Letters

Letters to the editor dated May 13, 2020

| Updated on May 13, 2020

Online learning

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted the routine school life of millions of children. Surely the global pandemic and the virus response will have made a profound impact on the children’s psyche. In the wake of the indefinite closure of schools, online learning or learning from home has come into vogue. It is a self-evident truth that online learning, touted as the “new normal”, cannot substitute or supplant face-to-face learning in a school environment. Recreation of the school environment at home is easier said than done. Online learning or remote learning is debilitated by the lack of real-life interaction between students and their teachers. It has little scope for character building and bringing students to a desirable standard of behaviour. Given the digital divide — a vast majority of households in India do not have laptops and Internet connections — online education for all is just not feasible. Education should not become the preserve of privileged classes.

G David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Getting back on track

Apropos the editorial ‘The way forward’ (May 13). As an aftermath of the vigorous awareness programmes of the Central, State governments and the various administrative agencies, the citizens across the nation are well aware of the dos and donts to protect themselves and fellow beings from the attacks of the coronavirus pandemic. The economy is paying a heavy cost, and the possibility of a nominal or negative growth in the GDP is looming large. The contraction in the PMI, the IIP, the service sector and the increasing unemployment rate are all indicative of the fact that the lockdown is hurting economic growth and development.

The continuation of the lockdown, probably with some relaxations, reviving the economy from the deep fall, operation of the already announced relief packages and enforcing the forthcoming fiscal and relief measures all have to go hand-in-hand.

Economic activities pertaining to farming and rural sectors, need support, for which various government, non-governmental and financial services providers have to function in tandem. The agriculture-related infrastructure needs focussed attention to create jobs to accommodate the workers who have returned from urban centres. The vicious cycle related to low consumption needs to be broken, for which all relief and fiscal measures are crucial.

VSK Pillai

Kottayam

Financial resources

This refers to ‘PM Modi unveils Rs 20-lakh-crore package for ‘Atmnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’’ (May 13).Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have sprung the biggest surprise by announcing the ₹20-lakh crore stimulus package, representing around 10 per cent of the India’s GDP. However, if correctlty understood, this unusual (read: all-alluring) package also includes the government’s recent announcements on supporting key sectors, as also recent ‘bold yet far-reaching’ measures rolled out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Where will the requisite money of such a magnitude come from? If the government is truly blessed with sufficient funds to successfully achieve even such a gigantic target, then why freeze the additional hike in DA of the Central government staff and DR for the Pensioners, till July, 2021? One shudders to imagine the government may once again be eyeing the so-called ‘Excessive Reserve Funds’ of the RBI, its proven all-weather friend apart from taking recourse to deficit financing. Who knows, the govt may also opt for printing more currency notes by the central bank.

SK Gupta

New Delhi

Much-needed relief

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally announced what was expected from him for long — the much-needed comprehensive fiscal stimulus package to help cushion the Covid-19 economic impact. The package will focus on making the nation self-reliant. In all likelihood, it will have components to bolster liquidity for MSMEs, monetise on surplus land held by ministries and central PSUs, State-led easing of labour regulations and additional tax breaks for companies. It is hoped economic package will provide relief and healing touch to our millions of battered and hapless poor and migrant workers.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

Published on May 13, 2020

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