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Job shock for Indians

For a country yet to come to terms with the growing unemployment that is a perennial feature in majority of states, any news about the retrenchment of its workers, and that too on a massive scale, whether in India or abroad, would tantamount to a national calamity. Beset with their own problems, states like Kerala and Goa may well be heading for an economic crisis if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia goes ahead with its plans to expand employment avenues for its own nationals in the backdrop of the Arab Spring. By adopting the Nitaqat programme, the Kingdom plans to push its nationals into employment to deter immigrants from monopolising their workforce.

The new move is threatening the livelihood of nearly two million expatriates, the majority of whom are Indians employed in the small and medium enterprises category. The sudden deluge of expatriates will only add to the swelling ranks of unemployed people in Kerala and Goa.


Novartisí plea

The Supreme Court rejecting Swiss pharma giant Novartis patent plea is a welcome step, which will help poor cancer patients afford expensive treatment. It is a landmark verdict and will help save lives of many thousands of patients. The WHO should arrange life-saving drugs for poor patients free of cost. The pharma companies should not look for profit while manufacturing these medicines. Novartisí Gleevec drug costs 15 times more than its generic version.


BJP shake-up

The charismatic Narendra Modi has suddenly become the darling of the Sangh Parivar. It is clearly visible in the recent rejig by BJP chief Rajnath Singh. With regional satraps busy stepping up the ante, the BJP is feeling the heat. As a result, the saffron party has decided to go back to basics. The Modi camp has managed to get the controversial Amit Shah included in the core group. It underlines the intensity with which post Godhra events would continue to be defended. This could upset vote bank calculations, but the BJP is banking on the split of Ďsecularí bloc amongst its contenders.†The BJP seems to have made up its mind, but what about its allies co-passengers and fence-sitters? Modi is not a person to rescind from his ideological pursuits, even if his allies feel differently.

R NARAYANAN, Ghaziabad

Special stamps

Out of 47 multi-coloured commemorative and special postage stamps issued in 2012, 40 were issued in denominations of Rs 5, six in denominations of Rs 20 and one in denomination of Rs 25. On several occasions series of two, four or six stamps were issued all in denominations of Rs 5 each. There should be some fixed criteria for denominations and number of stamps issued on an occasion. There should be only two most common used denominations for commemorative stamps. There should be a fixed number of stamps, say four, to be issued on an occasion if more than one stamp is issued for commemoration.

Since users of different denominations of stamps are different, stamps of only one denomination should be there in a stamp sheet. Miniature sheets should be charged extra, more than the face value of stamps, because of excessive printing costs and being a collectorsí item rather than for general use as postage stamps. Yearly pack of stamps should be in two forms, ordinary one to be sold at combined face value of stamps, and second one costlier in form of an attractive album for affording stamp collectors, which can also be used as gift items and mementoes in educational institutions.

Stamps of all denominations of a new definitive series should be released simultaneously together with a complete set of postal stationary on a particular theme.


Rural healthcare

This is in reference to news report 'House panel moots 1-year rural posting for all MBBS grads' (April 1). The suggestions of the Parliamentary Standing Committee are not correct and donít factor in ground realities of healthcare facilities in rural India. The government has been unable to provide even bare minimum health services in the rural areas where people have to heavily rely on unregistered medical practitioners or quacks. Most of them are not even matriculates.

The Indian Medical Association, which is mired in controversies, has also not been able to do much in this regard. The committee of experts had rightly suggested starting a 3.5-year BSc course called Community Health to ensure provision of trained community health workers in villages. However, fresh MBBS graduates should have mandatory two to three years rural postings. Just opening new medical colleges is not a solution to this severe crunch of medical facilities. Itís a long-term plan and cannot be implemented on a war-footing due to financial constraints and shortage of medical faculty.


Curbing foeticide

Modern technology has made it very easy to determine the sex of the child in the womb, giving the parents-to-be an option of aborting the female foetus. Skewed sex ratio is a major social problem in India and female foeticide is directly responsible for this. In our society, people are obsessed with the male child. Before the ultrasound technology became common, there was a tendency among families to continuously produce children till a male child was not born. Female foeticide is the conjunction of two ethical evils: abortion and gender. A foetus's right to life outweighs the parents' rights to wealth, pride, or convenience. To bridge the dividing gender gap, which is leading to lot of problems, there is an immediate need to protect the female child. The authorities should come up with more stringent laws to punish those medical professionals who conduct sex-determination tests.




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