31 Mar Letters to the editor dated March 31, 2020
This is with reference to the editorial ‘Rework the budget’ (March 31). In the wake of Covid-19 and its effects on the social and economic situations, it is essential that the Centre revisit the Budget estimates for 2019-20 and 2020-21. Globally, governments made it clear that while rolling out mega stimulus packages, normal budgetary allocations go out the window. India should be no exception. The Budget estimates made on February 1 cannot be expected to be met. It would be best to acknowledge that the crisis calls for an urgent re-assessment of the Central priorities. The moratorium granted on the EMI for three months sends wrong signals on the borrowers and the entire recovery system of the banks. The reduction of crucial rates announced by the RBI is not of much use. Already, ratings institutions have announced that India’sgrowth would stoop down and may even go negative if the Covid exists for a longer period.
Bheemavaram, Andhra Pradesh
This refers to the report ‘Sensex slumps 1,400 points with FPIs on sell mode’ (March 31). It is no surprise that the current lockdown has adversely impacted the share market. But it is a fact that the traders will have to put up with the situation, since the market is only echoing the general sentiments. It is good that the public sentiment is reflecting the conditions prevailing forced a lockdown. However, it is necessary that the markets also be in tune with the general public mood and close down for some time.
This refers to ‘Personal devices run risks of cyber attacks as people work from home’ (www.thehindubusinessline.com). The reported fact that there has been an increase in cyber attacks on personal computer networks, mobile phones, VPNs and routers since employees were asked to work from home must serve as a wake up call for various stakeholders. This view gains more prominence since at least five new threats have emerged since February this year. Moreover, concerns that the law enforcement agencies are more interested in maintianing the lockdown, could hardly be overlooked.
Since this report categorically reveals the modus operandi of cyber criminals using various modern tricks to invade these devices, it obviously shifts the onus to corporates to ensure that any such unauthorised intrusion gets immediately flagged. Further, the access to all personal devices must be remotely controlled. Mind you, the theft/pilferage of any company’s vital statistical data, business secrets and internal financial position etc, may remain a potent threat.
The coronavirus has given some visibility to India’s poor, but in a hard and heart-rending way. The class divide in India has become starker during the nationwide lockdown.
Visuals of migrant workers walking long distances, being herded into trucks and hosed with ‘disinfectants’ show the unfolding human tragedy in India.
It is important for the government to respect the rights of people while implementing restrictions. The way the hapless migrant workers made to squat on the roadside, shut their eyes and hosed with a ‘disinfectant’ and robbed of their dignity in UP’s Bareilly was dehumanising.
The Bareilly incident was an illustrative example of the administration’s ‘entrenched habit’ of looking at the poor as no more than ‘herd’. It represented in microcosm the kind of treatment the country’s impoverished people receive at the hands of the officialdom.
The lockdown was absolutely needed (and fully justified) to stop the virus from spreading and save lives, but the government should have thought through and acted much better to protect the vulnerable people from the scourge of poverty as much from the scourge of disease.
When the pandemic puts the impoverished segments of the population into aggravated deprivation and distress, it falls on the government to do all that it can to support them. Its response must match the impact of the crisis, and be equitable too.
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu