers’ trains effective and the domestic airlines on standby to restart flying, there may be no apparent justification for a Centre-mandated lockdown.

More importantly, the much emphasised ‘social distancing’ has thus far remained conspicuous by its absence at most public places across the country, and most States have found themselves quite helpless on that count. So, there seems to be no rationale behind one ‘wishing to have the cake and eat it too’ by continuing with the open-ended lockdown.

Vinayak G


Different strokes

This refers to ‘No waiting list for AC trains’ (May 12). Allowing a few trains is surely a good move and it will alleviate the ordeal of citizens stranded inordinately. Even so, the government accorded preferential treatment to citizens stuck abroad while overlooking the despair and desolation of natives. However, many CMs have voiced their concerns over the resumption of train services. This shows up the lack of synergy between Centre and States.

Furthermore, States are blowing both hot and cold air over the easing of the lockdown. The Delhi CM is mulling all business activities barring containment zone. Tamil Nadu has allowed opening of tea shops, garment stores etc, and advocates the sale of liquor, but is cagey of train services. Undoubtedly, the lockdown has wrought confusion and chaos.

The Centre and State are required to tread cautiously and dwell upon threadbare prior to issuing diktats. Also, Centre role ought to be limited as a facilitator and coordinator.

Deepak Singhal


Published on May 12, 2020

A letter from the Editor

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