Up in flames

There are many restaurants in Mumbai where fire safety rules are flouted (“Dead in Mumbai fire: Two brothers visiting from US and the aunt they were trying to rescue”). Most of them were never designed as restaurants and are converted from old warehouses or residential buildings.

Narrow staircases are the norm. The fire escape is not clearly identified, if one exists. Windows, if visible, are sealed. Bathrooms are tiny. There is often plenty of wood and flammable furnishings.

So don’t just look at the tragedy in Kamala Mills. There are plenty more just waiting to happen. – Jane Bhandari

Pension plans

Most of the workforce in the country are paid just subsistence and cannot afford to enrol in such pension funds (“Good deal: Why the National Pension Scheme is an excellent option to save for your retirement”). Even if someone intends to enrol, the intricacies of such market-linked schemes are a deterrent as education levels are too low to comprehend the risks involved. Also the National Pension System for the unorganised sector is now distributed by banks and there is always scope for the bank to push its own products like mutual funds to the interested candidate. – Karthik G


The fact that only 40% of one’s savings can be withdrawn as a lump sum at maturity is irritating, it makes one feel that the government is controlling their savings. Also, when other schemes are not taxable on maturity, then why is this? – Kitty Kumaramangalam


The National Pension Scheme fails to insure the subscriber for secure benefits. Another big drawback is that there is no security or a fixed amount as a pension for family members of the subscriber in case of early death. The third drawback is there is no option to withdraw a small amount in case of emergency for Tier 1 accounts. I request the authority concerned to take consider these issues. – Dhiraj Chandel


I think, the National Pension Scheme is the best option to invest in. The government should popularise it. No other State-backed investment option gives such high returns. – Ajaybabu Meena

Growing demand

Neither Taimur Raja Chaudhary nor Joydip Biswas can be relied on the issue of a separate province of Barak Valley (“A tale of two valleys: What’s behind the demand for a separate Union Territory in southern Assam?”). Both of them may be sympathisers of the former government. I believe that culturally, Barak Valley and Bramhaputra valley are not very different. Moreover, Biswas does not have enough knowledge about the Barak Valley. Barak Valley people have already adjusted with he Bramhapuptra Valley and even endured the Himalayan blunder of Gopinath Bordoloi, Jogendra Mondal and the Assam accord of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. – Digbijoy Bhattacharcharjee

Aadhaar death

Even seven decades after Independence, the lives of the poor seem to have no value in India (“Jharkhand hunger death: A girl died crying for food. Her family is now accused of shaming India”). It’s almost as though it is a crime to be born poor in India. The government and more privileged people do not even acknowledge the poor and needy – they are invisible to us.

The educated masses in India, who should be the conscience-keepers of the nation, have no empathy and don’t care whether Rama or Ravana rules the nation. As long as they are safe, they turn a a blind eye to the atrocities around them. Add to this the herd mentality that drove people to queue up Aadhaar with zero consideration of the impact this ID system will have on their lives in they years. I am praying for a day when the entire nation joins hands to boycott Aadhaar. – Ram Krishnaswamy


It’s tragic to think of the fact that a girl died for want of food and that the situation has been brought about by a government that claims to be secular, democratic and welfare-oriented. With so much caste-based segregation based on and with an adamant stand that they can never go wrong, the government along with the Opposition is leading our people to a very bad situation. In fact, all of humanity is responsible for the situation, as it has not taken a stand. – J John

Margins of history

I had known the late Justice W Broome as a brother judge of my father who was also a judge of Allahabad High Court in those days (“The story of the Englishman who stayed back as a judge in India (and what it tells us about Nehru)”). Justice Broome had a tremendous reputation thanks to his integrity and competence. He was a bold and strong judge who never minced words. It is said that he once told a top lawyer that his clerk would have done a better job than him on a certain matter. – Prakash Chandra


This is superb, timely and informative article! Thanks for sharing it. – Vibhuti Patel

Indian Science Congress

The Telangana Chief Minister should apologise to student’s and give an explanation about why the venue of the Indian Science Congress was changed to Manipur University (“Manipur Central University to host Indian Science Congress from March 18 to 22”). This is a big loss to Osmania University, one of the most reputed universities in the state. – Shashidhar Vuppala