An anti-mid­dle class bud­get

Down to Earth - - LETTERS - MA­HESH KU­MAR DHI­RAJ KAVERI WASEEM NOOR ALEX THOMAS

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.

Fly­ing men­ace

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.

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