Fly in the aviation soup

Fly in the aviation soup

Having failed to do anything about its ailing airline, the ministry of civil aviation now wants to control the fares of private ones. The concern for the “aam aadmi" who travels by air, no doubt, stems from the socialism of the past. However, the ministry seems not to have realized that all socialist countries have failed miserably. Instead of living in the past, the government needs to lay its hands off firms that have been set up to provide better services than the government airlines. Also, what role does the ministry of civil aviation play? Apart from mismanaging Air India and making a mess of airports, it seems to have done precious else. It is time to wind up the aviation ministry and privatize airports. For pricing and cartel issues, a monopoly and competition commission is enough. The babus need to be put out to pasture.

— Dinesh Kumar

This refers to the article “China, India can’t get past differences over Kashmir" (Mint, 17 December). There are several lessons from the Chinese premier’s visit to our country.

First, for China, the country’s interest is supreme, and the Chinese would not give up anything without extracting a price for its ‘sacrifice’.

Second, China would never openly declare Pakistan as a source of terror in Kashmir and other parts of our country, a fact all major democracies accept.

Third, increasing the volume of bilateral trade between India and China without a proper trade balance will benefit Chinese industries more than their Indian counterparts.

Fourth, imports of manufactured goods from China without a corresponding export of manufactured goods from India would help our businessmen get cheap imports, but would ultimately harm our industries in the long term. If we fail to recognize that the Chinese are tough trade partners, and do not do our homework properly in the years to come, we would only be importing from them. And they would always have the last laugh.

Last, the Chinese will always be ruthless. If circumstances demand that they have to take actions which might harm India, they would not hesitate if it suited their national interest.

— Narendra M Apte

Your editorial “The subtext of corruption" (Mint, 14 December) encapsulates the plight of the ruling party in battling the fallout of corruption. Interestingly, the party finds itself engaged all the time in firefighting, rather than in fire prevention. To blame coalition dharma for the inaction, as one party spokesperson did, is either naivety or a blatant attempt to explain away abdication of responsibility.

Alliance partners’ support may be vital for the ruling party, but it isn’t indispensable, certainly not at the cost of one’s own credibility. Yet, time and again, the Congress has yielded to crude arm-twisting by the DMK, despite its own leverage available in the Tamil Nadu assembly. The concessions allowed to the RJD, BSP and the SP chieftains in their CBI or Supreme Court cases did not enhance the government’s image either.

The huge land, irrigation, roads and other scams surfacing in Andhra Pradesh now are a testimony to the unbridled and rampant corruption indulged in during the YSR regime. These were regularly highlighted by the leading Telugu language dailies in Hyderabad. But no action was taken.

Today, YSR’s heir believes he is also the heir to the CM’s post, and the party high command dithered for over a year to control him. In the Commonwealth Games scandals, Suresh Kalmadi resigned from a post without any significance to the common man. Merely repeating that the National Democratic Alliance/ Bharatiya Janata Party did this or that is no explanation or substitute for action. The root cause is that all parties have advanced from the bare necessity of collecting funds to fight elections, to greed at both the party and personal levels. Thus, parties are the problem, not the solution.

— N.S. Rajan