With reference to the news report ‘Farmers reject govt’s proposed amendments’ ( December 10), it is sad to learn that the farmer leaders, protesting for the past 13 days by laying siege to Delhi with large contingents, rejected the proposed amendments to the controversial farm laws sent to them by the government. Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself had called 13 farmer leaders for yet another round of talks, but failed to make any ‘breakthrough’ owing to these leaders steadfastly sticking to their initial demand of repeal of the three Acts. Notably, all seven changes, involving some key amendments to the controversial farm laws that were offered by the Centre, were also summarily rejected.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has now decided to intensify the agitation in the coming days to put more pressure on the government. One earnestly wishes that both sides urgently melt down their hardened stands before it gets too late.
With reference to the editorial ‘Vaccine Focus’, the decision of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation not to confer emergency use approval for vaccines developed by Bharat Biotech and AstraZeneca-Oxford is a step in the right direction.
The UK government’s recent advisory that Pfizer’s vaccine cannot be administered to people with a record of allergic reactions to drugs following the emergence of evidence of adverse reactions among a few people after the vaccine shot tells the challenges of inoculation of new vaccines on the ground. The medical regulator cannot afford to make any compromises on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. The government has the onus to inform the people about the risks associated with the vaccine candidate.
With reference to the article ‘Banking reforms need strong regulation’, the RBI’s Internal Working Group, with a view to strengthening the banking sector, has suggested allowing large corporates and industrial houses to promote banks.
The current debate revolves only around this issue. While Raghuram Rajan and Viral Acharya are first to oppose the suggestion some other economists are for it.
Every bank has strong internal audit systems and also external auditors doing audit every year. Despite these checks why are scams occurring?
The loopholes in the system allow big loans to be given to capitalists with political connections, and these often turn into NPAs. Hence, the major problem for banking sector in India is undue political interference, and not allowing banks the freedom in working and bad regulatory framework.
Allowing corporate houses is not bad but the regulatory framework should be strong enough not only for the new entrants, but for the existing private and cooperative banks too. If necessary a strong committee headed by experts must handle all banking activities whenever frauds occur the guilty must be punished. Monitoring banks is the need of the hour.
This refers to the article ‘Time to re-engineer agriculture subsidies’ (December 10), which is very timely and incisive.
The author suggests that the MSP can be calibrated, including lowering it. This does not seem possible given the fact that the MSP is determined on a cost-plus basis. Given that costs may go up further with rationalisation of some subsidies, lowering of the MSP may not be politically feasible. The way to go would be to gradually withdraw all subsidies and provide farmers a direct cash transfer on a per hectare basis. This will ensure judicious use of power, water (lower groundwater extraction), fertilizers, etc., while providing support to the farmers. States must be roped in as active partners since they bear part of the subsidy like power subsidy.
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