Apropos ‘When will private ‘Capex Mahotsav’ begin? (February 4), brushing aside the ensuing assembly elections in five states, the Finance Minister has taken bold steps in not making catchy announcements on tax reliefs or reduction in taxes on consumables but instead budgeted for liberal funds for capex. This is getting widely acknowledged by industry experts as this would help pep up the economy.

However, higher capex on specific infrastructure such as roads, rails and ports needs to be continued at least for three to four years to reap the benefits . This would automatically create an environment for big private players also to expand their capex spending.

Measures such as launching of PLI scheme and giving need based moratorium or repayment holiday will create a conducive atmosphere for private players to enhance their capex.

RV Baskaran


Introduction of CBDC

While some nations have already introduced Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) after weighing its viability and usefulness, others, including Sweden, Singapore and China, are looking to go for it in the backdrop of growing popularity of cryptocurrencies. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Budget the government’s proposal to introduce an RBI-backed digital currency in the coming financial year. CBDCs are essentially fiat currencies issued in the virtual/electronic form.

The massive surge of cryptocurrencies coupled with increasing popularity of blockchain technology has now prompted many countries to usher in their own CDFCs. While CDFCs, on the strength of being another monetary policy arsenal of central banks, may promote financial inclusion, lower the cost of financial transactions and help prevent corruption and money laundering, the RBI needs to consider the economic implications, especially on the retail segment.

The apprehension that if the CDFC account is interest bearing it can have grave implications on the banking system, as depositors may choose to migrate away from banks, cannot be brushed aside. The question concerning whether CDFCs will offer the same degree of anonymity as cash does also needs a convincing answer from the RBI.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, TN

Green energy

Blessed with abundant sunshine, India has not been able to tap solar energy in a manner it should have. The government has been pushing for green energy for sometime now, without obtaining the desired result. The lack of enthusiasm among the people is hard to understand. Perhaps the maintenance cost and cost of replacing batteries have been a deterrent.

The government should lead by example and make it mandatory for all its buildings and establishments to be run on solar power. Chip shortage is a recent phenomenon and is likely to be resolved sooner than later. It remains to be seen whether the recent push for solar power in the Budget is going to help to further the cause of green energy in India.

Anthony Henriques


Agri exports

The reports ‘Export prospects brighten for APEDA Agri products’ and ‘Non-Basmati exports may exceed target on purchases by China, Bangladesh’ (February 4) reveal the resilience of Indian farmers. However, they should not be complacent and dilute Good Agri Practices in maintaining the quality standards of exportable commodities, especially in terms of residual pesticide levels, which is the basis on which bulk shipments have been rejected earlier.

However, even if quality standards are maintained, exporters, as a precautionary step, must take ECGC cover to handle unforeseen issues since the policies of countries such as China are not always consistent.

Rajiv Magal

Halekere Village, Karnataka

Tackling malnourishment

This is with reference to ‘A Budget with little social sector content’ (February 4). Although India is an emerging economy, there is widespread poverty and malnourishment. Successive Budgets have failed to address these maladies. Malnourishment is the outcome of extreme poverty prevailing in the country. A vast country like India with rich natural resources, excellent manpower and a rich culture has failed to eradicate poverty even after 74 years of Independence.

Giving freebies and subsidies is no solution to end poverty. To eliminate poverty, the poor should be empowered with job opportunities, and educational and health facilities.

Veena Shenoy


Social sector overlooked

The Budget has tightened allocations to the health, education and employment segments. The pandemic induced loss of jobs and income have pushed many, especially in rural areas, into indebtedness. Increasing malnutrition and stunted growth among children reveal the gravity of the problem. In spite of overflowing granaries. the Budget has suspended free supply of foodgrains and reduced allocations to midday meals in schools. Lowering the MGNREGS budget will lead to a further decline in rural income and shrink rural demand.

NR Nagarajan

Sivakasi, TN