This refers the story titled ‘Budget 2018’ by Bhagwati Prakash in Organiser dated Feb 11.The Union Budget 2018-19, mainly focused on the poor, farmer and rural India, is an answer to those who have been accusing the Modi Government of being pro-rich, anti-poor, anti-farmer and ignoring rural India. The Budget was loaded with a number of schemes to help the poor as well as the farmers and has given a boost to the rural economy. Most importantly, healthcare has become unaffordable for the poor due to shortage and mismanagement of Government hospitals and exorbitant charges levied by private hospitals. The scheme, aimed at providing health insurance to 10 crore poor families, which means 50 crore people taking five people per family as an average, is the world’s largest such scheme.
M C JOSHI, Lucknow
In the Union Budget for 2018-19, the Union Government announced establishing new rural markets and E-NAM for the welfare of Indian farmers which will be beneficial for linking market and farmers. The allocation of Rs 2,000 crore for the establishment of these rural markets is a good move. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has also allocated Rs 500 crore for potato, tomato and onion crop farmers to help them cope with the vagaries of nature and demand fluctuation, which will be known as ‘Operation Green’ in the agriculture sector. Crucially, though, the Government has pegged the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops at one-and-half times the input costs to alleviate agrarian distress as per the MS Swaminathan committee recommendations and this should be welcomed. Also, the provision to extend the Kisan Credit Card for fisheries and animal husbandry is a smart move. The establishment of 42 mega food parks will provide a fillip to the agro-processing industry and the introduction of the ‘bamboo mission’ for farmers will help increase farmers’ income. The Budget also made provisions for 100 per cent income tax benefit scheme for agriculture and farm equipment manufacturers to boost the rural economy. The most vital feature of the Budget for the farm sector is the establishment of the Agricultural Cluster Model for production that will be promoted by the Government as a policy. Additionally, there are Budgetary allocations to the tune of Rs 200 crore to promote organic farming.
DHIRESH KULSHRESTHA, Via Email
Much hue and cry has been raised about the break-up of the Congress and the Communist
Party of India (Marxist). Ideologically, the Congress and the CPM are two poles apart. If the parties had joined hands earlier, it was not because they thought they could give better governance. The only one-point agenda was to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at bay. To this end, it”s good that the CPM has realised that it is the voters who have the supreme authority. Meanwhile, the BJP has sailed through all odds. It has been thriving across the nation. Realising this, CPM leader Prakash Karat has wisely decided to maintain distance from the Congress. The infamous Congress, known for too many scams, is more in the eye of a storm. To make matters worse for them, the income tax department has imposed a fine of Rs 414 crore in connection with the National Herald case. This is an indictment of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
K V SEETHARAMAIAH, Hassan
Instead of going quietly into the night, the ever-shrinking partner of big brother BJP in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, has decided to fight for its space in Maharashtra. It was a long time coming, and now the cat is out of the bag. After all, cracks in the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance have been surfacing repeatedly over the last few years. Ever since the BJP claimed the pole position in Maharashtra politics, winning 23 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha as against the Shiv Sena’s 18, the latter has been sulking. Breaking with the BJP in the Assembly poll last year and going it alone, the Shiv Sena won only 63, while the BJP nearly won a majority on its own with 122 seats. Even in the civic elections that followed the Assembly poll, barring Thane, the BJP did better than the Shiv Sena. If once listened to carefully one can hear the BJP saying: Good
riddance. The Shiv Sena’s decision to break with the BJP raises but only one question: Why wait till 2019, why not
immediately? After all people want governance, not a daily installment of a variation of the saas-bau tamasha.
J C ACHARYA, Hyderabad
One wonders how can politicians hold Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra guilty in the infighting of the highest judiciary? What were the issues raised by the four rebel judges? The only issue they elaborated was of the CJI
assigning cases to other judges what they termed as
“selectively”. As the head of the Supreme Court, it is the CJI’s right to allocate cases and appoint Constitutional Benches to deal with important matters of law. In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s Rules of Procedure of 1966, it is the CJI who allocates work to other judges. Any apex court judge can be impeached under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution only on grounds of misbehaviour or incapacity. Impeachment of the CJI is not a child’s play. Politicians must keep petty politics away from the internal matters of the judiciary. M C JOSHI, Lucknow
Kudos to Organiser
Organiser’s Special Issue titled “ 70 years (1947-2017) of A Media Movement” dated Jan 28 was wonderful. The quality of the paper used, the improved font, colour combination and get-up is very much pleasing to the eyes. I delayed in conveying this, thinking that a few of your innumerable letter writers would have send appreciating letters immediately. As I saw none (or have I missed any?) I am writing my appreciation now and congratulating each and everyone involved in giving a new look to Organiser. Secondly, I very much like the editorial. The weekly analysis of a prominent subject along with an appropriate quote of an eminent statesman is very impressive. After going through it I eagerly wait for the next one. I feel letter writing is an art. Some of the writers contributing to the Organiser’s Reader’s Forum are excellent. Just for example I can mention a few names like Shri Anand Prakash, Shri K V Seetharamaiah. To tell you frankly as soon as I receive the weekly first I go through the Reader’s Forum, next to the Editorial and then only to other articles.
B V PRABHAKARA, Mysore
The Union Government must be complimented for taking a bold step to end Haj subsidy in one go. The bitter fact, however, remains that except the present ruling party at the Centre and some other small political groups, all other major political parties till date used to stick to minority-appeasing policy simply for vote-bank politics. The present Government has marched ahead with other bold steps towards women empowerment, like on triple talaq, which gave the minority women a sigh of relief where men in their community though publicly admitting a bad practice, but opposed legislation in this regard as some interference in religious matters. The Union Government must now take steps to ban multi-marriage by a Muslim man to further step in welfare of Muslim women. It is noteworthy that even most Islamic countries do not allow multi-marriages by men.
MADHU AGARWAL, Delhi
US President Donald Trump lambasting of Pakistan as a “safe haven for terrorism” is apt. Not that past US Presidents were, in Trump’s description, ‘foolish’. Undoubtedly, one does have to be farsighted enough to decipher Washington’s sympathetic leaning towards Islamabad. A super-power like the US could get away with any blunder—that may also be its way of ‘balancing’ equations in the region. America increasingly feeling the ‘terror heat’, advocated and backed by Pakistan, must have irked Trump to no end. The President has cushioned his indictment of Pakistan with action by holding back two $50 million foreign financing to Islamabad. Now that Pakistan’s ‘double game’ is exposed, the US cannot halt in its tracks. Maintaining unflinching pressure on Pakistan is very essential to further expose Islamabad. It goes without saying that Pakistan is not comfortable with a stable Afghanistan. Even as India is emerging as a close confidant of the US, Trump’s stunning blow could derail Pakistan, unless it has other ideas. That said, the US rushing in more troops to Afghanistan is definitely no music to Pakistan’s military. However, all this is good news to New Delhi. Contrary to expectations, after President Trump assumed office nearly a year ago, India-US ties have been bolstered by the straight talking Trump. Unlike Barack Obama, who played the ‘please all’ game, Trump’s conviction in not beating around the bush must have come as a welcome relief to India.
GANAPATHI BHAT, Akola