This refers to your editorial ?Electri-fying? (FE, February 14). There is a Tamil movie, Mudhalvan, in which, the hero, a journalist, becomes the chief minister of the state and stays in power for one day. He goes about sacking corrupt officials, and errant PDS shop owners. Sales tax is collected on every morsel of food item sold (God knows how). Eve-teasers are reprimanded, then and there. The CM himself talks in a different voice to lethargic policemen and their marching orders are sent by fax, in real-time! So much that the state becomes a paradise when the movie ends?the CM travels by bus to his office! If only the reel could indeed be real. We could sympathise with Arvind Kejriwal when he teamed up with Anna Hazare. Frustration over corruption is eating into our nation?s future?and foreign investors are cautious when it comes to dealing with India because of this problem. But, CM Kejriwal, it seems, has got to get a thing or two right, first and foremost. Running a giant bureaucracy is not cakewalk. It requires acumen and patience. A single wrong move could derail months of efforts. In this regard, Kejriwal needs to slow down a little bit.
Two, what we see in the episodes involving the likes of Somnath Bharti is only a sort of desperation to showing others that the AAP is serious about what it says. Maybe, the AAP is indeed serious. But, why not show the same enthusiasm in following up on cases of eve-teasing and rapes in Delhi (where it is one of the highest in the nation)?if the AAP is serious about making the city safer for ladies?instead of thuggishly assaulting foreigners, ascribing unproven charges of prostitution on them? Bharti?s gimmicks don?t cut ice.
Cutting energy and water bills requires sprucing up supply and upgrading delivery infrastructure. Kejriwal could talk of, say, inviting power producers to set up manufacturing bases near Delhi. He could organise a tender process to clean up Yamuna and tap water from the river. On infrastructure, the AAP did the exactly wrong thing by banning FDI in retail?it is just the opposite of what needed to be done. Other ways may be thought out. Exchequer footing half the bill is stupidity. For how long does Kejriwal think such doles would last? We get a feeling that the AAP wants to do too many things so quickly that it has ended up making bad things worse. Populist measures do pad up the self-esteem of people in power and vote banks, but do little to alter ground realities. We suggest Kejriwal should get serious.
Raghu Seshadri Chennai
Let states decide
Apropos of the column “only one word: Decentralisation” (FE, February 15), it is very true that states should have the liberty to decide upon whether the funds given to them are to be utilised for specific purposes or based on requirements. But what is happening, as of now, even if a scheme ushered in by the central government lacks urgency, people across states try and avail of benefits which results in funds being spent in a misdirected manner. It results in losses for the taxpayers and some meaningful objectives being ignored. Sure, the Finance Commission can decide the distribution of funds but let no condition be attached by the central government that the money is to be spent only for this purpose or that. Similarly, as poverty varies from state to state it is not always important to subsidise the same thing to all the people, irrespective of the actual requirement of particular geographies. Rather, the state can decide on where the funds should be channelled for maximum benefit to the people. Through specific planning, the state can decide on the sectors needing attention.
RK Arya, Faridabad