The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) managed to get a decent majority in the recent polls, indicating it has a clear five-year term ahead (“Give the UID project a chance” editorial, Mint, 12 January). Further, one does not foresee the National Democratic Alliance posing a threat to the UPA in the next general election. This should allay a political party’s worst fear that it may not be able to form the next government. Hence, the UPA must go the whole hog to implement the Unique Identification (UID) scheme with an iron hand—no compromises, no short cuts, no loopholes, else it will lose its objective. There will always be opposition to anything good, but the UPA must push this through. The benefits far outweigh the silly issues being raised by opponents to UID.
This is in response to “How incentives matter” (Café Economics, Mint, 6 January). Not being a qualified economist or even a legal professional, I would like to take a common sense view of legal punishment as a disincentive or an incentive to a criminal. To me, there is a danger of oversimplification in applying the laws of economics to crime. For starters, the former is a domain of rationality and informed choice, and the latter is anything but rational.
When a housewife enters a store and is offered an incentive to make a purchase, such as a discount or a freebie to buy a bigger pack of something she usually buys, she makes a rational and calculated choice and then takes action. Here, the incentive plays an active role in determining her behaviour. A criminal, on the other hand, especially a rapist, is surely not in a rational state of mind when committing the heinous act of violating another human being. So to assume that he would simply kill the victim because there is no disincentive for him to not do so is a misplaced application of the laws of economics.
When taking an economic decision, people know that their choice will have a certain outcome and, in the above example, rely on the “discovery” of their choice to get the desired reward. But a criminal is either not counting on being discovered or does not care who finds out about his action. Then how can we say that the legal outcome serves as a significant deterrent in a majority of the cases?
— Sakshi Goel
With reference to “Arunachal Pradesh, again” (editorial, Mint, 8 January), the decision of the Union government to reduce the Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan for projects from the original amount of $2.7 billion (Rs12,339 crore now) to $1.6 billion is not justified—it is yielding to the pressure from China not to develop Arunachal Pradesh, which is an integral part of India. China grabbed a huge chunk of India’s land after the aggression in 1962.
The government must not yield to any pressure from China for the sake of maintaining peace. It must go for the development of Arunachal Pradesh by utilizing the ADB loans, and the objections of China to the international forum should be ignored. India should deal with China with a strong hand in an atmosphere of friendly relationship and mutual trust. The Marxists in India vehemently shout and protest against US imperialism, but they remain silent when Chinese imperialism intrudes on Indian lands or captures Tibet, trampling the aspirations of the Tibetan people towards their right for self-determination.
—Suhrid Basu Mallik
You refer to China’s mercantilist policies in your editorial (“The rise and rise of China”, Mint, 30 December)—the view that the Chinese are getting more dollars in return for their efforts has eluded comment. Every year China picks up $450 billion or more; the Chinese themselves know that the value of the dollar is suspect. As the Americans say, it is our dollar, but your problem.
— Saurabh Sharma