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Hike Navy’s budgetary allocation

Your effective editorial, Controlling the seas: India must thwart Chinese designs (September 19), should wake up our political leadership from its slumber on the issue of China’s deceptive design for seeking to establish its hegemony over all waterways in Asia.

China has always used threat, instead of diplomatic decency. China’s warning to India to desist from entering into deals with Vietnamese firms for exploring oil and gas in the disputed South China Sea is indicative of its intention to put this country on the back foot. Its arrogance is based on its might.

The Indian Navy has always been low on the priority list of the government, as is evident from the miserly budgetary allocation for this vital element of our defense setup. The history of naval warfare shows that sea battles have been the costliest, but at the same time the most decisive of conflicts. To keep the nation’s flotilla seaworthy, and to meet the operational and maintenance costs, there is need for enhanced budgetary allocation, something which is often ignored by the Government.

The saying, “One who commands the sea, rules the world”, is still relevant. The Gulf war has proved it. From time immemorial, the history of sea battles tells us that nations having strong navies have always attacked from the sea and occupied their enemies’ land. As rightly stated, it would be better for India to assert itself strongly. At the same time efforts should be made so that matters do not reach a point of no return.


Petrol prices

For middle class people, petrol is not a luxury; it’s a lifeline for their two wheelers. A rise in petrol prices affects them hard. The prices of such an important item should not be left at the discretion of oil companies which always claim to be incurring losses, irrespective of crude oil prices.

Their accounts need to be scrutinized by an independent agency. It is the responsibility of the Government to make petrol available to the common man at reasonable and affordable rates. Petrol shouldn’t be a revenue-earning commodity, and taxes on it should be lowered and made uniform in all states.

Er S S BHATHAL, Ludhiana

Political gimmick

As a child, I watched my mother go on fast for my good health when I used to fall sick, for my success in examinations and for everyone’s health and peace of mind in times of tragedy. For people like my mother and my aunt, fasting was a key activity for purification of mind. It gave them a high moral ground since they would always have other people’s best interests in mind when they undertook such a fast.

Now, following in the footsteps of Anna Hazare and Irom Sharmila, but with none of their glorious ideals in mind, some politicians have reduced a fast into a gimmick.

My mother and my aunt have now declared that since the ritual has been hijacked by selfish politicians, and since fasting is no more a personal, individual or spiritual activity, they feel cheated of the one thing that gives them solace. So, no more fasting at our house, thanks to the politicians.

Perhaps it is really good that the media did not cover Swami Nigamananda’s fast for saving the Ganges, and thus did not reduce it to a media event.


Growth model

There is a flaw in India’s development model. It is because we have misconstrued the word development as rapid industrialization, and applied the same yardstick for all regions irrespective of the suitability of the growth model for that region.

While rapid industrialization may be appropriate for states like Gujarat and Maharashtra, it may produce quite the opposite results for other states. An agrarian state like Punjab, with fertile lands, would be better advised to augment its agro-resources, timber plantations, encourage agro-based businesses.

Similarly, states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand would do well to preserve the ‘bounties’ of nature, and encourage tourism, including medical tourism, instead of vying for heavy industries and SEZs.  


Helpline column

The helpline column of your esteemed daily is genuinely helpful. It, however, needs to be updated from time to time. For example, new trains like the Duronto Express and tourism special trains have been introduced. Flight plans/destinations have been changed. Telephone numbers have changed. It is my suggestion to get the column updated periodically to make it more helpful.

I M KHUNGER, IAS (retd), Panchkula

Aging gracefully

I M Soni’s middle,Sunset days! (September 19), was thought-provoking. Really, age is a state of mind and one’s attitude determines its quality to a great extent. But this also must be true that a disciplined youth paves the way for a graceful old age. One can try learning new things and occupy oneself in such pursuits as may be good for others too. The process of improving oneself can be made an ongoing feature to stay young in old age. At this stage of life one can bask in the glory of having amassed a lot of experience and use it to one’s advantage. By indulging in positive and constructive occupations one can turn the ‘sunset’ into a new dawn and be all aglow! The great American author, Mark Twain, also endorses this view when he says, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”




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