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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Lowering Of Lending Rate By SBI Is A Gimmick

The continuous lowering of the repo rate and consequently the lending rate by State Bank of India (SBI) in recent months, followed by the reduction of domestic and fixed deposit rates to 3.25 per cent and 6.4 per cent, respectively are ominous signs of the grim economic scenario that has gripped the country. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made matters worse for the public by placing a few defaulting co-operative banks under Article 35A restricting their banking operations and freezing the accounts and fixed deposits of lakhs of their customers for a period of six months. Of what use then is the lowering of lending rates by the SBI when accounts are frozen and people are struggling to pay their existing EMIs? From where is the money to come to pay for new loans under the reduced lending rates? On the contrary, life has been made more difficult for senior citizens by the lowering of domestic and fixed deposit rates.

A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM 

Implement Forest Rights Act Swiftly

Apropos the editorial, ‘Forest Dwellers’ Rights’ (NT, October 10), it is rightly said, “Possession is the nine-tenths of the law.” This itself is not a law but a logical rule that has been recognised for ages. Even in the legal battle between the rightful owner of a property and the person who has been in possession of the same for a long time, the latter is considered to have a better position. The forest dwellers’ claim for the forest land must be more than the nine-tenths of the law, as there exists no actual owner of forest land. A large part of the education and health sectors has been dished out to the market players. As a result, the motive to make maximum possible profit hijacked private education and health services out of the reach of the common people. Now, in the name of stopping deforestation, if the commercial sector is allowed to manage the forest land then what will happen is not difficult to guess. India needs to do what China has done. China has given direct rights of over 100m hectares of forest area to its traditional inhabitants, which helped it reduce poverty and pollution. The fact of the matter is that in India the environment and the lives of the forest dwellers got improved in less than three per cent of the forest area where traditional inhabitants became the managers of their forest land. So, we need to immediately implement the 2006 Forest Rights Act in the remaining 97 per cent of the forest area. 

SUJIT DE, KOLKATA

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