Letters to the Editor — June 23, 2021

Advisory panel

With its constitution of an Economic Advisory Council to the Chief Minister, comprising global experts, including Nobel laureate Esther Duflo, the Tamil Nadu government may have given an indication that it is serious about streamlining the State’s fiscal position (Page 1, “Nobel laureate in economic advisory panel”, June 22). However, in the run-up to the recent Assembly election, the now ruling party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, made tall promises, many commitments recurring in nature, oblivious of the precarious financial situation, compounded by the onslaught of the pandemic. It may find the going tough now to fulfil the aspirations of the people with finite resources at its disposal. One of the experts on the new panel, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, is not a votary of subsidies, whereas the Government cannot do away with freebies, which have only increased manifold in the last few decades. The eminent panellists may not play to the gallery.

If the panel advocates austerity measures including a cap on freebies, the DMK government may have to make many compromises, and with political repercussions. If it intends to take advantage of the panel’s findings to attract overseas investments, the Government cannot pick and choose the findings that suit its interests. Moreover, in India, the Centre wields a powerful hold on finances leaving States often fighting for their due share. Instead of constituting the new panel, the Government should have taken forward the proposals of the C. Rangarajan Committee presented to the predecessor government. This would have saved time.

V. Subramanian,


Though the development is a welcome approach, it is cause for some apprehension. First, the same experts have already provided enough policy advice on inclusive growth and poverty concerns such as MGNREGA and the right to food. Second, the cause of persistent poverty and inequality in India is not due to a poverty of experts’ recommendations but the implementation system that remains politically galvanised. Unbiased monitoring and an evaluation system on development programmes (based on the theory of change principles) are needed.

V. Rengarajan,


I happened to read the book, The Dravidian Years – Politics and Welfare in Tamil Nadu, authored by S. Narayan, and one of the five economic experts on the panel. Though the writer has not explicitly mentioned M.K. Stalin as a future leader and we find him wondering about the future of the State in the absence of the tall leaders such as M. Karunanidhi, M.G.R. and Jayalalithaa, in his concluding line, “The future is now a question mark, waiting for a new paradigm to emerge”, he drives readers to guess who that future leader could be. Mr. Stalin’s leadership could well be the new paradigm.

Tharcius S. Fernando,


Stand on ex gratia

The way the central government has handled the second wave of the pandemic has been an abysmal failure. It has now hit a new low by its stance on ex gratia. Innumerable families have lost their bread winners and ex gratia is the only way they can make both ends meet. The Government ought to fathom the situation from the perspective of an impoverished family.

Aanya Singhal,

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Milkha Singh

In the passing of Milkha Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said that his government would ensure that Milkha Singh’s memory continues to inspire younger generations.

Perhaps the Chief Minister may not forget that the moniker the ‘Flying Sikh’, given to Milkha Singh, came from none other than then Pakistan President General Ayub Khan. This gesture also represents a time when both nations could still run as one even after 1947. Perhaps this is the spirit that we must now seek to inculcate in the younger generations and cross the boundaries in the way of the betterment of ties between the two neighbours.

Udayan Singh,

Amritsar, Punjab

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