Rural India needs reforms, too
Apropos of the column “Rural India’s dark underbelly” (August 13), at a time when the government is moving rapidly to implement reforms in all segments of the economy, irrespective of areas, they need to ensure that the villagers of the country also become beneficiaries through inclusive growth. Basic infrastructure facilities like motorable roads and bridges for easy accessibility to remote areas in the hinterland remain a distant dream. Villages in many parts of India encounter many accessibility problems, particularly during the monsoons. Creation of job opportunities is of paramount importance to boost the income, consumption and demand levels in the rural economy, and though the existing MGNREGS gives some relief, the efficiency and productivity of the scheme compared to money spent for it is sadly underwhelming. Paucity of healthcare centres and lack of doctors and paramedical staff are adversely affecting the heath of citizens in the villages; people living in remote areas have hardly any access to healthcare centres and are the worst sufferers. The quality of education in government-run schools and colleges in rural areas is not as good as that of schools and colleges in the urban areas, leading to inferior competency levels among rural students as compared to their counterparts educated in urban schools and colleges. Consequently, they become incapable to compete for good jobs. While a large section of villagers earn their livelihood from farming and farm-related activities, the Union and state governments need to ensure that eligible farmers get the subsidies they are entitle to. Likewise, institutional credit at affordable prices must be made available to all farmers irrespective of the land-holding criteria, else the farmers will fall prey to the village money-lenders who lend at exorbitant rates of interest. Despite having insurance schemes, farmers are not adequately compensated against loss of crops on account of natural calamities. Comprehensive reforms are essential to improve the standard of living of farmers.
VSK Pillai, Kottayam
Getting Parliament to function
Apropos of the edit “Parliament logjam” (August 14), the economy is alive today more by default than design. With no cartographer to help steer it into progressive waters, the industry in the engine room pumped just about adequate steam as it felt that these are passing seasonal storms. Sadly, the Indian legislative malady is no longer seasonal, it is perennial. The Houses of Parliament are now another dais for electoral posturing and games of one-upmanship. And given our generous spread of democracy, elections are on 24/7, a problem compounded by the plethora of political parties. It is a feat to get houses going and even more to get business done, given there are many extraneous agenda for debate. That said, a consummate leader of the Lok Sabha could ensured the functioning of the house by his/her sagacity and earnestness. Here, of late, we are being let down by both the opposition as well as the ruling party. If the leader of the last government had been overly reticent inside and outside premises of Parliament, today’s leader is rarely present. Any democratically elected captain needs to steer the nation through rough seas.
R Narayanan, Ghaziabad