Market expectations and social equity generally work in countervailing directions. Plans which dent fiscal prudence, such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, gave the United Progressive Alliance government a needed thrust in the elections. However, a national government should care for its broader mass base rather than getting influenced by the commercial interests of the markets. When farmers were consuming pesticide, what use was fiscal surplus? When there is someone ill in our family, we take loans to get him cured, we do not leave him to die. Therefore, social equity should take precedence over market demands—though the government must ensure targeted subsidy rather than a blanket plan.
— Yugal Joshi
The new minister for environment and forests (“How Jairam Ramesh will balance growth and ecology”, 5 June) will face an uphill task in maintaining ecological security, which is vital for economic development as well as for human sustenance. The minister rightly stressed that environmental management is not an issue that can be solved in 100 days, and need not be mandated by any external agency. India, in its own interest, should strive to invest in environmentally benign sources and bring about public awareness for maintaining ecological balance.
The process of infrastructure development necessarily entails some kind of deforestation, leading to ecological imbalances. It is reported that the entire Himalayan region is facing the threat of increasing temperatures leading to faster melting of glaciers. The consequences of global warming will affect the entire universe, rich and poor. But the poor will have to bear a greater burden than the rich.
Maintaining ecological balance is an ongoing exercise and a lackadaisical approach will be suicidal. The government should encourage social forestry schemes to maintain ecological balance and the corporate sector should come forward to invest in social forestry schemes voluntarily.
— K. Subrahmanyam
Even though the view of Gulzar Natarajan (“Towards a fairer tax system”, 3 June) seems logical, it won’t solve the problem he is trying to address. The main reason for tax-to-GDP ratio being very low is not because the rich are not taxed enough. Instead, people are not paying taxes. Anybody who lives in India knows well that only salaried people pay taxes according to the law.
I pay my taxes to the last penny. But I absolutely do not want to pay any more taxes due to the following two reasons: First, I do not believe that my tax money is being spent properly. Second, if I get laid off next year, the same government which collects 33% taxes won’t pay a single penny to take care of me and my family. There is no social security whatsoever. It is only one way.
— Suresh Gatti
This is in reaction to “Towards a fairer tax system” (3 June). The citizens of the country are left to fend for themselves. We do not have any social security, we have a poor public education system and a moribund public health system.
The author talks about low taxation for companies. But our companies have to contend with a plethora of levies. Income tax is just one of them. The businesses that thrive do so in spite of the system and not due to any government intervention. The author talks about the huge amount to be spent on infrastructure. The state of infrastructure is a telling commentary of inefficiency, ineptitude, corruption, lack of vision and planning. More taxes will not solve the problem. The leaks have to be plugged first.
— Suresh Sadagopa