It can happen only in India
Postal tariff to mail an ordinary unreliable mail-article (local) say weighing 500 gms will be rupees 125 (service-tax exempted). But same local mail-article if mailed through fast and assured delivery of Speed Post will cost just rupees 34 (inclusive of rupees four as service-tax)! Such irrationality in mail-tariffs costs heavily to postal-department with premium postal-services like Speed Post not giving desired profits which may compensate heavy losses on other essential postal-services like post-cards, inland-letter-cards, registered newspapers etc.

Moreover presently postal-department has different mail-tariffs for local and non-local mail articles sent through premium postal-services like Speed Post. Tariffs for Speed Post and other premium postal-services shouJd also be common for local and non-local mail-articles. Also premium postal-services have additive of service-tax, while no service-tax is added on ordinary postal-services. Imposing service-tax on selected premium postal-services is like putting revenue from one pocket to another that too with a bias between premium and ordinary postal-services. Department of Posts can revise ordinary mail-tariff to rupees 10 per 50 gms or part instead of present rupees 5 per 20 gms or part. Likewise Speed Post tariff can be fixed commonly at rupees 20 or 25 (inclusive of service tax if imposable) per 50 gms or part uniformly for local and non-local mail-articles.

All postal-tariff should now be in complete rupee rather than paises with minimum postal-tariff being rupee one for items like registered newspapers. Since production-cost of newspapers has risen abnormally high since postal-tariffs for these were last fixed, there must not be any objection to raise postal-tariff to mail registered newspapers to rupee one from present just 25 paise coin of which denomination is no more there in circulation.

Postal-department should stop delivering post-cards with rubber-stamps (printed category) to Akashvani where many regular listeners send their choices of film-songs by putting fixed rubber-stamps on ordinary post-cards which must be covered under printed category of post-cards.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Delhi

The Homeless
Due to the denial of homestead land to hundreds of thousands of rural people, they have to live in very precarious and uncertain conditions. Sometimes the real or claimed ownership of the land on which they are living by big landowners ties the poor to a relation of bondage with them.

About homeless people of rural areas the Working Group on Land Relations for Formulation of the Eleventh Five Year Plan (WGLREP) report says, "In the vision of an emerging India, the right to a roof over one's head needs to be seen as a basic human right, along with the right to freedom from hunger and a right to basic education.

"An estimated 13 to 18 million families in rural India today are reported to be landless of which about 8 million lack homes of their own. They live either in spaces provided by landlords (in case of farm labour), or park on government land, or on village common land, and so on. None of these options provide basic human security."

Homestead land with full legal rights, preferably with some space for kitchen gardens, should be assured to all rural poor households.

The WGLREP report makes the following key recommendations on homestead land. "All landless families with no homestead land as well as those without regularized homestead should be ensured 10-15 cents of land each. This can be done through either allotment of government land, ceiling surplus land etc or purchase of land from the market and their allocation to the homeless poor."
Bharat Dogra, New Delhi

Vol. 48, No. 48, Jun 5 - 11, 2016