Artificial distinction

Artificial distinction
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First Published: Tue, Aug 05 2008. 11 35 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Aug 05 2008. 11 35 PM IST
In her story, “Saarc bilateral talks may be significant, to focus on terror” (Mint, 2 August), Jyoti Malhotra refers to the views of a senior government official that “there is need to make a distinction between terrorists funded by rogue intelligence agencies in Pakistan and the government in Pakistan”. It is strange that officers of our ministry of external affairs are introducing such artificial distinctions to shape the country’s foreign policy approach. Pakistan is never generous in making positive distinctions when it comes to its relations with India. It should matter very little to us whether the terrorists are funded by the government of that country or by one of its agencies. No wonder, quite often our foreign policy flounders.
- S. Subramanyan
Bankers Trust (Mint, 4 August) has congratulated Punjab National Bank (PNB) for increasing interest rates immediately after the Reserve Bank of India governor’s review. In my view, PNB should not have rushed since the 0.25% increase in the cash reserve ratio (CRR) is to take effect from 30 August and as PNB is not a player in the reverse repo market, a rate increase will not affect it.
The main reason for poor performance in the first quarter of 2008-09 is the huge provision made by all banks due to: i) stock market losses and ii) prices coming down in gilt due to interest rate hikes.
Nobody is applying their mind as to what will be the condition of the middle class, who have taken out housing loans. PNB’s increase in interest rates by 1% is the starting point of a subprime type of situation in India and its after-effects will be visible very shortly.
Banks are just waiting for an alibi for increasing the rates. Not only PNB but also ICICI Bank has increased it by 0.75% (in addition to another increase of 0.75% the banks made recently).
I have analysed the interest rate increase and its impact on the borrowers of housing loans under various periods of loan. Interest rates have already increased by 4.50%, and with this increase, it will be 5.50% in the case of ICICI Bank, and EMI has increased by more than 40% in respect of borrowers who have opted for 25 years. This means that they will be left with only 25% of their monthly income for meeting their family requirements (assuming that they have been allowed 50% of the income-instalment ratio). This will result in huge defaults, not only in the middle-income group but also in the high-income group and non-performing assets will increase.
- R. Nambirajan
Your editorial, “Getting real about security” (Mint, 28 July), is totally off the mark when it says, “Enacting a strong anti-terror law, one that dilutes rules as to requirements for arresting suspicious individuals, period of detention pending trial, bail provisions and admissibility of evidence in a court, may not work. Cracking terrorist cases requires that results from investigation be blended with intelligence inputs...”
Undeniably, intelligence inputs and meticulous investigation are the most important requirement for convicting terrorists caught by the police. However, normal laws are misused by terrorists and their legal helpers in hoodwinking the judicial system. The terrorists use modern technology such as mobile phones and the Internet, the abuse of which are difficult to prove in a court of law that demands “hard evidence”.
A strong law such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act,or Pota, brought by the National Democratic Alliance government helped in nabbing terrorists. The defence of not allowing a stern law such as Pota, as demanded by some BJP-ruled states, is politically hypocritical.
Finally, to expect the police to suddenly get smarter is pathetic, if it was not so funny.
- Ashok Gupta
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First Published: Tue, Aug 05 2008. 11 35 PM IST