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Reduce lust for the yellow metal

It is not a surprise that retail ownership of Indian equity is at an all-time low even as the retail holding of gold is at an all-time high at more than 20,000 tonnes plus unaccounted gold. It shows our deep fascination for a mere element of Nature. As we buy more of it, the prices spiral. We, the largest holders of gold do not realise that if we stop buying it, the price will rapidly correct and if we sell, it will crash.

Holding such power over the yellow metal, we need to be wiser. Tuning import duty on gold from time to time will yield transient relief. A sensible way out is to design optimal incentives to significantly boost savings. The resulting movement of money away from the idle yellow asset would reduce the mounting current account deficit, improve the value of the rupee and channel fluid investments to oil the sluggish gears of the economy.

As it is, the Sensex has outperformed  the return on gold between Jan 1991 and Dec 2012.That our net household financial savings is down to 7.8% of GDP( FY12 ), the lowest since fiscal 1990, a two decade low , illustrates where we should place greater stress.

R NARAYANAN, Ghaziabad

Utilise savings

The government initiative to cut subsidies on diesel (editorial ‘Partial diesel decontrol’ January 19) will help save money that can be used to improve our education system. Education has always been at the heart of a bargain this nation makes with its citizens: if you work hard and take responsibility, you'll get a chance for a better life.

In a world where knowledge determines a person’s value in the job market, where a child in Chandigarh does not have to compete with a child in Bangalore or Delhi only, but with millions of children in Beijing and Boston, many of India's schools are not holding up their end of the bargain.

AJIT SINGH, Windsor, Canada

Irresponsible remarks

The statement of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde accusing the BJP and the RSS of perpetrating Hindu terror is not only irresponsible but also highly condemnable (news report “Shinde accuses BJP, RSS of fuming Hindu terror”, January 21). It is most unfortunate that the mindset of senior leaders in the party have deteriorated to such a poor level.

The Congress in its scheme of things to rule the country may carry on with its policy of Muslim appeasement but it should not be done at the cost of denigrating Hindus. Such misguided tactics of the Congress party have made India a laughing stock the world over.

When the Home Minister of the country talks irresponsibly, peaceful coexistence of different communities will be a far cry. The enemies within and outside the country are bound to get strengthened.

Dr RK SHARMA, Faridabad

Rehabilitation plan

It is indeed a pity to learn that the Pong Dam oustees are still fighting legal battles to get land allotted to them in lieu of their land acquired for construction of the dam and its reservoir for more than 50 years now (news item ‘Ray of hope for Pong Dam oustees’, January 18) .

The policies of rehabilitation and relocation must be planned and implemented meticulously as these are the people who agree to become oustees in the larger interest of the public and the country. Crores of people are benefitted by creating such ‘temples of development’ in terms of flood control, getting irrigation water and electricity, fisheries, aquatic sports, etc. And, more importantly, adequate rehabilitation and relocation policies will encourage more and more people to contribute in development projects, which is essential for the progress of the country.

Er KK SOOD, Nangal

Duty first

The unfortunate incident of not allowing a prayer service on the death anniversary of Lt-Gen R S Dayal by the management of a gurdwara in Panchkula is condemnable. Gen Dayal was a highly decorated soldier who had to conduct operation Blue Star as a part of his military service duties. Moreover, gurdwaras are not personal properties of Sevadars neither do they fall in the category of private business.

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala

Wastage of resources

The Punjab Wildlife Department has deployed trap cameras in the Kandi belt to authenticate the suspected presence of tigers (news report ‘Wildlife Department installs trap cameras to document state’s fauna’, January 13).

The last time a stray tiger was sighted in Punjab was in the 1930s inside the Army Cantonment at Bakloh. The late Lt-Col John Masters has left a graphic account of the scare created and its bizarre shooting in his book “Bugles and the tiger”. The tiger skin hangs in the Officers’ Mess, Sabathu.

The department should have known this better before deploying trap cameras because Punjab neither has the kind of a forest cover for the wild cats to live in nor do they provide them prey, not even for a misguided one. There is a chance that the expensive apparatus installed could be stolen or destroyed.

Lt-Gen BALJIT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh



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