Direct votes transfer for Congress
Apropos of “Cash scheme puts off EC”, the Election Commission is justified in objecting to the government’s announcement of the direct cash transfer scheme. The scheme is plainly an election gimmick, aimed at garnering votes of the vulnerable sections, notwithstanding the self-righteous statements by some senior cabinet ministers. It is not very different from the money that was distributed brazenly to voters in Tamil Nadu at the last assembly elections. If the UPA government did not aim to take political advantage of this announcement it need not have mentioned the name of Gujarat as one of the beneficiary states, as the state goes to the polls this month. Besides, it no coincidence that the districts in Gujarat listed to be covered under the scheme are strongholds of the Congress Party. The Election Commission should reprimand the party for this.
—VM Swaraj, by email
The direct cash transfer of benefits and subsidies that aims to help the poor is a welcome scheme by the UPA government, but the haste with which it is being implemented with an eye on the 2014 elections, is hard to gulp. The scheme, minus the politicians and the bureaucrats, will be of advantage to the poor. There have been bottlenecks in the implementation of the NREGA and the siphoning of money that was to go to Vidarbha farmers has not been addressed. This cash transfer is a coin that can be easily counterfeited, so utmost care will have to be taken in the implementation. Some years ago, prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi had pointed out that of every Rs100 allocated for poverty alleviation programmes, not even Rs5 reaches the people it is supposed to help. The government says that it has identified the people to whom the cash transfers are to be made from January next year for 29 schemes. Then why not consider providing them with food articles, house sites and education free of cost? This would eliminate pilferage of funds considerably.
—NR Ramachandran, Chennai
The direct cash transfer scheme is legalised loot of tax-payers money by the ruling party and the government. The government is in debt to the tune of crores of rupees due to the subsidy schemes, but the funds utilised benefit barely about 40 per cent of the people they are supposed to help. A couple of question that the promoters of the scheme have not answered are, how many of the people who are to get these cash transfers have bank accounts? How will these people identify themselves to receive the funds? Or will this scheme only enrich some more politicians and fund banks that are short of funds due to the RBI’s tight money policy? The Election Commission has rightly questioned the timing of the announcement of the scheme. The scheme should be scrapped and the government and the ruling party should be taken to task.
—Suru Shivdasani, by email
Consider disability, age in signature mismatch
Apropos of “Don’t let your signature bounce”, I myself suffered as a result of the mismatch in my signatures on cheques in a business transaction recently. I had a paralytic stroke about a year ago, and have found it very difficult to sign in the same way that I used to. I am finding it even more difficult to convince my bankers about my disability to put in acceptable matching signatures. I don’t think mine is a solitary case. It must also be appreciated that physical faculties deteriorate with age, and therefore signatures will likely vary. I hope that the authorities will make a provision for such situations beyond the control of the individual. After all, neither is there an ulterior motive, nor does one mean to dishonour a financial commitment within the meaning of section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act.
—Arundhati Wajge, Pune
Modi bigger than the BJP
Sushma Swaraj is not known to have been much of an admirer of Narendra Modi, but now she has been drafted to declare Modi fit to be the next prime minister. The Gujarat chief minister has reinforced the personality battle in the election with the declaration “It is Congress versus me”, in the process projecting himself above the Bharatiya Janata Party. One hasn’t seen him so assertive before, and this gives rise to the question whether the BJP and Modi himself are uncertain about the outcome of this election.
—R Narayanan, Ghaziabad
It is a shame that the Congress could not find a suitable candidate from within the party to contest against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and that it has hoisted the wife of a suspended public official to contest against him. The Congress party has little else to fling at Modi apart from the 2002 riots. Now it will support Shweta Bhatt in the hope that she will provide fodder for self-styled pseudo secularists to show Modi’s government in a poor light. The party knows it is fighting a losing battle, but it is shy to admit it.
—Vanita Shenoy, Mumbai
Let’s help kids of separated parents
Apropos of “Spare the rod and spoil chances of being jailed”, I am saddened to read this. If the parents are separated from the child, who needs their physical, emotional support, how can the law care for the child? Is this not an absurdity? In India, parents scold and punish their children in the interests of the children. But there are exceptions, like when kids are denied the access and affection of one of the parents who have separated. While we, in India, are fortunate not to have such absurd laws, there should be some legislation on on shared parenting, to help children of divorced/estranged parents. Sadly, the children of such parents are torn between the two and as a result are even denied the simple pleasures of life. These children should not be treated like footballs. When an Indian couple is arrested in Norway, the story gets media attention, but we read little about children suffering the pain from the separation of their parents.
—Deendayal M Lulla, by email