This refers to the cover story Things That Got Covided (May 18). The pandemic has led to the denial of basic human rights to billions of people around the globe regardless of national boundaries, religion, political system or social status. We will have to chart a new path to maintain economic progress. It is too early to predict what this transformation will be until we find a vaccine to end this disease. Hopefully, policymakers will take lessons from this experience and accordingly design policies.
Kanak R.N., Varam
Your cover story touched the right chords and reflected that in history the only change is constant—every institution or superstructure, no matter how powerful and effective it might seem, will someday become irrelevant. This apocalyptical scenario is an epoch-making event in the history of humanity as never before has the whole world come to a grinding halt. Epidemics dismantle the economic and social order. Given the intensity and magnitude of the crisis, neoliberal economies should be concerned. This catastrophe has brought to the fore the failure of private hospitals in providing adequate services. State intervention and investment in healthcare and disaster management and effective monitoring strategies helped contain the virus in places like Korea and Taiwan. The future lies in equal distribution of resources and reining in the unbridled growth of private capital. I feel it is not the kind of regime that matters, but whether citizens trust their leaders and whether those leaders are competent to deal with crises that matters in the end.
Vijay Singh Adhikari, Nainital
Wouldn’t You? Six-year-old Hasting Hughes sent a letter to Charles Dickens with recommendations for changes to certain characters in his novel Nicholas Nickleby. This is an excerpt of Dickens’s response.
This refers to your cover story Is My Job Safe? (April 27). From end-March onwards, most companies have either sacked employees or asked them to go on indefinite leave without pay. Some have slashed salaries by as much as 85 per cent. Millions of jobs will remain at risk unless we manage to come up with a vaccine or cure.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
The pandemic has inflicted colossal damage on an already weakened economy. The industrial ecosystem is collapsing, which has rendered many jobless. Gloomy forecasts by several agencies point to a bleak future for the country’s manufacturing sector. The problems of industries are manifold, ranging from credit availability, payment of fixed costs and fund crunch to difficulty in encashing their assets to maintain solvency. The non-availability of labour is a challenge as migrants are scrambling to return home. In these circumstances, we need to think big to lift the economy.
C.K. Subramaniam, Navi Mumbai
This refers to the story Front-end Leaks (May 11). It is easier to blame retail investors for chasing higher returns and not taking in to account the risks. Retail investors trust fund managers and expect 0.5-1 per cent higher returns than fixed deposits and preservation of the principal amount. Fund managers are professionals expected to weigh risks before buying debt instruments. In the case of Franklin Templeton, fund managers chased returns without due diligence and bought low-quality debt instruments. No one can tell with certainty as to when investors will get their money back and what amount. Retail investors, as always, bear the brunt and get blamed. I am afraid the “front-end leaks” may close the tap of fund flows by retail investors to Franklin Templeton mutual funds in India.
K.R. Nambiar, Kannur
This refers to Got an Aspirin? (May 11). Aspirin will not resolve the Madhya Pradesh imbroglio. Its long-term use leads to internal bleeding and that is neither good for the individual nor the party. Scindia did not walk out Congress for altruistic reasons—he and his followers were power-hungry and the Congress could not fulfill his appetite. As has been the case in Karnataka, Goa and other states, BJP dangled carrots in front of elected representatives, whose thirst for power and scant concern for the public that elected them is unfortunate. Citizens have shown their unhappiness in bypolls by not voting for these turncoats. Long-time party loyalists rightfully refuse to accept the entry of turncoats. These incidents prove the need to urgently modify the anti-defection law, with citizens’ right to recall their elected representatives. Why should we bear the cost of byelections due to the greed of legislators?
H.N. Ramakrishna, Bangalore
This refers to Rishi Kapoor Diary (May 18). The star remained jovial and determined to live life to the fullest right through the two years of his treatment across two continents. Family, friends, food and films remained his focus and everyone who met him during this time was amazed at how he did not let his illness get the better of him. He was grateful for the love of his fans that poured in from the world over. I am sure that he would like to be remembered with a smile and not tears. His loss is devastating for the Hindi film world. RIP Rishi!
Gundu K. Maniam, Bhandup