Union Budget: It’s pro-poor, farmer-friendly

APROPOS of the editorial “A commendable budget” (July 9), I fully agree with the view that “students, senior citizens, the salaried and farmers stand to gain from Mr P. Chidambram’s budget”. This is the first pro-poor and pro-peasantry budget in recent years. During the tenure of the BJP-led NDA government, only the corporate houses, big industrialists and the multinational companies benefited. There was hardly any focus on the farmers and the rural poor.

Now the main direction of the Union budget has radically changed as the have-nots have got the maximum attention. I support the view that “the industry indirectly benefits from the massive boost to agriculture.” In fact, the prosperity of our towns and cities essentially hinges upon agriculture. If agriculture fails, the rural poor’s purchasing power will go down and the industrial goods will remain unpurchased. Bihar has got a special package of Rs 3,225 crore. Maharashtra has also got adequate attention. But MP, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh did not get the attention they deserved. There seems to be a strategy for winning the Assembly elections in Bihar and Maharashtra.



I appreciate the UPA government for proposing to launch the “Food for Work” programme in 150 most backward districts. Most housewives will find it difficult to welcome the LPG price hike. I agree that without improving the rural infrastructure — roads, power, communication and health care — the prosperity of rural areas will remain a wish.

Dr Manmohan Singh has given a new hope to the poor as he is himself a good economist with a deep awareness of the limited resources of our nation. Even the educated urban gentlemen who share the larger concerns of this big nation are appreciating Dr Singh for his sincere efforts to solve the problems of the poor and the have-nots.

Dr R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad


The share market will be worst affected following the imposition of the Turnover Tax. It will result in very low volumes and the FIIs, being unable to sell their shares, will leave the Indian market.

How does Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presume that all sale of equity shares will bring profit? In equity market, everybody does not gain. One has to sell shares at a loss also. Does he think that sales are profitable for both the sellers and the buyers?

The government had lured FIIs into the Indian equity market through exemption from Gains Tax. Now they have to pay Turnover Tax. They will quit the Indian market. This will be the end of the share market if renedial measures are not taken forthwith.

A. SIDHU, Chandigarh


The government can help most senior citizens in distress without any extra financial burden if the standard deductions (Rs 30,000) are split into: (i) Standard Deductions Rs 18000; and (ii) Parent’s support (father or mother or both) Rs 12,000.


Against barbed-wire fencing

APROPOS of the news-item “Pak denies ‘tacit approval’ to fencing along LoC,” (July 3), on humanitarian grounds there should be no barbed-wire fencing in the Indo-Pak borders in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. We are the same people, having a common language, culture and history who live on the two sides of this fencing.

Along the Indo-Nepal border, a similar people live who have everything in common, yet there is no barbed-wire fencing between the two countries. From Punjab if we move down south towards Rajasthan and Gujarat, the two states that share a border with Pakistan, there is no barbed-wire fencing. Then why have fencing on the Indo-Pak border that runs through Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir?

Does the Indian state suspect our loyalties? Loyality is a sentiment and an emotion. It can be won but it cannot be imposed. This was evident when the Berlin Wall was broken. Perhaps the right-wing pundits who make India’s policies will try this approach. Their thinking has shrunk our borders from the Durand Line to the Radcliff Line, partitioned Kashmir into two bits and surrendered some 60,000 sq. miles of territory to the Chinese in 1962.

We, the people of this state, who suffer the humiliation of having a barbed-wire fencing, had pushed the borders of India into Afghanistan and China in the 19th century under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Quilla S. Harnam Singh, (Fatehgarh Sahib)


Kulhars: Pros & cons

This refers to Amar Chandel’s middle “Kulhar chai at Ambala” (July 6). He has highlighted in a humourous way the dream plan of Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav which, instead of solving the unemployment problem of rural artisans and environment, will exacerbate it.

Laloo’s idea of replacing disposable plastic cups by kulhars is populist. Poor quality of earthen kulhars, unwillingness of many to take tea in these pots, exploitation of tea vendors at the hands of potters are making the situation messier. Above all, the very purpose of keeping the stations clean is getting defeated in view of heaps of broken and used kulhars littered all around.

Union Ministers are expected to be more pragmatic in the formulation of plans and schemes. No purpose would be served by building castles in the air. The Railway budget is overtly environment- and employment-friendly but what is the fun in introducing items like mathis and lassi at stations that can make passengers victims at the hands of unscrupulous vendors when monitoring their quality is an uphill task?

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


I was surprised to read Amar Chandel’s “unpleasant” experience at Ambala. I decided to get a first-hand experience of having tea in kulhar at Ambala station. Well, neither did the kulhar break as the hot steaming tea was poured into it, nor did the beverage seep out of it. It tasted perfectly fine and I enjoyed the pleasant earthern flavour.

It gave me a wonderful feeling since every purchase of tea would revive the nearly straved class of potters. Moreover, the kulhars are eco-friendly compared to the non-degradable plastic cups.

I feel that this simple step of introducing “Kulhar wali chai” will go a long way in rejuvenating the rural India. The already well off “saheb log” and “babus” should be ashamed of themselves for shunning kulhars. Their behaviour reeks of elitism and selfishness.

ANUSHA SINGH, Ambala Cantt

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