(April 2/3, 2016, No. 14/2016)
Weekend Lighter is posted every Saturday @mgwarrier.blogspot.in
Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to mgwarrier@gmail.com
Opening remarks
Thank You, “The Hindu”
My rendezvous with ‘The Hindu’ dates back to April-May 1959. I had just given my SSLC examination and was enjoying my vacation in our ancestral house in a remote Malabar village. My uncle, working with MSEB in Madras gifted me a month’s postal subscription for The Hindu advising me that ‘reading English newspaper will help me catch up in improving my High School Malayalam medium English’. I started collecting my daily newspaper from the Post Office which was within walking distance (about one hour) from our house.
The Hindu reached promptly within a week from the date printed on the paper. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the feel of a big newspaper which was reaching very few rich people in our locality. Later, whenever I went to nearby town, I used to pick up copies of ‘The Hindu Weekly Review’, a weekly edition brought out by The Hindu with overseas readers in view. This magazine contained select editorials and important articles published in the paper during the previous week and was priced 25 paise.
Time has passed, The Hindu has grown, but the relationship with the paper continues. Recently The Hindu has reinstated its Mumbai edition after a long gap. An acquaintance who spent almost his entire active life with The Hindu informs me that the Mumbai edition of the paper is incurring heavy losses and this has started showing a negative impact on the Group’s resources. Priced @Rs8 on week days and Rs10 on Sundays, Mumbaikar refuses to pick up the paper from the news stand. He opts for another newspaper available @Re1 on week days and Rs3 on Sunday! Who cares for the content?
Many do patronise The Hindu newspaper and other publications from the group. The Hindu Group does not face any competition from other newspapers and magazines, if it is about the variety of contents, authenticity of information or the dedication of team Hindu in achieving near perfection in promptness and presentation. Those not convinced may have a glance through the lead articles, comments, interviews and ‘Open Page’ in the daily newspaper, the extensive coverage of current national and international affairs in Frontline and the Hindu Business Line (including the Saturday ‘BLink’).
Having said this much, one caution. The Group need to go ‘commercial’ to ensure continued presence for the benefit of its patrons who are dependent on the products it bring out. Yes, the reference is to pricing and marketing. Print editions of all publications from the Group need to be protected from extinction.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
Recent responses
Connecting in the air
This refers to the excellent presentation on Aadhaar (Business Standard, Nearing a billion & counting, April 1, 2016). Reaching out to over 70 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population with an identity card is a great achievement in itself. But most of them had ration cards, bank accounts, PAN card numbers, passports or some other documents which had their names ‘printed’ on them. There lies the problem flagged in the second line of the caption: “but connectivity is the problem”.
Call me a sceptic, pessimist or a mere ‘anti-establishment guy’ for saying Aadhaar is just an additional burden on Indian citizen. In a country which finds it tough to track the travel plans of Mallya, which has Rs32,000 crore(this excludes the interest payable on this huge amount since 2011) in inoperative EPF accounts, where the regulator needs six months’ time to prepare a list of defaulters owing more than Rs 500 crore to banks, where CAG estimates a loss of 1.76 lakh crore  in a series of transactions and the Hon Minister is able to argue that the losses cannot be more than zero, where taxes not collected exceed the amount of taxes levied in a year and a dispute about not crediting a few paise (was it 34 or 64?) can make the country’s largest bank spend a princely sum in litigation, I am not convinced that a new series of numbers will be able to ensure the kind of connectivity needed for making those numbers better than the existing database.
Let us pray for the success of Aadhaar experiment. A lot of efforts with conviction have gone into it. But, let us remember, technology is not a substitute for people’s participation which depends on the people’s trust in what they are asked to do.
M G Warrier, Mumbai

Causing accidents
Apropos your editorial “Accidents and criminal liability” (The Hindu, April 2, 2016), the time is running out for our country to have a merciful relook at ‘accidents’ which happen and incidents in which loss to lives and property are caused by gross negligence on the part of those who ‘cause’ them, which cannot just be brushed aside as human error. Yes, I am referring to several categories of accidents including road and rail accidents, building collapses, workers dying  due to neglect of safety requirements, death or health hazards caused by pollution and so on.
In many cases, the rich individuals or powerful government cover up criminal and tort liability by delaying or denying legal remedies or even insurance claims by using money power or ‘authority’. The victims or their survivors, in most cases are not in a position to fight and win cases in courts.  In certain situations like accidents on roads and death by fall from Mumbai suburban local trains, sometimes even the bodies are not identified. Law need to be more considerate to accident victims.
M G Warrier, Mumbai   
Thoughtless smartness!
This refers to your editorial “Smart rate cut in small savings schemes” ( The Hindu, March 21, 2016). There is an urgent need to have a re-look at the approach of GOI to small savings major portion of which form part of retirement savings of self-employed people and senior citizens. It is unfortunate that different pressure groups argue for reducing rate of return on savings from different angles and GOI succumb to such pressures without weighing the impact on social security cover for which savers invest in most of the long term savings instruments like PPF and various savings options offered under National Savings Schemes. The combined corpus under such schemes constitute less than 10 per cent of the deposits with banks.
Beyond tax savings, investors under these schemes look at their stable nature in regard to security of investments and regular assured returns. Considering their role in providing financial security for elders and acting as a source of liquidity when earnings fluctuate in the present uncertain employment market, there is a strong case for ensuring a rate of return on such investments, higher than that available on bank deposits. The recent SBI research report suggestion to consider  differential (higher) rates for savings in the accounts of elders and in age-groups above 45 years is worth looking at. Another group which may deserve differential treatment may be those who are not investing in these instruments for income tax benefit (their income being low and therefore not taxable).
A related issue is professionalism in management of funds flowing into governments’ kitty which now come from captive sources like LIC, EPFO, banks(SLR deposits), National Savings Schemes and PPF. As these funds are used by government and no investment risk prevalent in money with the banking system is to be factored in, it is natural that savers expect a higher rate of return on investment in such financial instruments. Any thought of relating interest rates on investments in such instruments with bank interests is irrational and therefore unacceptable.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
Srooyathaam Dharmasarvaswam sruthwaachaiva vichaaryathaam
Aatmanahprathikoolaani pareshaanna vichaarayeth.
(Hear all about Dharma, and having heard introspect intelligently and never do
unto others anything against the call of your conscience.)

Apareekshyan na karthavyam karthavyam supareekshya cha
Nachedh bhavathi santhaapah braahmanyaanakulaadhyathaa
(Before beginning any activity, examine thoroughly all aspects and then decide to launch as otherwise, you may end up in grief like the Brahmin Lady who killed the mongoose)

Avasyam anubhoktavyam kritham karma subhaasubham
Naabhuktham ksheeyathe karmakalpa kotisathairapi

(All past karmas good and bad must be endured by each for even after hundred crore Kalpas the past karma will not wear off on its own

Maathaapithaa cha me satruh yena baalye na paatthathe
Sabhaamadhye na sobhetha hamsamadhye bakoryathaa
(The parents who do not educate their children when young are like enemies to them; almost like being a crane in the midst of swans.

Vruscheekasya visham puccham Makshikaayaah visham sirah
Takshakasya visham dantham sarvaangam durjanasya cha
(The scorpion has poison on its sting, the fly on its head, the serpent on its teeth; but a wicked rogue has poison all over his body.)

Paksheenaam balam aakaasam matsyaanaam udakam balam
Durbalasya balam Rajaa baalaanaam rodanam balam
(The sky is the strength for birds, for fish the strength is water, for helpless the strength is the ruler but for children ‘crying’ is their strength.)

Upakaaropi neechaanaam apakaaraya varthate
Payah paanam bhujangasya kevalam vishavardhanam
(Any help rendered to wicked people will turn out to be disdain like feeding a venomous snake with milk will only make it more poisonous.)

Ashwaplavanjaambuda garjitancha streenaam cha chittam purushasya bhagyam
Avarshanaam cha api teevra varshanam cha Devaah na jaanaathi kuto manushyah?
(So inscrutable are the ways of the galloping horse, lightning, the mind of a woman, the fortune of men, lack of rainfall, and increase in rainfall that even Gods won’t be able to discern, what to speak of ordinary mortals?)

Sathyena lokam jayathi daanairjayathi deenathaam
Guroon shushrooshayaa jeeyaadh dhanushaa eva shaatravaan

(Conquer the people by honest means, the downtrodden through the acts of giving; the preceptor is pleased though services and the enemy is conquered by use of weapons.)

Janithaa cha upanethaacha yasmaath vidyaa prayacchathi
Annadhaatha bhayatraathaa panchaitha pitharasamatah
(The producer , the leader, the one who taught the skills, the one who fed you, the one who saved you from extreme danger—all these five deserve respects equal to ones own father.)

Sathyam maathaa pithaa jnaanam dharmobhraathaa dayaa sakhii
Shaanthi patni kshamaa putrah shat meema baandhavaah

(He who keeps the below mentioned six qualities as his relatives is excellent viz. who considers honesty as mother, wisdom as father, rightful ways as brother, compassion as companion, peacefulness as wife, and forgiveness as son)

*Excerpts: Source: Kausthubham.blogspot.in


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