Rationalising Postal Tariffs
It refers to response dated 29.03.2016 from Department of Posts wherein the Department ultimately rationalised foreign-mail tariffs according to equal tariff-rise for equal rise in slab-weight. Earlier at several slabs, an article sent in two parts surprisingly used to cost less than if sent in one parcel! It was only Central Information Commission after being shocked to know that suggestions in this regard went unnoticed for several decades directed for providing working-sheets on the logical suggestions. Even postal-authorities were surprised to notice that the suggestions published in a three-decade back media-interview of 23.06.1986 were repeatedly replied that "Suggestions have been noted, and will be considered at next revision of international postal-tariffs", meaning thereby that in practice there is no value of suggestions sent to government-departments. Even postal-orders of rupees 1, 2, 5 and 7 were discontinued through RTI petition and print of revised commission of postal-orders were affected after more than a decade of revision.

It is time that Speed Post tariffs are also rationalised where presently postal-tariffs for ordinary unreliable mail is surprisingly less than fast, reliable and economical Speed Post tariff at many slabs. Speed Post tariffs should be same for throughout the country with equal tariff-rise for equal rise in weight-slabs. Speed Post tariffs (inclusive of service tax) can be revised as rupees twenty per every 50 gms: or part for complete nation universally.

RTI-response reveals that Post-cards and Inland-Letter-Cards have lost their utility with these highly subsidised postal-items being misused for business-purposes. Inland-Letter-Cards should be abolished, and Post-Cards should only be in sponsored Meghdoot-category to be priced at rupee one also because coins of 25 paise are no more minted, and those of 50-paise are practically out of circulation.
Subhas Chandra Agrawal, Delhi

This is in the context of the article 'Aadhaar' Promotes US Interests-II  [Frontier, May 1-7, 2016] but actually may not have much to do with it except as a strange case of biometrics.

The KCR government in Telangana has introduced a ridiculous system of biometrics (hope I am not wrong in using this term for the description of this development) in disbursing ration shop goods. Now anybody carrrying a ration card cannot be entitled with the mere presentation of the ration card but they have a machine in which his or her fingerprints are invariably tested each time. Only if the finger prints match he or she is given the 5 kilos or 25 kilos (maximum for 5 member family) rice at Re 1 per kilo. That is if fingerprints match he or she can pay Rs 25/- and take 25 kilos of rice, and of course any other goods available and the person willing to purchase per rate and quota set. It so happens that often this machine fails and people have to wait for hours or come again on some other day. Is all this Tamasha necessary for disbursing the basic necessity goods? I don't think even a bank insists on fingerprints for deposits and disbursal. Is it necessary to subject uneducated or barely literate persons, dependent on their daily labor to eke out a living, to all this trouble and travails? Where, in the name of computerization and technological advancement are we heading to? All relics of human relations are being thrown off and people are basically seen with suspicion and reluctance and more confidence being placed in all sorts of idiot boxes. Further it is being openly admitted by the concerned authorities themselves that often such machines fail to read the finger prints of old people and as such senior citizens are always at the risk of losing their ration entitlements. Is such system rampant in other States also?
I Mallikarjuna Shanna, Hyderabad
[rnallik sharma <>]

Why Not Ban Crackers altogether?
It refers to unfortunate fire-accident at Puttingal Devi Temple at Kollam (Kerala) caused due to crackers in early morning hours of 10.04.2016 (Sunday) killing more than one hundred people and seriously injuring about 400 others making top politicians of various political parties rushing at the accident-site during the on-going poll-season for state assembly.

Fire due to crackers is a common feature also during the festive-season. Pollution-level due to crackers increases alarmingly high during festive season specially like on Diwali. Crackers in olden days were devised for entertainment when there were not too many other ways to entertain. But in modern era, much has changed. Even though no such misuse of crackers for terrorist-activities is till now reported, yet possibilities of such misuse of crackers in public places should not be ruled out. It is time to consider for imposing a total ban on crackers. Central government should take initiative by calling meeting of concerned ones including also religious leaders for endorsing some suggestion to altogether ban crackers.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi

Vol. 48, No. 49, Jun 12 - 18, 2016