The costs of tiger preservation

The costs of tiger preservation

This is with reference to your editorial “The economics of saving tigers" (Mint, 17 September). While it makes sense to monitor the costs involved in preserving a tiger’s habitat, it is clearly a very difficult proposition to include all the costs involved. As you rightly mentioned, these costs must also include the resettlement of tribal communities that depend on these forests for their sustenance. That cost would be extremely difficult to compute. The other dimension that merits some study is: How much is a tiger worth? This is an issue of prime importance, especially in a resource-constrained country such as India. This is because incremental resources committed to saving the tiger will take resources away from some other worthy cause. Obviously, this is an even more difficult issue to objectively assess.

— Srikrishna Rupanagunta

Apropos the opinion piece “A third eye on government functions" (Mint, 10 September), third-party inspection or monitoring will not improve service delivery.

This is because the problem with the government delivery system of public goods and services is not inspection or the lack of it, but corruption and plenty of it. In no time, the third party will be an indistinguishable part of the scene—just as it happens with “independent" directors, auditors, regulators and others.

Hence, one needs to deal with corruption. And that needs a major overhaul of the justice delivery system, whereby the corrupt are not only caught, but are punished quickly. With 35,000 cases pending at the Supreme Court and 25 million at lower courts, even the thousand-eyed Indra wouldn’t be of much help.

— M. Bhowmik

The nation is eagerly waiting for the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute to come to rest once and for all. Barring religious fanatics and political opportunists, the common man (from both the Hindu and Muslim communities) is little bothered about the verdict, because he is worried about day-to-day problems such as inflation, food and clean water, civic amenities, access to health services at a reasonable cost, as well as the Maoist and terrorist problems. Hence, the leaders of both Hindu and Muslim communities must refrain from exploiting the people and instigating the destruction of public property, particularly at a time when the Commonwealth Games are on. If the Hindutva-oriented parties of the country can approach this issue with some maturity, then not only will they emerge stronger political bodies, but also prevent a national mishap.

— Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

It was instructive to read the article “India’s missing educators" (Mint, 13 September). I have always cherished the thought of a national service cadre of educators. This would bring dignity, productivity, mobility, quality and so on to the teaching profession and professional educators.

There has to be a scheme of recruiting the best brains from campuses, and training, nurturing and developing them. They can then be certified as professional educators. Such educators would become authorities and national talents in their respective fields.

We need to look at educators as a core element of human infrastructure in the process of nation-building and development. It takes little time for a brick and mortar institution to be built, but developing an educator takes years of planned inputs, investments and exposure. We can’t produce educators through advertisements for vacancies. Someone has to produce them before we can harvest them.

What plans do we have of sowing the seeds that will bring forth educators? A teacher-training course or BEd is not the answer. We must attract the best, brightest talents through creating a national system of an educators’ service cadre. This can change the face of education in India.

— K.V. Simon