Letters | Apr 18, 2005
  • The Cost Benefit Analysis, It Doesn’t Add Up
    Apr 18, 2005

    When I took a long-term subscription, Outlook was a newsmagazine. It has now reduced to peddling neo-liberal economics, analysis of sexual dysfunctions and sundry other mish-mash. Your Indian Economy special (Such a Long Journey, Apr 4) was a paean to the glory of the Indian Economy post the implementation of the structural adjustment loan conditionalities (passed off as neo-liberal economics). Doesn’t journalistic ethics dictate that the opposite viewpoint too be published and the reader allowed to decide? There is no dearth of competent writers who can convincingly argue the other side. Would you have the gumption to do a special on those lines?
    K. Ashok Rao, New Delhi

    Compare India’s rate of growth till ’91 and from thereon (Up the Reform Alley), and you know one thing for sure. Only free market capitalism can improve living standards and alleviate poverty. All other experiments—socialism, communism or development through charity—have failed spectacularly. The irony is the media and some others fail to realise that, blaming the reforms for some temporary ills (like benefits not percolating to the poor). The fact that India is now widely acknowledged to be on the path to realise its potential should silence naysayers.
    Vikas Chowdhry, Madison, US

    I may be in a minority but I am an ol’ faithful of your business pages. But big changes have happened in recent times. Earlier, you did trend stories or quaint local stuff that in a simple manner pointed at the direction of things to come. But now the pages look like bits and pieces from various business mags, a corporate profile for no apparent reason or stock stories that make no sense being there. Anyone tracking the market is not going to turn to a political newsmagazine for information. And anyway, by the time you hit the stands, the story changes. Like your paean to the Sensex hitting the 7000-mark—the next day fiis sold heavily and your story was left high and dry. Where are all those good, hard-hitting stories that were so typical of you?
    Kanti Das Gupta, Mumbai

    You seem to have got your arithmetic mixed up when you say India has nine telephones per thousand (Tra La La La). India had nine telephones per thousand more than a dozen years ago, much before the arrival of mobile telephony. Did you mean nine telephones per hundred?
    M.A. Ramaswamy, Chennai

    E.F. Schumacher said, "Nature abhors a vacuum, and the available spiritual space, if not filled by something higher, will definitely be filled by something lower, mean, calculating attitude to life that is rationalised by the economic calculus." This fact is evident in the views of the various ‘knowledgeable’ people featured. The views of Shankar Acharya especially filled me with a lot of sadness since he currently occupies a seat that provides a direction to the country’s future. Clearly, accountants cannot be given charge of running a country. And what is this obsession of your writers with Growth? One of my friends has a relative in rural Gujarat who maintains a family of four on Rs 1,200 a month. Is it necessary that per capita income has to rise or is it necessary that cost of living has to fall? Maybe both, but clearly there is considerable scope for cost reduction.
    Uday Vemuri, on-e-mail

    After reading Democracy on Shopshelves (Apr 4), the next day I was passing by bus through my native land. I looked around and saw no high-rises, no bustling shopping malls, no multi-gyms, no biotech labs, no software parks nor discotheques. Instead, I saw bearded men opening small tea shops, children playing with tyres, middle-aged ladies carrying water pots and leaking public taps. Along the shady groves flanking NH-47, I saw temples and wastelands alike. I was, briefly, frozen in time. Thank god for middle India.
    Vishnu Menon, Thiruvananthapuram

    Put some figures on Indian exports (less software) as a per cent of our gdp and compare it with similar figures for China (Curry in Hot Garlic Sauce, Apr 4). You’ll know where we stand. No one denies the potential of India. But we have far to go before we truly become India Shining.
    Rajesh, New York

    Apropos Azim Premji’s Flowchart For Tomorrow, the IT services sector has been overhyped by the media. And even the government is party to this, lobbying for more visas and giving them tax breaks (why do billion-dollar companies need it?) for cheap short-term forex gains. I’ve been part of government organisations like the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Pune, which are actually trying to make India self-reliant in IT but are now being neglected. All because the myopic interests of the government have shifted from making India self-reliant in IT to help bodyshop employees of such "services" companies.
    Prateek Kaul, Pune

    Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate for Outlook to get the budding unprivileged entrepreneur’s take on the hurdles faced in building up his business rather than all these smug billionaires in their high chairs. Premji and Co can go on about creating 4 million big-pay jobs but what I’d like to know is how having the capability to produce second-grade research and products in IT, biotech, automobile, banking and the like is going to make India a developed nation. When is India going to produce that breed of visionary and practical-minded industrial moguls like the ones China is producing now or the US produced during its industrial expansion. Where are the Indian Carnegies and Rockefellers?
    Prasanth, Kochi

    Premji’s attempt at covering the distance IT has covered is commendable but his views on government are rather charitable. There is nothing that has changed on the ground. Unless the common man (read customer) has all the tools and power (apart from purchasing power), little can be expected. All the growth that we are seeing is incidental and due to the global socio-economic changes.
    Nafay Kumail, New Delhi

    The 10th anniversary special was a huge letdown. Most of the articles went on and on, haranguing about things that could have been said in about a page.
    R. Venkatesan Iyengar, Hyderabad

    Your 10th anniversary special was boring, with little of interest to the general public. I wish you had avoided wasting the paper.
    N.K. Sircar, Calcutta

    Give us the quirky marketing phenomenon, new trend vagaries, the big idea...not these meandering reels.
    K.D. Gupta, on e-mail

  • No Croak In The Wild
    Apr 18, 2005

    Outlook deserves all appreciation for giving us a detailed story on the plight of wildlife in the country (Animal Rites, Mar 28). It gives us an insight into wildlife management practices in the country and spells out the need for drastic change. Most of the keystone species are either victims of faulty management or biased political visions. For example, if tigers are on the verge of extinction due to bad management practices then Asiatic lions are trapped in Gir, waiting for political clearance to get settled in their new home, the Kuno wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, to get them a new lease of life.
    Faiyaz A. Khudsar, Delhi

  • Her Own Mistress
    Apr 18, 2005

    As Seema Rahmani says in her column The Casting Ouch (Apr 4), everyone knows the casting couch phenomenon exists in the Bombay film industry. But then isn’t a woman’s body her own and so subject to her own free will? It’s all right to blame the other for asking but don’t they have an option to refuse outright like Seema did or even to move ahead and put the lecher in his right place like Preeti Jain?
    Nutan Thakur, Lucknow

    This is what education does to people—it gives them enough skill to play with words, but stultifies their perspective and makes them destitute of any understanding of instincts. Add to it the irrational moral code of society and the effect is that a non-issue is made to look big, and the media and people indulge in exchanging pats of reassurance. If we look at our lives more closely and dare to be honest, all of us exploit the ‘companionship couches’. That a certain Mr X is framed for exploiting the casting couch is simply the price one pays for being a celebrity. And, for all I know, any situation of mutual consent cannot be considered equal to that of intrusion.
    Vijayender C., Bangalore

    Hats off to Seema Rahmani. Not many upcoming actresses would speak the way she did for fear of being shunned by established filmmakers.
    Ulhas Shirke, Mumbai

  • Let It Sail
    Apr 18, 2005

    I can understand how the note from the pmo’s office must have bolstered your case against the Sethusamudram project (Ship in the Shallows, Newsbag, Mar 28). By virtue of its geographical location, the project could result in considerable saving of nautical mileage compared to ships circumventing Sri Lanka. It also has great potential for the development of the southern region and creation of employment opportunities as per the elaborate report prepared by the shipping ministry. The tsunami and cyclones are events that happen once in a yuga and only doomsayers like you can raise objections for scuttling down a project all along cherished by nationalist Tamilians.
    V.S. Sankaran, Madurai

  • It’s Our Business
    Apr 18, 2005

    In her article All-American Grand Slam (Apr 4), Seema Sirohi writes that the Bush administration "said little and did even less" about the post-Godhra riots. Did I read her right? What exactly was the US of A supposed to do in this purely domestic affair, I do not understand. It is exactly this kind of verbal genuflection which makes the US the self-appointed guardian of secularism and democracy. We do not need Uncle Sam in our internal affairs, thank you.
    Rahul Gaur, Gurgaon

    Does Outlook know that the tribal areas in the south of Gujarat were politically controlled by the Christian church? If the bjp were not the instrument to break the power, it would have been some other party. And we know whose side the US will be on between Modi and the church.
    A.K. Aggarwal, Ahmedabad

  • Apr 18, 2005

    Evam Indrajit, a play by Vijay Tendulkar (The Ink is Still Wet, Apr 4)? The play is Badal Sircar’s. Indeed, it is inconceivable that Tendulkar could write in the style or form of Evam Indrajit.
    Vijay Nambisan, on e-mail

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