This is with reference to the column ‘The Other Side’, Mint, 1 January. I don’t agree with your statement that “In most states in India, the tears and mournful shaking of heads that follow the birth of a girl child are the infant’s first awareness of her lesser worth to her family and her inferior status as a human being.” I hail from Uttar Pradesh and I have three sisters: one is an MBA, another an architect and the third a jewellery designer and they are all well-educated. My father left no stone unturned to educate them. I see many families all across India preferring a girl child. The big problem that affects the female population in India is dowry. Because of this nasty tradition, people are unwilling to raise the girl child.
The secularists, the congressmen, the communists and our media have been slapped hard by Narendra Modi’s victory in Gujarat. Still, some old habits just don’t die.
Manash Goswami in “Centre may raise subsidies, pare taxes after setback in Gujarat”, Mint, 25 December, displays these when he mentions that “…the scene of riots in 2002, that led to the death of about 2,000 people, mostly Muslims.” He later repeats this falsehood, in spite of a government report clearly confirming that only 1,059 people, out of whom nearly 250 were Hindus, were killed in Gujarat in during the 2002 riots.
These are the people who encourage Hindus like me to become “communal” and vote for Modi.
It was shocking to read Padmaparna Ghosh’s story “Are the govt’s green clearances a farce?”, Mint, 27 December. The environment ministry has given the clearance to a private firm for bauxite mining at Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, based on the EIA (environment impact assessment) copy-pasted from a Russian bauxite mining report.
Does the fact that any such major mining project has detrimental consequences on the wildlife and ecology have no relevance for the mandarins in the ministry of environment and forests? In that case, it’s not difficult to guess on what considerations the permits are granted for such environmentally destructive projects. If this is the way the ministry works, then might as well shut it down and not waste tax-payers’ money in feeding the babus and their political bosses. One wonders whether the ministry really cares for nature conservation for which it was constituted in the first place, or simply grants permits to industries to further plunder the fast-depleting riches mother earth has to offer.
I was eager to read about the top five venture capital (VC) firms. So, it was interesting to read Snigdha Sengupta’s “The five VC teams to watch for in 2008”, Mint, 25 December. I hoped for a list of angel firms as well.
It’s time to examine an important issue in the Indian start-up ecosystem. India needs not billions of VC funds, but millions of angel funds. There is an imbalance that needs to be addressed in the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem. Google had a Ram Shriram much before they had a VC. What India needs are many more such Rams. Where are they? There are just a handful of angels or angel firms to the dozens of VCs.
A proposal should be made to the Government of India to give a tax break for anyone or any company that makes a seed investment with a ceiling of $1 million. A bolder option would be to pardon black money that gets invested as seed capital. The administrative mechanism can work on similar lines as giving money to charity. This will inspire the many hidden Rams, who want a little incentive to make the leap. Incubators can channel these seed funds, as individual angels might not know the process.
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