Letters to the editor dated August 3, 2020

| Updated on August 03, 2020 Published on August 03, 2020

Education goals

One of the biggest challenges confronting the Indian school education system is its promotion of rote-based learning. Undue emphasis on syllabus completion, and analysis of pass percentages as a key metric of the success of the school and parents are the two leading factors contributing to rote learning; this is why it has become a entrenched phenomenon of our school education system. Undoubtedly, clearing examinations through rote learning is a bane of the Indian school education system. In this context, the National Education Policy 2020 offers a ray of hope by shifting the focus away from the syllabus to what children learn by mandating schools to define stage-wise learning goals and assessments of these goals. When the basics of education are linked to learning goals, the obsession with syllabus completion and pass percentages will definitely take a backseat. But shifting the assessment structure away from rote memorisation to learning has its own challenges.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

Quarantine rules

This refers to ‘From Aug 8, new rules for people arriving in India’ (August 3). The new quarantine rules for overseas commuters is a prudent move. However, why not make it mandatory for all travellers to get tested for Covid and submit the result before embarking on a journey? This will reduce the burden on institutions, which are already bursting at the seams. Further, any type of quarantine for asymptomatic domestic travellers ought to be done away with.

Concurrently, citizens need to behave responsibly, and must voluntarily opt for self-isolation. Though inter-State movement has been relaxed, people are unduly harassed on the pretext of quarantine. Let agencies pass on the baton to individuals, as no sane person will risk another’s life.

Deepak Singhal


Depressed revenues

This is with reference to the editorial ‘Money troubles’ (August 3). The vivid focus of the editorial on the low GST collections in July points to the constraints of both State and Central governments for the reduced tax revenue. The pandemic-induced relaxations for delayed filing of GST returns and slow recovery of demand, and supply chain issues have decreased the flow of tax revenues. At this juncture of the pandemic, depriving the States of thir share of revenues is not ideal. States also have the added expenses of public health and medical facilities. States must be permitted to borrow through bonds and, given the Centre’s constraints on GST revenue generation, both sides should work together with mutual understanding. Comparing the current situation with last year will be unfair, and the abnormalities must be given weightage by both the Centre and the States.

NR Nagarajan


Economic measures

Apropos ‘Economy needs more monetary easing’ (August 3). Globally, central banks seem to prefer textbook monetary prescriptions amid financial crises. Typically, lower interest rates and liquidity injection fight stagnation, and increased policy rates and banks’ cash reserve ratios stifle inflation. Post 2008, these measures stood belied and Covid has skewed it further. The RBI has been addressing concerns over inflation, liquidity flooding, exchange value correction, etc., more in hope rather than design.

In the recent past, monetary policy worldwide pivoted from tightening to easing. The pace of rate cuts accelerated as the global trading system went haywire. In contrast to 2018, when central banks raised interest rates, the third quarter of 2019 saw global benchmark interest rates cut 67 times.

Clearly, the economy is proving inelastic to key rate manipulation. Apart from the uncertainty of the Covid pandemic itself, the unknown quantum of public spending via borrowings for economic recovery is troubling the market. Massive injections of liquidity by major nations have failed to jump-start economies and create more jobs. And worse, these monetary interventions have largely triggered an unsteady flow of funds between economies that befuddles policy-making.

R Narayanan

Navi Mumbai

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Published on August 03, 2020
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