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Food law: Huge wastage of money

This refers to the news item 'Cabinet clears food security ordinance' (July 4). It is good to know that the Union Cabinet has approved the ordinance on food security. It will ensure 5 kg foodgrain to each member of the family covering 67% of the population at the subsidised rates of Rs 1 to 3 per kg. The government has said that this system will cost Rs 1.25 lakh crore every year. But it has not specified from where this huge amount will come? Obviously, the government will increase taxes on the existing items or impose taxes on new items that will make the life of the people more miserable.

Moreover, the government is sending a wrong signal to the world that India's 67 per cent population is so poor that they cannot even afford their daily food! Whereas, these "poor"--the rickshaw-puller, the cobbler, the street hawker, the street dhobi, the vegetable seller, even the farm labourer, etc. -- all have mobile phones, colour TV sets, including LCDs, cooking gas, two-wheelers and other luxuries of life.

What for and on whom the government will be wasting Rs 1.25 lakh crore a year in the form of food security? This is ridiculous indeed. The government needs to answer this question to the people of the country before going ahead with the law. It is clear that the government is doing all this with an eye on the elections.

RK KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Pending subsidies

This refers to the news item 'Centre accepts diversification proposals, sanctions Rs 224 cr' and the editorial 'Quitting Paddy' (July 2). Diversification of agriculture is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance, ensuring food safety and sustaining rural economy. The role of the state in incentivising diversification through financial subsidies is therefore pivotal.

Over the years, the Punjab government has successfully persuaded farmers to shift from foodgrain crops to horticulture by subsidising plant material and inter-state export costs, notably in case of kinnows. However, very often the farmers' fate hangs in balance once he shifts to crops such as kinnow that is perishable. Moreover, this crop has no support price or processing avenues.

To top it all, the government has not been able to disburse subsidies to kinnow farmers for the past two years. The state corporation, Punjab Agro, has been sitting on the farmers' subsidy dues since 2011-12.

Only, good intention is not enough. The government must build a robust delivery systems if it wants the farming community to cooperate in achieving the larger goal of diversification.


Lake in Dhauladhars

This refers to the news item 'Rain effect: Huge lake in Dhauladhars poses threat to Palampur' (June 30). The news is based on the satellite photo acquired from Google. The first thing to be done in this case is the ground verification of the site. Only such verification can reveal the probability and extent of danger the lake poses.

Besides, the news suggests this has not been done by the person who first detected it on Google or by the reporter of the news or by any government agency or by any volunteer. But this is not a very difficult task. One can easily do this in a single day with ease. This is a classic example of how casually such matters are taken.


Water woes

I wish to bring the problem of poor water supply in Sector 24, Chandigarh, to the notice of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation. These days, one finds it difficult to finish household chores or even take bath in this muggy season. On July 1, I went to the public toilets in the market (Sector 24) but found these locked. Again, the reason cited was that there was no water in the tanks. I request the UT Administration to look into the matter.

JASJIT SINGH, Chandigarh

Corporal punishment

It is shameful that the practice of corporal punishment still exists in our schools (editorial 'Protect children', July 1). The measures proposed by the Maharashtra government to deal with this practice are worthy of note. In fact, stringent laws are needed to save children from the scourge of beating at schools. And teachers and the school administration are responsible for the perpetuation of this practice as they hardly follow the guidelines issued by the NCPCR.

Teachers using corporal punishment as a tool to discipline students seem to be lacking the essential psychological traits to educate students. This punishment kills their self-confidence and they start living under stress and fear in the classroom and ultimately develop learning disabilities.


Osteoporosis in women

Carrying family and other responsibilities, most women in India ignore their health. Osteoporosis is emerging as a leading cause of substantial morbidity, particularly among post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis, being asymptomatic, is not easily found until one suffers a bone fracture. A healthy diet coupled with vitamin supplements can prevent osteoporosis from young age.

It is important to store bone mass while menstrual period continues. Lack of calcium in blood leads to the erosion of calcium in the bones, which causes osteoporosis. Therefore, it is important to take enough calcium when people are young.

There is an urgent need for greater public awareness in this regard. For middle-aged and elderly people, early detection and treatment of osteoporosis with calcium and vitamin D can significantly reduce the risk of fractures and associated morbidity and mortality.


Why depend on govt always?

Some problems in our society can be tackled by the public without seeking help from the government. For example, the problem of begging can be curtailed to some extent if we stop giving alms to beggars.

The generation of vulgar songs can be checked if we start listening to good music. Bribery can be mitigated if we stop greasing the palms of officials concerned. Similarly, unemployment can be solved if we stick to the one-child norm. So let us solve our own problems without seeking help from the government.




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