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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

Letters to the Editor: American scientist’s ‘salt in tea’ comment draws British ire

Readers write in from Calcutta, North 24 Parganas, Jamshedpur, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Faridabad and Chennai

The Editorial Board Published 05.02.24, 07:09 AM
The Union Jack flag with a cup of tea served with a shortbread biscuit in a bone china cup and saucer

The Union Jack flag with a cup of tea served with a shortbread biscuit in a bone china cup and saucer Sourced by the Telegraph.

Storm in a teacup

Sir — Stiff British upper lips rarely quiver with rage except when it comes to ruined sips of their favourite cuppa. All of Britain was inflamed recently when an American scientist suggested that a perfectly brewed cup of tea should include a pinch of salt. Such was the rage in the United Kingdom that the embassy of the United States of America in London had to issue a clarification saying that tea was supposed to be the elixir of camaraderie, hoping that the controversy would not brew bitterness between the two countries. Britons should take the scientist’s suggestion, and not their tea, with a pinch of salt.

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Adrija Nandi, Calcutta

Confident strategy

Sir — The Union finan­ce minister, Nirmala Sitha­raman, should be lauded for presenting a minimalist vote-on-account as per convention (“Quiet confidence”, Feb 2). However, the interim budget did provide interesting insights into the future of India’s economy if the Bharatiya Janata Party government gets re-elected. Reducing India’s dependence on fossil fuels is definitely an area that this dispensation wants to focus on. The government’s intent to use existing hospital infrastructure to set up more medical colleges is also important given the poor doctor-to-patient ratio. The government’s announcement to set up a committee to look into the challenges of population growth is significant in view of the scarcity in resources and the shrinking job market.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Sir — The interim budget urged people to choose their government carefully based on facts rather than freebies offered by political parties. Stopping the practice of offering freebies is indeed important in a country like India where vote bank politics has undermined true development. It can check unnecessary revenue expenditure and help the government achieve its aim of reducing the fiscal deficit to 5.1% in 2024-25 from 5.8%. Moreover, as previous policies continue, the government should focus on their implementation.

Shayan Das, North 24 Parganas

Sir — Nirmala Sitha­ra­man’s interim budget speech made it obvious that this dispensation is confident about coming back to power. While many speculated that the government would announce sops before the upcoming general elections, the finance minister only hailed the Narendra Modi government’s achievements over the last decade. The promises to bring down the fiscal deficit and concentrate on tourism were also welcome.

Abhijit Roy, Jamshedpur

Sir — In contrast to the previous interim budget in which the government launched the PM-Kisan programme, this time the vote-on-account was free of sops. This indicates that the Bharatiya Janata Party is confident of coming back to power. The consecration of the Ram mandir, big vic­tories in three heartland states and the discord within the INDIA bloc have given it reasons to be confident. But the government should have focused on inflation, unemployment and poverty in this interim budget so that people do not change their minds about the BJP.

H.K. Isha’ati, Mumbai

Sir — The vote-on-account presented by the Central government reflected wishful thinking. By promising to chalk out a roadmap for Viksit Bharat in the full budget in July, the ruling party communicated its confidence of returning to power. However, the budget said nothing about the very real issues of unemployment, India’s poor performance on human development indices and the effects of the downslide in the global economy. Positive thinking regarding the economy has turned into toxic positivity.

D.V.G. Sankara Rao, Andhra Pradesh

Sir — This year’s interim budget sounded more like an election speech than a budget that addresses critical issues. The middle classes, which have been suffering the brunt of economic downturn, were completely ignored in the interim budget. A salaried middle-class citizen gives up around 25% of his income in taxes, while corporates, at times, pay only 10% of their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation. The middle class is fed up with the Narendra Modi government.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Sir — The confidence of the ruling party that it will win the upcoming Lok Sabha elections is clearly reflected in the interim budget. Fiscal deficit reduction and an increase in capital expenditure cannot be achieved without a rise in revenue earnings. Further, the budget offered nothing to farmers and middle-class citizens. It is also hard to believe that there has been a 50% increase in the average real income of the people.

Karan Singh, Chennai

Sir — The finance minister’s interim budget speech was conspicuously silent on unemployment. There is also no direction to tame inflation and the rising cost of essential commodities. Capital expenditure has been curbed to manipulate fiscal deficit, reducing employment opportunities. There is no relief for salaried professionals.

Subhash Das, Calcutta

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