Letters

Letters to the Editor — June 17, 2020

At sixes and sevens

This is perhaps the first time India is facing trouble from all sides of its main border — with Nepal, China and even Pakistan.

Nepal, a neighbour which was once friendly and much smaller geographically, is staging a quarrel with India, perhaps punching above its weight. How India handles the sudden and caustic development needs to be seen. And has the Defence Minster’s statement (Inside pages, “India, Nepal share close ties: Rajnath”, June 16) come too late?

We then have Pakistan and its pinpricks in the strange episode of the staff of the Indian mission in that country disappearing for a while. All is not well on that part of the border too (Editorial, June 16).

On top of all these episodes, China is clearly haunting us by opening up many lines along the long boundary. What is the government planning to do? What is the Opposition doing? The media should play a pivotal role in awakening the government.

Raghavendra A. Choudhari,

Hubballi, Karnataka

ICMR stance

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has not covered itself in glory in these difficult COVID-19 times (Inside pages, “ICMR distances itself from study”, June 16). The latest modelling study — which it has now distanced itself from — indicates that cases might peak as late as January 2021. The study also calculates a whopping 6.2% of GDP, as overall economic health system cost of the pandemic. This is not the first time the ICMR has shied away from adopting a stand during the pandemic, even though many prominent scientists from within and outside the country have maintained that “community transmission” is well under way. It is time that the country’s leading medical research body leads from the front in this moment of crisis.

Dr. Thomas Palocaren,

Vellore, Tamil Nadu

Going online

While the pros and cons of e-learning have been repeatedly scrutinised in terms of the glaring digital divide in the country and the means to, albeit temporarily, bypass the problem of access is being discussed, it is refreshing to see some space being given in print to the other factors that make classroom education superior to e-learning (Editorial page, “Streamed education is diluted education”, June 13). We must let go of the new age, uber-ideology of tech-centrism that prompts us to automatically assume that “if it’s high-tech, it’s better”, taking away even the possibility of discussing the trade-offs involved in the new efficiencies against the new problems that come with it. It is a matter of fact that even in a tech-Utopia, where all Indians have the gadgets, the technological know-how and the connectivity to attend e-classes, it would still be limited to a medium to supply and consume information. It would fail to provide the many organic advantages of physical classrooms that are key to the learning process.

Combining syllabus cuts with the idea of a ‘zero academic year’ is a much better idea than shifting education to the electronic medium.

We, as Indians, must remember that whenever we have chosen to ‘go digital’, sans planning, it has made the lives of the advantaged marginally better while making the lives of the already disadvantaged significantly worse.

Kannan K.,

Chalakudy, Thrissur, Kerala

Dragged on a cot

It was distressing to read the report, “Woman drags 100-year-old mother to bank on a cot” (Inside pages, June 16), as physical verification of the beneficiary was necessary. As a banker, I understand the plight of the manager, who was the lone officer, and the problems he faced in managing the surging crowd single-handed. When it is a single-man branch and given the circumstances, should not the higher authorities have extended staff support to the manager? Are they too not equally or even more responsible for the incident to happen? A policy decision must be taken by all banks that ensure at least two officers in every branch despite the size of the branches.

Tharcius S. Fernando,

Chennai

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 1:33:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-june-17-2020/article31845787.ece

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