IT exemption must for beekeeping

I appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to exempt beekeeping from income-tax by explicitly defining it in the Income-Tax Act under Section-2 (Agricultural Income). In the absence of this, farmers, especially rural youth engaged in beekeeping, are facing hardship.

In the US, beekeeping is treated as agricultural activity under the American Income-tax Act. Being agro-based, beekeeping needs to be viewed in totality of the agricultural scenario. As the farmers’ production of honey or bee products cannot be equated with the industrial product, it must be treated as agricultural and horticultural produce.

Honey or other bee products are agricultural produce. Beekeepers learn their behaviour and manage them on crops. Agricultural crops like oilseeds and pulses require pollination similar to horticultural crops or forest vegetation for seed and fruit settings. Domesticated honeybees are only manageable pollinators in agricultural crops. Hence beekeeping or domesticating bees is considered an essential input to agricultural and horticultural crops.

Beekeeping research, teaching and extension have been integrated with the mandate of agricultural universities under the ICAR, New Delhi, which provides funds under an all-India co-ordinated project.

Beekeepers are not engaged in trading activity to earn profit. They only extract honey from the bees (the cost of honey cannot be exactly calculated) and sell them without processing.

DHANANJAY SHARMA, Nagrota Bagwan (Kangra)

Improve facilities

Har-ki-Pauri at Haridwar, on the banks of the Ganga, is a famous pilgrimage centre. Hindus and foreign tourists visit here in large numbers. However, the facilities for visitors are woefully inadequate.

Improvements are needed like sanitation, regular cleaning of the river, cloth changing rooms, more toilets, removal of garbage in the lanes of Kusha Ghat and bazars. The pandas and parking contractors also charge hefty rates. Things will, certainly, improve if the Uttarakhand Government steps in.

Suffice to mention, the Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana governments have improved facilities at Mata Vaishnodevi Devi temple at Katra and Mansa Devi temple at Panchkula respectively. The Uttarakhand government too should improve facilities at Har-ki-Pauri.


Beware of antibiotics

Owing to variation in climatic conditions these days, those developing fever or infection of the upper respiratory tract take antibiotics. However, antibiotics in 90 per cent cases are ineffective and useless. Effervescence in such areas usually occurs in 3-5 days.

Unnecessary use of antibiotics causes damage to the drug itself and also to the patient as they kill most beneficial bacteria that normally reside within the human body, aiding digestion and so on.

People should not force doctors to prescribe an antibiotic. Please don’t take antibiotics unless prescribed by the doctor for current illness. And don’t give your antibiotics to others as their illness may be different.

The antibiotic era, less than 100 years old, is being increasingly challenged by continuing emergence of antibiotic resistant organisms. If resistance to antibiotics continues to increase further, then we might go back to a world where diseases like pneumonia will lurk again and routine operations will become much more hazardous.

Dr AJAY BAGGA, Hoshairpur


Rectify anomaly

I read the news item, “5 booked for stripping woman”. Needless to say, this type of crime is on the increase and requires ruthless handling. However, our legal approach is quite cavalier.

Generally, Section 345 IPC is invoked in such cases. But whereas the offence under this section is punishable with imprisonment of 10 years (minimum one year) in Madhya Pradesh where they have substituted it with Section 345 A, up to seven years in Andhra Pradesh, and is non-bailable in Orissa, it is punishable with imprisonment up to two years and is bailable in the rest of the country including Haryana.

This anomaly is simply laughable and needs to be rectified to make the law uniform and tough.


Politics of religion

The politicisation of religion is a bane of our time. The misuse of knowledge is a great sin. The misuse of spiritual knowledge, and spiritual references is apostasy and blasphemy in any religion.

How many of the world’s citizens hate all Americans for what damage George W. Bush has done to Iraqis, Afghans, and democracy, in the name of democracy, security, and his religion? How many Americans fear and hate all Muslims for the acts of terrorists in the name of Allah? Political Islam and political Christianity are abominations.

Religion is a counterpart and superior to civil government, but should never be in the role of civil government. That involvement contaminates the religion.

Dr MARK JOHN HUNTER, Alpena, Michigan (US)



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