Wednesday, March 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Taxable income

The Finance Minister deserves to be congratulated on a well-balanced budget. But he has used a double yardstick while calculating the taxable income of employees whose spouses are not in service as compared with working couples who enjoy tax rebate on an income of Rs 1,20,000 a year. In the case of working couples, the tax rebate should be available to either of the two, treating them as a single unit for the calculation of income tax. The fixed medical allowance to employees is included in the taxable income but medical reimbursement which runs into crores, often with the connivance of doctors, is not included. This flaw in the system needs to be looked into.

SURESH KUMAR, Balakrupi (Kangra)

Think of the poor: Ours is welfare state, and protection to the poor and the common man is an item of priority. So relief to cars at the cost of scooters, cheaper gold at the cost of rationed sugar, cheaper cellular phones and cinema equipment at the cost of edible oils, run contrary to the welfare spirit. Kerosene is one of the requirements of the poor which needs to be made cheaper, not gold and cars. Will the Government think of the poor and the common man?

As regards reduction in the interest rate of small savings, most of the investors are old, retired and handicapped persons who do not want to take any risk with their hard-earned money. Let there be a special scheme for senior citizens, so that they get protection with no extra burden on the government.



Salaried class cheated: The salaried class has been cheated in the budget. No relief has been given to the employees. At least the income tax exemption limit should have been raised.

The reduction in the interest rate on the savings of the salaried class is a cruel cut. People want their money to be safe and earn a reasonable interest.

S. C. TANEJA, Rohtak

Concession to women: Women employees whose annual income exceeds Rs 1.5 lakh do not come in the purview of income tax. Their standard deduction is also higher, in addition to the special concession on payable tax. In a majority of the cases, their spouses are well placed. But a male earning member in a family, who is hardly able to make his both ends meet, is allowed no concession.


Hard on senior citizens: Interest reduction on small savings will cause severe hardship to senior citizens. A large number of such persons manage their expenses from the interest on their deposits and do not have any other source of income.

The Finance Minister should bring more persons from affluent sections in his tax net. Government expenses and subsidies may be reduced, rather than add to the sufferings of senior citizens.

A. P. GUPTA, Muzaffarnagar


Right to information

The suggestion in your editorial “Balco: reason looses” (March 3) to the Congress to “cultivate bureaucratic insiders” for information is surprising. This can divide the bureaucracy on party lines and may lead to legitimisation of Indira Gandhi’s concept of “committed bureaucracy”. The so-called inside information can be misleading. What is required is to ensure to the people the right to information. But the colonial or totalitarian mindset of our ruling elite will not allow this. Right to information is the most important reform needed by us but we waste our time on peripheral matters.

The tragedy of reforms debate in India is that we are indulging only in rhetoric. We talk of the merits and demerits of privatisation in slogans. The debate should really have been on the design of an independent and credible institutional arrangement of disinvestment, once the government had taken a policy decision. But this does not interest anyone. Nobody wants to give up the right of patronage.

G. V. GUPTA, Panchkula

Cement plants in HP

The report, “Cement plant initiated despite opposition” (Tribune Feb 25) exposes the machinations of the powers that be.

That cement plants are inherently disastrous and ill-suited to the fragile Himalayan eco-system is well known. The cement factory at Barmana in Bilaspur and the resultant pollution is an illustration of the havoc wreaked by cement plants on Himachal Pradesh. The government, however, seems bent on setting up yet another plant in Sundernagar (Mandi).

The people of Himachal Pradesh voted the BJP to power in the hope that it would prove a better alternative. But it is now becoming clear that only the labels and names change. Basic governance remains unaltered.

If the present government is also unable to provide people-friendly, governance with sustainable and enduring development, it is better for it to quit and let the people exercise another option.


Registrar’s resignation

This refers to the report, “Faridkot University Registrar quits” (Tribune Feb 27). I wish to point out that Dr T. Jesupadam was appointed Officer on Special Duty on ad hoc basis and not as Registrar. He was given the additional charge of Registrar pending appointment of a regular Registrar. As the undersigned has been appointed regular Registrar, it was only natural that the additional charge given to Dr Jesupadam should be withdrawn. Dr Jesupadam could continue as Officer on Special Duty but he declined to do so and put in his resignation.

I do not wish to elaborate on other matters which have been reported wrongly but would request you to be fair and objective in your reports. The least that can be done is to cross-check facts with the university authorities concerned.

Dr P. S. SANDHU, Registrar,
Baba Farid University of Health Services, Faridkot


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