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The fertilizer mess

The fertilizer mess
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First Published: Mon, Jun 16 2008. 11 26 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jun 16 2008. 11 26 PM IST
Your report Fertilizer crisis exposes countrywide shortage (Mint, 12 June) has put the shortage of fertilizer in proper perceptive. Except in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, where fertilizer consumption is about 200kg per ha, consumption in the rest of the country is 110kg per ha. Consumption of fertilizer is not balanced due to cheaper urea, which is heavily subsidized. In the early 1960s, the response ratio of foodgrain was 19kg per kg of fertilizer. This has come down to 12kg of foodgrain per kg of fertilizer used. The ideal ratio for use of different type of fertilizer should be 4:2:1 of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium for optimum results. Given the rising fertilizer subsidies, it’s imperative that farmers are educated about this.
—M.M. Gurbaxani
Your Quick Edit (“Learning to let go”, 12 June) lacks objectivity, probably because Mint seems to be dazzled by the sheer and unprecedented size of the Ranbaxy-Daiichi deal. Agreed that this is not the first time that someone has sold his successful business, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, if Mint editors learn to let go of their fawning, they will realize that this insults reputed business models such as those of the Tatas, Infosys and others, who have laboured to establish their business model in India and globally with grit and determination, unlike the kinds of Sabeer Bhatias and Malvinder Singhs who are, at best, sheer opportunists and profiteers.
Moreover, it is not correct to say that “selling a successful business is somewhat similar to pushing the favourite child out of the house to find its own feet, leaving you to figure what to do with the extra room”; this is more like dog-breeding as in the dot-com era, when the sole purpose of creating a business was to find a suitable buyer. This concept of “creating value and then letting go, to release that gain so it can be used for better things” is glorification of fattening the cow to sell it.
Instead of lamenting that an Indian pharma company has now become a Japanese subsidiary at the cost of minority shareholders, Singh, after pocketing Rs10,000 crore, has the audacity to tell us that “Ranbaxy is in his blood”! Wow!
— Ashok Gupta
Your editorial “Another crack in the wall” (10 June) may be an eye opener. The point is: Who is responsible for the fall in the prices of shares of the leading real estate developers and what is the harm if the share prices are down?
Leading real estate developers planned IPOs and collected a huge amount in premium, which is lying in their pockets. Now, if the share prices are down to, say, Rs12 per share, it is not going to harm the companies which have amassed money/capital as premium without paying tax of any kind. If these companies are experiencing any shortage of funds, the fault lies with these developers themselves.
These companies have become greedy to such an extent that they first want to purchase land of, say, 10 million acres for their land bank, but without completing the started projects even though they have received full consideration from the customers. Further, these companies invested their so-called spare funds in the stock market and have lost now. The share prices will drop like a brick when the funds are not used in the same line of business.
This problem can be solved only by the Union government by amending the Income-tax Act by “taxing at a rate of 10% the dividend income received and by treating any gain on sale of equity as business income instead of short-term or long-term capital gains” in the case of real estate companies or any other company. The government should not tolerate diversion of funds to other companies at all.
— S.C. Aggarwal
(We thank our readers for some very interesting letters in response to our stories and columns. Do continue to write to us at yourviews@livemint.com)
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First Published: Mon, Jun 16 2008. 11 26 PM IST
More Topics: Fertilizer | India | Urea | Subsidy | Views |