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Govt falters in implementing agri plans

There are a number of questions in the minds of farmers which need to be answered, and their worries multiply when bad weather conditions affect their crops badly (Manjit S.Kang’s article Achieving crop diversification in Punjab”, March 3).

Will the government make good the losses incurred by farmers in case cash crops do not yield as expected? How good will crop insurance be? Will the farmers get reimbursements for less paid crops other than paddy? How will the soil become proactive in case pulses are grown? Will the governments continue to subsidise seeds, agricultural apparatus, pesticides, etc?

Another main reason behind not switching over to diversification of crops is irregular payments to farmers for sugarcane. In case the government makes proper arrangements for marketing of farm produce, there is no reason that the farmer should shift to other crops which would rather help in making the land more fertile for the next crop.

The glaring example of non-shifting of farmers to crop diversification is that a good number of farmers had taken up the produce of chilies last year. No marketing arrangements were made by the government and the produce was available for Rs 2 to Rs 3 per kg. In this season, only few farmers produced chillies and due to less production, it is available at Rs 35 per kg.


Falling water-table

Non-implementation of a notification by Punjab Government issued by the Central Ground Water Authority has aptly earned it the ire of the Punjab and Haryana High Court (news report ‘Take steps to check depleting water table: HC to govt’, March 3). Concrete action for meeting the challenge of the depleting water table has never been a priority for the government.

Using sewage-treated water for construction work as mandated in the notification can go a long way in checking the depleting water table. Provision for rain water harvesting made in the building rules through a 2010 notification needs to be followed.

We need to follow water conservation measures at our homes. Even a drop of water consumed in excess of the minimum requirement contributes to water shortage. Plant-based food and lifestyle choices can contribute to check water table depletion. According to FAO ‘40% of the world population is affected by water scarcity. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-third of world population could be living under stressed conditions’.


Utilising funds

More than Rs 24,000 crore is lying unspent from last year's defence allocation (news report "Defence allocation up 14%", March 1). Keeping in view the security requirement, it is imperative that the defence forces remain equipped with modern war equipment, requisite stores and possess latest technology for better functioning.

The existing infrastructure must be properly maintained in a workable condition. Indigenous manufacture of weapon systems and defence stores should be encouraged. Depending on foreign countries for defence equipment causes a lot of delay and involvement of middlemen leads to scrapping of deals as we have witnessed.

Proper financial management of defence budget must be ensured to keep the soldiers in top operational readiness.

SC VAID, Greater Noida

Central agency

In the US, there has been no terrorist strike after the 9/11 terror attack. This has been possible due to the fact that there is a central Federal Anti-Terrorism Agency in the US to collect intelligence inputs and take necessary action based on those inputs.

In our country terrorist attacks occur over and over again. The government agency which maintains law and order, the police, is meant for normal policing and is not in a position to collect and act effectively on intelligence inputs and take requisite action. Keeping the national interest in mind, the proposal of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) should be revived and suitable action must be taken to establish the NCTC. The states should be given an assurance that there would be no misuse of powers by the NCTC.

GR KALRA, Chandigarh

Welfare state? 

Public sector banks have started cutting the additional interest (or premium) they pay on fixed deposits of senior citizens. Senior citizens, many of whom do not have pension benefit and depend only on interest from deposits for their upkeep, are not happy with this bit of news.

The reduction in the additional interest rate on senior citizens’ FD comes at a time when the common man is being buffeted by a steady rise in the prices of food, transportation and healthcare, thereby impacting his purchasing power.

India is not a welfare state in the real sense of the word. Many senior citizens do not get pension. The terminal benefits they get upon retirement from job are put in bank fixed deposits. So, they depend on the interest on deposits for their upkeep.

S C DHALL, Zirakpur 



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