An anti-middle class budget
This is with regard to "Whose budget is it, Mr Jaitley?" (March 1-15, 2015). The Union Budget 2015 is anti-middle class. No major relief has been provided as far as income tax is concerned. To make matters worse, the service tax has been increased from 12.26 per cent to 14 per cent. This would be a big drain on the pocket of the common man. The budget, it is claimed, focuses on the long-term. But it is supposed to be an annual budget, not a five-year plan. Shortterm measures are needed as much as long-term measures.
The article "Pesky pests" (March 1-15, 2015) was quite interesting. In Hyderabad, pigeons are an urban nuisance. Despite being a lover of birds and animals, I was unaware that they are a problem to humans. Are there any solutions to this growing urban menace?
Rights come before development
This is with regard to the article "Undermined" (March 1-15, 2015). No amount of development can be a substitute for the rights of people. Bad experiences of those who have been displaced by the government in the name of development could fuel extremism. Such decisions will further alienate the already marginalised populations living in forests.
Gravity-defying water supply
The article "Weak link" (March 1-15, 2015) rightly points out the adhoc manner in which the government takes its decisions while chalking up large projects. However, it appears that the costs worked out by the author are inaccurate. In Bengaluru, for instance, the going rate for 1 kilolitre of potable water (obtained from private borewells and sold to households through tractor-drawn tankers) is ` 100. This price is increased to ` 150 in summer. Bengaluru is facing the challenge of rapidly depleting groundwater due to encroachment of lakes. Similar to the case mentioned in the article, Bengaluru also receives a gravity-defying water supply from the Kaveri. The river has been tapped near Mysore and the water requires a climb of 300 m before it is supplied. The article mentions potable water tariff of municipalities and not the rate at which it is sold by private suppliers.