1. Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Not so pro for poor

Published: May 30, 2016 7:20 AM

Not so pro for poor

PM Narendra Modi’s assertion that his government is “pro-poor” is difficult to accept as its performance bears evidence to the contrary. The drastic cut in the allocation for entitlement programmes, the failure to increase MSP and the callousness in the face of farm distress and farmer suicides give the lie to the claim. The cold truth is that the government’s tall claims are not matched by realities on the ground. The government has done little to mitigate the endemic poverty beneath the veneer of prosperity. The rhetoric of ‘acche din’ makes no difference in the lives of people living in destitution. The government writes off R4-5 lakh crore every year as “revenues foregone” to benefit the country’s top industrialists as “incentives for growth”. At the same time, it has been starved of funds to spend on poverty mitigation programmes. The “strides of progress” on the economic front are barely perceptible on the ground. The BJP is adept at substituting governance with gimmickry. The much-hyped celebrations are reminiscent of the India Shining campaign. The suffering India may not be quite satisfied with ‘virtual reality’.

G David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Railways in a financial mess

With reference to the timely edit “Regulating railways” (FE, May 27), one fully agrees with the editorial concerns that in view of the mounting ‘operational’ losses suffered by the railways in its passenger segment, the need for having a regulator has now become imminent. While several reasons may be attributed for the current financial ‘mess’ faced by the railways (suffering a revenue loss of R34,030 crore in passenger segment in FY16) but one of its main cause could be a huge ‘mismatch’ between very low suburban fares and overcharged fare of its air-conditioned classes and also its unrealistic freight charges. As regards, the move of the railway ministry to set up the proposed Rail Development Authority (RDA) for inching towards market-based pricing of rail passenger services, it goes without saying that it should be a fully ‘empowered’ body (preferably an autonomous one) which could always fix ‘tarrifs’ sans any political interference on some real time basis. Needless to say that the proposed regulator (RDA) should not be left to fend for itself in the absence any proper road map at the execution level. It’s also ironical to learn that the proposed executive order process does not provide for any appellate authority. One naturally fails to see any rationale behind such half-baked moves being ‘conceptualised’ by our ‘over-enthusiastic’ Railway Minister in his eagerness to ‘refurbish’ the fast declining financial coffers of the railways.

Vinayak G, Bengaluru

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