THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE
Financial Daily
from THE HINDU group of publications

Monday, July 16, 2001

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Opinion

Agriculture
State of agriculture
IN A thought-provoking address published in the RBI Bulletin, May 2001, the RBI Deputy Governor, Dr Y. V. Reddy, has discussed major issues concerning the agenda of Indian agricultural reforms, particularly in the light of the decline in agricultural out put.

Economy
Vision 2020 -- Passively creating employment
FOR FOUR decades, the government went on a spree creating jobs whether they were needed or not. The prevailing view was that employing people was a good in itself -- even if there was no work to do, or the work done was not commensurate with th e wages paid. After the trauma of the 1990, we have flipped; profit is all; employment is incidental. So, downsizing has become the fashion. As a natural consequence, employment has shrunk and unemployment has once again become the major worry.

Editorial
Draining VSNL
THE PROPOSED DISINVESTMENT of a 25 per cent stake in Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL) to a strategic partner has moved into less productive territory with the company announcing a special dividend of Rs 40 per share (or 400 per cent). This appears to be the first of the Government's moves to drain VSNL's reserves of Rs 4,000-4,500 crore before the disinvestment. Citing the positive response from the stock market to the dividend announcement, the Government is setting the stage to carry thi s process forward.

Fertilisers
Urea: Proposed uniform pricing scheme -- Ensure parity in feedstock prices, first
AFTER the Government announced -- in the 2001-02 Budget -- its decision to replace the existing unit-wise retention pricing scheme (RPS) for urea by a scheme of group-wise uniform concessions and determination of concession rates on the basis of pr evailing import parity prices (IMPP) of respective feedstock, consultations have been going on at the inter-ministerial level as well as with other stakeholders -- oil PSUs, fertiliser manufacturers, and others -- to evolve appropriate strategies a nd arrangements for ensuring supply of feedstock at `low' and `uniform' IMPP-based prices.

Miscellaneous
Old-young divide
GENERATION gap has acquired a new stridency because of the aggravation of certain tendencies characterising the psychologies of the old and young. Also, the stresses of the breakneck pace of life led by the young and old and the loosening of t he social ties because of growing geographical distances between members of families have created deepening fissures in human relationships. Everyone feels mentally and emotionally cramped, with no room or time for finer feelings, commo n courtesies and minimum consideration. Rank individualism bordering on egotism is rampant.

Making law, breaking law
JUNE 21, 2001: The red planet, Mars, comes closest to the Earth. A Martian warrior is peeping from its visors and is fascinated by the bright glow of lights in Palani, one of the abodes of Lord Muruga in Tamil Nadu. The Martian wants to visit the place a s its great grandparent had told it that the Lord did, once upon a time, traverse to the Earth, in India, and saved its denizens from the catastrophe. Thereafter, the Lord took His abode in Mars, which came to be known as the warrior planet. In a nano se cond, the Martian transports itself to Chennai, the nearest metro to Palani, donning the garb of a woman. On reaching the city, she looks at some newspapers which are full of the `Enron' imbroglio. She asks a distinguished looking Indian lady (telepathic ally) as to what it was all about.

Politics
Why the academic smoke-screen
IN the run-up to the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit everyone who was anyone was organising seminars on Indo-Pak affairs with all manner of people voicing their opinion: The proverbial hawks, the optimists and the pessimists.


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