Apropos ‘Prime Minister Modi calls for decisive fight against corruption’ (August 16), one tends to endorse Modi having sought people’s support in his fight against corruption. While such a move could largely be aimed at boosting the central agencies and urging them to continue to carry out the probes into high-profile cases involving tainted netas and babus, how come none of the leaders belonging to either the BJP or its NDA allies have thus far been investigated into by the so-called independent probe agencies?
What about the rampant corruption that prevails at the grassroots level at various public utility-oriented government institutions/departments like estate offices, transport/electricty departments, etc?
If the Prime Minister really means business on eradicating corruption from public domain, the anti-corruption bureau needs to be reconstituted, providing it with enough teeth while fully ensuring its independence and operational freedom, devoid of external influence from any quarters. It should be mandated to report to the PMO alone.
Scaling up to a developed nation
This refers to ‘Modi’s five-point agenda to put India in developed nation orbit’ (August 16). It is good to have an ambitious target to become a developed nation in the next 25 years. But there is a huge gulf which is to be bridged in this span of time. While India’s per capita income is around $2,000, our neighbour China’s is $8,700. Though the Prime Minister has outlined five pledges which need to be abided by one and all in letter and spirit, for that to happen on the ground, a drastic shift in mindset is required. Besides that there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, which needs to be bridged systematically. And gradually we will have to reduce our dependence on imported items. Also, in healthcare we lag far behind WHO norms. So there’s a need to seriously overhaul our healthcare infrastructure. The education sector also requires to be scaled up.
Agri-tech, the right solution
‘Some financial tips for agri start-ups’ (August 16) is timely, and the guidance would immensely benefit the sustainability of small entities in the agri segment. The problem of mounting unnatural deaths of debt-laden farmers can be addressed by the innovative support and solutions given by agri-tech start-ups. These include AI-based soil supervision till appropriate seed procurement, hassle-free farming through simplified robotic and mechanised operations, protection from the vagaries of nature, accessing the market through online trading platforms for commodities.
Though the start-up incubators and aggregators provide mentoring support at the product innovation stage itself, a majority of these entities are unable to access markets for sourcing funds due to lack of financial literacy and complex investment terms imposed by the investors. Setting up of exclusive guidance cells for agri start-ups by Nabard-like institutions for sourcing funds and ensuring compliances will help scale up these small entities.
Breaking the glass-ceiling
This is with reference to ‘Working women still at the receiving end’ (August 16). Under-representation of women on corporate boards is a global phenomenon. This disproportionate gender ratio of directors signals bias and inequality emanating from the deep-rooted social ethos being practised by male-dominated corporate boards.
Second, the notion that the progress of women should be decided on the basis of meritocracy is impractical given the level of harassment faced by them while progressing to top management positions. Hence, it is imperative for the regulators to step in and mandate gender representation on boards to firmly deal with the social stigma and break the glass ceiling. Hence companies should strive to increase the number of women leaders through mentoring, engagement and recruitment initiatives.
P Sundara Pandian