Over the last few years, the government has been under attack for not doing anything to bring back the black money stored in Swiss banks (‘Black humour’, IE, October 31). This demand culminated in Narendra Modi’s virulent attack on the Congress during the Lok Sabha campaign, and his poll promise to bring back the black money within 100 days of coming to power. Like other promises, this too vanished into thin air. Under pressure from the Supreme Court, the government has submitted a list of all of eight people with accounts in Swiss banks. The government has now laid itself open for blame, as its position is indefensible. Black money will not be an issue in the J&K and Jharkhand elections, but it will be in the Delhi elections, if they happen. No wonder the BJP appears lukewarm about re-elections in Delhi.
— S.R. Purandare
Make it legal
The chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Lalitha Kumaramangalam, has suggested that sex work be legalised so that the government welfare agencies and medical services can reach sex workers easily. Currently, they work under the radar, which is one of the main reasons that government agencies have failed to monitor and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. Sex workers are among the most exploited groups in our society and are not reached by welfare schemes. Many countries have legalised sex work with beneficial results.
— C. Koshy John
Ghosts of 1984
I am pained to read that the Central government is only now planning to pay compensation to the families of the victims of the 1984 carnage (‘Govt to pay Rs 5 lakh relief to each killed in ‘84 riots’, IE, October 31). It is a tragedy that even after 30 years, the victims have not been given justice or compensation. There are no words to express the plight of survivors who were left high and dry by the very state that was constitutionally bound to take care of them. Successive governments have shown sympathy but done little else. The Modi government also seems hamstrung. It is a travesty of justice and a complete abdication of responsibility by the executive.
— Ashok Goswami
This refers to the Union government’s welcome move to cut expenditure by banning first class air travel by bureaucrats and other curbs. Similar moves were initiated by earlier governments from time to time, but only as part of sudden austerity drives. No one knows what became of such austerity drives after a point. But austerity cannot be restricted to bureaucrats. Similar curbs on first class air travel, foreign travel and study-trips should also be imposed on those in the legislature, including ministers.
— Madhu Agrawal