Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: Did it take Bibek Debroy so long to realise that multiple GST rates are not good?

A selection of readers’ opinions.

One nation, many tax rates

Did it take Bibek Debroy so long to realise that multiple GST rates do not make for good economics (“Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy says GST’s multiple rates could be a problem”)? Or is it that he has fallen from the good graces of the powers that be and is now speaking the truth? Well, congratulations to him for finally speaking up. – Onkar Singh

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It if finally the customer who pays all the taxes under the GST regime (“On the eve of its rollout, auto parts dealers in Delhi’s Kashmiri Gate are haunted by fear of GST”). So there is no net outflow of tax but there is a window till when the saleperson gets his refund. It is not (completely) correct to say that if one person in the trade chain defaults, everybody’s refund will be held up. Also, the reason for filing three returns a month is to correct such mistakes.

Yes there are lot of problems for small traders, but there are some legal escape routes within the GST framework. The tax, meanwhile, has opened a world of possibilities for rent collection by GST inspectors, and for lawyers and chartered accountants, all of whom can barely suppress their grins. – Srinivasan

Communal divisions

The writer seems to want to create a Hindu-Muslim divide (“Why 200 people did not see a dead Muslim teenager on a railway platform in North India”). As a media house, your responsibility is to unite people and not burn bridges. Junaid Khan’s lynching is unfortunate and the boy as well as his family went through tragedy during the festive season. The media needs to be more sensitive to their pain. – Sahithi Srivatchasa

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The author has clearly never lived in Kasargod or Mallapuram (“Not In My Name: I refuse to cede Hinduism to those who want to make India a Hindu rashtra”). She also hasn’t read about Gandhi and the Khilafat movement. Her naivete is evident. She should relook at this article after reading up on these. – Mahesh Nayak

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The media has lost all credibility in the war for TRPs and growing sensationalism. People think the media is not capable of neutrality anymore and always put their biases and profit motive first. – Rajeev Kumar

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Congratulations to Sunita Viswanath and other members of Sadhana for having the foresight to start such an organisation back in 2011. India today badly needs a sane voice and this has to come from more of our own same-thinking citizens. The press too has a vital role. – Salma Bala

Standing firm

It is indeed very heartening to note that Rahul Dravid has once again tread the path of dignity and is trying to firmly inculcate the same in the younger brigade (“Rahul Dravid shows BCCI and India the way out of the conflict of interest mess . We are very proud of you Rahul Dravid, and may there be many more like you.”) – Sridhara Murthy

Building bridges

Hats off to the Hyderabad Police (“Watch: Two Hyderabad policemen performed a simple yet kind deed for Muslims during Eid prayers”). We need such kindness from everyone in the country. We need to respect all religions and accept others regardless of faith. – Umais Momin

Putin interviews

Oliver Stone is a filmmaker, not an expert in diplomatic relations (“What happens when Oliver Stone interviews Vladimir Putin? Empty banter and immense silence”). The aim of the documentary, as he has said several times, is to present Putin’s ideas and thoughts to the world, mainly to America, where he has been hated by citizens and politicians alike. It is unfair to expect Stone to grill Putin when the latter says something that seems like a blatant lie.

It is quite obvious that Putin would entertain Stone only as long as he is interested and comfortable. If Stone went on the offensive, that would have been the end of his project. Megyn Kelly tried to do that to Putin and failed spectacularly.

Putin is a seasoned politician and it is naive to expect that he’ll reveal the purported truth when asked a couple of tough questions. On the other hand, it is unfair to expect Stone to speak against Putin in his show’s promotions. Had he done so, he would have failed in his goal of presenting an unbiased narrative of Putin. – Asutosh Sistla

Home advantage

This is a great move by the Delhi government (“Delhi Assembly passes resolution to reserve 85% seats for local students in DU”). My child had to go to a college outside Delhi as there was no such policy earlier. I am happy as other children will benefit. – Pinky Gupta

***

This a wonderful step. When all other boards reserve seats for students of their state, why shouldn’t we? – Ashok Kumar

Healthcare divide

This article on the regulation of private hospitals in Karnataka is in poor taste (“Karnataka needs better regulation of private hospitals in order to protect patient rights”). The writer, who claims to be a public health doctor, has made some outrageous claims. The private sector is flourising solely because of the deplorable state of affairs in government hospitals, which don’t even have basic amenties like water and sanitation facilities.

These are just-face saving measures by the government and doctors who find it easier to blame the private sector than do something concrete about the languishing infrastructure in government hospitals. – Vinayak M

Tree of life

This article on baobabs is one of the best I’ve come across on your website (“A green suggestion for India’s political leaders: Plant baobabs instead of building statues”). I hope it reaches many people...imagine if one lakh people planted baobabs? Give us more articles like this. Abhishek Rai

Chasing the sun

All the challenges you point out are correct, but I’d like to add a few more (“The gleam of solar power is blinding India to the challenges of switching to renewable energy”). I run a company that is involved in solar EPC projects. Reliability is an issue in certain areas of the country like Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but some states like Jharkhand are strengthening the grid for installations.

Second, the subsidies you speak of in your article are long gone. They are now only available to domestic consumers and non-profit organisations, that too just for rooftop installations as those more expensive than the ones mounted on the ground. Instead, the government is pushing net/gross metering schemes.
More than grid reliability, theft of power is a major problem in the country. Yes, I agree the goals are far from being realistic, by they act as a way to push investors and innovators. – Ishan Chaturvedi

Statehood demand

This is a great read (“Ma, mati, manush and my mother tongue: Bengal’s language politics is behind the unrest in Darjeeling”). I studied in Kanpur and then went to college in my father’s native place in West Bengal, but lost a year there as as I couldn’t understand Accounting, which was taught by professors in Bengali. Growing up as an Air Force child, in a small community that was a microcosm of India with people from various religions and regions, I never felt different. It was only later that I realised that I speak a language (Nepali) and there is a country called Nepal. Most states are named and demarcated by language. For us to be recognised as Indians, we need to have a state of our own. – Krishna Pradhan

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It is articles like this that give us hope that our voices might be heard (“What explains the BJP’s U-turn on the Gorkhaland issue?”). A message to all journalists: we do not expect you to cover us only in a positive light, but we do expect that your stories reflect the ground realities. – Pragya Thapa

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