I read your editorial, “Flashing amber”, Mint, 2 April. India’s booming economy continues to be hamstrung by poor agricultural performance. A change in monetary policy will attack inflation only on the surface. The problem should be attacked at its root, which is high prices of agricultural commodities. Also, higher prices of industrial goods are because of rising wages which are, in turn, a result of the high prices of agricultural goods. There is a need to tackle burgeoning input subsidies to the agrarian sector, in order to pave the way for much-needed public and private investment to boost farm productivity. At the same time, hiking interest rates will further aggravate the woes of the unorganized manufacturing sector.
Regarding your editorial “Troubled calls”, Mint, 10 April, on telecom companies and national security, my concerned views as a responsible citizen who spent a lifetime in the army are as follows:
1. The telcos are in the business of making commercial profits, in whatever manner they come, often bordering on crass commercialization at any cost. To that extent, they cannot be blamed. But they should definitely be held accountable for whom they issue post-or pre-paid connections. Telcos cut corners and don’t care, as long as they get more subscribers!
2. There is great danger when these mobile connections are easily distributed, because they can be used for crime and terrorist activity.
3. Trai should lay down firm and judicious instructions about who could be issued mobile connections, though these norms are not easy to formulate. There is a huge and unidentifiable moving population of migrants, working as daily wagers, especially in our cities.
Identity proof and residential proof is alright for bona fide citizens, but how do we handle people no one can identify ? Identity-proof documents are a luxury these migrant workers can’t afford.
4. Though national security can never be addressed by identity proofs, a huge deterrent can be imposed on the person the connection is issued to, thus improving accountability. This becomes the legal minimum.
5. The telcos should be made truly accountable because they are earning profits assuming that they are issuing genuine and legitimate connections.
If they enjoy the moolah, they surely need to get the stick if they violate Trai’s norms, unless connections are issued sensibly, keeping in mind the requirement of the kind of migrant workers referred to above.
6. In rural areas, it is easier as people know each other. In cities, a balance has to be struck between reckless sales no matter what and spending funds to ensure that connections are not given out to people who are involved in crime and terror.
7. Trai and telcos have a joint responsibility. Both should be held accountable if telecom connections are misused.
Telcos need to be harnessed to ensure crass commercialization does not get the better of national security concerns, which are really serious.
— Col Pradeep Kala
I must say that Salil Tripathi’s write-up “After all, cricket is just a game”, Mint, 9 April, was an excellent piece.
It put things in the right perspective as far as Indian cricket goes.
I echo whatever Tripathi has written. I have played some decent cricket in my time and can appreciate that cricket is a fickle game and anyone can have a bad day.
Therefore, my reaction to India’s defeat has been more philosophical, unlike the janta out there which seems to have an expert opinion on every ball bowled in a match.
— Dhiraj Hazarika