Letters

Letters to the editor dated August 17, 2021

| Updated on August 17, 2021

Let US admit its failure too

Apropos ‘US President says he stands squarely behind his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan’ ( August 17), while he may be fully justified in averring that the American troops cannot be dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves, but why did it take so long for the US Administration to realise the folly of interfering in the internal affairs of this trouble torn nation?

The erstwhile USSR too had earlier burnt its fingers while tackling the defiant Taliban fighters and eventually had to exit unceremoniously from Afghanistan. How did the US grossly misread the Taliban’s might and fighting spirit, who patiently waited for the right opportunity to make a comeback? The Taliban leadership lost no time in launching well coordinated attacks and eventually ‘dethroned’ the embattled President Ashraf Ghani, forcing him to flee the country as well. But, notwithstanding the abject surrender of the Afghan forces, US President Joe Biden must also ‘honestly’ admit the ‘failure’ of its two-decade old Afghan policy instead of taking shelter behind various alibis at this critical stage.

Kumar Gupt

Panchkula (Haryana)

The Afghan quagmire

Apropos your editorial ‘The fall of Kabul’, it was expected that Kabul would fall but not as swiftly as it did. The complete inaction of the three-lakh strong Afghan army raises suspicions on whether there was some behind the scenes deal between the Taliban and the army. This must be also regarded as an intelligence failure, which has left thousands of foreigners in grave danger. India has invested much in infrastructure and all this is likely to go down the drain. Spare a thought for the Afghan women and how the Taliban will now treat them. The western world which deserted Afghanistan will sleep with a heavy conscience now on.

Anthony Henriques

Mumbai

Imitate intelligently

This refers to “Why chase best practices” by Subrata Chakraborty (August 17). That advantages are that it fosters the belief that “if others have done it, we can also) and “there is no need to reinvent the wheel”.

However, care is to be taken that the resources required to imitate the best practice also match and organisational culture supports such a change. A manufacturing company using conventional technology and trying to reduce manpower at par with a technology-using company will fail. And a hierarchy-based company aiming at introducing participative decision process would meet resistance from the employees.

Lastly, bench-marking-like techniques depend on honest information sharing between the organisations involved and chances of providing misleading data by the bench mark company should not be ruled out.

Y G Chouksey

Pune

The oil impasse

This refers to the Finance Minister’s statement (August17) ascribing hike in fuel prices to the erstwhile UPA’s oil bonds issue. One would only partly agree with the statement. No doubt the Covid pandemic has put enormous pressure on the finances of the central government providing them little legroom for providing tax relief. But in case of pricing fuel the policy decision taken by the government to deregulate the prices is made redundant post 2010 through constant increase in excise duty(central) and VAT(state). In April 2020 the global crude oil price was around $20 per barrel. But still the petrol price was fixed at ₹70 per litre (approx.) by enhancing various taxes which defies logic. UPA’s oil bonds issued in 2005-’06 to 2009-’10 gave them the cushion of staggered payment of subsidy to Oil marketing companies. Rupee/$ exchange rate which is a factor putting pressure on import bill is at present ruling at ₹74 is less than ₹75 which was prevailing in April, 2020. In 2020-21 ₹3.4 lakh crore was collected towards excise duty and cess from petroleum products by the Centre. If the government is not in favour of issuing oil bonds taking advantage of change in fortunes of economic scenario, let it bring both petrol and diesel under GST to resolve the impasse.

Srinivasan Velamur

Chennai

Published on August 17, 2021

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