One demat account welcome

The finance minister has spoken about the need for a common demat account across financial assets. This is a great idea. A common demat account will help investors hold different asset classes, such as equity, bonds, commodities, insurance etc. together in one demat account. The challenges are many. A common KC is required across asset classes, before setting up a common demat a/ c. Added to these are issues related to the nomination process too.

More important is the fact that investors will benefit from a single demat account. An account with nominal charge and complete portability will enhance the strength of the financial system. What is the need of another class of demat account? Better still, the existing account could be upgraded or modified to become an account which can hold all financial assets. Imagine the plight of a person having an existing demat account for shares and bonds and another for insurance policies and now a common demat account. When will this and the KC madness end?

Subrahmanian S H

Footpaths cannot be sidelined

The need for the construction and maintenance of continuous, wide, well- paved and encroachmentfree footpaths along the roads are a sine qua non for the safety and well- being of pedestrians, especially when the vehicular traffic is as chaotic and heavy as is the case now in every city and town of India. Every day, scores of pedestrians are killed while crossing the roads or forced to walk on the roads in the absence of footpaths. Ironically, it is the much- needed footpaths that have been steadily eaten up, thanks to road- widening and encroachments by sundry vendors, migrants and homeless people. In the city of Mumbai, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the municipal authorities, most footpaths have been effectively encroached upon by migrants so much so that these have all but disappeared. The encroachers live there, bathe there, cook there and tie their cattle there. In Bhopal, this practice may not be as widespread as in Mumbai, but it is fast catching up.

Footpaths in most other cities of the country have fallen victims to legal ( officially sanctioned milk and telephone booths, pan gumthis et al ) and illegal encroachments ( tea stalls, puncture fixers, hawker corners etc). It is high time that the concerned governments give priority to safety of pedestrians over unthinking populism.

R J Khurana

Women on death row

In a rare execution of a female prisoner in the US, on February 5, 2014, a 59- year- old woman prisoner on Death Row, was executed in Texas, US, by administrating a lethal dose of pentobarbital for the heinous torture killing of a mentally impaired man, Louis Buddy Musso. Fifteen years ago, she had wanted to marry him to take his insurance and other benefits. It may be recalled that since the US Supreme Court in 1976 had allowed capital punishment to resume, 1,400 men were executed and about 60 women were on Death Row in the US. I cannot recall any woman prisoner on death row in India being executed so far though men have been hanged for brutal crimes.

Vijay D Patil

No more questions on Augusta?

Defence Minister A K Antony has declared in the Rajya Sabha that the contract for the supply of 12 VVIP helicopters to India, with the Anglo– Italian company Augusta Westland has been cancelled.

His tenor suggested that no witch– hunt is necessary any more. The nation does not deserve to be curious about how the European company clinched the deal at all; who are those close to Sonia Gandhi saw the deal, who were the supposed beneficiaries of this deal etc. If everything is fair, why did the Italian Police arrest one alleged bribegiver for violation of the integrity clause? Why did Christian Michel, the British ccnsultant, suggest the names of Ahmed Patel and Manmohan Singh, for winning over Sonia Gandhi to see the deal through? Moreover, 45 per cent of the total cost has already been paid. How are we to get the money back? Termination of the contract will not evaporate the odour in the air in respect of defence procurement.

N K Das Gupta

Aadhaar factor in LPG cylinders

Let us see — the Aadhaar card and the changes in cooking gas distribution. The government first restricted the supply of cooking gas cylinders, though it was not liked by the people. The Aadhaar card is not necessary, as per the Supreme Court judgment, but the gas companies continue to insist on one, otherwise the consumer will not get the subsidy. Linking the bank account to the Aadhaar card and remittance of the differential amount to the bank account has stopped from February 1. But the cooking gas distributors are not implementing this order and have raised the bill for the market price and collected the same from consumers. Consumers are fed up. The UPA claims it as a big achievement. Of course the voters will react to this achievement in May 2014.

H M D Kamath

Name and shame priests

This refers to the front page report, ‘ UN Watchdog slams Vatican’s Child Abuse Record’, ( February 6).

This is for the first time that the UN watchdog has denounced the Vatican in child abuse cases. The least the Vatican can do is the name and shame the priests involved in abuse of children, in churches, on its website. Legal action should also be taken against these uncivilised people who are abusing the institute of priesthood. These priests should also be stripped off their assignments, not merely transferred across the globe. If the Vatican cannot do it, then the followers should boycott these priests. If a Malala from Pakistan can fight terrorists, the victims of abuse – children – seem to be helpless. These children should be given a voice by the global media, to name those priests who have abused them.

Deendayal M Lulla

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