Re “Back to the drawing board”, Mint, 15 September, the RBI governor’s move is welcome in these uncertain times of global financial woes and equally uncertain status of national macroeconomic policy. It is about time the central bank changed its policy approach. It won’t be easy, but we need a pool of think tanks that can drive policymaking to a rational objective-oriented directional approach, rather than continue with vague perspectives based on outdated data devoid of any relevance. For the moment, RBI would do well to come out with its proposed directions to curb inflation, reduce interest rates and contain the rupee from falling further. Subsequently, it can take effective measures...as per the realities of time.
— Gautam Verma
We refer to your editorial, “Confusing the Singur issue”, Mint, 15 September.
The government of West Bengal acquired land at Singur, which has subsequently been leased to Tata Motors to set up its Nano project, for the public purpose of industrialization of the state. It has already been upheld by the Calcutta high court.
Surely, you will not dispute the fact that the Nano project does help in industrialization of West Bengal, with the accompanying benefit of generating employment. The project will generate about 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. We do not know of many other “public purposes” more important than generating employment in a country like India and, more particularly, in a state like West Bengal.
All Tata Motors has objected to is making public that part of the understanding between it, the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation and the government of West Bengal, which is also specified as an exemption under the Right to Information Act.
We do not see these two independent aspects as confusing issues and being opportunistic.
We will be grateful if you kindly bring this to the attention of your readers so that they are informed of our view, too, albeit it contradicts your position.
— Debasis Ray
Head of corporate communications, Tata Motors, Mumbai
Apropos “Chasing talent for universities”, Mint editorial, 16 September, higher salary alone would not solve the problem. A majority of teachers in state universities and their affiliated colleges do not deserve what they already have from the Fifth Pay Commission. More of the same will, no doubt, make life better for these lucky ones, but little else. What improvement in academic quality has accrued since the last pay revision? Politicians ignored the quality/accountability conditions of the last pay award. They are sure to repeat the same under the sixth pay award, especially as taxpayers have been filling government coffers from other sectors working hard to achieve 9% growth.
While trying to emulate private sector salaries, government would do well to follow basic principles of balancing performance and rewards. Teachers are required to put in about 30 hours per week with almost total job security and more than three months of vacations/holidays thrown in per year. The lucky ones in government-aided institutions get lifelong pension as well. If you compare the gross package of a college/university teacher on cost-to-company basis and adjust for their hours of work, the gap with their average corporate peers will disappear. And, there is virtually no credible mechanism for their performance assessment. Everyone gets the same rewards, thereby creating a disincentive to perform. A better way would be to halve the batch size in colleges (doubling the number of batches and, thereby, job opportunities) and demand strong qualitative performance to qualify for higher pay.
— Ravi Purohit