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HP budget lacks imagination

The HP budget (2013-14) is bereft of imaginative inputs and financial prudence. It is neither progressive nor dynamic. It has failed to mop up resources for basic rural infrastructure and curtail unproductive expenditure on salaries and pensions (editorial, ‘Budget as usual’ (March 18).

To spend a major share of its revenue on salaries and pension liability is too shocking for words. It hampers the growth of many other crucial sectors. Similarly, the provision of heavy doses of subsidies ranging from 80 per cent to 90 per cent is not only illogical but also unwarranted.

On the other hand, the manufacturing and service sectors, capable of producing lots of job opportunities for the state youth, have been ignored. The state's agro-based economy got no specific allocation for its diversification or setting up agro-based industries.

Unless wealthy agriculture and horticulture farmers are made to contribute to the state exchequer through levies and taxes, Himachal's dream to become a self-reliant state will never materialise.

RM Ramaul, Paonta Sahib


Himachal Pradesh enjoys special status. It just has to pay 10 per cent of Central assistance. But, successive governments have failed to make long-term plans to make the state independent. For example, take the tourism sector, we are not able to generate even a single hill station after Shimla and Manali. The state has so many scenic places which must be developed as tourist spots.

The state government should also invite private companies to set up their shops here, which will mean more employment opportunities. For that, good and all-weather road infrastructure is urgently needed.


NCC as subject

Apropos the news item 'Govt nod to NCC as elective subject in schools, colleges' (March 18), the move will inspire students to take it as an elective subject in schools and colleges. It will not only make our youth disciplined citizens but also provide them a strong base for joining the defence services. Now, it is up to the UGC to implement this move effectively and efficiently.


Saving water for future

Every year, March 22 is observed as World Water Day. The water shortage has become a worldwide phenomenon. Though the world has a limited amount of fresh water, it is used unsparingly during our daily-use chores and other activities.

We can save water in many ways. Firstly, we can save up to 150 litres of water every month by turning off the tap during brushing teeth. Turn on the tap only when we need to rinse. 1350 litres of water can be saved each month during shaving if we fill a mug with water and turn off the tap. Likewise, 450, 170 and 150 litres of can be saved per month if we honestly and regularly reduce shower time by as little as one minute daily, use shower instead of bath tub during bathing, and check the dripping of water from one tap only, respectively.

If we pay special attention to water seepage and save water as we save money, only then can we save water.


Unearthing black money

The Cobrapost sting operation has revealed illegal money laundering by three top private banks. Most of the customers are reportedly politicians or other high-ups. But why probe the role of the banks only? Why not also probe and bring out the names of the customers concerned? (news item, ‘FinMin, RBI probing money laundering charges', March 16).

But neither the government nor any political party would want the names to come out for fear of some of their own people being exposed. An earlier list of black money holders provided by the Swiss authorities has not been disclosed for obvious reasons.

And what the banks have done may be illegal under the law, but it will be in larger good of the country. They have converted black money into white that would go into circulation and help revive our economy.  

If we want to unearth black money, we will have to adopt a liberal approach and change the laws. Let us allow black money, whether stashed away in Swiss banks or India, to be disclosed and deposited in some designated banks but after deduction of a suitable tax, name it “black money tax”, at an appropriate rate, say 50 per cent.

If we insist on bringing up criminal charges against the black money holders, it will get us nowhere. Confiscating half of their money by way of “black money tax” should be considered an adequate punishment for them.


Family’s pain

The middle ‘Let me pack my bag’ (March 20) by Navin Kapoor reflects the invisible pain, which is being caused to family members of most corporate sector employees due to being busy in their well-paid jobs. The parents and children of a corporate sector employee suffer as they rarely get an opportunity when they, as a family, can get together.

SC VAID, Greater Noida


Caring for the elderly

Many aged people despite being properly looked after live a secluded life. For them, seclusion is sheer bliss. But all oldies cannot live like hermits (Pritam Bullar’s middle ‘Getting over testing time’, March 11).

Gone are the days when sons looked after their parents with filial devotion. Blessed are those aged persons whose children, despite the collapse of the joint family system, take care of their comfort, health and happiness. Otherwise, quite a large number of the elderly who own houses and lands and even get pensions are abused by their sons. Wives of henpecked husbands treat their in-laws as outlaws.

The plight of the parents having no source of income is very miserable. Instead of fretting and fuming, they should face the situation in their twilight years with stoic endurance. What cannot be cured must be endured. The writer has rightly remarked “that nothing is in our hands and what happens to us is ordained by God.” An Urdu bard has also said: “Ghaur sey, fikr sey, tadbeer sey kya hota hai, vohi hota hai jo manzoor-e-khuda hota hai.”




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