Sir — In an increasingly globalised world where technology was supposed to be the great unifier, it seems to be creating more fissures among nations than ever before. After numerous governments in the West took a slew of measures against Chinese technology firms, including banning apps like TikTok on government-issued devices, the Chinese government has now prohibited its officials from carrying iPhones and other foreign brands to work (“China to officials: Don’t use iPhones”, Sept 7). Such conflicts make one wonder if the next war will be fought virtually, using advanced technology.
Biswajit Goswami, Calcutta
Sir — The article, “Reverse gear” (Sept 7), suggests that a reversal of the economic liberalisation policy that India has pursued since 1991 is the only way to generate more employment. However, the measures advocated by Prabhat Patnaik in this article seem to be in contravention of the suggestions provided by Renu Kohli in “Another step back” (Aug 15). While both highlight the colossal problem of unemployment, Patnaik proposes that tighter restrictions on imports and higher taxation of the rich will yield greater results than free trade agreements. This goes against Kohli, who had criticised the mandatory import licences for laptops as a backward step. The government needs a concrete plan to generate more employment.
Sukhendu Bhattacharjee, Hooghly
Sir — Prabhat Patnaik has rightly stated that imports need to be reduced and exports increased if the problem of unemployment is to be tackled. India’s exports crossed an all-time high of $750 billion in March 2023, but it still needs to import items like crude oil. Additionally, equipment for our armed forces, like fighter jets, are imported as well. The ‘Make in India’ campaign begun by the Centre does not seem to have made much headway.
Subhash Das, Calcutta
Sir — Prabhat Patnaik’s article has offered an incisive commentary on the present-day functioning of economies. Tools like import restrictions and price control of essential goods have become increasingly important owing to climatic disruptions and geopolitical risks. As a growing nation, India needs to respond to such upheavals proactively by offering different avenues of employment.
Ronodeep Das, Calcutta
Sir — The West Bengal government has decided to hike the salaries of the members of the legislative assembly by Rs 40,000 at a time when state government employees have been agitating for the payment of dearness allowance (“Pay hike of Rs 40,000 for MLAs”, Sept 8). The chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, had claimed that a paucity of funds prevented the disbursement of dearness allowance to the state’s employees on a par with their Central counterparts. Where, then, is the government finding the funds for this hike?
Shyamal Thakur, East Burdwan
Sir — It is unfortunate that while state government employees are agitating for a hike in their dearness allowance, the chief minister has increased salaries for MLAs. The excuse of lack of funds does not hold water when Mamata Banerjee disburses Rs 70,000 to clubs organising Durga Puja.
Mihir Kanungo, Calcutta
Sir — Weeks after a student of Jadavpur University died under mysterious circumstances, a team of experts from the Indian Space Research Organisation visited the campus to provide inputs on technology to tackle ragging (“Isro team at JU to give ‘tech solution’ to ragging”, Sept 7). Technology can do little to prevent ragging unless the issues underlying this problem are eradicated.
D. Bhattacharyya, Calcutta