The new fertilizer policy is a step in the right direction and will be widely welcomed. The production of fertilizers, particularly urea, has stagnated at 21 million tonnes and no fresh investment has been made in the last decade. To compound matters, the policy was skewed in favour of urea, resulting in the use of inappropriate fertilizer. Consider this: The ideal ratio between nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium should be 4:2:1, but in certain states it has got skewed to 20:6:1. This has led to inefficient use, resulting in a sharp drop in productivity per kg of fertilizer used. The new policy attempts to correct this substantially by indexing prices to main nutrients. The problem that has been ignored is the fertilizer subsidy. This figure has been grossly underestimated.
— M.M. Gurbaxani
Rahul K. Bhonsle’s reminiscences about field marshal Sam Manekshaw (“A great soldier and a leader”, Mint, 30 June) made delightful reading. The article captures the personality of Manekshaw with stark realism. He emerges as a lovable, earthy, humane and utterly simple human being, though he was the country’s second field marshal, contrary to the belief that military officers are unkind to enemies.
He is no more, but every bit of Samspeak is a gem. Hence, if Manekshaw’s words ring true in our hearts to this day as Bhonsle said, there’s nothing wrong in that. There was much hue and cry that neither service chiefs nor the defence minister bothered to attend his funeral. Things can be rectified by awarding the Bharat Ratna to the great soldier.
People will agree with Bhonsle that “the greatest tribute that the army can give to its most celebrated soldier is to live up to his expectations of modern leadership, purity of purpose and selfless service for the overall national good”.
People expect (hope?) that the current set of egotistical and power-hungry politicians can learn something from Sam Bahadur’s life. If that happens, that would be a fitting tribute to this great son of India.
- Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
It’s wrong for P. Manoj in “Buying ships? Great but who will operate them?” (Mint, 27 June) to say that the decision of Mercator Lines Ltd to register its largest crude oil carrier in tax haven Marshal Islands is “bold”. At best, it’s one with the aim of enriching the firm disregarding the national interest.
The Indian shipping industry has in the recent past threatened the government that it would begin to fly foreign flags just to reap some taxation benefits offered elsewhere.
The industry may have several legitimate grievances against the taxation policies of the government, but it’s expected that it conduct its commercial activities keeping in mind the idea of national sovereignty.
The ideals of patriotic Indians such as the late V.O. Chidambaranar, who fought during the British rule for a truly national shipping company and started one at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, have been set to nought by this decision of Mercator Lines to register its carrier abroad for reaping higher profits.
This can hardly be termed bold. It is also amusing that this should happen in an environment where companies and their chambers do not fail to regularly repeat their commitment to social responsibilities as a corporate mantra.
A few years ago, Allianz, a big German insurer, threatened to shift its headquarters to the US because of the strict German taxation policy. The German government stood firm and its media was critical of the stand of the insurer. Eventually, the insurer chose not to implement its threat.
In the instant case, however, the company has acted unwisely, swimming against public opinion and also against accepted corporate social responsibility obligations.
- S. Subramanyan