“Towards a better security loop” by Raghu Raman is an excellent piece (Mint, 15 February). Equally important in preventing terrorism, though, is filling the infrastructure gaps and ensuring political non-interference with cops. But there are still political questions to be answered after 26/11: It’s really sad that the mystery of the missing bulletproof vest of Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare is still being debated. All the persons who lost their high-profile ministerial jobs due to direct or indirect responsibility in the Mumbai attacks have been rehabilitated. We need to press ahead relentlessly with paradigm shifts and doctrine changes that will enhance our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks. This will require a mindset away from vote banks.
— V.R. Vasudevan
You say that moving back to rural area is not good for growth of the poor (“Back to the farm is a very bad idea”, Mint editorial, 19 February). However, firstly, in my opinion if there is no check on rural-urban migration, it might lead to problems that urban India now faces with growing slums, unplanned housing and increased pressure on urban infrastructure. Not to mention that those who are unable to seek employment in organized industries often resort to unlawful activities.
Secondly, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) offers rural poor an alternative source off farm income, making them resilient towards the income shocks they are often prone to. Also, by simple economics, if too many people come to cities to seek employment, won’t productivity per person in the industries fall?
Thirdly, it is socially and economically more efficient to provide rural people with employment opportunities in rural areas as it saves them the time, effort and cost of resettling in urban areas.
People are assumed to be rational beings who will act for their own benefit. Despite the government’s efforts, if they find migrating to cities for work beneficial, then they will do so. NREGS only offers social security.
— Kritika Saxena
The effects of NREGS appear diametrically opposite, entirely depending on where the observer is standing. On one hand, food inflation is galloping, as suddenly many more people have money to demand regular food. There is a shortage of hands at urban construction sites, and a labour shortage of farmlands in Punjab and Haryana since migration of labourers has reduced. On the other hand, millions are getting a glimpse of human existence for the first time, when they can afford to have food regularly. They do not have to resort to desperate migration to cities, in search of their next meagre meal. This will stop creating unending slums, working 16 hours at construction sites without any safety or comfort measures, increasing petty crime, and pushing municipal infrastructure to collapsing levels.
As compassionate citizens, each one of us must choose between these two extremes, decide where we stand ourselves.
— Anand Gupta
In the editorial, “The missing reforms push” (Mint, 16 February), there’s one reform missing that can help the economy: the currency. Supporting rupee appreciation would reduce subsidies on imported oil and decrease exorbitantly priced defence purchases and ambitious nuclear projects. Besides arresting imported inflation, the rising rupee will absorb capital inflows with better returns, help distressed redemption of foreign currency convertible bonds and facilitate mergers and acquisitions by Indian companies scouting abroad.
Here, analogies with East Asian economies are flawed. There, poorly developed domestic markets meant a heavy reliance on exports. The Chinese are now changing their orientation too. While the yuan is bound to appreciate, the role of “brand rupee” in boosting confidence in the Indian economy has been underestimated.
— Buddha Bagai