I agree with you that when it comes to selecting the right candidate, performance should be the only criterion (Quick Edit, “What 40 means to 38”, Mint, 7 November) and not the age. Before the present Australia series, everyone talked about the impending retirement of the so-called fabulous four batsmen. Except Rahul Dravid, each one of them performed well and proved their critics wrong. In spite of One-Day cricket and T20 matches grabbing the limelight, Test cricket is still the real test of a player’s calibre. So, those who play well should be allowed to go on.
Some of the points you have raised in your editorial (“Does India need the Maharaja?”, Mint, 28 October) need a response.
You are right in saying that the turmoil in the private airlines should not make us forget the mess the state-run airline Nacil finds itself in. This is a question that the civil aviation minister has to answer; he has not answered it in public so far. Those who are meant to question him and whom we have elected have not done their job; nor has the parliamentary committee attached to the civil aviation ministry bothered to take up for inquiry and investigation as to what the government has done and not done to further the interests of Nacil.
Both the management of Nacil and the civil aviation minister are responsible, though the minister is accountable to Parliament and the nation.
While two Central ministers needlessly pounced on Nacil chief Raghu Menon for reviving the old offer of leave without pay for some 15,000 employees, they have failed to answer what the United Progressive Alliance government, of which they are important members, has done for making Nacil a success.
The government should have taken appropriate steps to make the merger a success. Not only did it do precious little on this, it has reportedly “censured” Menon arbitrarily and unfairly. While several Central ministers are ready and willing to open their purse strings to help private airlines, they have failed to do the needful for Nacil.
If the state-owned Singapore Airlines can do so well, our Nacil can also do much more. But when the government and the bureaucracy bind the executives of the state-owned airline hand and foot, you cannot expect them to produce miracles. This, of course, is not to make them escape their part of the responsibility.
The government dithered for long in issuing shares of Nacil to the public. Now, we are in a global meltdown and things may remain in that condition for quite some time. The current global conditions cast an additional responsibility on the government to conserve public funds.
There is, therefore, no way out for the government than to first infuse adequate funds in Nacil before anxious ministers get ready to open purse strings for private airlines. It is their duty first to make Nacil run profitably and then decide on what they should do with the family silver.
The global meltdown puts greater responsibility on the government to manage funds prudently. Ministers should remember they have to face elections soon.
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