Letters to the editor
Apropos of ‘Tough norms for social media, OTT platforms,’ the government has taken a right step towards a constant vigil on the content of Over The Top (OTT) platforms and digital media. OTT platforms have been hugely banking on violence, bloodshed and barbarism. Sexual violence, objectification of women, brutalisation of female characters and the male gaze occupy a major chunk of the screen time on their contents to cater to the adrenaline rush of the consumers, specifically the youth, but in fact are tarnishing their minds. The social media, on the other hand, has become a tool to breach the peace and harmony of the country. One hopes that the new stringent guidelines will make some difference.
Tushar Anand, Patna
Checks on social media
To prevent the misuse of social media, the government has introduced new rules that make it mandatory for platforms such as WhatsApp to aid it in identifying the ‘originator’ of certain messages containing unlawful information, while also requiring social media platforms to remove such content within 36 hours of being notified. Now onwards, social media platforms will also be required to provide information, including those related to verification of identity, to lawfully authorised agencies, within the stipulated time period. The rules come close on the heels of a tussle between the government and Twitter over removal of certain content related to the ongoing farmers’ protests. The government has also been at loggerheads with WhatsApp over tracing the originator of messages. These new rules provide for some checks on OTT and social media platforms and they should respond in a positive manner.
Apropos of ‘Vaccination booster’, with private sector participation, India’s vaccination strategy is making a welcome shift with greater choice. Now, senior citizens and those with co-morbidity can hope to get jabs at private centres at a fixed price. The challenge now is to ensure that new beneficiary categories and vaccination sites can boost full capacity utilisation. Some of these shifts can contribute towards this end. More people having their choice of the provider will provide a fillip to the vaccination drive.
Lal Singh, Amritsar
Reference to ‘Shanta in his book’, for any right thinking Indian, the news will come as a shock but it is not quite unknown in the Indian political landscape. A BJP veteran, Shanta Kumar has commended Vajpayee for having always sworn by the politics of principles and says he has had no regrets over his own stand taken in public life. His comments should be taken in the right spirit by the party to improve its functioning.
BM Singh, Amritsar
Idea of MSP
Justice Gurnam Singh’s idea of state funding to core agriculture sector and MSP on agricultural produce is a proven ideology which brought the country out of food scarcity. In our country, around 70 per cent of the population is directly and indirectly engaged in agriculture sector which not only provides employment but also gives consumers to industrial products. The government should repeal the three laws which are not in the interest of the farming community. Instead, policies should be framed to bring about the needed changes to conserve the depleted natural resources for a healthy climate.
Mukhtiar Singh, via mail
Naming a stadium
Unnecessary hullabaloo is being made over the renaming of the Motera stadium in Gujarat after PM Modi. Those who raise a hue and cry should realise that this is not for the first time in India that an international stadium has been named after a leader. So many stadiums are named after leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and so on. Even airports and railway stations have been named after prominent personalities. Instead of making a mountain out of a mole hill, the Opposition should concentrate on dealing with the problems affecting the daily lives of the people.
M Pradyu, Kannur
The existing sedition law is a legacy of colonial rule and was designed to silence dissent. However, it is surprising that such law continues to remain in place. It has become an effective tool to silence the voice of opposition. No political party that has been in power from time to time can deny the misuse of this sedition law. This law is now a threat to democracy. It is time to abolish it and enact a fresh law to safeguard national interests.
Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
The renaming of the Sardar Patel cricket stadium after Narendra Modi was totally unwarranted. The Prime Minister himself had criticised the Congress many times for naming many institutions and schemes after Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and started naming every new scheme as the Pradhan Mantri Yojana. Everyone knows that Pradhan Mantri here means Modi and the poor class always says ‘Modi wala khata’ or ‘Modi wala cylinder’ and thus the political purpose is served. But now putting his own name in place of Sardar Patel shows how false his public show of reverence was for the great man.
Arun Bala, Bathinda
Hope in judiciary
Apropos of ‘Varavara Rao gets 6-month bail on medical grounds’, the order of granting interim bail to an old man who was ailing with multiple health issues on the basis of humanitarian grounds must be welcomed. Being booked under UAPA, it was not easy for Rao to get bail as multiple previous requests by his family had been denied. Better late than never, the Bombay High Court has set an example and has shown that our basic fundamental rights, including the right to life and health, are being protected by one of the pillars of our democracy — the judiciary.
Ishan Hastir, Gurdaspur
Scrap sedition law
‘Bail for Disha’ and ‘Acquittal of Priya Ramani’ have come as a relief for the ‘disquiet’ society these days. The magistrates in both cases have given a landmark ruling that the offences of ‘sedition’ and ‘criminal libel’ cannot be invoked to minister to the ‘wounded vanity’ of the government or the powerful in society. But the question is, will the police and young magistrates follow that ruling? The police will continue to arrest and the magistrates will continue to violate the SC ruling of ‘bail not jail’ at the behest of the government. Never mind the ‘scanty and sketchy’ evidence, because ‘the process is the punishment’. Disha has already suffered incarceration for 10 days. The government has probably taught her what it set out to teach. The long-term solution lies in scrapping these anachronistic laws. The government on its own will not do that. And the judiciary is demurring to do that. It is the media that will have to pick up the gauntlet and launch a vigorous campaign against these laws.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
Disha’s trauma ends
The Delhi court order granting bail to Disha Ravi ends her trauma of jail. The 10 days she endured in custody on the basis of “scanty and sketchy evidence” raise questions on the Delhi Police. With police and prosecution harbouring no compunction presenting dissent as crime, the safeguards against sedition are failing. The judge correctly noted that India’s 5,000-year civilisation was never averse to ideas from varied quarters and the freedom of speech and expression includes the right to seek a global audience. Cataclysmic climate change knows no national borders and will impact young people the most.
SANJAY CHOPRA, MOHALI
Govt business for pvt banks
Apropos of ‘Govt lifts ban on grant of government business to pvt banks’, the businesses that were being restricted for private sector banks are now being open for both private as well as government sector banks. The government has lifted the embargo on private sector banks for the lead of government-related transactions, such as taxes, and other related payment facilities. The main reason behind this is that the private sector banks are at the bleeding edge of soaking up and actualising the latest innovation in the financial sector. Now, the government wants to use their innovations to facilitate its social sector activities. It also wants to give a free hand to everyone because it’s not about public sector banks or private sector banks, it’s about the Indian economy.
Abhimanyu Sahoo, Odisha
Singer par excellence
It was very sad to know about the demise of Punjabi artiste and singer Sardool Sikander. His contribution to Punjabi culture and industry is immense. His sudden death has shocked his fans. He will be missed.
Ramanjot Kaur, Sultanpur Lodhi
Refer to ‘India needs a dedicated cyber security law’; during the lockdown, along with the working habits, the modus operandi of crimes has also changed. The lockdown has exposed our weak cyber laws. The government must come up with stronger laws and strategies to catch up with the hackers. There is a need to introduce some security application to prevent hacking.
Gaurav Badhwar, Rohtak
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rama emphasised the importance of citizens as conscience keepers of the government while giving bail to Disha Ravi in the toolkit case. But there are attempts to dwarf the individual every now and then as per the whims of the State. In Himachal Pradesh, corporation elections are to be fought on the party symbols. Members will lose their seat if they change the party. Similar is the case in the Lok Sabha due to the party whip. You cannot vote as per your conscience. There is no such thing in the House of Commons or the US Senate. The US President may not get the support of all his party Senators. In India, the individual member is not expected to think; the party does the thinking. The House of Commons has a greater number of members with the UK’s seven crore population. Our Lok Sabha has fewer seats with a 135 crore population.
Lalit Mohan Sharma, Dharamsala
Watch out for second wave
It is the casual attitude of the people post lockdown that is responsible for the reemergence of the corona strain in some parts of the country. With new mutant variants of the virus reported in several states, it is vital for people to shed their lax attitude. A second wave can emerge, especially in densely populated areas. A mass vaccination drive with the cooperation of the private sector is essential. Strict adherence to Covid protocols and safety measures should be made compulsory. Even as India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ is making inroads into neighbouring and far-off countries, it is pertinent for all stakeholders to up the tempo in research in science and technology to bridge the technological divide on the domestic front also.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Surge in Covid cases
The daily increasing infection rate of Covid-19 cases in Chandigarh and Mohali is worrisome and has rightly been attributed to crowding and the complacency of people. At public places, religious and social functions, the SOPs are violated with impunity. There is no random checking by the authorities at these places. Videos recorded by organisers of these functions can easily prove the violations committed by the people. The orders issued in this respect are only on paper. In order to control the daily surge, the authorities should pay attention to implement the orders.
Sohan Lal Bhumbak, Chandigarh
No room for laxity
We should be wary of the second wave of the virus. Most government and private institutions have started functioning again. Herd immunity is a myth and these rumours are distracting people. The government has granted permission for gatherings in functions and other occasions, including election rallies. Most people have stopped wearing masks. Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab are witnessing a resurgence. This is a matter of great concern. The government should impose strict rules and limit gathering numbers. Vaccination is still out of reach for the majority of the population. There should be a strong check at public places and transport. Entry at state borders should be keenly observed so that the rest of the states do not bear massive losses again.
SAROJ BANYAL, HAMIRPUR
Apropos of Abhishek Banerjee’s wife’s connection with the coal pilferage case, the Banerjees are the relatives of CM Mamata Banerjee, who is claiming that the BJP-led Central government is using its agencies to gain the edge in the West Bengal Assembly elections. If they hadn’t smuggled anything, they need not worry. But Mamata Banerjee visiting his house before interrogation shows there is something that they want to hide. The case may impact the elections.
ASHWANI KUMAR, CHANDIGARH
Tolerance must for peace
Refer to ‘Society devoid of compassion’; we may wax eloquent about our scientific temper, computer proficiency and technological progress, but we continue to remain indifferent to others’ woes and often overlook the stark ground realities for furthering our own interests. The bane of the problem is growing intolerance which has afflicted our body politic, leading to meaningless squabbles over trivial issues and the spurt in violence and verbal jousts. Dwelling in our cocoons of complacency, we have turned a deaf ear to the teachings of the Buddha, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, and the basic tenets of empathy and fellow feeling have been largely forgotten. Compassion should be inculcated in the youth in educational institutions in right earnest for fostering a more tolerant social order.
Amit Banerjee, New Delhi
Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com
Apropos of ‘IMA slams Harsh over promoting Patanjali’s Coronil’, it’s surprising that in a well-planned event, Ramdev announced that his so-called wonder drug has been approved by the WHO for the treatment of Covid-19. It’s all the more shocking that he made this sensational and false statement from the podium which was shared by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. Within hours of the announcement, the WHO clarified that it has not certified the efficacy of any traditional medicine. It’s intriguing to fathom the wisdom of the two responsible ministers to be a party to the blatant lie by Ramdev. They should have checked and verified the authenticity of his claim before attending the function. Their participation, particularly by the Health Minister, who himself is a doctor, will be mocked by the medical fraternity all over the world.
Balbir Singh Kakkar, UK
Being a doctor as well as the Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan has shown carelessness by promoting a fake Covid-19 medicine, ‘Coronil’. The minister took no action against Ramdev’s claims of WHO certification. It was inappropriate and misleading to promote such an unscientific product before the country.
Refer to the report ‘CM quits as Congress govt falls in Puducherry’; the political developments confirm yet again the failure of the Congress to manage its internal affairs, and refuse to learn lessons from the experiences in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, where it couldn’t retain power. The party is becoming an easy prey to BJP’s political aggression. But most importantly, the episode exposes the failure of the anti-defection law to stop defections and cause the downfall of a government. The practical realities of Indian politics — the ineptness of the Congress and the BJP’s quest for power — and the dysfunctionality of existing legal frameworks such as the anti-defection law has led to Puducherry’s pre-poll political shift.
N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru
Fire of hatred
Apropos of ‘Society devoid of compassion’, people are becoming self-centred, and in some cases, even vitriolic. Those who are sensitive, are scared of the price they may have to pay for dissent, because every one knows what dissent means in India today! As a discerning society, we must not forget that the fire of hatred being constantly ignited by the self-serving media is right at our doorstep. The need is to recognise it and stop it from defiling the sanctity of our homes and hearts by refusing to listen to biased TV channels and digital platforms. This is the least we can do. Eventually, the sufferer will be none but the common people.
Lalita Jagmohan, by mail
Brilliant doctor & human
It is shocking to know that Dr BK Sharma of the PGI is no more. He was a brilliant doctor and his academic record was superlative. He rose to the position of the Director of the institute. Two things stood out: his impeccable diagnosis and amiable nature. Arrogance was miles away. He started practising at CMC, Chandigarh, after retirement. His fee was very reasonable. Like Dr PN Chhuttani, the founder, he treated his patients on the pattern of the PGI. His command over the language was perfect and his comments in the daily morning Clinical Pathological Conference were penetrative. He will be remembered with a heavy heart by those who knew him.
RN Malik, Gurugram
Air pollution grant
The Central government has earmarked 42 cities with a population of more than 1 million, including Amritsar and Ludhiana, for grant of an average Rs 50 crore to control air pollution. Prevention is better than cure, and the time-tested formula applied successfully in case of the pandemic. So instead of wasting crores of rupees of taxpayers’ money, why don’t the Centre and state governments take preventive measures to control air pollution under the prevailing law already in place?
Naresh Johar, Amritsar
Refer to the endeavour of Sarah, a UAE scientist (‘Reflections’; The Sunday Tribune); along with her team of other woman scientists, have written their ‘shakti’ on the Red Planet. By doing this, the team has erased the label of second citizen in Islamic nations. Education empowers either sex. We hope a Sarah comes forward in our country also to give a befitting reply to AIMPLB officials through her achievements.
Kiran Rai Kalra, by mail
Apropos of ‘Private sector deserves equal opportunities: Modi’, the farmers cannot be blamed for the import of edible oils. They raise various crops keeping in mind input cost, viability and large consumption. It is not wise to force them to sow oil seeds, which may benefit the government, but not the farmers. It is a wrong assumption that money saved on edible oils will go into the pockets of farmers. Can the government force the corporates to produce the items being imported from China? Private sectors get many concessions, tax relief and incentives. What more equal opportunities do they need? The government may give any opportunity to private sector but not at the cost of agriculture. Let them compete with China and reduce imports.
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), by mail
‘Waiver to fraudster a fraud on investor’ is a landmark decision by the High Court on the working of banks. This discretionary action of bank authorities has told upon the internal and entire financial health and given an impetus to NPAs, ultimately affecting the common person. Some habitual borrowers have become accustomed to this system and look for an opportunity to make hay. Such waivers are not conducive for banks and society. The court has shown austerity by involving the administration, police and judiciary for effective examining, observance and monitoring, respectively. In no case should a genuine borrower suffer.
GIAN P KANSAL, AMBALA CITY
Soft spot for Rajoana
What is the rationale behind the demand for the release of Balwant Singh Rajoana, the professed killer of former Chief Minister Beant Singh and 16 others? Astonishingly, the demand has been made by none other than SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur. Though any killing must be condemned, yet these are particularly troubling, since the killer and his victims are Sikhs. Rajoana has never expressed any remorse for his heinous crime and never apologised to the families of his victims. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F Kennedy, has been in jail for 53 years, never paroled even once. No Arab country has made a demand for his release even though he is a Palestinian. I find it objectionable that the SGPC, supposedly a religious body, would even consider to defend Rajoana in the court of law, let alone spend Rs 11 lakh at his each court hearing. I, as a Sikh, find it unacceptable.
Hardev Singh Grewal, California
Reference to ‘RIL to set up world's largest zoo in Gujarat’; no zoo can simulate nature. Captivity itself amounts to physiological and psychological stress in animals. It would be worthwhile if RIL adopts Gir Asiatic Lion National Park and Rann of Kutch Wild Ass Sanctuary, which are world famous and only habitats for these species. RIL can also fund captive breeding laboratories for endangered species from where they can be released in respective native habitats.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Remove poll posters
It’s appreciable that after the declaration of results of the MC elections in Punjab, the newly elected councillors are expressing their gratitude to supporters of their respective wards through road shows. They should also help the administration to remove all election posters and banners from walls and public places.
Devinder Ratti, Zirakpur
Content to be ‘babus’
Apropos of ‘From “steel frame” to babu’; the rot is at the root but the cause lies elsewhere. The cause is the chronic virus of the spirit of subservience spread across the body politic. This is a pandemic against which ‘the only vaccination is your conscience or your will to stand up and speak the truth to power’. But who will give the dose to the unwilling ‘patient’ who is rather gaining at the cost of non-deliverance of the dose? And if the bureaucrats have no gumption to raise their voice against the derogatory term ‘babu’ used for them, how can they be expected to speak the truth?
DV Sharma, Mukerian
Disability Act anomaly
As per the Budget proposals, two banks are to be privatised. There is an anomaly which exists in Section 30 of the Pension Act. If a disabled takes premature retirement due to total incapacitation after the completion of 28 years of service, he/she is denied notional benefit of five years of service in the pensionary benefits. The anomaly exists since 1996 when the Disability Act was passed in 1996. But it still exists even after passing of the disability Act 2016. Before the privatisation of banks, the anomaly must be removed.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
The RBI has now barred the Karnataka-based Deccan Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd from granting fresh loans or accepting deposits, and customers cannot withdraw more than Rs 1,000 from their savings account for a period of six months. The lender has also been asked not to make fresh investments or incur any liability without its prior permission. How is it that a growing number of cooperative banks are now facing such a precarious situation in India? One wonders whether the emergence of such a worrisome scenario is attributable to their top management taking recourse to imprudent banking practices, or there is something more than meets the eye?
S Kumar, New Delhi
‘Perseverance’ is not just another Rover Mission. It is the most advanced, most expensive mission and most sophisticated rover, as of yet, to be sent on Mars. The results of the experiments will likely define the next stages of Mars exploration and determine the course of search and a future manned mission to Mars. It is the first step in a project to bring samples back from Mars. The study of the rock samples will hopefully provide a decisive answer on whether life really existed on Mars in the past. Let us compliment the scientists and people behind this mission at NASA.
Uday Batra, Patiala
A BJP leader, notorious for inciting the Delhi riots last year through WhatsApp and Twitter groups called the ‘Hindu ecosystem’, is trying to sway youngsters. He has more than 20,000 young people in his ‘ecosystem’ who can do any adverse thing against members of other religions. This is alarming. His activities aimed at spreading hatred in India should be immediately stopped.
VS Ahluwalia, by mail
SAARC air ambulance
India is taking a big step under the leadership of PM Modi. The EU, ASEAN etc., are successful because of mutual trust, understanding and warmth among member nations. SAARC nations lack the trust necessary to take big multinational steps like free air ambulance. India fears terrorism while the other nations fear the throne of SAARC will fall into India’s lap. India has won hearts worldwide with the vaccine supply. Indian intentions are clear — ‘the whole world is our family’. But our neighbours fall easily into China’s trap. The SAARC nations should not fear India, rather they should come forward to join hands for mutual growth. This step of free movement of medical staff is just the first step. If we cooperate, a healthy and wealthy SAARC region can be a reality.
Rohit S Modgil, by mail
Refer to ‘2018 “covert” op that is embarrassing India’; the writer has made great efforts to collect classified information, quoting former dignitaries, to prove his contention. The present world order stands changed. Nations, friends as well as enemies, are going the extra mile to maintain traditions. Glorifying the good old days will not be of much help, except for the old proverb, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.
Deepak Rana, Jammu
No real empowerment
It is a harsh reality that though a large number of women candidates fought elections of the Punjab local bodies, they did so as dummies. Their campaign was literally managed by the male members of their family. This has defeated the aim of the Punjab Government to facilitate the maximum participation of women folk in the local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions by increasing women’s reservation to 50 per cent. It is a sign of surging male dominance and chauvinism in our society. The same is the case with women’s rights. There is little change in the status of women. We call ourselves a modern society, but as far as giving freedom to the women is concerned, we are still backward.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Sangrur
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its revised forecast for global economic growth in 2021, has projected Indian economy to grow by 11.5%, making it the only major economy expected to register a double-digit growth amidst the Covid pandemic. India is followed by China, Spain and France, which are expected to grow by 8.1%, 5.9% and 5.5%, respectively. According to the IMF, the global economy is projected to grow by 5.5 per cent in 2021 and 4.2 per cent in 2022. It is heartening for India.
RK Arora, Amritsar
Reference to ‘Judges deliver justice, they don’t embody it’; we must discuss what constitutes contempt and what is implied by the supremacy of institutions delivering justice. Changing times and dynamic society necessitate bringing about changes in our perception and outlook also. Judiciary must be tolerant to criticism, as much as it needs to be independent from the executive. Amour propre comes in the way of equity and justice. Courts and judges must rise above getting irked by fair jokes, cartoons or quips. A civilised society and its institutions welcome criticism as much as freedom of expression.
Rakesh Sudan, Kurukshetra
Scrap sedition law
Invoking sedition law against a young climate activist just days after politician Shashi Tharoor and six noted journalists were booked, flags a fundamental infirmity in the sedition law. Police officials curiously reading Section 124A are quick to slap sedition on those whose actions and words incite opposition to government. The guard rails imposed by the Supreme Court, requiring direct and sudden incitement to violence to qualify as sedition, have had no effects. The zeal to invoke sedition brooks no meaningful opposition. Flawed application of the sedition law, disregarding SC strictures, qualifies for invoking contempt of court, if not quashing this archaic provision. The SC must take note of the spike in sedition cases. No less egregious is a concurrent trend of wielding the anti-terror UAPA against political activists. The apex court must scrap the sedition law and consider bail in pending cases.
LAJWANT SINGH, by mail
Captain, too, will be judged
Apropos of the interview of Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh, while on the one hand, he accepts that the farmers’ issue had a big impact on the MC elections, yet at the same time, he is attempting to take all the credit for the resounding victory on his government’s policies. At the time of the state elections, people will certainly judge his performance, and may not get swayed by national issues again and again.
The Punjab MC election results were on expected lines. Even though Punjab has often kept the BJP and the Sangh in check, this particular result is important in the current scenario. The newly enacted farm laws made the situation worse for the BJP and the action against farmers also reflected in this result.
Local issues dominate
Refer to ‘Congress makes a clean sweep’; Congress victory was anticipated. The people of Punjab have given a mandate in support of the ongoing farmers’ movement. They have rejected the AAP as well as the BJP. The Congress wave shows that people are also disenchanted with the BJP and the AAP. In civic elections, voters have given priority to local issues, developmental issues and the personal influence of candidates.
Yugal Kishore Sharma, Faridabad
Check voter list
It is often alleged by the political parties and the voters on the day of elections that the names of the electors have been deleted by the electoral registration officer on the instructions of the party in power. The process of finalising the voter lists is time bound. When the drafts of the lists are published for soliciting the objections, nobody bothers to check his/her name. They cry only on the day of the election. It is the duty of every citizen to check his/her name at the proper time instead of blaming the officers later.
Sohan Lal Bhumbak, Chandigarh
Disha accountable for act
This refers to ‘Champions of a cause’; the writer tried to shield the act of Disha Ravi by saying that it was an ‘unintended’ association with Mo Dhaliwal. Is this assertion tenable? A leading environmentalist should have thought several times about the act she was going to execute. It is also unbelievable that she might not have any knowledge of his Khalistani activities. Now that it has been done, she should face the consequences. It is for the courts to see whether the charges slapped by government agencies on her are according to the law.
RL Bansal, Kurukshetra
Do not lower guard
Again there is a rise in Covid cases. One needs to take proper care as far as distancing etiquettes are concerned. Hardly is there any place where people are seen wearing masks and adhering to other norms of social distancing. We need to understand that even after having the vaccine, we need to observe the Covid protocols to keep ourselves and others safe.
Garv bhupesh, Panchkula
Refer to ‘BJP exposes chinks’; the article has brought out the numerous challenges confronting Mamata Banerjee on her home turf, but has missed out two important points that might prove to be a dampener for the BJP’s poll prospects. The BJP has yet to finalise a CM face. Secondly, the party has opened its doors to renegades, turncoats and politicians with dubious credentials, who do not inspire confidence among the ordinary voter. Instead of highlighting the various shortcomings of the TMC rule and the yawning gap between promise and performance, the party has been indulging in unnecessary verbal jousts with the ruling dispensation and character vilification. There is still enough time for the BJP to offer an alternative development blueprint to convince the voters about its intentions.
Amit Banerjee, New Delhi
Due to Covid-19 as well as after the mission of ‘digital India’, our economy is back in the fast lane towards creating jobs and work electronically. The foremost example is the work-from-home facility being provided by several companies. Technology has proved to be a boon as well as bane for the economy. It made work and life easy, but there are various risks such as identity theft, card detail theft and fraud. India is among the top-ranked nations with regard to cyber crime. There is a high chance of personal information theft due to a weak infrastructural base. Digitalised economy does not only affect privacy, but also puts the weaker classes at a disadvantage since not everyone can afford to use technology due to rising inflation and other problems. This is creating a chasm among various sectors of the economy. People as well as the government should pay attention towards every aspect so that positive growth is possible.
Garima Kansal, Ratia
Refer to ‘Unexpected lesson in empathy’; teaching is a never-ending saga of learning between the teacher and the taught. These days when the Internet rules the roost and the market is flooded with misinformation, teachers’ intervention is of utmost importance to separate facts from fiction and to inculcate critical thinking. Technology can enhance learning but cannot supplant a teacher. They should go beyond their syllabus, and imbibe values of head and heart in students. It is the passion, boundless energy and a zest to make a difference in society that should be the guiding force behind any profession rather than a last-resort career option.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Warning bells for BJP
Reference to ‘Mandate for liberal policies’; the people of Punjab punished political parties for their role in the enactment of the three farm laws. The BJP is responsible for promulgating these laws. It has been nearly uprooted. The SAD, which had supported the Bills in the initial stage, was a distant second. The AAP’s double standard is responsible for its low score. The BJP must read the writing on the wall.
Faqir Singh, Dasuya
Victory of people
Apropos of ‘Congress sweeps the polls’, the results were expected. The Congress has won the election overwhelmingly, pushing the rival SAD to a humiliating second spot. The benefit of the farmers’ agitation has gone in favour of the Congress. The resignation of Harsimrat Badal from the coveted post of central minister did not help as the resignation was not timed well. The stubborn attitude of the Modi government on the new farm laws has not benefited it either. The Assembly elections are not far away. There is a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the Congress government. People have high hopes and their votes cannot be taken for granted. Due to 50 per cent quota, some women have been elected for the first time and people expect a significant role from them. It is expected they will play an assertive role and will not become puppets in the hands of their husbands.
Jatinder bir Singh, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘Ramani let off, court junks MJ Akbar’s suit’; Ramani’s acquittal in the criminal defamation case filed by Akbar proves who was the offender and who the victim. The acquittal by the Delhi trial court also indicates that Akbar was trying to mislead the court by filing a defamation case instead of accepting his fault. He probably felt that he could use courts to turn a decision in his favour but it has been proved incorrect. It is laudable that Ramani stood her ground. The court order also noted that women’s right to speak up about violations are not restricted by the passage of time. The order deserves praise.
Devendra Khurana, Bhopal
I, too, have a toolkit concealed in my soul and spirit. As a poet and writer, I have been gifted with such a kit by the divine muse above and within. There are many a simile, sharp-edged wit, twisting metaphor, sceptical symbols, and other devices with which to hone my skills. And an 80-year-old pen that often soils my fingers but enthuses my tempers. I have been kindly assigned the duty, or 'karma', of empathising with the common man in order to give the fittest expressions to his weal and woes, joys and travails. And also to needle the powers that be for the humiliation heaped on him with the wheels within wheels craft and cunning to fix him behind bars. I can’t help being what I am. So, come O’ the hidden hands, to knock at my humble door, and take me away if you can, and slap sedition charges on my pen and soul, if you can!
Amritlal Madan, Kaithal
Disinformation attacks use manipulated, mis-contextualised, misappropriated information and deep fakes to exploit our inherent cognitive biases, logical fallacies and psychological vulnerabilities. Disinformation campaigns could widen the divide between people and communities, causing unimaginable levels of chaos and violence. Stringent laws should be formulated to deal with this threat.
ROHIT KUMAR GUPTA, SHIMLA
Without data privacy laws in place, pulling up WhatsApp is untenable. People are using social media platforms of their own volition and if they feel that their privacy is compromised, they have the option to stop using it or migrate to other platforms of their liking, which is already being witnessed. Exodus of netizens to Telegram and Signal is at work. In the current times, people are themselves wittingly revealing their private lives on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The issue is being blown out of proportion. The government has a propensity to block the Internet, Twitter handles of dissenters and aspires that these platforms do its bidding. Perhaps the executive and judiciary are overly striving to breathe down the necks of these platforms.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Refer to ‘Privacy at stake’; WhatsApp’s controversial privacy update over data-sharing plans with Facebook and Instagram has stoked a backlash. The differentiating policy for Europeans and Indians has created a grave apprehension in the minds of the people. The right to privacy is people’s prime concern, as stated by the CJI. There have been certain instances where this right has been at risk, like during the enactment of the Aadhaar Act. People are losing faith in the legal system as it does not meet the required standard. It is the duty of the courts to look into the stumbling block.
Sakshi Arora, Bathinda
Four-laning over the past few years has resulted in landslides and disturbed the ecological balance in Kullu, Solan and Shimla. Have we learnt nothing so far? Anything at the cost of nature can’t bring us any good. Himachal is already experiencing rising temperatures. If more trees will be cut, what happened in Uttarakhand could occur in Himachal too. A crane will take 5 minutes to uproot a tree, but it takes a sapling many years to become a tree. Now, imagine hundreds of trees being cut. Would we be able to revive forests in time? It is utter devastation in the name of development. We are inviting a catastrophe. Why aren’t we controlling traffic? Why aren’t we encouraging the automobile industry to bring in more electric cars? Why are we killing Himachal?
Rohit S Modgil, Nehrian
Coup in neighbourhood
The overthrow of the Aung San Suu Kyi government in Myanmar through a military coup cannot be called justifiable at any cost even though she herself was running her country like a despotic leader. Though conferred with the Nobel Prize in 1991 for her non-violent struggle for the restoration of democracy and human rights in Myanmar, lately she was globally condemned for her indifferent approach towards her own people (Rohingya). But a coup is a heinous assault on the people’s rights and liberty. India’s role in this region becomes more significant. India’s firm stand against the coup is appreciative and as expected from a country which stands as an emblem of democracy to the world. India ought to play an active role in the restoration of democracy.
Amandeep Bains, Kurukshetra
Plastic has become an essential ingredient in our daily life. All things are packed in plastic, or plastic containers. It has led to the spread of pollution all around. We lack civic sense and throw plastic waste wherever we like — riverbeds, nullahs and rivulets. We must minimise its use. The government should look into the problem.
Santosh Jamwal, HAMIRPUR
Apropos of ‘The arrest of Disha Ravi’, there was no direct evidence against her except tweeted messages. There are far more sensitive tweets on many of our domestic issues and no such hurry is shown to take any action. The magistrate’s decision to remand her in custody without her counsel being present shows a bias against her. Even Ajmal Kasab got a fair trial. Is ex-CJI Gogoi rightly lamenting that ‘even if I approach the court, I will not get justice?’
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), by mail
Toolkit a tool
Invoking ‘sedition’ charges against Disha Ravi, and the manner of her arrest, are symptomatic of all that is wrong with democracy in our country. The former indicates its fragility; the latter, its crumbling edifice. Using the ‘toolkit’ for launching a protest is the zeitgeist of the times, transcending borders. From Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and countries of the Arab Spring, it has reached home. The most worrying trend, however, is the cavalier attitude of the young Duty Magistrates who routinely throw the rulebook out of the window with impunity. Is it because of their inexperience or sheer deference to the ruling dispensation? Whatever the case may be, this trend needs to be arrested. There is no substitute for proper training and mentoring by senior judges.
Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali
Gaps in justice
When a 22-year-old social activist is arrested for sedition and other flimsy allegations, the duty magistrate gives an unusual five-day police remand, though the person has no criminal record or past history. It invites questions on the judiciary. Globally, toolkits are used by activists to seek the truth on controversial matters, with no criminal angle at play. The farmers’ agitation has attracted worldwide attention from activists of all hues, and must be seen through the prism of seeking the ‘truth’.
BM SINGH, AMRITSAR
Does the government want to suppress the voice of the youth? Article 22 (protection against arrest and detention) gives you the right to have a counsel, but Disha Ravi did not get an opportunity to defend herself with a counsel of her choice. Is the government so partial that it’s denying a citizen her right? Does it tell us that the Delhi Police are working under the influence of the government?
Harshjot kaur, Patiala
Coalition govt better
Efforts are on to derail the farmers’ agitation and create fear among them. Has an FIR been registered against those who attacked protesters at the Singhu border recently? Kangana Ranaut has not yet been arrested for dubbing farmers as terrorists. The government passed the laws without involving all stakeholders and has adopted an adamant attitude on the matter. A coalition government is good for India rather than a majoritarian government that has a ‘one-track’ mind. The economy is already in a shambles; reviving it should be the priority.
VS Ahluwalia, by mail
Reference to ‘Irrespective of faith’, inter-caste marriages in the middle class of India have become very common and are willingly performed by parents and are accepted by society. The positive effect of these mixed marriages is the less importance given to caste and comparatively more importance given to qualification and economic potential of the persons getting married. Practically, now caste is important only in politics for getting tickets and collecting votes during elections, otherwise the old caste biases are gone. The hatred due to castes is no more. Similarly, if we start accepting inter-faith marriages, communal harmony would prevail in our society. Young people are educated and becoming economically independent. Parents and society in general would have to accept inter-faith marriages.
PREM PARKASH PUNJ, AMRITSAR
Privatisation of banks has become a well-planned money laundering ploy. Merger or privatisation of the bank means putting the common man’s money at the disposal of corporate defaulters. The government is selling these banks at throwaway prices to corporate defaulters, who will become the owners of these banks with the help of the silent netas. Employees of these banks are facing the risk of losing their jobs, and pensioners of these banks have a bleak future. Over six lakh pensioners and crores of bank depositors are left to fend for themselves. The common man must come forward and raise his voice against such moves.
SC Dhall, Zirakpur
Refer to ‘J&K to get statehood at right time: Shah’; the abrogation of Articles 370 and 34 A is welcome as it has brought residents of J&K on a par with citizens of other parts of India. The benefits of reservation in jobs and other privileges provided in the Constitution have been extended to J&K. But the statement of the Home Minister that our government works on sentiments and not on laws, schemes and planning is controversial and hence not acceptable. The first and foremost axiom of good government is the observation of rules and regulations under laws of the land. It is the responsibility of the party in power to defend the rights of citizens, like equality, fraternity and liberty, as enshrined in the Constitution.
DS Hooda, Rohtak
Cong no different
Apropos of ‘Congress will never implement CAA if voted to power in Assam: Rahul’, his statement claiming that his party would protect every principle of the Assam Accord and not implement the CAA if voted to power in the state could be akin to day-dreaming. The use of the word ‘if’ by him reveals the extant ground realities concerning the political status of this largely ‘out of sync’ Congress across the country. Ironically, he said ‘remote control can operate a TV but not a CM’ and that the CM listens to Nagpur and Delhi, but he should remember that the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government at the Centre was fully ‘remote controlled’ by his mother, Sonia Gandhi.
Vinayak G, Bengaluru
The Haryana agriculture minister’s remarks on the death of more than 200 farmers that ‘had they been at their homes, they would have died there also’ is unfortunate and unwarranted. It is not only the minister, even the PM while speaking in Parliament, refused to express remorse at the loss of life of farmers during their struggle. On the contrary, he labelled them as ‘andolanjeevi’. PM Modi and his ministers must abandon their obduracy and repeal the farm laws.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Refer to ‘Free market push may hit small farmers’; any free access to traders may lead to farmers leaving agriculture year after year. The government must heed sympathetically to the demands of the protesting farmers for the abrogation of the contentious laws. The ‘tractorcade’ of 1979 by US farmers in Washington DC bears similarity with the peaceful and massive Indian farmers’ tractor parade on Republic Day. The example that commercialisation of farmers’ produce by traders has been quoted by farm leaders many times during meetings with Central leaders. The government should give in. This would be a victory not only of both parties, but also a national victory.
Gurmit Singh, Mohali
Places to protest
Apropos of ‘Right to protest can’t be anytime, everywhere: SC’; by dismissing a petition seeking the review of the Shaheen Bagh verdict that said public places couldn’t be blocked indefinitely and demonstrations had to be in designated places, the Supreme Court has underlined its righteous opinion that the constitutional scheme comes with a right to protest and express dissent but with an obligation to have certain duties. The governments at the Centre and in the states must designate places for such protests, so that the public is not subjected to inconvenience.
KK Sood, Nangal
Refer to ‘Ecological damage will take its toll on farming’; governments should accept responsibility for their role in causing ecological damage. It is both a national and international issue to curb the plunder of natural resources which are sources of livelihood. The natural ecological setup is being exploited in the name of development as well as for strategic planning of defence purposes. Glaciers are sources of water and are needed for our existence. Maintaining data of destruction and knowing resultant causes are not sufficient; it’s more important to make strong ecology policies. All this should be taken up as a sincere activity, not as an image-building exercise.
Mukhtiar Singh, by mail
Society must change
Refer to ‘Irrespective of faith’; girls have successfully broken the chain of being only ‘homemakers’ by showing excellent results in their education and career overall. But what never changed is people’s thinking how marriage is more of a relationship between two families rather than the couple. And this belief doesn’t allow Indian parents to be flexible on the subject. Thus their search for a partner for their child gets limited to people of their community only. Are society’s opinions more important than their children’s happiness? They must introspect and normalise inter-caste marriages as society demands change and change is the only constant.
Vandita Jain, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘Not a private affair’ (Nous Indica); the disinvestment of national assets and privatisation reveal the political philosophy of the present dispensation. Privatisation at the cost of health, education, banking or agriculture sectors is not going to strengthen our economy. In the name of efficiency, the economy is being precariously pushed towards a point of being a political economy where the interests of the poorest of the poor will be compromised. Non-availability of the public sector banking system could be a nightmare for millions of small, middle-class depositors, potentially affecting the savings and investment cycle. Socialism or democratisation should not be recklessly replaced, or institutionalised, with capitalism or totalitarianism.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Privatisation no answer
Reference to ‘Not a private affair’ (Nous Indica); the government seems to be obsessed with privatisation, presuming that if it was good in 1991, it is good in 2021 too. It is not a panacea for all ills afflicting the Indian economy. Fragmentation of public infrastructure leads to serious problems. Privatisation does not necessarily increase competition. When healthcare, education and public transport are performing an important public service efficiently and effectively, why can’t other public entities do so, if they are supported earnestly and given a free hand to function? The private sector can be more efficient in some cases, but not in all. We have the best and worst of everything. We have the best of manpower in terms of modern technology, information technology, agricultural sciences, nuclear sciences and space technology, but we have corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, who are accountable to none and treat government funds as their own.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Refer to ‘Mixing cricket and religion’; differences between a coach and a cricket association are not new, but Indian cricket has been an example of secularism in practice. All that has mattered is how you bat, bowl, field and function in the team, on purely cricketing parameters. Making such allegations against Wasim Jaffer is deeply disturbing, for it is an effort to introduce the politics of communalism into cricket — India’s true religion. The allegations could well be dismissed, but these come in the wake of a rising trend of sidelining minorities and forcing them to prove their nationalism.
SANJAY CHOPRA, Mohali
Upswing in market
Reference to ‘A false sense of exuberance’; there are contrasting views on the spurt in the BSE index. As per some economists, it depicts the brighter side of the economy while for other experts, it is an ephemeral bubble. The Sensex is considered to be a barometer of the stock market. But it is formed of just 30 scrips out of around 8,900 listed on the exchange. Two or three listed companies denoting a particular industrial sector can't be a mirror to hundreds of non-listed companies belonging to the same sector. Along with the fluctuation of the index, figures of total market capitalisation should also be floated for the public on a daily basis. Both figures will help retail investors in building firm views regarding the stock market.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Apropos of ‘The secret of getting along with people’, loneliness amongst the elderly is a malady of modern times. Earlier, the joint families revolved around them. They were put on a high pedestal and enjoyed respect and importance till the very end. These days, unfortunately, they are being neglected. Appreciating others and accepting the differences in the nature of one another can go a long way in making life more comfortable and beautiful.
Aswant Kaur, Tarn Taran
Spiralling fuel prices
Apropos of ‘Fuel prices on fire’, high levels of taxes and surcharges in our country have forced the sale of petrol and diesel at many times the basic price. This has affected even other commodities and manufactured goods, making life even more difficult for the common man. Successive governments have failed to implement a corruption-free taxation system. They consider taxing fuel as the easiest and instantaneous method of increasing their revenues to meet fiscal targets. It is the constitutional responsibility of the government to create social and economic conditions under which citizens can lead a good life. The way forward lies in implementing technology-based tax collection and fraud detection mechanisms rather than continuing to overload the overburdened middle class.
It is not fair that farmers should keep the public on tenterhooks. The ‘Rail Roko’ slated for February 18 will only put the public to inconvenience and there will be no effect on the makers of the contentious farm laws. By disrupting transportation, the sufferers will mostly be daily-wage earners, patients, vendors, students, emergency travellers, etc. The Railways will suffer losses, which will not affect the lawmakers and the bureaucracy. All andolans should be peaceful and strike/agitations should be kept to a limited area and persons concerned. ‘Rail Roko’ and road blockades should be shunned.
Jagdish Singh Jassal, Patiala
China not to be trusted
Refer to the ‘disengagement’ understanding reached between China and India in Ladakh following the ninth round of talks between their core commanders; while such an arrangement entails the returning of the Chinese forces beyond Finger Point number 8, a position that obtained prior to its intruding up to Pangong lake, the fact also remains that the Dragon can’t be trusted. Who knows what hidden game plan Chinese President Xi Jinping could be having up his sleeve. India should, in no case, lower its guard and must constantly keep a hawk’s eye on its disengagement-related commitment.
S Kumar, Panchkula
Can’t cede an inch
It is a matter of good sense that after several rounds of talks, China has started to disengage its troops from the Pangong lake on the north and south banks. Now we have to be more vigilant about the physical verification by our team of commanders. History has proved that China has not honoured any bilateral agreements with India since 1949. This time, we should not even leave one inch of our land, unlike in 1949 and 1962, when a lot of our territory was grabbed by China.
RK Dahiya, Yamunanagar
Be on guard
The beginning of disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops at the LAC is a welcome step. At places, the troops were dangerously close, within a rifle-shot distance. Such a situation could explode in a flash point anytime. Phased disengagement shall ward off the possibility of a bloody conflict, like we saw on June 14 last year. But the Chinese are known to make assurances and agreements but do not respect them on the ground. PLA soldiers have been intruding across the LAC even in recent times. So, a foolproof verifiable process has to be put in place to ensure that synchronised withdrawal progresses smoothly. To have a peaceful environment, both sides must maintain the sanctity of the LAC. On the international border with Pakistan, we used to frequently carry out joint patrolling, combining troops of both sides, as per a pre-agreed schedule. Similar arrangements can be chalked out at the LAC to avoid clashes.
SUBHASH VAID, NEW DELHI
Wake-up call for all
Refer to ‘Himalayan tragedy’, it’s high time for everyone to realise the environmental crisis in today’s world. Such tragedies might become common in the next 20 years. Though everybody talks about the damage being done to the environment and climate by humans, barely anybody adopts environment-friendly practices. What happened in Uttarakhand is a result of carelessness, not only by the natives, but all of us, because we all are responsible for global warming. MC elections in Punjab are approaching and all political parties are presenting their manifestos, but it is important that while these parties promise development, this development is sustainable. If human progress and environment welfare don’t go hand in hand, such tragic incidents of nature’s fury will be a common feature. We citizens must also cooperate.
DIVIJA DEWAN, MOHALI
Need real empowerment
Even after 50 per cent reservation for women candidates to contest elections in Punjab, women need real exposure. There is no use of reservation if only the male members call the shots. Women are mere representatives. The actual decision-making powers remain with male members only. Pasting photos on hoardings and posters doesn’t empower them. Give them the right to take necessary decisions by strengthening their abilities.
Chahat Gilhotra, Ludhiana
Drop in education budget
It is unfortunate that the government has reduced the budgetary allocation for the education sector. The sector was the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The government needs to push in more money into the sector so that it can thrive. Education is the main catalyst for the development of a nation.
Hilal zargar, Anantnag
The news item ‘Defend arrested youth, Khaira urges parties’ was ironically amusing. So far, supporters of the farmers’ agitation were shouting themselves hoarse that the rioters who vandalised the Red Fort and insulted the national flag were RSS and BJP agents, planted by the government to defame the farmers. Now, these very people are demanding that these youths should be defended. Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh has even declared that the state has appointed 70 lawyers to defend the accused. The common man would be genuinely puzzled.
AK SHARMA, CHANDIGARH
Preparedness is key
The forces involved in rescue operations always put in a lot of effort even to the extent of sacrificing their own lives and limbs which is commendable. But watching them being hampered by lack of training, equipment and SOPs is painful. Natural disasters will always occur, but preparedness is the key to minimise the damage. The plan and procedures for rescue must be worked out even before constructing a tunnel. There is no need to hurry the pace. It is not only so in setting up of hydel projects in hill states, but also for the overall economic development of the nation. It needn’t be fraught with risks.
Lt Col GS Bedi, (Retd), Mohali
Refer to ‘150 RCs made with fake papers in Indora’; how have the offenders managed to make fake papers for RC registration? It's a matter of serious concern. Who helped them? Those involved in this scam must be punished. It also brings to light the irregularities in Aadhaar registration. How do they manage to get fake Aadhaar cards? The government must initiate a thorough investigation.
Ritish Pandit, Sunhet
It’s a matter of grave concern that the prices of petrol and diesel have been going through the roof. Unless the Centre announces a suitable cut in the excise duty, the retail prices of the twin auto fuels may soon touch the level of Rs 100/litre. The government should come to the immediate rescue of the hapless end-users.
SK Gupta, Panchkula
Resolve farmers’ issues
Refer to ‘Biden-Modi phone call’; the US President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock of the US-India relationship. The handling of the farmers’ issue has become a perception battle more than a true search for corrections. India must resolve farmers’ issues through negotiations to strengthen Indo-US ties.
SS Paul, Nadia
The recent Uttarakhand disaster reminded people of the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy. The one main reason for such incidents is global warming which needs to be controlled. The government should take stern action to control pollution to prevent such calamities that result in huge losses to both humankind and wildlife. Man-made constructions are also responsible for the occurrence of natural disasters. We need to reduce the use of such things which go against the environment.
Riya kohli, Dehradun
Team India disappoints
Apropos of ‘Laid low in Chennai’, it was disheartening to see India lose the first Test of the series against England by a massive margin of 227 runs. Expected to come up with an exceptional effort on Day 5, they belied the hopes of cricket lovers of India. Captain Kohli ploughed a lonely furrow to showcase how to bat on a difficult pitch. Eventually, he too fell as he could not withstand the tremendous pressure exerted on him by England bowlers. India’s defeat has opened up the race to the final of the World Test Championship and they cannot afford another drubbing. At the same time, England’s triumph cannot be belittled. They deserve accolades for their clinical and superlative performance with the bat and the ball that enabled them to win the Test hands down. Skipper Joe Root deserves plaudits for his scintillating 218 in the first innings.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
Not the right choice
Refer to ‘Laid low in Chennai’; the inclusion of Rohit Sharma is becoming a liability for the team. Seeing his batting form in Australia, he shouldn’t have been picked as he is not suited to this format of cricket. The inclusion of Shahbaz Nadeem over Kuldeep Yadav was also inexplicable. The The Indian tail also needs to wag a bit in this format.
Harish Malhotra, by mail
Seeing tears in the eyes of PM Modi and Ghulam Nabi Azad at the end of the latter’s term in the Rajya Sabha inspires confidence in democratic norms and etiquette still being practised. That both lavished praise on each other for their qualities and contribution to the cause of democracy makes one wonder why such courtesies are reserved only for farewells. The treasury and the opposition benches can be nice to each other instead of resorting to loud-mouthed invectives. The liberal use of poetry and Urdu couplets at such critical times can soothe wounds and personal hurts. There is a lesson to be learnt by the warring spokespersons of political parties on television channels.
Amritlal Madan, Kaithal
Not a hero
Deep Sidhu got arrested for violence at Red Fort on Republic Day. This arrest has made him a 'hero'. I am staggered by the fact that if anyone from the Sikh religion dares to speak against him, he/she is being called ‘kaum da gaddar’, in the same way as people in power label some people as anti-nationals who dare to criticise them. People are justifying his act as ‘heroic’. The main focus, which should be on the demand to repeal the farm laws, is being diverted to his arrest. When people like him are referred to as ‘heroes’, the State gets the chance to colour the entire movement as that of a particular religion.
Rashpinder Singh, Mansa
All about trust
Though the Prime Minister has assured that the Bills are advantageous for farmers, the latter are not convinced. In a state where the MSP is still not being given at the ground level, how can they be certain that the newly introduced market will give them the basic price? The farmers are not in a state of mind to give credence to the verbal expression for the guarantee of MSP. They want a law that assures MSP. The PM should have a direct conversation with them to gain their trust.
ABHISHEK GROVER, Bathinda
Dangerous old dams
There was recently a deluge in Uttarakhand, which created havoc in the area. Some experts termed it to be a natural calamity while others said it was manmade. This issue is debatable, despite having advanced technology and satellite images to ascertain the facts. But another danger is lurking. Most of our dams are now more than 50 years old. We should take measures in advance as any concrete building or fortification can withstand the vagaries of nature for a limited time period.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail
Toying with nature
Refer to ‘Himalayan tragedy’; nature’s fury has time and again warned against the perils of climate change, but we have failed to mend our ways. Retreating of glaciers owing to climate change is a recurring phenomenon. Excessive tapping of river water for hydel projects poses a threat to the natural ecosystem, especially in such fragile Himalayan zones. The root of the problem lies in the construction of too many projects in the eco-sensitive zones, despite the 2013 ruling of the SC. Focus must be on sustainable development in order to make the planet liveable for future generations.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Reverse the damage
Unbridled construction has to be stopped. We are not apart from nature, but are a part of nature and our life support system depends on the safety of our environment. Any further disturbance in the already fragile ecosystem of these mountains will have far-reaching implications on our existence. There is no point going to the moon, if we’re unable to avert such incidents. We can still reverse the harm we have done to our hills. Hopefully, we will take necessary corrective and proactive steps to leave a good legacy for our generations to come.
K Kumar, Panchkula
The tele-consultation timings for registration at the OPD of the cardiology department at the PGI, Chandigarh, is only from 8 am to 9.30 am. Since there is only one telephone line for the purpose, it becomes very difficult to get oneself registered. Further, each unit functions twice a week. If one is unable to get registered on a particular day, one is forced to wait for next week. The number of telephone lines should be increased, so that patients can get the benefit of this facility. Also, registration should be done in two shifts, morning and afternoon, to cope with the rush of patients.
Balbir Singh Batra, Mohali
Faruqui’s unfortunate arrest and his subsequent detention in jail must force us to reconsider the tenability of Section 295 A, IPC, which criminalises ‘insulting religion or religious beliefs’. It is legally antiquated and inconsonant with public morality which hails free speech. Moreover, the provision fails to make a distinction between fair criticism and malice, permitting a sensitive few to misemploy the provision. Therefore, it must either be repealed or amended to delineate what actions precisely would provoke the imposition of this provision.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Nothing new to say
Refer to ‘PM’s outreach’; Modi in his reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address in the Rajya Sabha has only reiterated what the Agriculture Minister and others have said on the contentious farm laws. The stalemate continues in the absence of any concrete proposal to resolve the issue. The government, if it is genuinely interested in resolving this issue, needs to show more empathy and minimise the trust deficit widening between the protesting farmers and lawmakers.
Prem Singh, Chandigarh
Pendency of cases
Majority of political and legislative decisions taken by the state/Central government are being challenged in courts through PILs and other cases. A final decision may come after years. If the government and bureaucracy are sincere and consult all stakeholders before passing laws/strictures, the chances of conflict will diminish considerably, thereby obligating the need for any intervention by the judiciary. This shall go a long way in reducing the workload on the overburdened courts and save precious time and resources of the government as well as the litigants.
Ramit Bagga, Panchkula
Farmers need cover
The government’s wise agro policies in favour of the farming community are the only way to bring desired and required changes. Any change, if it has monetary stimulus in techniques as well as for assured marketing of produce, will make the way to divert current thinking and make crop diversification easy. Eco resources and land fertility can be saved. Foreign trade on agri imports on edible oils may be put on favourable terms. All this is possible only if the government is sincere.
Mukhtiar Singh, by mail
They know better
Refer to ‘Give agri laws a chance’; does the government really think that the farmers don't know about the pros and cons of their profession? If they have struggled so hard and have come this far, they are very clear about their demands. The government is just making excuses to divert attention. Farmers’ demands must be fulfilled. Not only are farmers disturbed but also the other citizens who have to face a lot of problems.
Simran Ahuja, Yamunanagar
Infra push at a cost
The Uttarakhand tragedy has sent a warning how infrastructural push in this ecologically sensitive region is taking place without rigorous local research. The danger here is that instead of mitigating the climate challenge, ill-conceived projects could end up multiplying the risks, and for all of India that lives along Himalayan rivers. The Kedarnath tragedy of 2013 should have been a wake-up call. All such tragedies should not be treated as an isolated incident. Pursuit of environmental and economic goods in a democracy does involve complex calculations, but the importance of expert knowledge cannot be overstated. Policy decisions shaping such projects must be swayed by scientists, not contractors and builders.
LAL SINGH, Amritsar
Apropos of ‘Himalayan tragedy’, the latest tragedy is a reminder of coming close to the frontier of climate change and global warming. There is a necessity to tackle the widening mismatch between the model of development championed by governments and the need to preserve land and water resources. The village of Raini, where the disaster struck, was ironically the cradle of the Chipko Movement initiated in the 1970s to save trees. Alas, the benefit-versus-loss debate has no clear winners. The immediate economic growth at the expense of environmental disruption is a matter of concern.
TV JAYAPRAKASH, KERALA
Large gap between sustainability and development is the bane of humankind. Climate change has a direct influence on species living on earth. Climate change itself is a slow pandemic. Rise in temperature on one side of earth impacts the other side too. The concept of sustainability needs to be applied practically to save life on earth.
Rohit KumaR Gupta, Shimla
Refer to ‘SC grants interim bail to comedian Faruqui’; the Supreme Court's prompt willingness to free comedian Faruqui should send a signal to all magistrates, sessions courts and high courts that ‘bail, not jail’ should be the judiciary's primary instinct. Without even scrutinising the violation of fundamental right to free speech, the apex court decided the other fundamental issue: Was arrest necessary? The police are required to certify the necessity of arrests against a five-point checklist: possibility of committing another offence, proper investigation of present offence, preventing any evidence from disappearing, threat to witnesses and possibility of accused absconding. It is alarming that such procedures are neglected.
PL SINGH, by mail
Off and on
Refer to ‘Better late than never’; restoration of 4G services after a long hiatus in Kashmir is so far so good. Given the low fuse rating of the government and it being compulsively thin skinned, how long this fundamental right is sustainable is anybody's guess. Any iota of dissent shall provoke it to reimpose the ban at the drop of a hat. The way the Internet has been suspended at farmer protest sites is a testament. Fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution are now at the whims of the government. This is a new normal.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
4G services in J&K
It is a matter of relief that 4G mobile services have been restored across J&K after almost 18 months (‘Better late than never’). As a matter of fact, the decision to suspend the mobile services to the common masses was harsh. Internet access being part of the fundamental right to freedom of speech was stressed by the Supreme Court itself, which had also pointed out that suspension of Internet services was against rights and must be avoided.
Subhash C Taneja, Gurugram
Apropos of ‘Check facts: MEA on celeb tweets’, it is becoming clear that the pillars of our political establishment stand shaken over a few tweets. Earlier, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had sent a notice to Twitter, directing it to remove accounts relating to the farmers' protests that it deemed to be offensive, but Twitter responded by conveying that they constitute free speech. By attempting to quell and block global attention and criticism, India is making itself look prickly and insecure, instead of the firm-footed player on the world stage that it wants to be.
PS KAUR, by mail
Selling govt assets
Reference to the FM rejects ‘selling family silver’ charge; the best solution to this problem is to make it mandatory to buy immovable assets with the proceeds of any PSUs asset or share or part of it sold. Any state government or Centre can’t meet their day-to-day expenses with the proceeds of the assets so sold, they would have to reinvest the same amount in immovable assets. This is in pattern with the I-T Act under which any individual who sells his/her immovable assets has to buy the fixed assets in a stipulated time or buy government bonds or pay income tax.
Naresh Mohan Johar, Amritsar
Apropos of “FM rejects ‘selling family silver’ charge”, the policy to divest most public sector companies, save the few in strategic sectors, may be moot. Since this is a long-drawn process, consensus across the political spectrum would be desirable. Twenty years ago, a fully operational heavy water plant at NFL Nangal was scrapped — as atomic energy-sensitive heavy water could not be entrusted to a private prospective entity — with the change of guard in 2004. The government of the day would do well not to bite off more than it can chew.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
Nature hits back
The Uttarakhand incident is being called a natural disaster. Humans must be condemned. It is our doing. Rampant construction of roads and rail lines, besides pollution, is adding to the problem. It is a result of our deeds. A report says in the upcoming decade, we will be experiencing temperatures as high as 60°C. The day is not far when the entire world would have to be put under lockdown every year to curb pollution. First, we invest in buying petrol and diesel and pollute the environment; and then, we initiate global programmes to check pollution by investing many crores. What does it show? We need to innovate and work according to nature. The race to become powerful has ruined our environment and nature.
Aman Jaiswal, Delhi
The restoration of 4G Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir after 18 months is a laudable step. It is a sign that normalcy is returning after the abrogation of Article 370. The Internet services were partially restored in January last year, but only 2G services were available for mobile users. But now as the situation in the UT is becoming better, reintroducing 4G Internet is a very good decision to ensure that the day-to-day life of the people gets back on track. This will also promote business as many local businesses will be able to increase their sales by online means. It will also benefit students and professionals who were unable to use the Internet for academic and professional purposes.
Krishnansh Somani, Ujjain
Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar made a statement that the protest is limited to only one state, ignoring the fact that farmers across the country are protesting against the farm laws. One can ascertain that he is referring to Punjab. He seems to be unaware of the kisan mahapanchayats being held in UP. Rakesh Tikait is leading the way and he is from UP. How can the protest be only of one state?
Rashpinder Singh, Mansa
Social media scrutiny
Apropos of ‘Scrutiny for passport’, the legislation passed in Bihar and Uttarakhand giving powers to the police to verify the antecedents of passport applicants from social media posts is uncalled for. Just as the right to peaceful demonstration is a fundamental right, so is the right to objective comments in the democratic polity, except when the comments lead to misreporting or exacerbate violence. It is not understood why the state government is enacting the law when there are many other laws to deal with cyber miscreants.
Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali
Twitter losing credibility
It’s time to ban Twitter in India as the platform is losing its credibility. What are we witnessing? Paid tweets, scripted and mastermind tweets, fake accounts, PR tweets. All this is causing more harm to society than helping in any manner.
Anmol Ahuja, Patiala
The Indian Government has now started pulling up supporters of farmers’ protest by intimidating them in different ways. The government indirectly warned Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau not to show concern for the farmers’ protest otherwise the ties between the two countries may get affected. Steps like suspending the Internet, stopping the supply of water and now warning Canada reveals the desperation of the government. The world’s strongest democracy is indeed in danger.
Bhavya Vig, Ambala city
Helplines not helpful
There are far too many helpline numbers floated by various agencies. Are these numbers of any help? First, the numbers are not easily accessible. And second, if you do get through after several attempts, you are greeted by a faceless tape asking you to press this digit or the other, until you get fed up and disconnect. The same is the story of toll-free numbers. Services provided by these numbers must be improved.
WG CDR CL SEHGAL (RETD), JALANDHAR
Power of tears
Refer to ‘Don’t hold back the tears’; the emotive response Tikait’s tears generated tells us a long tale of farmers’ collective struggle, suffering, anger and agony at Delhi’s borders, and in their everyday life. The outburst may have provided some ventilation to his swollen, woeful heart, but worked as a catalyst, making many watchers empathetic. Thousands rushed to the Ghazipur border after they watched the viral video showing him weeping. Also, such touching moments inspire painters, writers, debaters or activists to write, react or respond, compelling dispersions to bring about a desired change.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
The Budget is notable for a clause in its fine print, which is the plan to withdraw tax exemption on the interest income earned by employee’s PF contribution exceeding Rs 2.5 lakh a year. As the government offers no social security to the retired or elderly, those working in the organised sector rely mainly on their own contributions to the EPF to build a retirement kitty. To withdraw this benefit is unfair, even if it impacts only 1% of EPF members. While the new limit appears to curb benefits to a creamy layer of employees earning over Rs 20 lakh a year, even those well below this threshold will fall into the net if they make high voluntary contributions. The clause’s wordings are also unclear on whether the tax will apply only to contributions made after April 1, 2021, or to interest on legacy investments, too. The argument that the EPF’s high interest is subsidised by taxpayers is debatable as the fund pays annual interest only out of its declared surplus.
Yash Pal Ralhan, Jalandhar
Apropos of ‘A long list of opponents’, democracy has had its ups and downs under every successive government, more so today. We notice that those who speak saner things are punished unnecessarily. This should be undone for the greater interest of making the country vibrant. Whatever we speak and write in public must be tempered with civility and grace. Any national reconstruction and mission requires cooperative endeavour, and before hauling our opponents, we have to take their arguments reasonably and not consider them as enemies. Without meaningful liberty and freedom, democracy will be in chains.
PARTHASARATHY SEN, NEW DELHI
Reeks of authoritarianism
Refer to ‘A long list of opponents’; the slogan of ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ seems to have degenerated into ‘Opposition-mukt Bharat’. The sedition Act, which ought to be invoked in the rarest of rare cases, is now being invoked at the drop of a hat to stifle dissenting voices. It is unfortunate that people are immediately categorised as anti-national or seditionists and draconian laws like the UAPA are slapped against them. This policy reeks of totalitarianism and despotism. Right to freedom of expression enshrined in our Constitution will lose its meaning and significance if the voice of dissent is misconstrued as sedition. The imposition of Emergency was a one-off aberration, but now our democratic rights are imperilled indefinitely.
Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa
Both the Centre and farmers’ unions are adopting aggressive tactics to browbeat each other, resulting in a logjam over farm issues. If the police act of barricading and fortifying Delhi borders is a repressive measure, the call by farmers’ unions to block highways is also not justified as means of a peaceful agitation. Both sides must show magnanimity in resolving the issue before the nation is plunged into a state of anarchy and civil unrest.
Anil Vinayak, Amritsar
Refer to ‘Time for firefighting’; hyperbolic statements by Tikait could hinder the creation of a peaceful atmosphere for talks, allowing others to interfere in India’s internal matters. Multiple barriers on the agitation sites are to check any repetition of the January 26 violence.
Pawan Rakheja, Gurugram
News channels have taken the role of the mouthpiece of political parties instead of conveying news. Parties have been spending crores of rupees to spread their own propaganda through the media. Contents in this politically driven media are usually twisted according to the needs of their own ideology and thus helps in the propagation of narcissistic politics. Parties are more interested in forming governments for their vested interests rather than serving people. One is advised to remain alert to use his or her wisdom in understanding the various complexities of politics.
Amandeep Bains, Kurukshetra
Sanctity of Spiti
Since the Spiti valley is finally opening the door for tourists after almost a year, tourists as well as the locals are excited at the prospect. Now that the valley is Covid-free, all precautionary measures must be followed since there may be a surge in the number of tourists with the opening of the Atal Tunnel. It is essential to keep the virus attack at bay. Let’s hope the sanctity of the region is maintained and the snow keeps glowing white.
Shivani Bansal, Rampura Phul
Corruption a way of life
The news report ‘Indian jailed in UAE for offering bribe’ is rather interesting in the Indian context, where corruption and bribery have become so rampant that it has become part of our culture now. Nobody is ashamed of either demanding or giving bribes to get work done, more so government servants and general public. It is difficult for the common man to get even the minutest of work done without greasing the palms of officials.
Ramit Bagga, Panchkula
Biden a case study
US President Joe Biden is 78 years old. His first wife and child were killed in a road accident, and a son died of cancer. The second son was discharged from the US navy following cocaine use. Biden also suffered from life-threatening aneurysms and face muscle paralysis. Despite facing unfavourable situations, he became the President of the most powerful country in the world. He is physically and mentally fit to take up this huge responsibility. It is a perfect case study for senior citizens of the world, because at the age of 60, they think that everything is over. What an inspiring and motivational life!
RK Arora, Amritsar
‘Short shrift to social sector’ highlights the injustice done to the social sector in Budget allocations. National Education Policy puts forth many reforms keeping the current needs of the youth in a global perspective. The policy speaks of 6% of GDP as expenditure on education. But the current Budget slashes the total outlay by 6.13% — the lowest in two years. Incentive for girls for secondary education has also been reduced to a considerable extent, affecting their education. Reduction in allocations for midday meals will also affect the health of children. Pandemic may be one of the reasons for the reduced outlay for school education. The MHRD is likely to make a case for more allocations in times to come if the implementation of NEP is given some priority. Hopefully, the Ministry of Finance will take care of education during the revised estimates.
S Kumar, PANCHKULA
Be open to criticism
Apropos of ‘Time for firefighting’, the focus should be on finding an acceptable solution to end the farmers’ agitation and not on derailing or defaming it. The reaction to the comments of the likes of Rihanna and Greta Thunberg is surprising. Haven’t our top leaders often criticised our Opposition on foreign soil? Have we not been using the Indian diaspora to propagate our achievements? We must be tolerant of criticism too. Suspending the Internet and fortification of roads may attract more of it. Only peaceful and disciplined agitations can be sustained. Divisive politics of religion, casteism, regionalism, etc., must be bid adieu if we are to protect our interests.
HL Sharma, Amritsar
Separate wheat from chaff
It is unfortunate that farmers reeling under poverty and debt have been made the scapegoat by opportunists who have their own axe to grind. The campaign is losing its prime objective as it has been hijacked at composite levels. Who are the real farmers? Are they the Twitterati, national and international celebrities? Are they the legislators who pass laws on the plush premises of Parliament? Genuine farmers must take a strong apolitical stand, considering how successive governments have failed to redress their grievances. The new farm laws, subject to amendments, may boost their economic and social growth. If these new laws are foisted on the farmers to satisfy the ego of the elite, nothing will change, not even the condition of the farmers for whom seemingly everyone is waging a war against the Centre.
UPANT SHARMA, PANCHKULA
It is a matter of pleasure that The Tribune has completed 140 glorious years of its publication. It’s been a privilege for generations to have grown and evolved with it, sharing the tribulations of the changing times in the columns of this newspaper. While I greatly appreciate what the paper has to offer, I also have a suggestion: helpline numbers should be carried as they are of great help to the readers in their daily life.
Ravinder Kumar Jain, Ludhiana
Refer to ‘A fairy tale going strong’; the story of The Tribune was retold lucidly and without any exaggeration. I have been reading the paper since 1972. It is a complete family paper that does not indulge in yellow journalism. It is keeping alive the spirit of its greatest-ever Editor, Kalinath Ray. The paper understands its responsibility and accountability in enlarging and encouraging the democratic spirit through an impartial appraisal of issues confronting the nation.
Tarsem S Bumrah, Batala
The Tribune saga
It is a momentous event that The Tribune is celebrating the 140th anniversary of its existence in the service of society, and the nation. It is truly the voice of the people. I have been a regular reader of this daily since my college days. It is a part and parcel of my life. Its impartial reporting and publication of diverse views is commendable and makes it a robust fourth pillar of democracy.
Ravi Bhushan, Kurukshetra
My interest in The Tribune started in 1966 after matriculation. After joining the Army, the Army Postal Service kept supplying the newspaper regularly. Even when posted at Siachen Glacier, week-old newspapers, dropped by helicopters along with fresh rations, were eagerly awaited. I also heard interesting stories about its publication from my father-in-law, who as an executive magistrate, had to perform the unpleasant job of censorship during the Emergency. The Tribune is a pleasant addiction, especially for North Indians.
Lt Col HS Dullat (Retd), Patiala
Refer to ‘Short shrift to social sector’; the act of omission in the Budget is with regard to MSMEs. While the government was keen on the recovery of large industries, the segment which roughly contributes 30 per cent of the country’s GDP, and employs about 11 crore people, got a short shrift with an allocation of a mere Rs 15,700 crore. The pandemic killed 1.5 lakh people in India last year, but many times that number of MSME units died in the period or are in a critical stage, rendering crores of people jobless. The government must rethink its approach towards the sector.
SS Paul, Nadia
Reference to ‘Big push for healthcare, infra’; the higher expectations of various sections of society, particularly the middle class notwithstanding, the enhanced allocations for healthcare, infra and agriculture sectors in the Budget proposals for 2021-22 underline the commitment of the government to build a stronger and resilient health system, better transportation-connectivity network, and uplift of the agricultural sector, which may subsequently facilitate in curbing unemployment by creating more jobs. The salaried class may feel dejected with the proposed taxing of the interest on employee’s PF share above Rs 2.5 lakh.
KK Sood, Nangal
Budget doesn’t enthuse
Healthcare, education and unemployment should have been the priorities, but ruefully, the FM has hardly touched upon them. Boost in healthcare has been highlighted, but it is unclear. Hospitals in urban areas lack the required infrastructure, latest technology devices, specialist doctors and regular paramedical staff. The condition of primary health centres in rural areas can be well deduced. As regards quality education, government as well as private schools are being run from crumbling buildings without necessary infrastructure and amenities, and with skeletal staff. Under such circumstances, quality education is a distant dream. It needs heavy budget allocation. Unemployed youth have degrees but no jobs. This is the reason why our educated, unemployed youth are shifting to foreign lands in search of suitable jobs.
Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar
The news report ‘10-tier barricading at Tikri border’ elicited nothing but pangs of regret. On the one side, the PM is all for a debate on important issues, and has also declared that for the Agriculture Minister is just a call away; and on the other, this fortified barricading by the authorities. What message does it give? It is time to pave a smooth and hassle-free path for discussion to end this imbroglio. Tit-for-tat policy can have a vitiating effect.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Harassment of farmers
Apropos of ‘Spikes come up at Tikri border; concrete barricades at Singhu’, the Bahadurgarh MC has called back its sanitation workers from the Tikri border. This is not good. Further, the public health department of Haryana has stopped water supply to farmers, making things difficult for them. It is not right to stop drinking water for anybody. Learn from Bhai Kanhaiya in history, who offered water even to enemy soldiers injured during a war. And here, farmers are not our enemies. Farmers are still putting up a brave face and tolerating all this.
Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala
Bold and beautiful
The Tribune celebrating its 140th Foundation Day with a pullout is heartwarming for its readers. The paper is bold, beautiful and balanced. I started reading this illustrious newspaper on the advice of my English professor, when I joined college in 1960, to hone my writing skills. This 60-year-old love affair is growing with each passing day. The pullout was so engrossing that I have given it to be bound into a booklet.
Surindra Lal, by mail
Addicted to The Tribune
The Tribune pullout on the occasion of its 140th anniversary gave a brilliant history of the newspaper, of which I am a voracious reader for the past more than six decades. Like Partap Singh Kairon’s ban on publication of reports on Punjabi Suba agitation during the early 1960s, I am reminded of Bansi Lal getting miffed at the fearless criticism of his working by The Tribune. Covert instructions were received, whereby Haryana Government officers discontinued subscribing to the paper for a short while. I remember visiting friends and relatives just to read the paper. The Tribune in the morning is far more addictive than a drink in the evening!
Adarsh Jain, by mail
The special pullout on The Tribune’s 140th Foundation Day, with articles, memoirs and personal messages, recalling the great contribution of our popular newspaper in the current times, and also its glorious role during the freedom struggle, was engaging. It was a treat to go through the reminiscences of former editors about their eventful tenures at The Tribune. The articles by eminent political leaders made for an interesting read. Legendary Editor Kalinath Ray’s patriotic and bold editorials were immensely inspiring.
RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad
Bold and transparent
This refers to ‘140 years of fearless journalism’. Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia was a great visionary who established The Tribune in 1881, keeping the future in mind. Its enduring popularity reflects the confidence and trust readers have in the age-old policy of truthfulness, transparency and boldness adopted by the paper since its inception. I have been reading The Tribune for the past 40 years. Many more older readers may also be there who are still enjoying its simple and explicit form of expression related to various issues concerning the world, the nation and the region.
The Union Budget has disappointed the poor and the middle class. No provision has been made to increase employment opportunities. Disinvestment and sale of government assets is going to increase the monopoly of private players. It looks like the government is selling assets and making money to run the nation. Additional cess on already skyrocketing prices of fuel is going to increase the prices of necessity goods. The poor are becoming more poor and the rich are garnering more assets.
Wg Cdr Jasbir Minhas (retd), Mohali
Exempt from tax
The Finance Minister has exempted senior citizens aged 75 or above having no other income than pension and interest from filing income tax return. It is hardly a concession as they still have to pay tax, to be deducted by the bank. If the government really wants to help senior citizens, it should exempt all 80-plus pensioners of this category from paying income tax as at least their one month’s pension goes towards income tax.
Basant Singh Brar, Bathinda
Taxing senior citizens
In this year’s Budget, there is a provision that senior citizens above 75 years of age need not file IT return. TDS will be deducted by banks in case of fixed deposits by them, and in case of a refund, they will have to file the return. There is nothing beneficial for senior citizens or the middle class.
IPS ANAND, GURUGRAM
Ego and ‘pagri’
The PM has reiterated the offer to put on hold the agricultural laws. Farmers are protesting to protect and ensure their livelihood and existence. They are neither naive nor do they lack awareness in the present times. The obduracy of the government and its repressive policy of targeting the farmers to weaken the agitation have hardened their minds for any settlement other than the repeal of laws and legalisation of MSP. Since the agitation has been prolonged, a breakthrough is desirable, as the agriculture sector is the only silver lining in the economic slowdown despite the pandemic. The barriers created by ego and the ‘pagri’ need to be broken.
Sardul Singh dhawan, Chandigarh
Refer to 50 years of India’s 1971 War victory; successive governments failed to get dividends in spite of the sacrifice of around 3,000 troops. In the Simla Agreement, a golden opportunity was lost not to get PoK vacated before the repatriation of 93,000 enemy soldiers and 15,000 sq km land occupied by India. Identification of army personnel committing brutalities in East Pakistan couldn’t be established even after historic victory by not taking the matter to international platforms. Our soldiers as POWs couldn’t be brought back home from Pakistan. Those who fought the war should be given a medal to wear.
H/Capt Jagdish Verma (Retd), Sarkaghat
The Tribune has done well to commemorate the golden jubilee of the 1971 Indo-Pak War. In 2015, during the golden jubilee celebrations of the 1965 Indo-Pak War, The Tribune had published a variety of articles covering various aspects of the war. Initiatives like these go a long way in making the citizens aware about the valour and resilience of our armed forces. It also helps in inculcating the habit of a disciplined lifestyle among the younger generation which holds the key to the nation’s future. The discussions among the defence fraternity aid in planning and preparation of the forces.
Saurabh Sambyal, Panchkula
The implications of the economic crisis in 2020 have put the Budget session in the spotlight. While many wait to see economic recovery and defence expenditure, a major chunk anticipates the allocation of funds in the health sector. In the past, the public spending in the health sector covered around 1% of the GDP. Coronavirus taught the country the impeccable and ardent necessity to skillfully improve the standards of the health sector. It’s high time the government focuses on healthcare.
Ankita Sharma, Panchkula
Can’t bargain now
Refer to ‘Free protesters before talks: Unions’; following Republic Day violence, the tables have turned upside down. Farmers’ leaders are putting up a brave face and are desperate for a face-saving resolution, even as the Centre is going hammer and tongs against the protesters by registering FIRs. As the farmers have abjectly lost bargaining power, it is a distant possibility to expect any more concessions from the government. Malicious campaign against farm leaders is abuzz in social media. The PM has assured that the government is ready for a dialogue, however it ought to walk the talk.
Deepak Singhal, Noida
Set own house in order
Apropos of ‘India offering solutions to world’s problems’, the PM says India has solutions to problems faced by the world; ironically, the country cannot sort out its own issues. Farmers are agitating, but no tangible solution is in sight. If MSP is given legal protection, India can show the way to the world regarding addressing farmers’ concerns. If we can’t find solutions that are acceptable to our aggrieved population, we must not make boastful claims. Don’t empower farmers by making them traders or exporters, but give them an assured price for their produce. Can the government thrust arbitrary laws on industrialists, transporters and traders? Why should farmers adopt a particular way of earning which they don’t want to?
Capt Amar Jeet (retd), by mail
PM removed from reality
Refer to the ongoing farmers’ protest, while the PM bats for reforms and reaffirms his commitment to modernising the farming sector, he showed his disdain by saying that the nation is pained by the Tricolour insult! He is disconnected because the reported insult to the flag was not the intent of the farmers, who, in fact, had been carrying it honourably atop their vehicles. Still, he is just a call away to talk with the farmers. To talk what?
Balvinder, by mail
Apropos of ‘Nation saddened by Tricolour insult’, the farmers and various political parties must introspect how anti-national forces were able to embarrass the entire country. The episode lays bare the lack of intelligence inputs. Both sides must try hard to restore the country’s glory.
RS Kishtwaria, Palampur
Restore Net services
Since January 26, the Haryana Government has suspended mobile Internet services. On the one hand, the ruling dispensation boasts of digital India, and on the other, it is denying Internet services to the common man. No doubt for security reasons this service can be suspended, but not for a long period, as in the age of information technology, Internet services are essential for life like water and air. Without it, many sections of society are suffering, like students, employees working from home, online business, online payments, etc. It is a kind of partial lockdown that is adversely affecting the life of people.
VINAY K MALHOTRA, Ambala Cantt
We all have social responsibilities. Teachers teach as per the syllabus, soldiers fight for the country, civil servants work as per government guidelines. We all work for the nation. Similarly, the government can tell the farmers to grow the crops which are most needed. Sometimes, the government has to import pulses and onions, and export wheat and rice. Rotting of crops is common in godowns. What apathy really! The government can guide and tell farmers to grow the required crops to be purchased at a pre-set fixed price, restoring the concept of MSP. If farmers are responsible to farmers, the government is also responsible for them.
NPS Sohal, Chandigarh
It is unfortunate that fake degrees were issued to more than 36,000 persons (The Tribune, Jan 31) by MBU, Solan. This is the worst form of corruption as some persons throughout the year have done serious study and hard labour to gain knowledge and degree, as opposed to these thousands of youths without any hard work and knowledge have managed a degree. A thorough inquiry should be carried out through the CBI and the culprits must be prosecuted.
Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad
Refer to ‘Pause, rethink, restart’ (Nous Indica); given the present logjam, the offered respite in the form of temporarily holding the farm laws should be agreeable to the farmers. Maybe the government would be less inconsiderate to their demands if the holding period draws them near the General Election in 2024. Perhaps the Centre wants to test the impact of the farmers’ opposition to the farm laws on the UP Assembly elections next year. If it succeeds in retaining power there, the laws will not be repealed. But farmers perhaps cannot afford to organise and restart the agitation to oppose, with the present intensity, the government and the capitalists.
Abhimanyu Malik, Jind
Reconsider govt offer
Apropos of ‘Pause, rethink, restart’ (Nous Indica), a negotiation is contingent on both parties agreeing to a compromise in a manner suitable to each and detrimental to none. You cannot expect the other party to accept your demands unconditionally while taking an intransigent position yourself. The government’s offer of suspending the laws for a certain period was a reasonable one, considering that the discussions with the farm unions yielded no result. Compounding the predicament were the adverse circumstances being faced by the protesters. It is imperative for these unions to acknowledge that it is only reforms promulgated by the government that have aided farmers and lifted many out of poverty. Moreover, the government has absolutely no incentive to bring about a policy inimical to the interests of the farmers, considering that agriculture is an essential prerequisite for the sustenance of the economy. The notion that it would jeopardise the backbone of the economy to serve the interests of certain ‘corporates’ should itself evoke hilarity. The unions should reconsider the government’s offer.
Nissim Aggarwal, Chandigarh
As the farmers’ movement again seems to be gaining steam, despite oppressive tactics by the authorities, the heartening message which is resonating is that of communal harmony. The civil society should make this voice of oneness more coherent and let it echo from all quarters and all platforms available to us. There is an urgent need to wage a decisive fight against the divisive forces, which are trying to ruin the integrity of India! Had the farmers’ leadership warned in time the youth against the separatists’ voices, and dealt with it strongly, perhaps they wouldn’t have had this setback!
Lalita Jagmohan Singh, Chandigarh
Not serious about debate
Apropos of ‘PM: Let’s debate important issues, the PM is undermining the farmers’ issue and doesn’t want a debate on it. This is a double-faced statement as he urged the Opposition and MPs to debate issues of national importance in Parliament whereas the government escaped the debate on the passing of farm laws and still doesn't want to debate on it. Is the farmers’ issue not of national importance? Is he serious or just wants to give statements because he is image conscious? The country has witnessed unprecedented passing of Bills without a debate in Parliament, undermining the basic tenets of democracy. What is more painful is that the Supreme Court, too, failed to protect the very book of the democracy which gave it the title of saviour of democracy.
Vishiwjeet Singh, Chandigarh
Nation’s prestige hit
Apropos of ‘Setback to farmers’ cause’, violence and anti-national activities on Republic Day are condemnable. The ire of the nation got directed against the farmers and the empathy for their cause evaporated in no time, thanks to the biased electronic media and scheming political manoeuvring. Who is the real culprit? Is it the farmers, their leaders, anti-national miscreants, Khalistani protagonists, or the government? Why requisite security forces couldn’t be activated in time to avert the ugly incidents and save the nation from ignominy? The Centre, too, can’t evade responsibility, though the incident needs to be probed from all angles. Unfortunately, the truth may never surface. The prestige of the nation and its interest is a casualty.
GP CAPT JS BOPARAI (RETD), BHADSALI
Many awards are announced by Central and state governments to honour individuals in various fields. Some awards are given posthumously. In the forces, awards are given after one’s exemplary duty on the battlefield. But in other fields, one’s performance is judged for years before giving an award. The government sometimes gives awards posthumously to octogenarians immediately after their death. An octogenarian gets an award after working all his life in the chosen field, and not for some instant work. Civilian awards should be given while a person is alive, and octogenarians doing excellent work in their fields should be shortlisted. One should be given a chance to cherish an award when alive.
Rajesh Goyal, by mail