When age withers
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Many among India's political fraternity could take notes from Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign on the grounds that he is losing his strength and cannot fulfil the duties required of him. The first pope to resign in six centuries, he said that he had examined his conscience and did not feel he could shoulder the responsibility of guiding 1.2 billion Catholics. A number of our political leaders should engage in similar soul-searching and decide if they are up to the task of guiding more than 1.2 billion Indians.
— Ajay K. Gupta, Bharuch
THIS refers to the report 'Tripura sets record of highest-ever 93% voting in country' (IE, February 15). As the high voter turnout in the Tripura elections suggests, with insurgency on the wane in the Northeast, the focus has shifted to governance. The key to progress is better job opportunities, education and primary health, as well as empowerment of the masses and creating awareness among them. This needs a sensitive administration, which will ensure that the beneficiaries of various social welfare programmes get the funds and services that are due to them and initiate infrastructure development. The lack of good governance was perhaps one of the primary causes for the insurgencies in the Northeast in the first place. Dissatisfaction with elected governments has also led to insurgencies in other parts of the country, whether in J&K or the states afflicted by Naxal violence. Our netas and babus must wake up to this before it is too late and fulfil the genuine aspirations of people in these areas.
— B.S. Gill
Food for thought
THE editorial 'The bargaining begins' (IE, February 15) rightly advises caution in implementing the food security bill. The scheme will need public expenditure of more than Rs 1 lakh crore. Together with spending on infrastructural requirements like additional storage capacity and investment in agriculture to ensure a sustainable supply of food, the total cost will be staggering. If the corrupt public distribution system is not re-engineered to cope with the extra food supply, the benefits will hardly reach the needy. And when the governmental is grappling with a high fiscal deficit, this new burden will aggravate matters. It needs to weigh all the pros and cons of such a measure, not merely look to please the crowds before the 2014 elections.
Mind without fear
APROPOS the editorial 'The feminist network'
(IE, February 15), the One Billion Rising movement shows that the repression of women, their lack of equal rights and sexual harassment is a worldwide issue, not just a problem of the subcontinent. With so many cases being reported nowadays, it seems women are increasingly overcoming the fear of their tormentors. Anoushka Shankar's confession about being abused as a child could encourage many others to come forward.
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