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Letters to the Editor: 31 January, 2020

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Mobile thieves on the prowl

Your issue featuring mobile thefts made for an interesting reading. This reminds me of an incident that happened years ago when I may be around 16-17 years. A few of us were going to Cooperage to watch an interesting football match. We were standing by the door.

Our train must have reached Grant Road when a few people (all looking as ruffians) got in. The train started. A few minutes later we saw some brisk activity going on inside the compartment we were in. A guy among the gang had pick pocketed a purse of a commuter who was waiting to alight at the Charni Road station. The gentleman felt that something was happening to him and he started searching his pant. His purse was gone. He raised an alarm. The guy who had picked the purse got into action and flung the purse farther away where one of his accomplices was standing. Soon as the train entered the station, the guy with the purse jumped out. When most of the people moved towards him to catch him, the guy who had flicked the purse jumped out too. Within no time, both of them were out of sight.  So the people were gone and so was the purse.

Another thing I didn’t find mention in your story was a lot of mobile thefts happening between Bandra and Mahim. What happens is soon as the sun sets down, ruffians from Bandra (E) come through the mangroves and stand near the train line on which the Borivali/Andheri-Churchgate train passes. Most of the time one can see a young boy or a girl standing by the door and talking to someone. Soon as these people come on sight, these people standing by the tracks hit those standing by the side by a stick on their hands. And down goes the mobile. Even if one pulls the chain, by the time the train halts the ruffians escape. And there ends the matter.

Ashish Mitra

No decision from Supreme Court CPIO on RTI applications

Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in its historic verdict dated November 13, 2019 in Civil Appeal numbers 10044 and 10045 of 2010 (Central Public Information Officer, Supreme Court versus Subhash Chandra Agrawal) had directed Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Supreme Court (para 90 on pages 107-108 of 250-page  verdict) to re-examine the matter after following the procedure under section 11(1) of the RTI Act. The verdict was announced in open court in presence of parties in the case, and was in public domain by being uploaded on Supreme Court website on the same date.

Supreme Court CPIO has not intimated his decision on the RTI applications under reference despite much more than 40-45 days as stipulated in RTI Act under section 11 of RTI Act despite a reminder dated January 6, 2020 sent to him by Speed Post. The matter should attain finality at least now after about one decade of filing RTI applications.

Subhash Chandra Agrawal

De-clutter tax payment procedures

Should it be Reserve Bank of India’s sole botheration to push up consumption and bring the economy back on a high growth curve that can instill confidence in investors and consumers alike? RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das does not think so. Das categorically stated that fiscal measures and structural reforms be unleashed to push up consumption and thereby growth. After having cut key interest rates by 135 basis points spread over five bi-monthly meetings of monetary policy committee (MPC), Governor Das is bang on the dot while seeking Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to bite the bullet in the Union Budget to be presented on February 1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nirmala Sitharaman will have to be on the same page for the Budget to negate pessimism and uncertainty among industry captains. De-cluttering tax payment procedures with a focus on honouring honest taxpayers should continue to be on top of the list. Scaling down big-ticket tax litigation and putting in place an institutional mechanism for mediation on tax disputes as in several European geographies could unlock a huge chunk of unrealised tax revenues.

Tarique Anwar 

Air India should focus on innovative financing options

Air India has recently extended its final dates for bid submission by March 2020 to sell its entire 100 per cent stake. The move comes at a time when the state owned national carrier is struggling to set a foothold in the skies amidst the declining market share. Air India should now focus on innovative financing options if sale of the airline is imminent to repay its debts. The EoI should relax certain rules related to financial lease and operating lease of the aircraft which may otherwise evince the interest from potential bidders including foreign market players through 49 per cent FDI route.

As a national carrier one empathizes the bond it carried with the nation since decades. However over the years owing to sheer market competition, high fuel and maintenance costs, emerging monopoly of low cost carriers in the Indian skies, lack of customer focus, tighter flying norms, operational issues, dwindling market share etc. has only led to decline in the brand’s identity amidst the troubled skies. An effort thus to retain Air India’s brand identity, despite the stake sale should also be a paramount objective- in the best interest of ticket paying passengers otherwise intending to fly by the national carrier.

Varun Dambal

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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