* This refers to ‘Social audit isn’t enough’ (IE, January 22). The MGNREGA has proved to be a good tool for providing employment in rural areas, where people are mostly dependent on agriculture, which is seasonal. It is unfortunate that corruption has creeped into the programme and social audits are not helping to eradicate it. The problem is that even if stakeholders uncover corruption in the system, they can easily be pressured to keep quiet about it because of the lopsided power structure. Why would someone dependent on MGNREGA risk losing 100 days of employment to become a whistleblower?
— Manpreet Singh
* THis refers to ‘Agit and prop’ (IE, January 21). The editorial read like an unjustified diatribe against Arvind Kejriwal’s dharna. The AAP was not formed to tinker with the political system but to completely overhaul it from within. Kejriwal’s style of governance will, therefore, be completely different from the existing status quoist style practiced from within air-conditioned secretariats. How can he be expected to sit quietly when Delhi is facing a law and order crisis and the police is not under his control? Do critics of the AAP think that the delays because of the “due process of law” are still acceptable to the common man?
— Shahabuddin Nadeem
Doing the math
* This refers to ‘Not by babanomics’ by Ila Patnaik (IE, January 22). I agree that the feasibility of the banking transaction tax is questionable. As per the last budget, direct and indirect taxation (including the states’ share) is meant to raise approximately Rs 13 lakh crore. If the transaction tax rate is 2 per cent, we would need to tax transactions worth Rs 650 lakh crore for the policy to be revenue neutral. Given that in 2012-13, India’s GDP at current market prices was around Rs 100 lakh crore, this policy seems unfeasible. As pointed out by the writer, the BTT will also flush high-value transactions out of the formal banking system.
— Subhash Mittal
The humane state
* This refers to the editorial ‘Justice more humane’ (IE, January 22). The Supreme Court’s decision to commute the death sentences of 15 persons to life imprisonment is welcome. According to the SC, given the inordinate delay in deciding the mercy petitions of the condemned prisoners, the humane thing to do is to commute their sentences. This is mature and befitting of a civilised society. The SC is also right to hold that prisoners who are mentally ill must not be sent to the gallows.
— R.K. Kapoor