Letters

Letters to the Editor — November 16, 2020

Border management

India’s strong message to China — more of a veiled threat by the Prime Minister — may boost the morale of the country’s defence forces. But, at the same same time, it may be going too far to expect that it shall rattle our rogue neighbours. It is but natural that the unexpected victory in Bihar may have given those concerned an adrenaline rush, perhaps creating the setting to impulsively go overboard.

Is there something unique which the Prime Minister espouses day in day out that in case of any threat to the sovereignty of our country, defence forces shall give a befitting reply? This is indeed the job of the armed forces and government of the day. It is prudent for the government that instead of indulging in optics management it ought to zero in on border management where the Chinese are still digging in their heels and have not retreated an inch since the onset of the stand-off.

Deepak Singhal,

Noida

 

Environment, welfare

There can be no two opinions on issues or measures concerning health issues. Controlling air pollution should be top priority. If banning fire crackers could help, one should in true earnest support it. But there are pertinent questions which need to be looked into. Is air pollution severe only due to the lighting of fire crackers on a single day during Deepavali especially as Deepavali falls once a year? What about the other contributing factors? What about the vehicles that run round the clock on roads? Many would fail the emission test. What about stubble burning and the burning of waste? As far as the firecracker industry is concerned, its worth signifies the size of the work force involved. Alternate measures should be in place to secure the livelihood of these workers. It is a catch-22 situation for the authorities and out of the box thinking would help.

Balasubramaniam Pavani,

Secunderabad

Press freedom

It seems unreasonable to fault the Supreme Court’s expeditious granting of bail to a well-known TV anchor. To assert that the case against him is not related to his journalistic profession is turning a blind eye to a blatant assault on press freedom. There is no such thing as politically neutral media.

All media prioritise certain political worldviews over others. If governments can foist cases and lock up journalists who they dislike, it will have a chilling effect on the media’s freedom. True, there are similar cases that cry out for immediate judicial attention. All are equal before the law is an empty slogan because there is a VIP culture that privileges some over others. A selective pique over the nation’s de facto legal apartheid seems futile.

V.N. Mukundarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

High interest rate

Debtors who availed the benefit of the government-declared six month moratorium on loans repayment (March - August 2020) — one of the key steps by the Centre to overcome the financial crisis arising out of COVID-19 — are now being taxed with a high interest rate by many leading public sector banks.

Many customers who submitted a request to refix the interest rates of their existing loan, by paying fees varying from ₹3,000 to ₹5,500, expecting a slash in rates, have been stunned to see a higher interest rate fixed by banks after processing their request.

CIBIL calculates scores by treating those who availed the benefits of the government-declared moratorium too as “defaulters of loan repayment” in the said period; thus, the CIBIL score of such people came down drastically. Most public sector banks refix the interest rates to existing loans (on request) based on this CIBIL score, which leads to high interest rates for them.

To avoid this, it is learnt that the Reserve Bank of India has given directions to banks that CIBIL scores should not be taken as a criteria for refixing interest rates for existing loans, but should be taken into account only when deciding the interest rates for fresh loans. But many of the nationalised banks do not seem to be adhering to this.

Jiji John Thomas,

Thiruvalla, Kerala

Word of the year

Regardless of the endless debate about whether or not the lockdown was an indispensable weapon in humanity’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic — given its well-documented disproportionate impact on those living on the fringes — Collin’s Dictionary has now named “Lockdown” as the word of the year leaving “Coronavirus” and other pandemic-triggered words behind.

While the etymology of the word “lockdown” lies in prison life and once referred to a security measure to confine exuberant inmates of jailhouses when they went out of hand, it has now turned out to stand for the restrictions of multiple hues imposed to control the spread of the contagion. In India, the word could easily evoke memories of hundreds of thousands of poor migrants trudging miles without food, water and medicines to reach their far away native villages, and the colossal apathy to their sufferings.

M. Jeyaram,

Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 11:52:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-november-16-2020/article33103629.ece

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