MNS and Maharashtra

MNS and Maharashtra

The policies of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, or MNS, (“Countering the MNS threat", Mint, 16 November) will in no way help the Marathi cause. They are, in fact, detrimental to the people of Maharashtra and, if realized, will alienate them from the global economy. In addition to the measures that the government should take to counter this campaign, I think the role of the press is also important. If there is consensus on not publicizing any protest or campaign carried out by the MNS, or stop the broadcasting of MNS leaders’ speeches or statements, I think it will take a long time for this party to make its voice heard. This would help control the fire that the MNS is trying from spreading not only in Maharashtra but elsewhere, too.

— Saurabh Jain

With reference to the article by Madhukar Angur (“For a universal idea of health", Mint, 13 November), two points came to my mind.

1) Does the average cost of healthcare computation in India include private (non-government, non-insurance spending) also? My suspicion is that it does not include this amount, based on the article (see the link below). If so, is this the right comparison across countries? Again based on the article below, the average spend per capita in India goes up to approximately $45, a fivefold increase from the author’s figure. While this may not change the arguments in the article as this is primarily vis-à-vis the US, it is important to present reasonably accurate figures. (See

2) Another way of looking at the data is a 10-year increase in average life expectancy, from 70 to 80 that comes at a cost of about $3,000-4,000 per annum. Over a decade, it amounts to an average $35,000. How? Average spend of other countries less the average spend of India=approximately $1,500 per year. A two-three multiple on this is taken to reflect the higher-than-average spends in the age group between 70 and 80.

Is the economic value of life for society, between ages 70 and 80, important enough to warrant spending so much more? Can this money be more productively used to support the “more able" sections of people in any manner whatsoever?

More fundamentally, are we going against the laws of nature in promoting life support for an age group where nature has, through natural selection, allowed people who are beyond their productive years to pass away?

— Narayan Anand

This has reference to your editorial “Rethinking economic reforms", Mint, 17 November.

I do not agree with your view that there are only a few political problems in the area of credit availability. Political interference in big-ticket loans is a well-guarded secret in banking circles. It happens at the level of chief executive officers (CEOs) of banks. We all know that CEOs and the executive directors of all the public sector banks are appointed at the behest of the Union finance ministry. The ministry, of course, has its own outwardly well-respected (but inwardly manipulated) system to nominate such positions. The Reserve Bank of India is only a mute spectator to such important decisions.

While your call for a simplified legal framework is quite correct, the appraisal skills of lending bankers also need improvement. Unfortunately, bankers have poor appraisal skills and ability when it comes to big-ticket loans. Even if they apply 50% of the appraisal skills that the stock market adopts to value its listed securities, there would be fewer non-performing assets.

— K.V. Rao