Giving a new shape to the economy

Our Union Budget will be presented in Parliament in another three weeks. Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has already started the exercise of examining the issues with various sections of society including the chambers of commerce and industry.

For all round prosperity, we have to take bold steps and drastic changes in the power sector. Power is a basic requirement for the growth of industry. Easy finance and reduction in interest rates are a must. So also labour reforms.

To compete globally, we have to provide infrastructure for trade and industry like power, roads, transport, easy availability of raw material, reduction in custom duties and abolish the Inspector Raj. Simplification and rationalisation of direct and indirect taxes, reduction in income tax rates and widening of the tax base are also important.

To generate more employment, rural development is necessary. More stress should be on agriculture and food-processing industry. By God’s grace, both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram are economists of distinction. Both can present a dream budget, giving a new shape to the Indian economy.

DEEPAK SARAF, Rampura Phul



No concern for wild bear

The drive from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri is a pleasant experience for any tourist going by car — scenic landscapes, chai dhabas, village people and little traffic. However, an animal lover’s beautiful experience can be marred by the shows of wild bear being tortured for the amusement of the people. I counted at least 13 of them on either side of the Agra-Fatehpur Sikri Road.

These bears were made to wear a mask on their face so that they could not open their mouth thereby making even the basic instinct of thirst and hunger impossible. The hunters also possessed a sharp stick like weapon which was, apparently, used to beat the bear.

The civil, wildlife and police authorities were either not interested in the plight of this animal or blissfully unaware of the illegal roadside shows. As both Himalayan brown bear and Himalayan black bear are endangered species, one needs to take licence from the Chief Wildlife Warden or any authorised officer to capture or hunt them. The people who held these bears were illiterate, rustic villagers and could not have possessed any such licence.

The Wildlife Protection Act provides that the records be maintained of the hunted animals. This was obviously not done. The condition of the bears was pathetic. Not one of them looked healthy. The authorities concerned need to wake up from their slumber and take quick action against the people flouting the law so flagrantly.

RATIKA MEHROTRA, Advocate, Delhi High Court

Scrap corporations

I fully endorse the views of Lt-Col P.S. Sarang (retd) in his letter, captioned
A drain on the exchequer” (Jan 13). In fact, no one has demanded Municipal Corporation for Chandigarh. It was imposed on the citizens. The Corporation has given little to the city except one Mayor every year and entry tax to well known markets.

Property tax is being imposed to meet the ever-rising expenditure of the Corporation and not for the development of the city. It is time the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh was abolished. All the bureaucratic posts should be scrapped immediately. The funds thus saved can be used for the development of the city.

Similarly, there are many bodies/corporations/ boards which do not serve any purpose except giving a place of posting to the corrupt politicians and eating away the public money. All such bodies/corporation/ boards should also be dissolved to stop the drainage of public money.

OM DATT SHARMA, Advocate, Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh

Care for your health

The Centre and the states have taken up a slew of measures to address our health concerns. However, these are half-hearted and cosmetic. Here is a case in point. To check the menace of tobacco products, particularly at specified public places, The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade, commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act, 2003, was enforced on May 1, 2004.

A few months ago, the sale of tobacco products has been banned near schools, colleges and universities. However, one finds people smoking in buses, trains, offices, hospitals and other public places with impunity. The Act is violated even in the ‘No smoking zones’.

What is the purpose of these laws and regulations if they cannot be enforced in letter and spirit? To provide teeth to the health and environmental laws, a national health police force (NHPF) should be set up at all state capitals and district headquarters. The Union Finance Minister should levy a special cess on tobacco products in the coming Budget for setting up the NHPF.


Online blues

The place where I live is a developed colony. But the roads are very bad. The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation boasted of going online but what is the use? Complaints sent to its website (www.ludhianacorp.com) are sent back to us with the message that the mailbox is full.

Very recently, I emailed a 500-word complaint to them. This was returned to me with the message that the mail box exceeded the maximum allowed. Then after 3-4 attempts, I again sent a one-line email. This too was directed back to me saying that the mail box is full. Will the authorities concerned please clarify?


Illogical report

Justice Bannerjee’s report on Godhra (Jan 18) is illogical and political motivated as it was released just before the Assembly elections in three states. Earlier, reports in the print and electronic media clearly indicated that the attacking mobs had surrounded the bogey from outside and did not allow passengers to escape. In the whole compartment, not a single trishul was found. It was also reported that the irate mobs ran away when the railway police resorted to firing and more reinforcements were deployed.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi cannot be held responsible for the Godhra incident. Moreover, after the riots, he faced Assembly elections and was elected with a thumping majority. Sadly, political parties are trying to take advantage of human sorrows and tragedies.

S.P. SHARMA, Mumbai


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