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West looking out for greener pastures

It is difficult to agree with the views expressed in the editorial Misplaced protests that the Manmohan Singh government’s decision to open up Indian retail trade to foreign companies is a farmer-friendly move which will revitalise supportive infrastructure through foreign investment. One basic question here is why the government cannot raise the so-called infrastructure through proper budgeting of its own resources or loans from international financial institutions, if necessary.

In fact, the recession-hit developed nations of the West do not have an investment-friendly environment. Most foreign companies have been eagerly seeking investment opportunities in India for their own benefit which our Central government is ready to provide.

MNCs have very high bargaining power as compared to local retailers and even wholesalers. With the help of their well-paid local agents, they will gradually spread their chain throughout the country and easily edge out local traders from the market.

D.N. TANDON, Panchkula


It is a well-known fact that there always remains a huge gap between the wholesale and retail prices in the market. The editorial Welcome FDI in retail (December 1) is an eye-opener both to the producer and to the consumer. The retailer gets a higher margin of profit with a lower cost and no risk whereas the producer gains less with a higher cost entailing more risk. There is a need to break this nexus and to reduce the profit margin of retailers to benefit the consumers and the producers. So, by allowing FDI in retail, the gap between the wholesale and retail prices will be narrowed. The sudden price rise of essential commodities will be curtailed. Maintaining price discipline in the free and open market is the need of the hour, as prices of essential commodities (such as onion) always come down when they arrive in the market from farms but soon thereafter the price graph rises sharply.



I view the recent disorder in Parliament as a constructive surge in our democracy. The Opposition is strong and assertive. But causing frequent disruptions in the functioning of Parliament may prove to be counter-productive for the Opposition. Disagreeing with government policies, from time to time, is a prerogative of the Opposition benches but trooping into the well of the House to prevent it from transacting business, for days and weeks, means misuse of the privilege. The ruling alliance possesses the constitutional mandate to take executive decisions and implement them. Any attempt at obstructing it will set a wrong precedence.

It is not incumbent on the government to yield to such pressures from the Opposition. Be it the petrol price, the nuclear deal or the issue of FDI in retail, the Opposition created uproar by raising the rollback slogan. The issues ought to be debated on the floor of the House and not on TV channels. The chairpersons of respective Houses have the authority to send the erring members out, which they must use.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali

SAD’s U-turn

The change of stand by the SAD on FDI in retail trade shows its double standards. Its leaders are busy pleasing their political partners and are not bothered about explaining how big investment will serve as a boon to the state. Punjab has seen landmark growth in agriculture but the state has dearth of storage facilities. FDI will help in building more cold stores and food processing plants in the state. The farmer, whose produce rots in mandis, will benefit. A similar attitude was shown by the SAD during the nuclear deal. Initially they voted against it, then afterwards they were seen requesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a nuclear power plant in the state.


Lead by example

Addressing a convention of Youth Congress delegates in Delhi, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is reported to have said that the country’s political system is most corrupt and went on to make a fervent plea to the youth to enter politics and eradicate the menace of corruption.

I do not share young Gandhi’s pessimism on the subject. No doubt, young people, by and large, have a spark in them and can do wonders. If political parties give tickets to those who are young and have a clean record to contest elections, it would make all the difference. Let Mr Gandhi take the lead and field as many deserving Youth Congress leaders as he can to contest the forthcoming elections to the legislative bodies in an earnest bid to put his idea into practice.


Value-based education

The middle article, Valued values (December1), has raised issues pertaining to our economic and social values as compared to other countries. Much degeneration in these values appears to be due to the role of politicians, bureaucrats and big industrialists. The values are also disappearing in our education system and it is a major cause for concern. The government hopes to achieve an improvement in the situation by introducing a system of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) and other reforms at the stage of school education. CCE will deliver when it is sincerely accepted and actively implemented by teachers. The entire social fabric needs an overhaul for improving the quality of life.

Dr S KUMAR, Panchkula



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