Letters to the editor dated February 3, 2021

| Updated on February 04, 2021

Disinvestment push

One of the most significant features of the Budget lies in its concerted push towards privatisation of public sector entities in banking and insurance sector. The proposed radical measures in the Budget such as raising the FDI limit in insurance to 74 per cent and privatisation of two public sector banks, asset monetisation across sectors and disinvestment in both strategic and non-strategic sectors are likely to face stiff resistance both on the streets and in Parliament. The government has its task cut out to convince the people and the stakeholders that its aggressive disinvestment targets , privatisation and monetisation of public assets programme are not aimed at benefiting the rich and corporates. The government may have the numbers to push through the proposed privatisation of public sector entities, but as it has hopefully learnt from the farm laws, more than numbers deft political management holds the key in its successful implementation on the ground.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan (TN)

A case for guaranteed MSP

In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government was “committed to the welfare of farmers.” She said the Modi government had paid farmers ₹62,802 crore for wheat, ₹1,41,930 crore for paddy and ₹8,285 crore for pulses in 2019-20. In comparison, she said, the amounts spent for the procurement of wheat, paddy and pulses in 2013-2014 were ₹33,874 crore, ₹63,928 crore and ₹236 crore. Also, the number of farmers benefited had gone up under the NDA regime. In fact, it was a tacit admission of the fact that prices ruling outside had never been remunerative to the farmers. The admission also cemented the concerns about the farm laws and the future of the APMC mandis, and reinforced the demand for the legal status to MSP for agricultural produce.

Haridasan Rajan


Reviving the economy

With reference to the article ‘Blueprint for a post-pandemic economy’ (February 3), the Budget is reformist as far as its transparency is concerned and the vision for a post-pandemic recovery and the mission to convert the crisis caused by the pandemic into opportunity. But fiscal consolidation has been put on the backburner in spite of supporting resources on divestment, curtailing the subsidies on FCI and absence of populist measures. Putting off fiscal consolidation to 2025-26, clearly spells out the government's setting aside the concern for fiscal slippages in the current scenario of aiming at post-pandemic recovery.

NR Nagarajan


Health first

With reference to the article ‘Health financing redefined’ (February 3), the pandemic has made the people and the government realise the importance of the health sector which has been hitherto neglected. The government needs to work towards “prevention is better than cure” and hence needs to spend on cleanliness drives and hygiene. The government should also spend on maintaining the existing hospitals, primary health-care centres, etc., and building new hospitals and research centres. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan should be taken to the remotest corners of the country and people should be educated about cleanliness and hygiene. The government needs to make innovative changes in the health sector with particular emphasis on research and affordable medical education. It is the primary responsibility of any government to facilitate affordable healthcare to all the people of the country. Apart from providing people affordable insurance, the government should also improve its health facilities especially for the poor. The pandemic has also made people realise the importance of Ayurveda and other Indian medical system/medicines by providing them with subsidies.

Veena Shenoy



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Published on February 03, 2021
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