Christopher Lingle (“In the red with green policy”, Mint, 7 May) may dispute global warming, but what he cannot dispute is the ever increasing pollution in the air and that it is due to large-scale use of fossil fuels in transportation and power generation. Hence, the inevitable conclusion—we must move away from oil, coal and gas as fast as we can. Further, this change is inescapable since oil, etc., will not last more than a few decades from now. There will job losses for some: That has occurred throughout the history of development. I guess the hunters (not so much the gatherers, I presume) lost out when men began tilling land. The industrial revolution impacted our handloom industry. The point is to make the process as efficient and as painless as possible.
— M. Bhowmik
Ramesh Ramanathan’s “Open letter to Rahul Gandhi”, (Mint, 7 May) has prompted this response.
I feel it is nobody’s case that India needs democratic reform within the political parties, particularly the Congress party. It is a reasonable observation that democratic and rule-based political parties are more likely to uphold democratic institutions and are more likely to play by the rules (moral as well as legal), thus giving birth to a more responsible polity.
Yet, the assertion that Rahul Gandhi should give up any plan to assume prime ministership (PMship) in order to begin the reform of the Congress comes across to me as curious. Has Sonia Gandhi’s “sacrifice” of renouncing the PMship helped the cause of democratic reform within the Congress or our polity in general? What’s more, has the absence of any dynastic lineage for Mayawati, J. Jayalalithaa and Mulayam Singh made sure that the Bahujan Samaj Party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Samajwadi Party are democratic and rule-based?
If Rahul Gandhi has the intention to reform the Congress, and thus our polity, he can do so regardless of his position on PMship. The basic ingredients required to bring about a change such as mass appeal, vision and the willingness to fight the system (traits that Nehru was endowed with and made full use of by being at the helm of affairs) are independent of whether he is open to becoming PM or not. In fact, one may even make a reasonable case that renunciation of PMship by Rahul Gandhi on top of his mother’s renunciation—and this is important—may even demoralize not only the ranks of the party but also the Congress’ loyal voters who still see revolutionary zeal in the “Gandhi” surname and want to see him as PM. If that turns out to be true, it can render Rahul Gandhi bereft of the very influence needed to bring about any possible change in the system.
So, let me just say this: Rahul Gandhi has the popularity/mass appeal that Nehru and Indira Gandhi were endowed with, and they both chose to become PM. The former nurtured the democratic institutions while the latter undermined them. So, the important choice that Rahul Gandhi has to make is not whether he should accept PMship or renounce it, but whether to consciously take up the cause of reforms within the party or just to sit cozy while the democratic institutions are being uprooted.
— Kapil Gupta
Recent commerce ministry data show that special economic zones (SEZs) in India are successful. Although overall exports from India grew by only 3.4% in 2008-09, exports from SEZs have shown a phenomenal growth of 36% in the same year. Critics and sceptics who have been opposing SEZs, however, should introspect and admit that these projects really add to the national wealth by way of export earnings. Blind opposition to SEZs by calling them “capitalist tools” is grossly unfair.
— Amitabh Tiwari