Getting it right on weather
Weather prediction is indeed a complex science, but with just 40% success rate till date, IMD has made it look like rocket science. Can India, with 120 crore population, with a large chunk of this hugely dependent on monsoon, continue to afford white elephants? Comparatively, private forecaster Skymet, a new entrant, has a success rate of almost 100%. It is high time that the government starts tweaking the IMD structure and thoroughly reviews its performance, constituting a committee of eminent scientists and experts from reputed research institutes. IMD needs to be completely refurbished by removing the dead wood and inducting fresh talent and the latest technology for the development of accurate models so that the country gets correct predictions and plans its future growth more confidently and efficiently.
States must play ball on GST
This refers to the report “GST: States want more sweeteners” (June 5). The state government have presented their wish-list of changes to the original GST structure before they toe the line on the landmark tax reform. It is necessary to have consensus on all these issues to rollout GST from the next financial year. To reap the real benefits of GST, exemptions need to be kept to the minimum. The state governments want to exclude purchase tax, Octroi and some other taxes or taxable items to avoid losses, after the introduction of proposed GST regime. On the other hand, they have demanded an increase in the compensation from the Centre. The central government may increase this to get to a closure, but then it needs to put the condition that the 1% additional tax will be done away with.
Fighting the effects of drought
Apropos of the column “Strike-three against farm sector”, the authors have hit the nail right on the head—the Indian Ocean Dipole’s play with El Nino makes it uncertain to predict if there would actually be a rainfall deficit and consequently, a drought. Even if a drought happens, India’s public stock of grains would see to it that food inflation doesn’t rise. Meanwhile, to relieve the farmers’ grief, the government must put crop insurance within the reach of every farmer. Whether a drought materialises or not, farmers need to be secured against all future vagaries of nature, and that can only happen if they are habituated with insurance. After all, the agri sector employs the bulk of the labour force.