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Food Bill: It’s half-hearted attempt

The Food Bill demands a mammoth funding of over Rs 6 lakh crore which would put extra pressure on the already deficit-prone economy. Suman Sahai has rightly called the Bill ‘revised PDS’ in her article “Need for new food security law” (July 31).

The PDS (Public distribution system) in the country is corrupt and the real beneficiaries are the fair price shops and the lower government workforce. The Bill shall become like opium addiction for them. The best way to help the poor is to make them able to earn by engaging them gainfully and by provide them food as envisaged under the proposed Bill.

The government must provide the farming sector with security and incentives, which are otherwise being provided to exporters and industries. In fact, farm credit is costly and the marketing system is unfriendly to farmers. The scheme can become workable if it is implemented in blocks; the identification of beneficiaries, procurement, storage and distribution must be done at block level. The beneficiaries can be given grains in return for work.

The existing distribution system can work better if there is proper monitoring to the extent that the benefits of the schemes reach the real beneficiaries.  The writer has rightly suggested addressing the three main aspects: production, distribution and absorption. The Bill must be judiciously used for only those categories who cannot afford to make both ends meet. The government must not make farmers ‘eternal destitutes’ by providing food for free. If food is provided for free, no one would work. 


Never too late

Ujjwala Sharma and her son Rohit Shekhar had been knocking at the doors of the High Court for justice since September 2007 when they filed the paternity suit in the Delhi High Court against former CM ND Tiwari. It is quite tragic that Rohit had to suffer the traumatic humiliation of being “fatherless” in social circles for decades.

Tiwari tried his best through several petitions filed in the Delhi High Court to scuttle the process of taking his DNA sample and when the sample was taken against his wish, he approached the Supreme Court for withholding the pronouncement of the result of the DNA tests.

Thanks to the mature wisdom of the judges of the apex court that they decided to give much awaited justice to Rohit Shekhar and his mother.

This verdict is certainly a jolt to Tiwari’s public image but it is a shocking reminder to those big and powerful people in public life who treat women casually and believe in making or breaking relationships overnight. Tiwari should offer sincere apologies for his insensitive attitude. Sometimes, authentic apologies also raise a gentleman’s stature in life. It is never too late to feel sorry for the harm and injustice we do to others.


Passing the baton

The editorial “ Down but not out” ( July 30) is right in saying that if Virbhadra Singh does not find himself fit to hold the position in the union cabinet after the graft case against him how does he become eligible for the CM’s post. More so, the charges of corruption against him relate to his tenure as the Chief Minister of Himachal. His claim that if the command of selecting candidates for the coming Assembly elections is given to him, he would get 40 seats is a sheer wild cry.

In a democratic setup such a hypothetical claim shows the state’s mature voters in poor light. On the other hand, if he is handed over the responsibility, it may be like giving a handy stick to the BJP to beat the Congress hollow on the issue of corruption, a serious and oft repeated charge against the Congress. A veteran like Virbhadra, should see the writings on the wall and using his fighting instincts to promote others and should  pass the baton on to the next generation gracefully.

RM RAMAUL, Paonta Sahib

B’desh comes of age

The spectacular opening ceremony of London Olympics 2012 welcomed participants from all countries. It is noteworthy that no Bangladeshi player has ever qualified for the Olympics and this time they have 5 sportspersons in their contingent. What was extremely disappointing was to see Raja Randhir Singh, Secretary General of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) present physically in the Olympic stadium. Mentally he was lost somewhere else when somebody had to literally nudge him to stand up and wave at the 81 member Indian contingent.


Underpaid down the hierarchy

The recent decision of the Punjab Government to fix salaries of managerial positions in the private sector is a welcome step. However, the real challenge lies in implementation of this new rule as the implementation of the existing labour laws is still not satisfactory.

There are many other categories of skilled and unskilled workers who are grossly underpaid. Nurses, for example, do a great service for humanity but the average salary that they are paid in a normal private hospital is around Rs 5,000 per month by doctors who earn in lakhs per day. Billing clerks in the retail industry are also paid Rs 5,000 on an average, coupled with long hours of work. In contrast, a daily-wage worker and a rickshaw puller doing manual labour earn Rs 250 per day— Rs 7,500 per month  — and work till 5 pm and by doing overtime some even manage to earn over Rs 10,000 per month.




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