Need to make it a ‘feel best’ factor

IN the interim budget for 2004-05, Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh has succeeded in sustaining the “feel good” factor by giving sops to the tourism industry, the farmer, the poor below the poverty line and government servants. Besides, he has managed to project the budget deficit for the coming fiscal year within 4.4 per cent of the GDP, which, if achieved, will earn laurels for him and his successor.

The hype created by the media on the increase in the personal exemption to Rs 1 lakh and the standard deduction for salaried persons could not materialise due to constitutional impediments. However, Mr Singh has expressed the NDA government’s commitment to review the exemption limit and the standard deduction for the salaried class and re-align them appropriately.

It is hoped that Mr Singh’s promises would be fulfilled in due course. What really remains to be done is to convert the “feel good” factor into “feel best” factor in the coming years.

R.N. LAKHOTIA, New Delhi



Suraiya — an epitaph

THE late Suraiya was one of the greatest singing actresses on the Indian silver screen. However, she departed unsung, unwept and unhonoured. Her movie “Mirza Ghalib” won President’s award. Though she was no less than Lata Mangeshkar and other singers, the Government of India failed to recognise her talent and ignored her from conferring Bharat Ratna.

So was the attitude of the Bollywood Mughals who ignored her from conferring the life-time award of acting. She rightfully deserved to have been bestowed with the same, when movie artists less taller than her got recognition.

Alas! one can only pensively sigh comparing her fate with the fictional character Henchard in the Mayor of Caterbridge, a novel. About this character, Hardy, while satirising fate, concluded, “that happiness was but an occasional episode in a general drama of pain in his life”. So God acted with Suraiya, a great artiste.

V.I.K. SHARMA, Jalandhar


Casualty of justice

Your editorial “Justice — a casualty” (Feb 4) has rightly raised the concern of a large number of enlightened citizens. The special court’s verdict in the Sati case is a casualty of justice. It lowers the credibility of the judicial system.

The judiciary is the spinal cord of a democratic society. People expect prompt dispensation of justice. However, instances galore, justice has been delayed, denied and distorted through the misuse of the system. The Best Bakery case in Gujarat; the acquittal of a large number of murderers, ill-famed politicians and smugglers on frivolous grounds have all lowered the credibility of the judicial system.

While an ordinary person can be prosecuted and convicted for a minor offence on a road, a politician will always go scot-free even after looting public funds. A terrorist will escape from jail. A smuggler can get bail for an indefinite period to move freely in society.

This is a serious situation and the members of the judiciary have to make concerted efforts to maintain the “letter” and “spirit” of the law. Only then will the judiciary be looked upon with respect.

ANIL JAIN, Ambala Cantt

Fleecing tourists

I would like to draw the attention of the authorities of Shimla to the nuisance of certain taxi agents who operate and harass tourists on the stretch of The Mall from the Central Telegraph Office to the Tourist Office, near Scandal Point.

I frequently visit Shimla. I invariably found that the taxi agents stop every tourist and pester them to hire taxis from them for sight-seeing purposes around Shimla. Moreover, they overcharge and misguide them. If the tourists decline their offer, the taxi agents threaten and abuse them and at times indulge in eve-teasing also.

Shimla’s authorities must stop this goondaism immediately, which is giving a bad name to the peaceful capital of Himachal Pradesh. Where do the police patrol in this particular stretch of The Mall?


Governor’s role

Apropos of your editorial “Governor needs advice” (Feb 5), if the institution of Governor is so useless, why not do away with it? Why have him, if he has no role to play in the affairs of the state?

In the given case, Bihar Governor M. Rama Jois may have given many off-the-record hints to the government to improve matters before choosing to reprimand it publicly. Should he remain a mute spectator to the goings on in the state? Well done, Mr Governor and keep it up! In fact, we need more Governors like Mr Rama Jois to keep the state governments on the toes.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

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