Give us bare necessities, first

I read your editorial, ‘Purposeful Visit’” (September 3). The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, won the election last year, promising changes in the economy. However, he was not able to achieve what he promised to citizens and voters are not happy with the way things are going on there. PM Narendra  Modi had also promised us heaven, but the cost of living has made our life hell. Modi has signed economic deals with Japan, but he should not forget that when one first meets Japanese businessmen, they bow before you, but in the end, one must bow before them. We have to be careful. For cleaning up the Ganga at Varanasi, we do not need Japan, our own people will do the job if provided with adequate manpower and facilities. Also we do not want bullet trains, give us our daily basic needs, including drinking water as early as possible.

 Marcus Dabre  

Jan Dhan or loan mela?

The PM’s financial inclusion scheme, though laudable, requires a big rethink. In fact, to be a success, such a scheme would require sustained efforts over several years, with emphasis on ‘quality’, rather than speed or the target-oriented approach devised by PM. One wonders whether 75 million poor families, each getting an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000, accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh, and a life cover of Rs 30,000 is really a workable solution or is it going to be a Rs75,000 crore loan mela?

 Have we forgotten the fate of the differential rate of interest at four per cent scheme, given to the poor by the Indira Gandhi Government in 1974? It used to be jokingly called ‘dry scheme’ because politicians told borrowers not to repay loans, resulting in massive defaults and ultimately, write -offs. Can we afford such ‘luxuries’ any more. This burden is ultimately borne by Indian citizens in their double capacity as depositors and taxpayers.

Satish R Murdeshwar

Bold, not populist measures

 Government policies never fail to amaze. On Tuesday, large parts of Mumbai were in the dark, another reminder that most of the priorities of the government are wrong. Roads and railways are in poor shape and we are being promised bullet trains.

Power trips in the commercial capital of the country and the government is holding out dreams of smart cities. Petrol used by the rich is made cheaper while diesel used for public transport is becoming dearer every month. Education is the need of the hour, uprooting corruption is the need of the times and taking right decisions, rather than populist ones should be the norm.

All populist moves do is lift sentiments and prices in the stock markets. How about some bold decisions in the next 100 days, which will be music to the ears of citizens of this country?

S N Kabra

Breather for undertrials

Prisons are meant to serve as reform houses where the prisoners have time to repent, reform and learn a few skills which they may use for a better living after completing their jail term. Despite six decades of freedom, our jails continue to be hell for the inmates due to overcrowding and substandard conditions.  Undertrials, who are seen as innocent in the eyes of law unless proved guilty, who deserve to be treated with dignity also become a victim of such inhuman existence in jails for a long time due to the slow process of prosecution.

The plight of the women inmates is more severe as they are generally deprived of family support when in jail.

The misery is multiplied for a mother with child growing up in a prison environment. Therefore, it is a good move on the part of the central government to release on personal bond all undertrials who have completed more than half their maximum term, in line with Section 436A of CrPC. Of the total 2.54 lakh prisoners, this will set free about 1.70 lakh, leaving the remaining 0.84 lakh convicts in considerably less crowded prisons.

Y G Chouksey

Hush hush holiday

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni are currently in Europe on a holiday. Why was so much secrecy maintained over this trip? Even the ministers and MLAs were clueless.  All that they were told was that the Chief Minister would be out of station.

We were informed that the Advocate General was going to Delhi for a matter before the Supreme Court, but he ended up escorting the CM to Europe. And for this trip, did the CM secure prior political clearance from the Prime Minister as required by the new rules framed for all visits overseas by CMs and ministers, including their personal trips? And finally who is footing the bill for this outing? Is it the mine-owners, casino operators, or the builders? Let us hope it is not a junket. We shall soon know.

Aires Rodrigues

Imran on sticky wicket

Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is batting on a sticky wicket and I hope he does not bowl any no balls on the political pitch. Three people have been killed and around 500 have been injured in the violence between anti-government protestors and the police. This is not proper ‘insaf.’ You should draw the line somewhere and violence is strictly not permissible.

Imran, I think, would be a suitable neighbourhood chief to have, because he was one of the finest allrounders in the game of cricket and cricket is a game of gentlemen. It is said that nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power!

Hemant Hemmady

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