Small farmer, the main loser always

With fast commercialisation of agriculture and the increasing cost of inputs, the farming community is now heavily dependent on subsidies and support prices. But these cannot go a long way in view of the rapid expansion of the global market. The rural economy is still weak and cannot face the stiff competition of the open market.

Owing to some inherent weaknesses, rural financial institutions like primary cooperative societies, cooperative banks, regional rural banks and gramin banks could not adequately cater to the needs of rural credit. Faulty agency network, slow processing and late disposal, lack of motivation, non-follow-up of recovery in post-advance period, lack of proper infrastructure, monitoring and supervision, and weak management are some of the factors held responsible for stalling the functioning of these institutions at the village and block levels.

To alleviate poverty (which constitutes 35 to 40 per cent in the rural sector), Centrally-sponsored schemes like the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), the 20-Point Economic Programme, the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), the Jawahar Rozgar Yojna (JRY), the Prime Minster’s Rozgar Yojna (PMRY) and other schemes are inadequate to serve the purpose effectively.




As agriculture is the backbone of the economy, the farmers must get their rightful dues. By offering concession on tractors, trailers, trolleys and other farm-related machinery, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has not extended any help in real terms to small and marginal farmers in rural areas whose main occupation is agriculture.

To help them, the government must ensure constant pricing of important inputs such as fertiliser, pesticides, seeds and fodder products.


The comedy king

This refers to Devinder Bir Kaur’s obituary “Comedy King of Silver Screen” (July 25). Mehmood was a versatile actor. He made his debut in films with Bombay Talkies’ ‘Kismat’ (1943). In this film, 11-year-old Mehmood performed Ashok Kumar’s childhood role. After this, he got roles in many films which went unnoticed.

In Madhubala-Dev Anand’s ‘Nadan’ (1950), he had a few seconds role as a bus conductor. In ‘Sangram’ starring Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant, he was seen as a gambling den regular. In Bimal Roy’s ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ (1953), however, he had a slightly meatier role — a hawker carrying his wares in a tray, and in love with a girl (actress Noor who later became Mrs Johnny Walker).

In the initial years of his career, Mehmood tried his hand at villainy, but ultimately it was as a comedian that he earned name and fame.



The nation lost a happy soul in Mehmood’s death. The void created by his death in the Indian film industry can never be fulfilled. He was a great comedian on the silver screen. He was actually a real hero that lived in the hearts of millions. The present-day comedians take cue from his professional life. Mehmood was a role model for them.



Fans of Mehmood, the comedy king, are sad on his death. He appeared as child artist in old classic film ‘Kismat’ featuring Ashok Kumar. His presence was felt by filmgoers in ‘Manzil’ starring Dev Anand and Nutan, especially a song filmed on him 'Jao Hatto Na Banao Jhuthee Batian' sung by Manna Dey and music by S.D. Burman.

After 'Sasural', he came to be recognised as a genius comedian. None can forget his role in his own film 'Padosan'.

C.R. JINDAL, Chandigarh

Amusing list of acronyms

Apropos of Girish Bhandari’s interesting middle, “A shortened story” (July 23), permit me to make a minor correction, a little elaboration on optics and an equally amusing addition to his list of acronyms.

Radar is acronym of “Radio Detection and Ranging” and not “Radio Angle Direction and Ranging”. Laser, not expanded in the write-up, stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”.

Laser-based radar, when developed, would be many times more precise than the conventional microwave radar. A laser beam focussed on moon would lit up a spot on the moon’s surface only two miles in dial, where a tightest microwave beam would illuminate an area 500 miles wide.

And now the promised addition. NRI is the accepted acronym of a Non-Resident Indian. What would it be of a Non-Resident Italian?

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

Service before self

Bahadur Singh, an employee of the Postal Department, demonstrated a rare action of bravery, while facing the assailants at Nalagarh to foil their attempt to snatch the cash bag (July 15). He kept the image of the department high. Had the other officials accompanying him come to his assistance, his life would have been saved. He has lived up to his name. He could protect the demand drafts worth Rs 3 lakh at the cost of his life.

This is perhaps the first instance where a postal employee of the state has lost his life while performing his duties with honesty, integrity and true devotion. His family deserves all sympathies and timely assistance. The department should bestow the highest award of the Ministry of Communications, besides all other benefits to the family. He has set an example of rare courage of gallantry for both postal and bank employees.

R.S. HAMDARD, Hamirpur (HP)

Ministers’ predicament

Instead of the two Jammu and Kashmir Ministers complaining about they being stranded at the Amarnath Cave shrine, they should be grateful to the Almighty for giving them an opportunity to spend the night at the shrine. The two went as VIPs but God has treated them so by giving them shelter for the night at His abode.

Besides performing puja, both could check for themselves the difficulties being faced by those who trek and trudge all the way. The helicopter service is for the privileged few and should not be misused as the pilot’s word is final.

KHUSWANT, Jalandhar


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