Imagining a silence, missing the point
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The UPA has acknowledged the people's right to be angry, and responded to it
Last week, these pages saw a spirited and unusually emotional attack against the UPA government by Pratap Bhanu Mehta ('While we were silent', July 11). And even though I have become a fan of his sophomoric enthusiasm, I feel compelled to rebut his hypnotic pamphleteering. To begin, let me establish why Mehta has misread "the silence" of the people.
The slowdown in highway construction has been due to a fall in private investment because of global factors, hardly a domestic trend. Taking advantage of the slowdown, the UPA government acted wisely in bringing the land acquisition bill to address the legitimate concerns of land owners. There is more to roads than highways. Rural roads have seen exponential expansion.
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There's more to the aviation sector than just Air India. FDI in the sector and regulatory reforms are showing results. Tata-Air Asia and Jet-Etihad are the first signs of the anticipated boost to the aviation sector. Concessions made in the Union budget on aircraft parts and equipment, and exemption of customs duty on spares, are set to transform the maintenance, repairs and operations business. According to the Planning Commission, power capacity went up by 159 per cent in the 11th Plan. The projected increase under the 12th Plan is 60 per cent. Sixty million households were electrified in the last decade.
The opposition to the RTE is that it was promulgated after 100 per cent enrolment was achieved. This observation can only have come from people whose worldview of rural areas is shaped by occasional trips to Neemrana. Enrolment figures in rural areas are mostly fudged. Coupled with the midday meal, the RTE will prove to be a game changer.