MyVoice: Views of our readers 14th August 2022

MyVoice: Views of our readers 14th August 2022

MyVoice: Views of our readers 14th August 2022

What's India's greatest achievement in 75 yrs?

We are on the threshold of something truly momentous. Some things come only once in a lifetime. The chance to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country's independence. We should all be proud that we will be taking part in this joyful occasion.

As we sit down and ponder, we ask ourselves, what has been our biggest achievement? Some would say that too with a snigger that India will be the most populous country in the world by the next year. The large population comes with huge disadvantages but has also given a golden opportunity— the opportunity to leverage the advantage of the demographic dividend of being the country with the highest percentage of its citizens in the youth category.

As many countries age, decay, and experience negative growth, tremendous opportunities are opening up for confident, mobile, and smart Indians to make a mark on the world. As they say, the world can become your playground.

The next significant achievement of the Indian union is that, in spite of naysayers, we have remained same India that the British left us with. We have not broken into 100 mini-countries as many have predicted. That is the beauty of India, unity in diversity. Even though we are divided by language, caste, creed, and many other factors, we are united by our identity of being Indians.

The most significant achievement that India and Indians have contributed to the world is the spread of the Indian Diaspora, which has become the biggest in the world. As of 2020, 1.8 crore Indians were living outside their country of birth. The Indian Diaspora has excelled in all areas, and in many cases, they have taken the citizenship of those countries where they chose to migrate.

Following are the eight Indian-origin presidents and prime ministers who are currently holding power across the world. They include Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal; Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the Prime Minister of Mauritius; Prithviraj Rajsing Roopun, the President of Mauritius; Chandrika Persad Santokhi, President of Suriname; Mohammed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana; Wavel Ramkalawan, the President of Seychelles; Halimah Yacob, the President of Singapore; and last but not the least, Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the USA. If we are lucky, we might have the 9th person!

It is hard to believe that Rishi Sunak, belonging to a family of Indian origin, should be making a strong and pushy bid to be Prime Minister of Britain. To top it all off, a person of Indian origin could be ruling the country that colonized India in just 75 years. What a great example of India turning out to be the biggest soft power in the world!

Dr M Anil Ramesh, Hyderabad

Don't demonise ED, give it more teeth

It is a common phenomenon to note that the investigating agencies like CBI & ED keep a strict vigil on illegal economic activities in the country. The CBI has been facing a great deal of opposition from various quarters. On the other hand, the not-so-familiar agency of ED (Enforcement Directorate) which was constituted prior to the CBI and existed as an independent agency since 1956 is basically meant to deal with economic offences and has become a spoilsport with the offenders.

After economic reforms were set in motion in 1991, there has been spurt in the number of economic offences. Hence it necessitated new legislations to curb illegal investments made in foreign countries, transference of money illegally made from abroad and evasion of bank loans. Accordingly, ED has been set in motion to play a key role mainly in implementing Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA, 1999), Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA, 2002), and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA, 2018) which are stringent laws enacted to empower ED and its functioning. Among these laws, PMLA provides ED with limited powers to search, arrest and deny bail while dealing with offenders on whom punishment could be imposed expeditiously. Since the enactment of PMLA in 2003, a total of 5422 cases were registered by conducting 2833 raids leading to 401 arrests. ED has recovered so far more than Rs 1 lakh crore. Similarly under FEMA, 15000 cases have been cleared out of 30000 cases by recovering about Rs 500 crore.

Recently, CBI & ED have booked cases on Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and Congress MP, Rahul and former FM P Chidambaram. The Gandhis are accused of amassing thousand crores of illegal money in "National Herald" case. Sonia and Rahul were summoned to face ED for interrogation.

Every decision and act made by ED can be challenged in the High Court and even reported to CVC and Lokpal. ED is in fact vulnerable to the harassment made politically against it . Hence, the role of ED as an enforcement agency should be given more teeth to firmly deal with economic offenders and curb the illegal activities which are rampant due to the policy of economic liberalisation and non-stringent economic laws.

Bh Indu Sekhar, Hyderabad

English medium best for science, tech courses

Studying science and technology subjects in local languages started in 70's itself. I was a victim of it. When I came to the degree level, teaching of science subjects in local languages - in my case Telugu - was introduced. It became very difficult for the book writers to find out Telugu equivalent words for technical terms and finally they had remained the same English technical word written in Telugu. For the students also it became very difficult for us to study the subjects. This affected us in the postgraduate level where again the courses were in English. I still remember that my Chemistry professor used to correct the sentence construction mistakes of the students, because nobody could write the exams in English properly.

There is no need for haste in making educational materials available in Indian languages. First the approach and methodology should be discussed threadbare by policy makers and educationists without political pressure or interference. The use of English wherever desirable should be retained with no aversion shown on the ground that it is a foreign language. English is an international language and let the students learn it apart from the regional languages. The British did a good thing for introduction of English medium during those days otherwise the present generation possessing the engineering degrees are asked for professionalism in English while going for jobs. Let the political people not interfere in this subject.

TSN Rao, Hyderabad

Let's change, to change the nation

Income tax is paid by those whose income exceeds the tax exemption limits. But GST is paid by one and all, whenever one buys any commodity or avails service. Thus, taxpayers are doubly taxed. Government should spend public money judiciously. But it never happens. Rs 3,000 crore on a statue, Rs 800 crore on a stadium, Rs 1 lakh crore on bullet train seem to be huge.

Mid-day meal may be meaningful, whereas free laptops, free furniture to the newlywed may not be. Governments (Union and States) borrow money. Huge interests are being paid for decades. As borrowings are growing, the interests too are growing. Frequent interest waivers and loan waivers of huge amounts to corporates by submission of insolvency certificates by a Board created in 2016 pose dangerous to the nation. We have authorities, bodies, committees, in good numbers to regulate governance. But here is a time for introspection. We have inspection, accounts and vigilance departments, still scams are happening. We have food inspectors, but we find adulteration. We have factory inspectors, but pollution is growing these days. We have drug inspectors but spurious drugs are distributed. We have Censor Board, but our movies do not seem to be censored at all. Violence and vulgarity is exhibited to a great extent. Lack of Ethics is troubling us. Honesty is buried. Unless we change ourselves, this great nation cannot be saved from sinking.

KL Rao, Visakhapatnam

Recognise athletes who made us proud at CWG

Our Indian sportspersons with a rich haul of 61 medals in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games made India proud and we stood at 4th place in the medals tally, bagging 22 gold, 15 silver and 23 bronze medals. They truly brought laurels for the country.

Though many medals were won by shuttlers, paddlers, boxers, weight lifters, wrestlers, cricketers, hockey players, we must make a special mention about the achievements of the athletes who won a few prestigious medals for us. Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Abhoobaker earned us gold and silver medals in triple jump event. Avinash Sable won silver medal in 3000 steeple chase, Sree Shankar earned a silver in long jump and Priyanka Goswami won silver medal in 10 km walk.

Bronze medals are won by Annu Rani (javelin throw), Sandeep Kumar (10000 metre race walk) and Tejaswani Shanker (high jump). All individual medal winners should be suitably honoured by both central and respective state governments. This is high time for the sports authorities to search for the talented athletes in rural areas and give them necessary training.

The schools and colleges are the right places for talent hunt and the spots must be made mandatory in schools and colleges where young talent is available or else with the crores of young men and women available in India, getting medals in Olympics will remain a pipe dream.

Rama Krishna M, Kakinada

Stop conversions in name of marriages

Karnataka has witnessed one more communal clash the other day when a Hindu boy and Muslim girl proposed to go in for love marriage. Around 752 communal clashes occurred in the state, one report says, Kerala is tagged with highest number of 'Jihadi Love' marriages leading to communal clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities. The country's scenario is simmering so fast with conversion activities by certain fundamentalists at the cost of national security. A disturbing practice is on in Ladakh state where a certain constitutes 50% of the population. Now, the Buddhists are crying hoarse about 'Jihadi marriages.' So far, about 97 marriages took place, says Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) expressing anguish and anger against the government.

While the UP government is acting stringently against conversions with marriage proposals, the Karnataka High Court has said that the right of parties to marry as per their choice, irrespective of religion, caste and creed, is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Indian constitution. If the parties to marriage are adults their freedom of choice cannot be throttled. The culprits trying to stop such marriages shall be stringently punished. The ghastly communal violence over inter-religion persons that occurred in Karnataka state is highly contemptible.

Seetharam Basani, Hanumakonda

To retain freebies or not – That is the question

Use them as life-savers

The Election Commission has rightly opined that freebies can be lifesavers during crisis periods. The Supreme Court has also said that there is a difference between freebies and welfare schemes like the difference between chalk and cheese.One cannot differentiate both from one another without much thought. So, it takes a deep understanding and brainstorming among all stakeholders to formulate proper guidelines to curb the inducement culture pre and post polls period without hurting the welfare agenda. When ambiguity prevails in defining such culture itself, it's not possible to stop the parties from making unrealistic promises. As the apex court has aptly said it's also undemocratic to punish the political parties on that grounds.

Dr DVG Sankararao, Vizianagaram

It's akin to bribing voters

Freebies distributed to woo voters during elections is nothing but bribing the electorate. It amounts to corruption indulged in by political parties. SC,EC and all political parties know this. Imagine and think of the corruption indulged in by all these parties over these 75 long years and the enormous sums of taxpayers' money wasted. So, the SC &the EC have allowed corruption to continue right under their nose. Now, when frequent elections are underway (with some states going to mid-term polls), this issue, though no doubt serious,has propped up as if it's another new-found issue with parties playing blame games. The SC citing domain restrictions that it can't de-recognise parties indulging in freebie distribution and the EC not having done much so far, the issue would continue to haunt the sincere, conscientious taxpayer and voter for a long time to come. The committee of experts set up though belatedly can hardly change matters as it is a complex issue where poverty is used as way,alibi and means to woo voters by various parties. Again a balance can't be worked out that easily, to silence the sincere taxpayer who has been crying hoarse. The honest electorate has only to keep watching as to what recommendations the committee will come up with to curb and shun this norm which has no doubt impacted the economy.

N R Raghuram, Hyderabad

Discuss the issue threadbare

It is very correct that the Supreme court of India has unambiguously stated that freebies and welfare measures are quite different and that 'freebies come without any charge, while 'welfare measures' give an additional financial support to the needy below poverty line people. Both involve finance whether at the central or state level. The SC has further hinted that financial constraints have to be addressed before announcing unlimited freebies-welfare measures as it is taxpayers' money which is being utilized, instead of using the funds to build infrastructure for macro and micro developments in the country. Any welfare measure beyond health, education, PDS etc., has to be studied in detail for the requirement of funds. The expert body to be constituted as suggested by the Centre involving members of national political parties, NITI Aayog, RBI, planning commission etc has to discuss the rapid spreading issue of 'freebie culture' in Indian politics and debate on this issue thoroughly as to arrive at a reasonable conclusion at least before the ensuing national elections.

KaturuDurgaPrasad Rao, Hyderabad

Groaning under burden of freebies

Apropos 'Impact of freebies on economy huge: SC.' It is a valid observation by the Supreme Court on the freebies practised by some political parties to entice voters, which they have come to regard as normal and natural for political parties. They are either ill-informed or ignorant that these cause severe strain on the country's economy. It is observed that the loan burden of many states is growing as a result, and the burden will be transferred to people by way of new taxes in order to make up for the loss. The existing practice of PDS and other countless welfare measures are already a severe strain on the country's economy that even advanced countries are not practicing yet. Freebies must not result in what had happened to Sri Lanka.

K R Parvathy, Mysuru

Freebies different from welfare

The observations made by the Supreme Court on the freebie culture being practised by political parties and its impact on the country's economy are unmissable, and call for course correction in the national interest. The fine line that separates welfare measures from economy must be clearly understood by all. There are arguments by some political parties like AAP, Congress, Shiv Sena (Uddhav faction) that India is a welfare state.Such freebies as loan waiver, free water, freeelectricity by them will not hold water, as they are bizarre and unacceptable. These political parties fail to realise the load of freebies ultimately fall on the shoulders of the Indian taxpayer.

S Lakshmi, Hyderabad

Put taxpayers' money to good use

No tax payerdoes not wish or like his/her money to be put to misuse by politicians for the cause of purchasing votes. There could also be no two opinions on helping the poor and the have nots by the government. Freebies are against democratic norms and equality. If at all, the politicians want to help the masses to banish inequalities in the society, then they should give the people good free education, quality and cheap health care and employment. More and more employment avenues should be created for our youth to stimulate growth and development. Freebies otherwise in the form of mixies, grinders, rice, wheat, tv's cycle and scooters etc would make people more and more lazy. If at the political class want to please the people, they should do it from their party or own funds. Paying taxpayers' money to woo voters amounts to bribing. It is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Sravana Ramachandran, Chennai

They shouldn't burden economy

No doubt there exists a line of difference between freebies and welfare schemes, but it subtlety depends on the viewer. Freebies will prove least hazardous if politicians offer them without any ulterior motives and after making all calculations. They shouldn't imbalance the economy of the state/country at any cost.There are countries which offer their citizens free healthcare,free education, interest-free loans and freebies for tourists and what not, the governments of such nations are cheered in unison by one and all across the world but when in our own country a minister or would be minister announces dole-outs, he is profusely condemned.It is high time in India the political leaders purify their intentions and citizens changed their mindset.

Dr Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

It's indeed SC's call to fix freebies

Chief Justice of India(CJI) terming freebies promised by political parties during elections is a serious matter. That the economy is losing money and in the process getting ruined is absolutely correct. He further contended that as welfare measures for the poor need to be considered in a welfare state, poll freebies is a blot on democracy and therefore any attempt by the party to combine in order to confuse the public is unacceptable. In fact, theApex Court has every right to examine freebies after parties have been splurging taxpayers' money to a worthless cause spelling more disaster to the economy. In this context, the contention of AamAadmi Party that the SC should not intervene in freebies is disagreeable because after taking freebie culture to a level of an art and not welfare, the party appears bent on causing harm more than improving the lot of the poor and the downtrodden. Obviously, its actions nodoubt from the start are clearly with an ulterior motive and not really welfare of the poor. Analysing the pros and cons, the apex court has correctly said that panacea lies in initiating an important national debate on this prickly issue.

KRSrinivasan, Secunderabad

A case for more freebies

We are dismayed by the Supreme Court's decision to set up an expert panel to look into freebies and their 'impact on taxpayers and the economy' and recommend measures to 'regulate' freebies – 'regulate' could well be a euphemism for 'ban'. The phrases such as 'irrational freebies,' 'economic disaster' and 'distortion of the informed decisions of the voters' used by the apex court easily betrayed its thinking on the issue. One fails to understand how the courts, the Election Commission, the NitiAayog, the Finance Commission and the RBI can decide on an issue that is 'political and economic in nature.' It is for the people and the Parliament to decide whether freebies should exist or be done away with.

The case against freebies is primarily made on the ground that the money to give freebies is sourced from the public exchequer. It must be understood that usually the beneficiaries of what is sometimes called 'largesse' or sops are impoverished people. As such, freebies cannot be considered as 'a waste of money.' The more fortunate citizens should empathize with the less fortunate compatriots and be okay with freebies. Patriotism is not something to profess, but to practise. The 'economic wellbeing' that Chief Justice NVRamana spoke of should encompass that of people with inherited disadvantages, too. Freebies go to alleviate poverty and ensure 'ease of living', of course in relative terms, for anyone to be against them. The state cannot abdicate its responsibility as the main provider of welfare.

While spending on freebies is considered as a huge drain on the country's resources, major tax cuts for corporate behemoths are considered as 'incentives for growth.' An unequal distribution of wealth or the revenue foregone as a result of cuts in corporate taxes does not attract the same level of debate as 'revari culture' does. India has the largest concentration of impoverished citizens on Earth; widespread poverty in India is certainly not due to freebies. The real causes of poverty must be identified and addressed. The case for freebies is strong; perhaps, more freebies are needed to improve the lives of the aamaadmi. However, certain eligibility criteria based on socio-economic conditions can be set to receive freebies.

G David Milton, Maruthancode

Freebie culture won't go away

The Indian electorate which seems to have become politically matured should shun freebies and teach their so-called political masters (irrespective of their affiliations) that they can't be appeased with small gifts during election time. This change of mindset and political awakening is the need of the hour. Committees comprising different heads of stakeholders can do precious little unless this voluntary change of mindset is realised. Unfortunately, poverty coupled with illiteracy of the vast majority of Indians living in far-flung remote villages across Pan India is used as a happy hunting ground by selfish Indian politicians to usurp power. This is a sad reflection of India's democracy of which we gloat about and are fiercely proud of. Therefore, I, for one, am very sure that this freebie culture will be here to stay and political corruption will only thrive.

N R Raghuram, Hyderabad

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