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Letters to the Editor

Print edition : August 19, 2016

Liberalisation

IF growth is measured in terms of new jobs created, one may conclude that government-proclaimed growth is illusory (Cover Story, August 5). The number of jobs has actually shrunk over the last two decades. The corporates entering the retail market have driven small traders out of business. If multinational corporations are allowed to open shops, even the few self-employment opportunities that are available in the country will disappear. The number of educated unemployed has increased beyond imagination, and young people are getting disillusioned. Suicides are reported from all parts of the country.

While there were once over three lakh teachers in Tamil Nadu drawing government salaries, that number has almost halved since the time of privatisation of education. What is urgently needed is a programme to provide employment to as large a number of people as possible. The skill development programme of the Union government will lead nowhere since lakhs of engineering graduates remain unemployed and lakhs are added to the army of unemployed every year.

S.S. Rajagopalan, Chennai

THE goals of liberalisation were set optimistically with the aim of achieving comprehensive development, but in the long run only the financially robust sections of society have benefited. The government was forced to cut many subsidies that benefit the weaker sections of society. Many factories shut down because of the influx of cheap foreign goods. The privatisation of public amenities such as education, health care and transportation has meant that people have to pay high prices to private service providers. India is still considered a backward country and ranks low in the Human Development Index.

Y. Abhimanyu, Nakrekal, Telangana

UNTIL the 1990s, the rise in the prices of essential items would have brought the trade unions on to the streets and there would have been morchas, bandhs and strikes forcing the government to act. After economic liberalisation, there is not even a whimper of protest despite the huge increase in the prices of vegetable and pulses. Is it because the common man has become numb and docile or has his purchasing power increased so much that he is now immune to inflation? Economic liberalisation has benefited only the likes of the Adanis and the Ambanis.

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

THE Special Investigation Team on black money has suggested banning cash transactions above Rs.3 lakh and wants cash holdings capped at Rs.15 lakh. Both these suggestions will harm rather than benefit the economy and go against citizens’ right to deal in and keep cash. To curb black money, it is best to abolish income tax.

M. Kumar, New Delhi

AFTER 25 years of liberalisation, the economy is in the doldrums because of the neoliberal policies initiated by the Congress party and gleefully followed by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. The proponents of neoliberal reforms still believe that a market economy is the solution to India’s economic ills. The so-called reforms have resulted in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The present government’s argument that the economy is robust and that India is progressing well is laughable. Just because India has large foreign exchange reserves, it does not mean that it is on a sound footing.

S. Murali, Vellore, Tamil Nadu

THE world’s biggest corporates have ruined the ideals of the public health-care system. The worst part is that the economically weaker sections are excluded from it. They do not even get proper primary health care. Although medical expenses are relatively lower in India than in other countries, many Indians cannot afford the cost. Ironically, the government is promoting medical tourism

N. Aravindaswamy, Tharamangalam, Tamil Nadu

THE article “All in the name of news” was depressing (Cover Story, August 5). The business model of the media industry and the cut-throat competition for advertisers’ funds make it susceptible to influence and manipulation. The media’s priorities of coverage are presumptuous, and people are left with a Hobson’s choice. With the enormous variety in sources of news and opinion, thanks to the Internet and the access to independent journalism that it enables, all is not lost. Frontline is a shining example of serious journalism that does not trivialise issues or ingratiate itself with the powers that be. There is increasing awareness, at least among the discerning, about the dumbing down of debate and discussion.

Anand Srinivasan, Bengaluru

Perumal Murugan

IT is heartening to note that the Madras High Court has exonerated the writer Perumal Murugan of all charges (“Life-giving sentence”, August 5). The judges expressed their anguish over the frivolous charges against such a literary work and resurrected the writer, who had declared that the writer in him was dead.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

THE Madras High Court’s judgment upholding an author’s right to write deserves high praise. The death of Perumal Murugan as a writer was tantamount to the demise of the freedom of speech. The world’s largest democracy seemed about to witness the resurrection of the medieval practice of “biblioclasm”, thanks to some caste-based outfits.

It was disheartening to note that the police advised the author to leave his home for his own safety and that a government official, playing the role of arbitrator, compelled him to tender an unconditional apology to the “offended” sections of society. While intellectuals, owners of publishing houses and the media in Tamil Nadu extended the writer their moral support and came forward to create public awareness on the issue, the State government did not rise above vote-bank politics.

Buddhadev Nandi, Bishnupur, West Bengal

Kashmir

IT is unfortunate that the death of Burhan Wani sparked unprecedented violence in the Kashmir Valley (“Valley on fire”, August 5). He was a militant and the face of the Hizbul Mujahideen in the Valley, which woos Kashmiri youth and instigates them to revolt against the nation.

It is imperative that all political parties join hands to bring normalcy to the Valley instead of pointing fingers at each other.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

Iraq war

THE Iraq War Inquiry Report has made it crystal clear that even in a democratic nation like the U.K., the Prime Minister can deceive and mislead the public and Parliament (“Partners in crime”, August 5). As a result of the war, Iraq was destroyed and thousands of innocent citizens were killed. It gave birth to global terrorism on a scale never seen before.

But the million-dollar question is, Will the International Court of Justice ever punish the guilty? Why are only African leaders hauled before it? The media portrayed Saddam Hussain as a villain, but under his rule Iraq was a peaceful and liberal Muslim nation and terrorist activities were contained.

The main objective of the Iraq war was regime change. Iraq will never be the same again.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

Brexit

NOW that the genie of Brexit has been let out, the world at large is keeping its fingers crossed about the possible outcome (Cover Story, July 22). Apart from the E.U.’s immigration policy and the economic discontent among the non-elites, the inherent human proclivity for change was, perhaps, another reason for the Brexit verdict.

It can be reasonably assumed that there will be a sea change, for better or for worse, in the economic and political landscape of Britain with cascading effects on other countries.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

THE article “Failed gamble” (July 22) was a detailed and candid take on the situation in the U.K. People are often duped by those who confidently cite statistics to support their claims. All over the world people support lost causes because of inaccurate perceptions and information.

Sushmita Banerjee, Kolkata

Raghuram Rajan

WHEN the entire world was reeling under the global recession, India was able to stand firm thanks mainly to the calibre of the men who held the significant post of Governor of the RBI (“Victim of tirade”, July 22). It is unfortunate that Raghuram Rajan has decided against a second term as RBI Governor. In a world of yes men, Rajan seems to have been victimised for speaking his mind. This is a loss for the nation as Rajan took the post of RBI Governor to a new level.

Balasubramaniam Pavani, Secunderabad, Telangana

IT is unfortunate that Subramanian Swamy succeeded in getting rid of Rajan. It is not fair to play politics with key posts. It would be good if people in such posts are allowed to complete their full tenure.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

Teesta Setalvad

THE article “Taint and thwart” (July 22) threw light on many aspects of the Narendra Modi government’s actions against non-governmental organisations and its use of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. One fails to understand why the cause of the Gujarat riot victims, which Teesta Setalvad has taken up, still gets the government’s attention when the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team gave Modi a clean chit in the case. Frontline has done people a service by highlighting the loopholes in this grave subject.

H.C. Pandey, Delhi

Education

IT is a harsh reality that in India the areas of health and education have been relegated to the background (Cover Story, July 8). It is also a bitter reality that the education budget is lower than the world average.

According to World Bank 2010 data, while globally 4.9 per cent of GDP was spent on education, India spent only 3.3 per cent. The vast majority of schools in India lack basic infrastructure and many of them lack good quality teachers, too. The harsh reality is that schools/educational institutions have been reduced to “ teaching shops” where teachers are driven by commercial interests. Although the Right to Education Act was intended to provide a framework for ensuring quality education and creating infrastructure, this does not seem to have translated into action on the ground.

B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

THE Indian Education Commission Report, 1964, is regarded as the first-ever comprehensive study of the issues in education in post-Independence India. It rightly stated that the destiny of a nation is shaped in the classroom. Even the best ideals and principles become ineffective if they are executed through an irresponsible and ignorant administrative set-up, as is happening in Lakshadweep. The education department in the Union Territory has decided to withdraw the CBSE English medium syllabus from schools, thus denying poor children their right to access quality education that children in the rest of India get. The irony is that it was the education department that introduced the CBSE syllabus in 2005 to enable students to prepare for national-level competitive examinations. This decision will jeopardise the future of many generations.

Kamil Muhammad, Andrott Island, Lakshadweep

THE Cover Story provided an objective and convincing analysis of the education system in India. Education is a business here. Our education system is the largest in the world, yet more than 50 crore students are not able to read or do basic arithmetic. People in rural areas do not send their wards to study because they do not trust our education system.

Swati Tiwari, Nainital, Uttarakhand

THE sad state of the education system depicted by Frontline was an eye-opener. It should be urgently revamped. The sheer ignorance shown by the government on the education front will eventually lead to a fall in the literacy rate, which, in turn, will hamper the development of the country.

Kirthana Nair, Mumbai

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

Subscribing to the online edition, I am confident, will make it mutually beneficial.

Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

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