Pinch of a lighter wallet
Don’t touch my wallet (BT cover story, July 27) was a timely reminder of the inflationary crisis that is upon us. But what is different this time around is the level of our preparedness and our ability to tackle this hydra-headed monster. Though we’ve grown more consumerist and spendthrift, we are also now psychologically more prepared and competent to take on the challenges of a high-cost economy, thanks to better financial prudence and money management.
R. K. Sudan, through e-mail
Targeting the IITs
In your editorial, The last straw? (BT, July 27), you have made some valid points about the gimmicks our politicians resort to, to prop up their sagging careers. The dogged insistence of the HRD Minister on quota in the IITs has started looking more like a lastditch effort to save his political career. After targeting the higher educational institutions, Arjun Singh has found a new cause. This, too, at a time when the IITs are facing an acute shortage of teachers. Such a step would make it even more difficult for these premier institutes to fill up vacant posts. The minister would do better to go through a recent survey conducted by the IITs. The report states that 50 per cent of the reserved seats remain vacant most of the time. Also, a large section of the faculty has already left for greener pastures. This has led to a crisis situation in the IITs that are increasingly finding it difficult to maintain their qualitative edge in the absence of quality teachers. Rather than thinking of ever new ways of pushing quota, Singh should instead revamp the pay scales of teachers in the IITs so that they can attract quality faculty as well as retain the existing ones.
Bal Govind, through e-mail
Reforms in education
A society cannot prosper if a vast majority of its population remains underprivileged and backward. Therefore, the uplift of backward classes must be top priority for all governments (The Last Straw? BT Editorial, July 27). But, is quota the best way of doing this? A better and more enduring way of helping students from the backward classes is to make primary education free and compulsory. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has lamented that our country has missed the bus several times because of its utter neglect of primary education and it’s about time we moved away from stopgap measures. Strengthening primary education alone can provide the right platform for the large underprivileged sections to compete with the best, and make it to India’s best institutions on merit.
Srinivasan Umashankar, through e-mail
Business Leader in his own right
Your profile of Nikhil Gandhi in Is this man for real? (BT, July 27) made for an interesting reading. Gandhi surely possesses some of the key traits of the late Dhirubhai Ambani, who, he claims, was his mentor—he nurses grand ambitions, is not afraid of taking risks, and is extremely good at spotting business opportunities. I’m particularly impressed with the way Gandhi has steered his company, SKIL, through troubled times and made it into an eminently successful venture. Insinuations of Gandhi being a frontman for Mukesh Ambani do not detract from the fact that he is a successful business leader in his own right.
B. Rajasekaran, through e-mail
Shopping in Malls
This refers to your story on malls—Footfalls aren’t falling (BT, July 27). Indeed, it is mostly women and children who are the actual mall rats and men just accompany them for paying the bills. Men do not make good mall rats as they do not like the idea of hanging around unnecessarily. When they go shopping, they buy what they want and move on. In contrast, women and children like to spend time browsing the goods whether they need them or not.
Mahesh Kapasi, through e-mail
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