Deceptive delicacy; Grim picture; Raised voice; Unfree world; Fresh start; Quite sick; More hands
- Published 11.09.18
• Sir - Visual appeal has always been a big part of what makes certain food items appear delicious. The advent of Instagram and Facebook has set unrealistic standards of beauty for food. While there is nothing wrong with presenting food in a way that looks pretty, there is a side-effect of this phenomenon that is seldom considered. Nothing natural is ever perfect. An enormous amount of food that does not meet some quixotic notions is wasted because of surface blemishes. Such wastage is especially glaring given that millions of people across the world are experiencing chronic hunger, acute food crises and even famine.
• Sir - The article, "Forced on a crutch" (Sept 4), captures the grim picture of the agro-economy in India. In spite of the numerous promises made by the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party government, it has fared no better than previous dispensations as far as alleviating the farming crisis is concerned.
The distress of farmers is manifold. Input costs are increasing owing to the rising price of items like fertilizer, electricity, labour and so on. The price of produce, however, remains low; the minimum selling price announced by the government is nothing but farcical. The credit services extended by the government help the already rich farmers get richer, while the small and the medium level farmers get poorer.
India is still a largely agricultural economy. Only pushing farmers towards mechanization will be of no use. They need to be given adequate financial support to adopt modern technology. Policymakers should pay more attention to the sector that is at the base of the Indian economic pyramid.
• Sir - The article, "Forced on a crutch", by Ashok V. Desai paints a gruesome picture of the plight of farmers and state of agriculture. The column rightly suggests that populist politics and rise in population are primarily responsible for the present state.
I believe that rather than waiving loans and giving subsidies, the emphasis should be on increasing the storage facilities, setting up processing units and making agriculture a profitable trade by allowing it to compete globally.
• Sir - A student who shouted "down with Modi-BJP-RSS fascist government" on a flight that was also carrying a Bharatiya Janata Party member was arrested and then released on bail. The student's behaviour seems to have been politically motivated. Shouting inside a flight can not only disturb the other passengers but also pose difficulties for the cabin crew. The freedom of speech and expression does not allow a person to inconvenience others. The student's behaviour is thus condemnable.
Lately, criticism of the ruling dispensation at the Centre by the so-called left-liberals has become the norm. Students are being instigated and used as tools by the political parties in the Opposition. This does not bode well for the future of the student community. Students should realize this.
• Sir - By raising a hue and cry about the comments of a research scholar, Lois Sofia, and insisting on her arrest, the Tamil Nadu BJP president, Tamilisai Soundararajan, has proved that her party indeed has fascist inclinations. The BJP president, Amit Shah, should take strict action against Tamilisai for bringing disgrace to her party.
Tharcius S. Fernando,
• Sir - It is heartening that a judicial magistrate granted bail to a student who was arrested for raising slogans against the BJP. The arrest is another sign that the right to freedom of speech and expression is being curbed and anti-government voices are being suppressed. Every person who opposes the ideology of the ruling dispensation is being terrorized and harassed.
The arrest of Lois Sofia was not just an attack on her fundamental rights but also an attack on the Constitution. Common people should not allow such incidents to go unchallenged. Doing so would only give the authoritarian regime a shot in the arm.
• Sir - The arrest and detention of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar is despicable. This is a clear sign of the dark clouds that are gathering over the free press across the world. Journalists who try to disseminate the truth and raise their voices for justice are being targeted. If such terrible incidents are not protested against, the very basis of democracy will be at risk.
• Sir - While one must condemn Myanmar's arrest of journalists, it will also be instructive to take a look at the situation in India. Intellectuals who dare speak up against the government are being arrested and the media seem to have sold their souls to the devil in order to survive. How is this any better?
• Sir - The proliferation of medical colleges in the government sector would raise the number of medical graduates whose services are badly needed by Odisha. The state should acknowledge the Centre's contribution in this regard.
Odisha lacks doctors, especially in its interiors where healthcare is in poor shape. Things are so bad that in some areas pregnant women have to be carried on cots to hospital. Dana Majhi had to carry his wife's corpse on his shoulders because he could not get an ambulance.
Quacks have been ruling the roost in these remote places, making things more difficult for the state government which has been trying to not only fill up vacancies but also provide incentives to doctors so that they are ready to work in rural areas.
• Sir - The medical colleges that have been inaugurated in the state will open up a number of avenues for young medical aspirants. Many youngsters who want to serve the state and the country can take advantage of them. But it is crucial to ensure that the students get access to proper facilities.
The initiatives undertaken by the state government to provide quality healthcare to people include the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana under which citizens can avail of an annual health coverage of up to five lakh rupees per family in government medical colleges and hospitals as well as in 8,500 state-run health facilities and 208 empanelled private hospitals.
• Sir - That a number of medical colleges are coming up in the state is welcome news. Four medical colleges and hospitals have already been set up in joint ventures between the state and the Centre. These institutions would address the problem of the shortage of doctors. More than 3,000 posts of doctors are lying vacant in government-run hospitals, putting existing medical staff under pressure.
The way political parties are taking credit for the medical colleges is shocking. Not just the Biju Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party but the Congress too has jumped into the fray to take credit on the matter.
• Sir - Odisha had three government-run medical college and hospitals. The number has jumped to seven now. These specialized centres will boost Odisha's health sector. However, these medical college hospitals are all referral hospitals. The need of the hour is to upgrade health centres and dispensaries at the grass roots. The condition of health service networks in remote pockets leaves much to be desired. Unless doctors are employed at each health centre, healthcare will continue to elude the needy and the poor in Odisha.
• Sir - Medical colleges have opened at Balangir and Balasore after Koraput and Mayurbhanj. These, hopefully, will help the government tide over the shortage of doctors.
• Sir - Frequent strikes by doctors in government hospitals have paralyzed the healthcare system, adding to the sufferings of patients and their relatives. The prestige of doctors has been eroded considerably all over India. Bihar is not an exception. Medical staff frequently cite the assaults on doctors by the relatives of patients to justify their arbitrary action. The money spent by the government in improving hospital amenities is wasted on account of these strikes.
Recently, junior doctors of Nalanda Medical College and Hospital struck work after they were beaten up, inconveniencing patients who had to be transported to other medical facilities, raising health expenditure in the process.
The state health department passes the buck to the hospital administration, asking them to resolve their internal problems and make proper security arrangements for the staff. But who is responsible for the affairs of government hospitals? Is it the hospital administration or the government under which the facilities operate?
The state government should come up with penal provisions for reining in unruly doctors. All doctors should should come forward to put an end to strikes.
• Sir - Post offices in Bihar are facing an acute shortage in manpower. The goal to provide banking services to more than 40,000 villages and over one lakh small tolas does not seem feasible. Most of the mailmen have not been trained for such a massive task.
The prime minister stated that people in the villages have been deprived of banking services on account of the lack of bank branches. He added that they would be provided with paperless, affordable banking services. But the prevailing conditions in the postal department raise questions about the Centre's assurances.
In Bihar, the shortage of employees can be attributed to the high rate of retirement as well as the lack of new recruits. The Central government must increase manpower in the postal services immediately.