The use of electric vehicles in the coming years is expected to grow at an exponential rate across the globe as most countries want to cut down the burgeoning carbon footprint. The inextricable link between vehicular pollution and global warming has been scientifically proven. While acknowledging India’s growing attractiveness as a market for electric vehicles, which can be gauged from the recent announcement by the leading US-based EV manufacturer Tesla to start its operations in India from early 2021, we need to usher in measures to ensure the shift towards electric vehicles is a smooth affair.
As a country which has 21 of world’s 30 cities with worst pollution and one that spends billions of dollars every year to meet its domestic oil demand, electric vehicles offer a ray of hope and must be leveraged to reduce air pollution and boost our energy security. Given that large-scale adoption of electric vehicles very much hinges upon the setting up of charging infrastructure even while ensuring its affordability, the government must now turn its focus towards setting up of charging stations at every level without any delay.
Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu
Apropos ‘Digital demons’ (December 6), it is shocking to learn about the arm-twisting practices of some lending apps. In India, interest rates on deposits and advances have been steadily falling. Even so, with authorised lenders like banks charging interest on the diminishing balance of loans, borrowers who are regular in repayment end up paying only half the contracted rate of interest. Hence, it is inconceivable how some lending apps could get away with levying ‘processing charges as high as 20 per cent and interest rates up to 50 per cent’ on loans in the prevailing pandemic situation when salary cuts and job losses are the order of the day.
Also, the practice of the said apps in naming and shaming the defaulting borrowers, by contacting those on their contacts lists and call records, amounts to gross violation of privacy. It is time the RBI and the law-enforcement agencies banned such apps.
In spite of the many restrictions on unauthorised lenders, the illegal money-lending business is growing unabatedly, and many people are caught in a debt trap due to excessive interest and other charges levied by the lenders. The RBI has to strengthen its oversight and initiate actions to eliminate such lenders from the market.
The hurdles in getting institutional credit to the vulnerable sections need to be reviewed to prevent the needy from approaching illegal moneylenders. Such lenders dominate the rural areas and exploit the poor farmers, and this despite there being a widespread network of bank branches.
Apropos ‘Pepper output to drop on unfavourable weather’ (December 5), it is distressing that the spice, once considered as black gold, no longer commands an attractive price. Despite the introduction of minimum import price of ₹500/kg to safeguard the domestic growers, unabated import of poor quality pepper continues. The 50 per cent price drop in the last four years has devastated the growers further, who are staring at a bleak future. Serious intervention by the authorities, like higher minimum export price, is inevitable.
Halekere Village, Karnataka
This is with reference to ‘First Covid vaccine shot may be less than 10 days away’ (December 6). It is heartening to hear that the vaccine is ready and will be administered to people shortly. The pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of healthcare management. For healthy living, traditional medicines/foods must be encouraged, and junk foods discouraged. Also, the Central and State governments should allot more funds for building hospitals, medical colleges and research institutes.
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