Letters to the Editor

Print edition : March 16, 2018

Union Budget

THE last full Budget of the present dispensation presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before the Lok Sabha elections is political in nature with the rural sector in focus (Cover story, March 2). Caught between populism and the need to maintain fiscal prudence, the Finance Minister has given preference to the former. The ambitious rural package eyeing rural voters proves that the Gujarat election results have unnerved the BJP. However, the expectations of the middle class have not been addressed in the Budget.

Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur, West Bengal

IT is a Budget with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections due next year. The Finance Minister has given a fillip to agriculture. Overall, the middle class has nothing much to cheer about in the budget. In short, the strategy is to take the country to a higher rate of economic growth in the election year.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

THE Budget can be called pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-women but not pro-possible, as it does not spell out the ways and means to implement the promised programmes for health and farmers’ welfare.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

IN India, where the health care system is hugely privatised, the Budget’s provision for the health sector is woefully inadequate to provide universal health care benefit to the disadvantaged (“Health care hoax”, March 2). It is doubtful whether the government has a clear idea about the extent of hospitalisation required for critical health care because the rate of hospitalisation is as low as 1 per cent under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana insurance scheme. With nearly two-thirds of the total medical expenditure in rural and urban areas going to drugs, the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by an individual will hardly be covered by the new health care programme.

Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai



Gulf economic crisis

THE economic downturn in West Asia has started affecting Indians working there (“Homeward bound”, March 2). Falling oil prices and the new but powerful entrant in the global oil market, the United States, has hit the monopoly of OPEC nations hard. The Gulf nations can no longer dictate global oil prices. Saudi Arabia has introduced VAT. Uneducated workers, including skilled car mechanics, in the Gulf will be severely affected. Their homeward journey has begun. No rehabilitation plan been chalked out either by the Union government or the State governments. Indian nurses working in war-torn nations of the Gulf have gone back after a few months’ break because going back to jobs in the Gulf is better than remaining unemployed. They do not want to sell pakodas.

Furthermore, Trump’s policies have begun to influence the Gulf nations as they want to employ only local people.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai



Tripura

WHAT makes the political fight interesting in Tripura has been the total decimation of the once-powerful Congress party, making it a tough contest between the CPI(M) and its new rival, the BJP (“Surprise adversary”, March 2). The greatest advantage of the CPI(M) is the clean image and impeccable integrity of its Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar, coupled with its organisational clout, which could help it buck the anti-incumbency trend this time as well. However, the fact that the BJP has emerged as the principal opposition to the CPI(M), despite securing only 1.87 per cent of votes in the 2013 Assembly elections, shows that it has made rapid inroads into the State and will be a force to reckon with in the future. It remains to be seen whether the electoral tie-up of the BJP with the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura would be acceptable by both the tribal and the non-tribal voters of the State.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu



Andal controversy

THE article explains at length the various outpourings of pen-pushers on the Andal controversy (“In the name of Andal”, February 16). Did Vairamuthu, who has earned a name for himself for his impeccable style in Tamil, not realise that he would stir up a hornet’s nest by making some remarks in the Dinamani article on Andal, who is enshrined in the heart of millions?

Mani Nataraajan, Chennai



Climate change

MANY of us are living in denial about the threat of global warming (“On thin Arctic ice”, February 16). An important factor that has a direct impact on our lives is the dipping oxygen levels in the atmosphere. Our leaders and scientists must accept that climate change is a reality and set up common goals to limit the increase in carbon dioxide levels through behavioural and technological changes. This will ensure that temperatures do not rise beyond 3 to 4° and ensure that there is still hope for the scales to be tipped in our favour.

H.N. Ramakrishna, Bengaluru

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