Letters

Letters to the editor dated May 28, 2020

| Updated on May 28, 2020 Published on May 28, 2020

The plague of locusts

It has been a worrying time for us all; one crisis after another blights the country and causes immeasurable suffering. The invasion of swarms of desert locusts in western and central India in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is the latest challenge for us to contend with.

The damage to the crops caused by burgeoning swarms of locusts is inestimable. Still there is some comfort in the fact that the standing crops are now not very abundant for them to feast on. The eastward flight of locusts will be barricaded by the east-to-west blowing winds. At the same time, rains could result in their proliferation and ‘dampen’ the attempts made to stamp them out.

The coronavirus lockdown restrictions have hampered efforts made for the control of the ‘migratory pests’. Drones are used to spray pesticides over the infestation zones, otherwise inaccessible to tractors and trucks. We cannot afford to be complacent because of overflowing granaries. All efforts need to be made to eliminate the plague of locusts lest we run out of food supplies or even face a famine.

G David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

MSME relief

This refers to ‘Selective relief’ (May 28). SIDBI and CIBIL have conducted a stress test, based on which two out of three MSMEs may scrape through this lockdown as they have low level of working capital utilisation, and hence more liquidity in hand. But having said that, this relief package though not enough can still help a lot of MSMEs as it is backed by Central guarantee. But the big question is when this huge sum of ₹3 lakh crore would be disbursed because it simply cannot take months to reach this relief to the needy companies. Bankers will have to first shed their unnecessary risk aversion and set a timeline. But one critical point which was highlighted in the editorial is that banks should not try to reach out to larger MSMEs as per new definition as it is the micro firms that need financial help at this crucial juncture.

Bal Govind

Noida

Financial reporting

Apropos ‘It’s time to move to half-yearly results’ (May 28). Of course, companies could get more time and resources to focus on longer-term growth with half-yearly reporting. But abandoning quarterly reporting would curtail transparency and accountability of companies to their shareholders, at a time when corporate frauds are on the rise. Quarterly reporting will suppress the temptation of companies to take missteps and prevent the potential for insider trading. It also provides information about new risks to the company and establishes trust between shareholders and management. Instances of audit firms joining manipulation of financial statements are incessantly reported and dropping quarterly statements is not the way forward.

NR Nagarajan

Sivakasi

Cash crunch

Apropos ‘Poor need cash, but who’s listening?’ (May 28). Although the government and the RBI have pronounced many fiscal stimulus and relief packages to keep the wheels of the economy moving, besides extending relief to the economically backward sections of the society, the fruits of these measures will become palpable only after a lag. The credit-linked measures, especially pertaining to the micro units and those who are carrying out economic activities with limited finance, will continue to face working capital crunch.

While a lot of migrant labourers are back in their villages, the remaining are struggling to leave from the cities. People who are out of jobs due to the pandemic have exhausted their little savings and are facing the challenge of meeting both ends. Owing to the lack of purchasing power, they have become passive in generating the demand for goods and services. The middle class and the lower middle class contribute significantly to consumption and demand, must be supported with cash infusion to augment purchasing power. This segment must be discouraged from excessive affinity to save for the future by executing more social security measures. The implementation of ‘helicopter money’ is not irrelevant here.

VSK Pillai

Kottayam

Clarification

Apropos the news article on Vestaspace Technology published in our print and web editions — ‘Vestaspace Tech to roll out pan-India satellite broadband coverage’ — it has come to light that the company’s claims are not backed by sufficient evidence. Hence, the story is being withdrawn.

Published on May 28, 2020
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