Letters to the editor

Readers' comments: 'Arun Jaitley has slyly pushed the Finance Bill through the back door'

A selection of readers' opinions.

Draconian legislation

While the media and Indian citizens were busy looking at Yogi Adityanath, the finance minister slyly pushed this draconian legislation through the backdoor (“Finance Bill 2017 debate: Changes made to tribunals are unconstitutional and ill-considered”).

The Bill gives an income tax officer to enter any property and start searching it without giving any reason. Also, anyone can donate to political parties anonymously using Electoral Bonds. The cap on how much a corporate can donate has been removed. Moreover, while the Supreme Court is yet to decide whether Aadhaar cards can be made mandatory, the government has made sure they are already mandatory. The merger of tribunals and Central control over appointments also erodes their independence. With this one Bill, Jaitley has managed to increase the opacity of corporate funding in politics, made your personal information public, allowed corporates to lobby for laws that help them and ensured you will have no place to complain about it.

New India sounds like a fantastic place to be in – for politicians and corporations. – Surinder Bindra

***

This is unfair. The finance minister should have given Parliamentarians adequate time to debate the Finance Bill and the many amendments it proposes, before passing it. Thanks to Scroll.in for breaking it down. Please continue doing so this so that common people can effectively understand the changes that establishments enforce and can voice our opinions. – Varsha Varadarajan

***

Your arguments make no sense. The Aadhaar card is one of the best things to have happened in India in a long time. It started under the UPA and was accepted during the NDA. But you are singing to a different tune. You are raising questions that do not even exist. Communists like you are already dead or half dead. No one cares but your funding seems strong, you continue. – Ashok Bhagat

Meat crackdown

The headline of this article betrays the author’s perceived intellectual superiority (“Illegality vs informality: What the crackdown on slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh is really about”).

Despite several assertions to the contrary by the government, the author assumes she knows the matter better. Informality is not legality and therefore the dichotomy of the ideology presented is quite obvious.
The media has to come up with a narrative that is productive, constitutional, ethical and proactive. Please weigh the narratives drawn up in the past three years. They failed miserably on these counts and were thus rejected by the people. Lastly, nationalism taken to an extreme becomes fascism thus this email. Democracy demands a credible Opposition but by being reactive, you cede the narrative to the party in power. – Raman Khatri

***

Will the government also close the following businesses who operate without license: Alu Puri, Chloley Bhature, Veg Chowmein, Veg Burger and Chaat (“‘BJP is taking revenge on Muslims’: UP’s crackdown has left the meat industry panicked and scared”)? –George Newton

Sky-high handedness

No one can and should use privilege as an excuse to act in a high-handed manner (“Air India brawl: MPs cannot take trains every time they have to travel, says Sumitra Mahajan”). Airlines, trains or any kind of mass transit service responsible for their passengers and have to follow procedure. They should be given more powers to restrain passengers who are misbehaving or seat them such that the staff can keep a close eye on their behaviour. Passengers who are entitled to certain privileges should inform the airline about these before hand so that necessary measures can be taken. – Malini Chari

***

I don’t understand why Sumitra Mahajan is panicking about this incident. Rules are rules and they have to be followed by everyone, be it an MP or an ordinary citizen. The Sena MP was unapologetic even after being called out. It is heartening to see airlines coming together and standing against a Parliamentarian. I support them. He must apologise. – Surej

***

The MP did the right thing. Airline personnel are often very rude, especially the ground staff. – Sanjay Mehta

***

I have been a cabin crew member for eight years now. This entire incident is about ego and power. Our honourable MP could not digest the fact that he is travelling in Economy, so he took his frustration out on the poor Air India staff. It is next to impossible that the airline staff misbehaved with the MP. The crew is taught to be extra cautious when dealing with VIP guests. – Devika

Doctors under attack

I am a pediatric surgeon practicing in Hyderabad and based on my experience, I believe that what we need is not new laws but a change in the attitude of people (“India’s hospital assaults: Patients blame doctors while doctors blame the broken health system”). Which law can completely stop crime in the country? Not just the people, even politicians and media should behave decently.

No one came forward to condemn the assaults on doctors. None of the associations that use our services to hold free health camps also supported us.

To change people’s attitudes, I propose a One-Day Doctor challenge, where volunteers can work with doctors for a day and see the kind of challenges they are up against. – Dr Venkata Subbarao G

Matters of faith

Why do you belittle faith (“Hey Ram: Within days of reviving the Ayodhya temple debate, the Ram Setu too is back in news”)? Even if all scientists, rationalists, left-wing intellectuals tried with their collective might, they would not be able to dethrone faith. Faith is a matter of spirit, and science cannot get there. – Shammi Paranjape

Facts first

You had reported that the iconic Tunday Kababi at Akbari gate was closed for the first time ever because of the Uttar Pradesh government’s crackdown on slaughterhouses (“The Readers’ Editor writes: Journalists need to check their facts, but so do the fact checkers”). I am from Lucknow and a voracious kebab eater. I wanted to bring to your notice that in 2015, for a month between June and July, the Akbari gate shop closed, presumably for renovation. Your team should do bit of fact checking before writing such sensational news. – Ankit

Identity debate

Everything in this article is based on speculation (“The end of privacy: Aadhaar is being converted into the world’s biggest surveillance engine”). There is nothing wrong in making Aadhaar mandatory for everything. It can solve many issues. Think about it – 70 years of privacy and what have we achieved? May be privacy is overrated. The only things Indians have done in privacy is make babies, putting a strain on the environment. – Tushar Kanta

***

The leak of Dhoni’s details are not the real problem (“Aadhaar agency blacklisted for 10 years after it posted MS Dhoni’s data on Twitter, says UIDAI chief”). There are reports about the poor security of Adhaar data and about biometric data being misused. No one knows how many wrong hands the information can go into as it is collected by private agencies and not by the government.

The government wants to save some money by compromising the security of its citizens. It is just a matter of time before a whistleblower like Wikileaks comes forth with detaild. If that happens, it will take the government and our economy down. – Vijay and Kavita

***

My own experience with Aadhaar registration too has been abysmal. I am in Indian citizen but work in New Zealand. In December, while in India, I tried to register for an Aadhaar card. I had never before experienced the kind of highhandedness and the arbitrary behaviour as I did that day with officials managing the Aadhar card registration process. This was in Kolkata.

On the first day, when sought to register, the offciial scolded me for not doing so earlier. I had to plead to him, with folded hands, to allow me register and so he gave me a form and asked me to bring it back on a certain date.

Then, a group of us were asked to stand in a queue for more than four hours, while officials chatted among themselves and took multiple breaks, There was no provision for drinking water nearby. Old women and little children were also kept waiting. I helped several people who did not know how to write or sign their names in the form.

When my turn came, the lady who was taking photographs on a webcam suddenly realised that I had to give her a photocopy of my address proof. When I came back with one, they had winded up their operations for the day and I was asked to come early the next day.

When I returned the following day, again, there was a long queue, the doors had not opened. When the centre finally opened, we were told that there would be no Aadhare registrations for one week and no explanations were given. I did not manage to get an Aadhar card as I had to go back to New Zelanad and I wonder if I will ever get one. – Arindam Bose

Ideological gaps

The writer has brought out the grievances of the groups aligned to Left (“If Left, Right and Centre could talk to each other in a civil tone earlier, what is the problem now?”). However, if the writer brought out the degree of free dialogue under Left government for three decades and the regular attacks on the Right, a different picture emerges. The Left has, unfortunately, applied free speech as per its convenience. – Vasu Deva

***

It is true that contemporary Hindu nationalists (I do not want to call them the Right) are intolerant of anything remotely critical of Hinduism. But the Left is equally a culprit. I remember when the demonetisation was announced, within half an hour, Leftist ideologues dismissed it. They did not care to study the pros and cons of the exercise before expressing their views. Anything which the BJP does must be bad according to the Left. There are just a few intellectuals in the Right who can theoretically discuss a problem. ABVP should recognise that Vemula or Gopalkrishnan may be patriots and the Yechurys and Brinda Karats and Scroll.in should recognise that Modi is not a traitor. – R Venkat

Racism in the capital

The fears of the locals regarding cannibalism is unfounded (“As Noida student dies, five Nigerians are accused of cannibalism by locals, charged with murder”). The cause of the death – whether it was accidental, a case of murder, suicide or drug overdose – can only be ascertained with a post mortem. The matter should be fully investigated before any conclusion is drawn. When the boy did not return home, locals suspected foul play right away and forcibly entered the students’ residence. This itself was illegal. People should not take the law into their own hands. – NS Neelakantan

***

This incident shows the blatant racism in Indian society. If there is a crime, the needle of suspicion points towards Black people. And these very Indians cry when they face racism abroad. – Swapnil Singh

***

We Indian are treated like dogs everywhere but for us, Africans all are gods because they pay a high fee to the private universities. All Africans are in the business of drugs, everyone knows that. But our government starts shivering when anybody talks about this. Shame on the Indian government and administration. – Pradeep Kumar

***

This article made me sad (“Attacks on Africans: In India’s satellite towns like Greater Noida, do black lives really matter?)“. Are we really so bad ? How insane of us to think that all Africans are criminal-minded.

Then why market our colleges abroad? Why entice them here, to greet them with ostracism, humiliation and make them feel unwelcome? Shame is to gentle and generous a reaction to our behaviour. – Seema Menon

What’s in a name

The meaning of Haasan isn’t exactly laughter, as mentioned in the article (“Despite columnist’s gaffe, Kamal Haasan wasn’t born Muslim – his original name was Parthasaraty”). Smile would be a more appropriate translation. – GSN Prasad

***

The columnist who presumed Kamal Haasan was Muslim seems to be a half-educated person. Nowadays, it has become a habit to present oneself as great defenders of the Hindu Dharma. But Brahmins have been great followers of the Vedic Dharma. Only they understand the true meaning of Dharma. – Avadhesh Sharma

Washroom plan

It would have been better if the South Delhi Municipal Corporation asked restaurants to voluntarily offer their toilets for public use, recognising that people have the right to access clean washrooms (“Delhi restaurants will open their toilets to public, but will everyone feel bold enough to use them?”). Such establishments could have been given some sort of award or recognition. However, linking this to a health license is akin to arm twisting the establishments and is a ham handed way of handling things. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation should have called the restaurant owners’ association and found a sensible way of implementing a well-intentioned plan. And poor women will still go to the fields for a long time to come, even in the national capital. – Shailaja Chandra

Religious messages

Every Muslim in the world is bound to follow the Islamic shariat from birth to death (“The new Hizbul commander’s call to fight for Islam over Kashmir is cause for alarm”). Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Rashid Bhat has not said something new. Only Islam is the complete code of life. It would, in fact, be better for other religions too to follow aspects of Shariat wherever applicable. – Abdul Rashid

Memories of a massacre

I was one of victims what happened in East Pakistan (“By marking Genocide Day, Bangladesh seeks to remember what Pakistan wants to forget”). My father, along with 33 members, were brutally murdered. Thanks for highlighting the truth. – Aamir

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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