Thursday, April 25, 2024

Police force: need to trim the flab


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On September 26, 2011, India Today’s special issue covered a story with the headline ‘FRIEND OR FOE’? which examined the problems of the police force in India. The Opposition Congress on Monday spoke on the ills plaguing the force by going the extra mile and requesting the Meghalaya government to terminate police personnel who do not meet the physical requirements.
Policing in India is a grim reminder of a colonial spent force, attuned to using highhanded tactics to tame anti-societal elements or petty criminals. Corruption creeps in and the higher the rank, the higher the level of corruption. Extortion to bribery for failure to comply with law, their range of powers are unlimited in areas such as drug trafficking, gambling dens, traffic penalty among others. Coming to grooming of the force, high-profile individuals have backed some of these bloated personnel, so to uproot this sore, one needs to understand the nexus between different parties. A strong political will is necessary to trim the flab, giving space for good nutritionists, psychologists and fitness trainers in reshaping a peoples’ force rather than a militarized, rulers’ force. There was a synergy between the police and different stakeholders to break the morale of GNLA in 2018 which can be termed as ‘population centric’ warfare so one needs to pay careful attention to mental resilience apart from physical prowess.
Former Deputy Commissioner, Counter Terrorism, New York City Police Department Michael A. Sheehan stressed on a vetted force which removes troubled officers which is critical for success and a also a small sized force which is paid well so that they do not fall prey to street-level dealings.
Yours etc.,
Christopher Gatphoh,

The Sandeshkhali violence

Gender violence be it in Sandeshkhali, Hathras, Kathua, Unnao, Uttarakhand, Manipur or be it against Bilkis Bano or women wrestlers must be condemned by the people in general and by the media in particular irrespective of the political dispensation in power. Also, a political party and a democratic institution must not take selective approach and adopt double standards while dealing with such matters. While criticising the government of West Bengal over alleged atrocities on women at Sandeshkhali, CPM politburo member Brinda Karat pointed out, “The (national) women’s commission was here but it didn’t go to Manipur or Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.” If there is a doubt about the impartiality of an institution how can it instil faith in the minds of the victims?
The Opposition parties should highlight the misuse of power by the ruling party in a democratic country. But in the name of agitation, fomenting hatred is totally unacceptable. During their protest against what happened in Sandeshkhali, BJP leaders allegedly called a turban-clad IPS officer a ‘Khalistani’. The malicious comment directed at the police officer was as unwanted as much as the one made on the people who protested against the CAA that they could be identified by their clothes. India needs peace and harmony not divisive politics and hate speeches.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,

Mamata criticized for having no empathy for women

I extend my thanks to Salil Gewali for his letter, “West Bengal women traumatised by TMC honchos; Shame on Mamata,” (ST Feb. 19, 2024). Gewali’s concern for the vulnerable women of Sandeshkhali is shared by every right-thinking citizen. As a concerned citizen I believe there is no greater crime than torturing and sexually exploiting women. Is the TMC party synonymous with crime and violence? In every election, there are murders and brutal attacks by TMC goons across West Bengal. This demonstrates how dangerous this political party has become over time.
Both the National Commission for Women and many Supreme Court lawyers have condemned the TMC and have called for thorough investigations into the horrific incidents perpetrated by TMC party members.
The Calcutta High Court and the National Human Rights Commission have intervened. They have requested reports and inquiries into the allegations, emphasizing the seriousness of human rights violations and concerns regarding press freedom. Many journalists were also attacked and not allowed to enter Sandeshkhali for reporting. Even a fact-finding committee headed by the former Chief Justice of Patna was not allowed entry by the West Bengal police.
The response of the Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, to these grave injustices and her defence of the perpetrators is condemnable. This indicates that Mamata completely lacks empathy for women.
It is also surprising that we have not heard any comments from the TMC leaders of Meghalaya on the situation in Sandeshkhali. I would like to know whether they also support the criminals like their high command, Mamata Banerjee. I would also like to have an answer from former Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma, as to why the TMC is silent on the sexual atrocities committed by his Party. Is the TMC so gender insensitive despite being led by a woman?
Yours etc.,
Neha Dhananjaya

Debt servicing versus loan repayment

Recently there was a debate in the Meghalaya Assembly on borrowings and debts while discussing the Budget which was not at all inspiring as nothing substantive came out of the discussions by the concerned MLAs who took part in this topic. Indeed, there was a sane letter to the editor from Sumarbin Umdor of the North Eastern Hill University on the subject (ST February 28, 2024) which made interesting reading as it was substantive. However, it will be interesting to note that Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist, has an interesting perspective on the relationship between government debt and economic growth. He argues that the US government doesn’t necessarily have to pay off its $31 trillion debt in the same way the individual household pays off its debts. Here is why:
1.Different context: Krugman emphasizes that government finance cannot be directly compared to a household’s finances. Unlike people, governments don’t die, and they continue to exist across generations. Therefore, the dynamics of debt repayment are distinct.
2. Servicing Debt: While governments must service their debts by paying interest and repaying principal when bonds mature, they don’t necessarily have to pay off the entire debt. They can issue new bonds to pay off old ones and even borrow to cover interest payments, as long as the overall debt does not rise too rapidly compared to revenue.
3. Historical precedent: Historically, it is uncommon for governments to fully pay off large debts. For instance, Great Britain has held onto debt incurred during events like the Napoleonic Wars for extended periods.
4. Debt-to-GDP ratio: Although the US debt-to-GDP ratio hovered around 97% last year, the actual interest payments on that debt were only around $ 395 billion, which is approximately 1% of the GDP. This manageable interest burden allows the government flexibility in managing its debt.
In summary Krugman’s stance is that while governments must responsibly manage their debt, the focus should be on sustainable debt servicing rather than absolute debt elimination. The ongoing debate over the US debt level underscores the importance of finding a balance between fiscal responsibility and economic growth.
Yours etc.,
Via email


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