The first step towards sexual awareness and liberation (S. Mitra Kalita’s “We’re all in the closet, too”, Mint, 4 July) has two dimensions: content and technique. Experiments across the country — especially those geared towards controlling HIV/AIDS — show that when people are brought together to engage in this discussion, they come around. Parents, community leaders, teachers and school principals, all admit that young people need sex education, but are at a loss as to how to go about it. This awareness should start in the family, and when adults are unsure how to proceed, then institutions need to step in. As parents, teachers, friends and colleagues, we all owe it to ourselves and the next generation to get comfortable with our sexuality. That is the first step.
- Anita Anand
I have been following your stories on farm loan waiver for some time. They make an interesting read. Apropos your editorial “Making losers out of farmers”(Mint, 2 July), my view is that this farm loan waiver is one of the worst relief packages put in place by the government and is ill- crafted. Raghuraman Rajan said that “it spoils the credit culture of the country”, which is very true as more and more farmers in this sector will not repay loans in hope of getting a waiver — if not this time, then by the next government.
There was a shortage of organized credit in this sector and this waiver will not encourage banks to get bullish about business on this front. There were banks that were getting a good repayment response, but now that is likely to come to a halt.
A better way to craft the waiver could have been to incentivize those farmers who regularly paid 75-80% of their dues and then waiving their remaining dues to encourage better repayment. Some other way, which could have been useful for farmers, banks and the credit culture of the country, too, could have been found. I hope that this move does not wash out agricultural credit.
- Anoop Mor
The country is caught in the midst of an inflationary trajectory. The Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy actions have not yielded desired results. The continuous surge in international oil prices is causing problems. Food articles are not only beyond the reach of the poor people but also their prices are hurting the middle class.
At this crucial juncture, it is time we took stock of the situation and took immediate corrective measures. Discarding centuries old agricultural practices and way of life due to low realization, temptations of city life, converting farm lands into residential sites and setting up of special economic zones have aggravated the situation, wherein villagers sell off agricultural land to builders and other people who demand land. The unprecedented price increase in vegetables and foodgrain is the result of diminishing acreage under agriculture.
A thrust on agriculture will motivate the rural people to grow more crops. The rural youth can also look at this as an employment guarantee programme. The development of villages will go a long way towards retention of labour in villages. More investment in villages for good roads, clean drinking water, storage facilities for crops and educational institutions will go a long way in encouraging reverse migration from cities.
If such a move takes place, as it can after appropriate investment in agriculture, it will ensure decongestion of cities. This will go a long way in reducing pressure on urban civic infrastructure.
One reason that urban service delivery is breaking down is the immense pressure due to migration from villages and rural areas to cities. It will go a long way in making life in cities and towns much more bearable.
- B.N. Bharath