Capacity building

Capacity building

* The article 'Cash is no cure-all' (IE, November 27) strikes a cautionary note on cash transfers. The criticism of the cash transfer "fad" does not take into account that such a policy can help build capacity. Cash transfers will yield immediate benefits and improve mechanisms of governance. The criticism that the state might lack the capacity to implement cash transfers is valid, but it does not account for the state's ability to build up that capacity. Replacing an archaic model of physical delivery with a modern, technologically solid cash transfer regime is a step in the right direction. Freeing up resources from the quagmire of our current subsidy regime should be encouraged. However, there are potential pitfalls: cash transfers solely provide purchasing power, and transparency will always be a major concern. The scheme should be repeatedly evaluated and new technology like mobile banking should be considered to reach areas banks do not cover.

— Gurpreet S. Goraya


Hollow noise

* THE nomination of former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, charged in the Sohrabuddin case, for the upcoming state elections ('Amit Shah, charged in Sohrabuddin case, gets BJP ticket', IE, 29 November) may not be good for the BJP's image. The party is already in a state of turmoil and the integrity of some of its top leaders has been challenged. This, coupled with former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's recent resignation from the party, might topple the BJP from its moral high ground. This makes the BJP's demand for the resignation of UPA ministers charged with corruption sound hollow.

— Suren Abreu


The Nehru touch

* THIS refers to 'Raising democracy' (IE, November 30). Ashutosh Varshney has assessed the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru during his 17-year tenure as India's first prime minister. However, one of the reasons for his success in building "the edifice of democracy" in a poor nation was our legacy of cultural, religious and social values. Religious pluralism, as well as respect for debate and difference of opinion, had existed in India long before Independence. Unfortunately, as the writer notes, Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, adopted "anti-Nehru" policies.

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