LPG reform irrational
Apropos of the editorial “Modi’s LPG ‘reforms’”(FE, December 30), the union government’s move to restrict the flow of subsidy on LPG to consumers having taxable household income more than Rs.10 lakh per year is not a cent-percent effective measure to reduce the subsidy outflow and to weed out the bogus and multiple connections as well. The government must look for speeding up the process to ensure seeding of Aadhaar. Direct transfer of the subsidy to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts need to be strictly implemented to prevent the benefit from going to the ineligible consumers. Generally, income tax returns need to be filed before end-July of every year, and the respective assessment order may not be available for verification till December. The possibility of variations in earning can’t be ruled out, and in such a situation, the criteria based on earnings to decide eligibility for subsidy would be irrational. The government must look for some other fool-proof method.
VSK Pillai, Kottayam
Not a question of leave
Apropos of your edit “Leave matters” (FE, December 30), it is surprising that The Financial Express, a respected newspaper, should choose to raise the bogey of falling employability of women due to extended maternity leaves, based on how it thinks the market will react. For a moment, consider this: Is the so-called free market any different from governments? Both are not living, thinking entities. They are run by people, who, in turn, are governed by their individual biases and motivations—whether it is profits or electoral victory. A policy, corporate or government, therefore emerges from a clash of biases and is more often than not the least disagreeable pile of such subjectivity. If the free market were such a dynamic thing, then why—despite many studies finding women, on average, get paid a third lesser than their male peers—are firms not queueing up to hire women? After all, by pricing alone, women’s labour beats men’s labour for the same job, doesn’t it? So, please refrain from being a “free market” apologist. There is an article in another newspaper that shows that India Inc has welcomed the proposal, but the question is whether there will be a slip between the cup and the lip. Will women ever get their due when it comes to labour?
Sumona Pal, Kolkata