On ‘Stimulus’ Package

Nirmala Sitharaman does not deserve to be the Finance Minister. If she continues then her name will be recorded as the worst Finance Minister that we had since Independence. Her dithering approach to provide financial support to the people and the economy are represented again in the ‘stimulus’ package that she announced recently. A Rs 10,000 advance to central government employees is no stimulus and does not even give a tickle to the somnolent elephant, the animal which generally is the symbol of the Indian economy. The question also is why only the central government  employees? What is the fault of the rest of the country’s people, why are they being deprived of this benefit? As to the amount itself at Rs10,000, with retail inflation close to 7 per cent and the wholesale price index at around 2 per cent, it is too meagre and does not buy anything. At most it will be spent to buy groceries. The other measures announced as a part of this ‘stimulus’ like LTC sanctions and encashment are merely decorative and are not at all substantive. This so-called package has been done as a face-saving measure to show that something has been done by this government so that they are not accused of inaction. Another instance is where the government announced sometime back a moratorium across the board for the repayment of instalments against all bank loans but then it later emerged that the banks would continue to charge interest for the moratorium period. The matter for exemption of interest for this period went up to the Supreme Court and then finally now the government is saying that it will waive off the interest, projecting it as a Diwali gift. If this is not event management then someone will have to explain to us, what it is! India has to learn from other countries which have announced massive relief measures for their people who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic rather than making token gestures as the present one. The problem is that you need to have a government that is sensitive to the problems of the people but unfortunately the Modi-led government that we have now is more prone to grandstanding in the manner of event management exercises than being concerned about the people who brought it to power.

Srinivas Kamat, Alto St Cruz

On Saving Mother Earth

The nature provides us with abundance of resources, food and many things. And, now when all these immensely important things are getting limited day by day, I think it’s our responsibility to save the primary resources. There is no question that Earth has been a giving planet. Everything humans  need to survive, and thrive, is provided by the nature around us – food, water, medicine, materials for shelter. Now, the question arises, how are natural resources being limited? Well, this is happening just because of three main human activities: fossil-fuel combustion, primarily by industry and transport; the used  of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture; and the growing use and complexity of chemicals. The Earth is losing its ability to absorb dangerous levels of carbon dioxide as mankind pumps more pollution than ever into the atmosphere, a new study has found. Natural resources are being depleted and we all know that one day it will be vanished. But, still we keep on wasting such resources. Now, the shortage of natural resources is a matter of international concern.

Sahili S S Dessai, Curchorem