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Letters to the Editor: June 15, 2018

1) Fine to be charged on use of plastic

The mandatory fine of Rs 10,000 will be charged for carrying plastic bags and other banned items from June 23 this year. It is time to pick up the pace to dispose off all the plastic items in Mumbai city. By getting our act together we can see light at the end of the tunnel. Plastic menace cost most of the drainage clogging and it is high time we take proper measures for prevention of plastic bags. By banning plastic bags we try our best to combat the plastic menace. Now, it is the turn of the citizens to follow the guidelines and do a world of good. The ban order is applied to plastic bags, plastic sheets and no woven polypropylene bags and it is time to refrain from using such bags or accept such bags when you go for purchasing in the market. The government has started helpline centres for the convenience of citizens and it is time to make use of the same in a proper way. As we have plastic collection centres and pet bottle crushers are to be installed by BMC we make the optimum use. With concerted efforts, we can get rid of plastic menace and make our dream of the plastic-free city soon. As of now it is a no to plastic and go green in the best way possible.

-C.K Subramaniam

 

2) Red alert

Air pollution deaths are increasing day by day and the high level pollution is felt in Metro cities as the cities are cramped with high rise buildings and the increase in the number of vehicles on the road.  To add to that number of industries that are located in outskirts throwing smoke, dirt and chemical pollution to the city on daily basis. People suffer from air pollution deaths from particulate matter and ozone. Rapid degradation is felt. People suffer from both Asthma and Bronchitis throughout the year and that make the people suffer from breathing and sinus problem. In all, 31 cities are lagging behind and Maharashtra does have maximum cities in the list. The high level pollution is the root cause for all the troubles and it is very difficult to put forth this problem with congenial atmosphere. The lifeline of Mumbai, the local trains, where commuters cram themselves into the train every day and the other alternative transport services available are not used much to reduce the pollution level. There has been a 57 per cent rise in the number of private vehicles in the past eight years and that is the major cause for imbalance in pollution level in the Metro city. PUC check must be made more stricter to reduce pollution in the main city. Quality of both petrol and diesel must be checked and more and more electrically operated vehicles should be put in use. A mix of dust, chemicals, pollen all add to the pollution and lead to various respiratory ailments in the city. The fuel burning by vehicles, power stations and industries, construction activities, road dust, burning of garbage and use of wood and dung as cooking fuel all increase the pollution at its highest level. It is indeed a red alert.

-Jayanthi Subramaniam

 

3) Safeguards necessary for senior citizens

Latest data released by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) shows a sharp decline in small savings in first eight months of the financial year 2017-18 when small savings schemes amounted to just Rs 40,429 crore, a seven-fold dip from Rs 2,75,682 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. Evidently, it is at cost of more investment in mutual-fund schemes where political and other factors can suddenly harm the investors like happened in investment in properties.

A sharp decline in the interest-rate was anticipated post-demonetisation when Jeevan Akshay pension-plan of LIC of India for the reason witnessed maximum investment in that period. But with currency-circulation crossing what it was before demonetisation, fall in the interest-rate is not appreciable with interest-rates of RBI bonds revised from earlier 8 to 7.75 per cent. In such a scenario, two government-savings-schemes designed for senior citizens with a capping of Rs 15 lakhs each namely Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Scheme by LIC of India, and senior-citizens-savings schemes now extended in banks also apart from post-offices with 8 per cent annual interest need some liberalisation. Rather both these schemes should be clubbed with total capping increased to Rs 50 lakhs per individual. Interest for these schemes should be auto-credited on monthly basis without tax-deducted-at-source (TDS). Moreover, investment in Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Scheme by LIC of India should also be exempted under section 80-C of Income Tax Act. Since investments in Public Provident Fund (PPF) has also witnessed a sharp decline, interest-rate in PPF should be revived again at 8 per cent.

-Subhash Chandra Agrawal

 

4) Introduce sponsored postal-stamps

Department of posts should come up with the idea of sponsored postal-stamps on sponsors paying some sponsorship-fees per printed stamp apart from mandating purchasing some stipulated percentage of total print-order to be sold on face-value of stamps. When department can accept commercial advertisements on postal-stationery, there is no reason that revenue may also be raised by introducing the concept of sponsored postal-stamps. Design of sponsored stamps can be approved by a department committee to avoid controversial designs of such stamps.

It will further raise revenue because sponsoring companies will be shifting to postal-service from private courier-service in order to use their sponsored postal-stamps on mailed articles.

Only sponsored Meghdoot postcards may be sold by postal-department abolishing ordinary postcards. If sponsors may not be available for, because of the unpopularity of postcards, then government departments and companies can utilise their funds for advertisements in sponsoring Meghdoot post-cards which should be priced at Re 1 making minimum postal-tariff for subsidised postal-tariff at Re 1. However, Inland-Letter-Cards may no more be printed. All such steps will help overcome large subsidy suffered by postal-department on post-cards and registered newspapers.

-Madhu Agrawal

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