Apropos of the report “India’s temples open gold vaults for PM Modi” (April 10), prime minister Modi’s plan to utilise temple gold to curb import of the yellow metal is laudable (though the previous attempt was a futile one). The whole aspect has to be considered from three viewpoints. First, sentiments—Indians are obsessed with the feeling that their offerings are earmarked for their gods and the decision to melt the gold to give it to the jewellery manufacturers will not be taken easily by devotees. Then comes the rate of interest against gold deposits. It has to be a minimum of 5% to lure the temple authorities to cede their gold reserves to the government. Third, the fear of confiscation of their gold by the government on one plea or the other. The government has to assure the temple authorities (even in writing) that under no circumstances, their gold reserves will be confiscated by the government and that this is a move for national prosperity and growth. This will allay their fears and only then will they park even a part of their yellow metal reserve (of 3,000 tonnes) with the government. The Centre should appeal to individuals households to share even a fraction of their mammoth gold reserve of 17,000 tonnes with the government. Though it is a difficult proposition (since gold is considered by them to be “a friend in need” given the potential rise in value), it is expected that the jinx will gradually be broken with awareness and publicity blitzes by the government.
Apropos of the column “Nine steps to nirvana” (April 12) by P Chidambaram, there has always been an unmistakable streak of bravado associated with the BJP, imbibed from its right wing roots which was passionately wielded to reach today’s high political podium. No wonder, despite being caught in a pincer over the land Bill by an united opposition, the BJP has gone ahead and re-promulgated it, at the risk of getting estranged from the farmer. Now, rattled by the anti-poor tag over the land acquisition law it proposes, it came up with a high crop-compensation package, but its discomfort over this is not hidden. Faced with ground realities post elections, it could not jettison any of the UPA’s inclusive schemes. But its natural aversion to foray into any space left-of-centre will not allow it to dwell too long over the type of socialistic politics so fervently practised by the Congress. The same streak has them jousting with the judiciary over appointments, and yet, press ahead and take a side-swipe at them over “perceptional judgements”. Then, it remains flummoxed by its coalition ally in J&K on a daily basis, over any and every issue, that leads us to wonder if its political move was a grand strategy or plain naivete wherein it waded into waters of unknown depth. But how to explain its lack of will in dealing with its own fringe elements, those that trouble it with sporadic outpourings of narrow ideology. These are diversions that hamper this government’s core agenda of growth.
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