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Don’t Doubt People’s Mandate

THIS is with reference to the letter headlined ‘Mamata can’t stomach truth’ by T K Nandanan (NT, July 23, 2019). Whether the Modi government returned to power by virtue of its ‘good deeds’ or playing the nationalist as well as Hindutva cards can certainly be debated upon, but at the end of the day the fact remains that the National Democratic Alliance won the Lok Sabha elections by absolutely fair means. Of course, the mandate of the people can never testify to the efficiency of the concerned government – its actions and policies can definitely be objected and protested – but questioning the legitimacy of the government is certainly uncalled for. However, the attitude of the top functionaries of the BJP-led government at the Centre is not praiseworthy. The character assassination of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, which began much before the Lok Sabha polls, has exceeded all limits of decency. This has intensified following the unexpected success of the BJP in West Bengal, as the party bagged 18 Lok Sabha seats. It has been argued that Banerjee has lost all right to lead the state government – a few stalwarts have even threatened to dismiss the Trinamool Congress government and impose President’s rule in the state. What a rabid display of sheer audacity! The saffron brigade should not forget that the TMC had also not won the 2016 assembly elections through rigging or malpractices: it had been voted to power by lakhs of electors to rule the state till 2021. So by virtue of which moral right do BJP leaders and workers question the legitimacy of the Banerjee government? Is it not a direct insult to the state of Bengal and its voters as a whole?


Overhaul Goa’s Drainage System

THIS monsoon several places in the state have been affected by flooding. The worst affected is the capital city of Panaji. Flooding has caused inconvenience to citizens not only on the roads, but has also entered homes in low-lying areas. The main reason for the flooding has been attributed to non-clearing of the drains and nullahs before the onset of monsoon. But what the state needs is a permanent solution to the recurring problem. It is pertinent to note that much of the drainage system in the state was built during the Portuguese era when there were fewer houses and the rainwater would quickly move into the drains. But now with several buildings coming up in the cities, the flow of rainwater gets blocked at several places leading to flooding. A permanent solution to the problem can be achieved by completely overhauling the drainage system in the cities. The storm water drains built during the Portuguese era need to be widened so that rainwater moves more freely. This will obviously be a massive exercise on par with laying of underground electric wires. However, this step by the government is necessitated since clearing of the nullahs can provide only temporary relief.


Check Profiteering In Generic Drugs

RAISING the issue of generic drugs in the Lok Sabha on July 19, 2019, BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab rightly demanded an inquiry into the efficacy of generic drugs. He made a reference to a recent study that has said that Indian drug manufacturers produce quality generic medicines for the US and European countries, but market substandard generic medicines for Indian patients. There must be inspections at the companies exporting generic medicines, and they must be forced to file affidavits affirming that generic medicines for domestic and foreign markets are of the same quality. Such a mention will not be unwarranted, as  generic medicines in the country have maximum retail price printed at huge profit margin of up to 400 per cent over the ex-factory price. Looting general public through cheap generic medicines must not be allowed. High profit margin is also evident from the fact that many companies selling online medicines have emerged, giving heavy discounts of up to 25 per cent on medicines that too bearing heavy cost of packing and home delivery. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority must come out with a profit formula for all drugs, including generic medicines, rather than differentiating by having various categories of medicines where price regulation is applicable only for some limited drugs. There are many medicines where different drug manufacturers take undue advantage of their brand popularity. They price the same medicine differently, cashing in on their brand popularity. Price revision of any medicines must be allowed only once in a year, say on January 1, unless approved as a special case by the NPPA. Packaging other than in units of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 gms, mltrs or units must not be allowed unless approved by the NPPA for dose-wise administration. The rule should be to emboss or print the name of medicine in a manner that it is there on every capsule or tablet, ruling out the possibility of wastage of drug in case name portion of the strip is consumed.


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