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Budget to protect the interests of farmers

This is with reference to article "Missed opportunities: Budget is neither reformist nor populist", (March 17). Though there is not much for the common man, the General Budget for 2012-13 appears to be farmer friendly. The Finance Minister has tried to be reasonable and balanced in his approach towards the agriculture sector. The farm sector's efficiency may improve due to special attention accorded to the farmers. Farm loans will be cheaper and the amount of subsidies may be deposited directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries. Ample aid has been promised to farmers facing a difficult situation, which may ease their hardships. Investments in farm machinery infrastructure are supposed to be attractive. Construction of more roads in rural, remote and inaccessible areas has also been encouraged. If all the above measures are implemented honestly by the bureaucrats and the field staff, the farmers stand to experience growth and gains.

Sharda Bhargav, Jalandhar


The editorial “Budget is neither reformist nor populist” correctly says that the budget is neither reformist nor populist. The budget provides no relief to the common man. On the one hand, the budget provided marginal sops to the salaried class by way of raising the tax exemption limit, but on the other, prices of all non-oil goods are likely to go up on account of the 2 per cent raise in the effective rate of excise duty and service tax.

The government has  not taken any serious steps for economic reforms .The promise by the Finance Minister to bring down subsidies to 1.75 per cent of GDP seems far-fetched as it can only be done through decontrol of diesel and petrol prices. The political compulsions will not allow the government to reduce agriculture subsidies. The encouragement given to small retailers to invest in equities is also not desirable as it will lead to investment in a very risky and volatile equity market in India and the small investors are sure to lose their hard-earned money in this equity investment.

Mandeep Singh, Yamunanagar

Sachin’s records

Sachin has never played for his country. He has always played for his personal records. He has played many big innings without a win. Winning a match against Bangladesh was not difficult but some wrong decisions went against India. Had Sachin not gone for his 100th hundred, Team India would have definitely won. Every news channel highlighted Sachin's 100th. Even Sachin himself was playing under pressure for the past one year. No doubt he has achieved a landmark but India lost to a weak-considered team. Wrong batting order was another factor. Irfan Pathan should have been promoted and sent before Rohit Sharma . Anyhow, this is not the end of the road and Team India should start anew and forget the last match as a bad dream.

Surinder Vir Singh, Patiala


Now that the "God" has at last come up with that elusive 100th international ton, we will cleverly, zealously and "patriotically" forget his consistent drastic failures in both tests and ODIs through series after series and also not mind a bit even if India fails to win the Asia Cup. After all, personal milestones and statistical jugglery are accorded much higher prority than the welfare of the team in our cricket-fanatic nation. So, we will definitely rejoice over a personal record by completly ignoring the hard reality that the "mighty" Indians have got defeated atrociously by the "lowly" Bangladeshis! Since the selfish dream of the spent-force has ultimately got fulfilled at the expense of interests of the team, Sachin should call it a day immediately after the ongoing Asia Cup and pave th way for new blood. Else he should be promptly sacked from the team.

Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata

Plagiarism and research

This is with reference to the news item 'AIMSR researcher to present paper' (March 17). While research in science is a priority that has received national attention, it is also true that what has passed for 'research' in India so far is mostly plagiarism and outright fraud. The conditions extant in this respect are so deplorable that even the Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, an eminent scientist, has been found to have been a co-author of plagiarised scientific publications. With this in mind, I think that it is appropriate to point out that Dr Vitull Gupta gained his appointment at the Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences and Research less than one year ago. During that time he has presented a plethora of scientific papers as informed in your publication. When a person presents a scientific paper, it is presumed by the scientific community that the presenter has personally done significant work in the research area to warrant special mention. A mere rehash of news that has been presented elsewhere by other persons or news gleaned from the Internet does not qualify as presenting a scientific paper. I would thus like to know how in one year of work --- presumably along with clinical duties --- Dr Vitull Gupta has been able to do so much work on diverse topics.

Nripinder Singh Aulakh, Bathinda

Britannica’s print version

The middle "Hamara Bajaj and Meri Britannica" (March 16) is a kind of requiem for the print edition of the Encyclopaedia. It is also a rhapsody over Britannica's global respect as a compendium of human knowledge, which is power. Like the writer, I also have a long relationship with the Encyclopaedia. The decision to discontinue its print edition 244 years after it was first published in 1768 saddened me. My tryst with Britannica began about 45 years ago as a college student. I had not heard of it in school. Later, when I joined a fledgling college as a teacher, I found that this 'crown and glory' of every library was not there. I persuaded the Principal to buy this jewel in print. During my 36 years service, it remained my only browsing attraction in the library. 

In this age of netizens, Britannica-addicts like me and those not much versed in hi-tech gadgets will miss its print edition.

Jaswant Singh Gandam, Phagwara



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