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Laloo’s budget on a fast track for growth

Apropos of the editorial “Politician’s budget: Who will fund Laloo’s populism?” (July 7), though its concern on funding a totally populist approach seem to be genuine, Dr Manmohan Singh’s government needs to be lauded for having signalled the kind of governance it shall usher in, in line with its Common Minimum Programme for distributing India's wealth amongst all citizens more equally during its tenure.

Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has indeed given a budget for the poor and the middle class. Provisions like a 75 per cent concession in fares in second and sleeper classes for widows of the defence personnel killed in action against terrorists and extremists, 50 per cent concession to escorts accompanying a deaf and dumb person in all classes of travel, a higher level of concern for passenger safety, free travel for unemployed youth attending interviews for Central Government jobs, greater transparency in the award of contracts for catering, soliciting supplies of wholesome milk and dairy products from the cooperative sector, increasing levels of cleanliness, a new toilet discharge system shall benefit the common man.

Mr Yadav’s special thrust for achieving a revised loading target to 580 million tonnes, targeting a similar increase of Rs 645 crore through freight earnings besides some other concrete steps like aiming another Rs 420 crore through gross traffic receipts are sure to put his whistling budget on a fast track for pursuing economic growth in the long run.

Tejinder Singh Bedi, Noida

 

 

II

For the first time, the passenger fares and frieght rates have been left untouched in the Railway Budget. Some of the proposals like free travel for unemployed youth attending interviews for Central Government jobs, sops for widows of defence personnel killed in action and 50 per cent concession for escorts of deaf and dumb are praise worthy.

The Railway Minister has announced 15 new express trains. This may help passengers in the sections to be covered by these trains. But what about the hardship faced by people in Punjab and Haryana?

There is a need to introduce short distance express trains between Amritsar and Ludhiana, Chandigarh and New Delhi and Ambala and Bathinda. The Chairman, Railway Board, the Northern Railway General Manager, and the respective Divisional Railway Managers should give serious thought to this suggestion.

Lt-Col P.S. SARANG (retd), Chandigarh

III

Mr Yadav deserves compliments for not raising passenger fares and freight rates. However, he has announced a marginal increase in parcel rates, freight rate and the people will have to face the brunt of it. Keeping in mind the Assembly elections around the corner in Bihar and Maharashtra, he has taken every care to announce a few concessions which include free second class travel for unemployed youths appearing in interviews for government jobs (an aim to woo the unemployed young adults) and 75 per cent concession in second and sleeper classes for widows of defence personnel killed in action against terrorists and extremists.

Now the question that remains to be answered by Mr Yadav is: how will he generate revenue to ensure the concessions offered and implement the new projects?

V. Krishnakumar, New Delhi

An actor par excellence

Goodbye Godfather” by Rajnish Wattas (July 7) takes away from Brando, the respect, the regard and the recognition he richly deserves from the lovers of rich cinema who enjoy the nuances of method acting. Taking the lead from one of his less remembered film, he pushes on to the film “The Godfather”, which made the already famous Brando more famous.

The credit of makings of Brando goes to Tennessee Williams, the American dramatist who spotted the talent in Brando and made him a stage actor for his famous play “The Streetcar Named Desire”. Later, it was made into the film. Brando never acted on stage after that.

It was followed by “On the Waterfront”, his Oscar award winning film and a host of other films including “Julius Caesar” in which he acted as Antony. A gap and then, there were two films “Last Tango in Paris” and the Oscar award film “The Godfather”. “The Godfather” was the climax of his career as an actor and it amounted to the death of the actor in him.

Though he died recently, the fire of life due to family problems died much earlier. Hats off to the contribution of such a great artiste to the realm of cinema and many of our own Bollywood actors try to follow the pattern of his method acting.

R.P. Chaddah, Hamilton (New Zealand)

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