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Time to remove flaws in food Bill

This refers to the editorial 'Food Bill moves ahead' (August 28). The draft of the Food Security Bill suffers from serious infirmities. First, it is curious that the government proposes to cover 80 crore people (67 per cent of the population) under the food security net whereas only 26 crore people fall below the poverty line. India has a large percentage of marginally poor people who live just above the poverty line but not to the extent of 41 per cent. So, targeting 45 per cent population under the Act would have made the Act more meaningful and rational.

Now farmers of northern India covered under the Bill will be selling wheat at the rate of Rs 13 per kg to the procurement agencies and the FCI, in turn, will be selling the same back to them at the rate of Rs 2 per kg. This kind of economics and food security is highly ludicrous. This only shows the coverage of 67 per cent population under the food security net has been deliberately done to meet the political ends and Murli Manohar Joshi has rightly described the Food Security Bill as the "Vote Security Bill".

Secondly, it would have been much better to distribute free wheat at the rate of 4 kg per person per month than to give 5 kg wheat at Rs 2 per kg. Thirdly, it would be better to ask the beneficiaries to lift their annual quota right after the procurement season. This will enable the FCI to save a lot of money by eliminating the cost of storage, handling and transportation. During discussions in Parliament, the members either praised or criticised it too much. Nobody tried to rationalise its provisions.


Going paperless

These days almost all organisations offer incentives for using the electronic modes to avoid unnecessary paper work and save time. For example, almost all renowned travel agencies like Make My Trip and Yatra offer discounts if bookings are made online. Some airlines and some mail-order companies also offer discounts for tickets and other goods purchased through credit cards. Even BSNL offers discounts if bills are paid through credit/debit cards.

But the HP State Electricity Board actually discourages online payments. They charge extra for such payments. Recently I paid my bill for Rs 5,476 through a credit card, but I was charged Rs 5,537.53 because of the credit card. They have fixed percentages for bank transfers and other modes of online payments! So much for the Himachal government's claims of encouraging e-governance! Will the Chairman of the HPSEB kindly look into this?

S C MALIK, Dharamsala

Juvenile laws

I endorse the findings the apex court has laid down to amend the procedural law (CrPC) to ensure speedy trials and justice to the victims and their wards and society at large. The spurt in crimes against women has rocked the country.

Last week the court's verdict of three years' imprisonment in a reform house to the juvenile accused infuriated countrymen. Owing to the soft juvenile laws, the Delhi gang-rape minor got a small punishment for the heinous crime he perpetrated. The lawmakers must amend the definition of majority in the case of sexual offences, including grave sexual crimes leading to murder.

HARDEEP GURU, Chandigarh

Rights violations

There is no doubt over the alleged human rights violations by the Sri Lankan government during its war against the LTTE in 2009. India's opposition to the dilution of 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution is also legitimate. The Tamil population of Sri Lanka definitely deserves a better share in the country's governance after a long period of deprivation, which is still going on.

However, political parties in India like the AIADMK and the DMK should not pressurise the Central government to boycott the CHOGM. In fact, the constructive use of the forum of CHOGM is needed. Having a good stature in the international arena, India can generate a common international understanding with other like-minded nations like Canada and the UK. A collective effort by the international community with India in the leading position will have a more profound impact on Sri Lanka.

AMIT JAIN, Patran (Patiala)

Importance of ‘ghar jawai’ 

The inferences drawn by Radhika Chopra in her article 'The marginal masculinity of a ghar jawai' (August 20) are based on an orthodox way of looking at this relationship. Her views are far from reality and not in consonance with the values in the changed world.

She has quoted an age-old saying about "ghar jawai", which is very rude and unacceptable to the modern way of living in our society. She has ignored a number of factors that lead to the making of a "ghar jawai", which makes him equally masculine and respectable in the household as well as in society. Respecting the father of her spouse just like his own father is his moral duty.

The first and foremost reason for making a "ghar jawai" is the desire for son which is also a prime reason for producing more children and aborting female foetuses to add a male member to a family. The feeling of insecurity without a male member in a family to face the odd world is a chief reason for adopting a "ghar jawai". He is also required to look after hard jobs like farming, politics, business, etc requiring working at odd places and times for his in-laws.

The author seems to be an urban-based person. I fail to understand how this institute of "ghar jawai" helps in preventing the fragmentation of agricultural land-holdings. A daughter has already got a lawful right to inherit land of her parents. I don't think it is so common that a "ghar jawai" is seen with groom and apron, implying a virtual surrender of masculinity. Rather they are respected and mostly treated like sons. I can quote a number of cases where a "ghar jawai" has reached a higher social status; he has risen to the level of a Panch, Sarpanch, municipal member and even MLA and MP. He has occupied many other high social offices while staying with his in-laws. This institution of "ghar jawai" is actually an arrangement for mutual help and respect.

DR T S CHAHAL, Amritsar



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