Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 23 May 2020

Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country

2D isn’t enough

“Working from home is being hailed as the future of work. But the workplace is about more than just work,” read the editorial of The Indian Express.

It further reads  “The almost planet-wide need for physical distancing has, in some ways, brought people closer together. There’s more time with family — too much, at times, for many — and catching up remotely with friends across the world. Yet, for those used to the workday and the workplace, something is missing. Call drops and pixellated video calls are just the tip of the iceberg — and these small inconveniences are more than made up for by the mitigation of the risk of contracting COVID-19. The Zoom boom — online video conferencing — is being hailed by many as a glimpse of the future. In the long run, having people work from home will cut the overhead costs for companies by a huge margin. For employees too, the argument goes, there will be greater flexibility and “work-life balance”. But as everyone who has ever ridden a see-saw will tell you, balance needs two elements, on either side of the fulcrum. And for home to be a respite from work, and work from home, you need both,” to read the full article here. 

Time after time: On RBI repo rate cut

“The RBI might have played out its hand for now with the latest repo rate cut,” reads the editorial of The Hindu. It further reads “The RBI has once again stepped up to the plate at the right time with measures that will reduce the cost of capital and ease the financial burden on businesses due to the extended lockdown. With Friday’s repo rate cut of 40 basis points, the RBI has shaved off 1.15 percentage points from the rate chart in the 58 days since the lockdown began, bringing the repo rate down to 4% and the reverse repo rate to 3.35%. With this, it does appear that the central bank may have played out its rate cut card for now as prudence would dictate that it reserves some leverage for the future if economic conditions deteriorate even further. In fact, there are those who believe that the latest cut may be no more than a sentiment booster as economic activity is at its nadir and there are not many investment proposals on the anvil that may benefit from the lower interest rate. Existing borrowers may be the only beneficiaries of the rate cut at this point in time. That said, the RBI deserves a pat on the back for listening to feedback over some of its moves initiated earlier during the lockdown. Thus, the extension of the repayment moratorium on loans is a welcome measure. A large proportion of commercial borrowers have availed themselves of the moratorium but retail borrowers have not taken to it in a big way. Yet, going forward, there may be more opting for it given that the extended lockdown has left many a business in a shambles and salaries have either not been paid or are being disbursed with delays,” read the full editorial here.

Another push: But RBI’s arrows are having diminishing impact

“Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das yesterday indicated that national output may shrink this financial year, which would make it the first such instance in four decades,” read the editorial of The Times of India.  “His estimate came in the backdrop of an off-cycle meeting of the central bank’s monetary policy committee that lowered policy rate by 0.40 percentage points to 4%. Alongside, the committee said that RBI will be expansive in injecting liquidity for as long as it’s necessary to revive economic growth. The main message is that the macroeconomic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is more severe than RBI initially anticipated. To stabilise the situation, RBI will extend a moratorium on payment of instalments of term loans by another three months to end-August. There are also other measures such as deferment of payment of interest on working capital loans for the same duration. A noteworthy measure announced by RBI is one that aims to ease the burden of states. Withdrawal rules of a consolidated sinking fund maintained by states have been eased to help them service their debt,” to read the full editorial here. 

India-China logjam

“Both stand to gain from the resolution of boundary dispute,” reads the editorial of The Tribune. It further reads, “the escalating tension between Indian and Chinese armies along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) couldn’t be more ill-timed. While India is battling the Covid-19 pandemic on a war footing, China is busy picking up the pieces and tackling international criticism over its alleged mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. At this juncture where bilateral cooperation is of the essence to revitalise respective economies, the military build-up in Ladakh and north Sikkim has struck a discordant note. The informal summits between PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan (April 2018) and Mamallapuram (October 2019) had raised hopes of long-term peace and calm in the border areas despite differing perceptions of the 3,488-km-long LAC. The Wuhan bonhomie had taken place months after the 2017 Doklam stand-off that had almost brought the two nations to the brink of an armed conflict,” read the full editorial here

Cooperative federalism can’t keep cyclones at bay

“India’s disaster policy must look beyond relief and rehabilitation; it needs to explore ways of pre-empting calamity,” reads the editorial of The Telegraph. It further reads, “t seems that the biblical flood has come to pass — but with a difference. Calcutta and several districts of the state — especially North and South 24 Parganas as well as East Midnapore — are yet to recover from the fury of the wind — not water — that lashed Bengal when a very severe cyclone, Amphan, brought death and destruction in its wake. At least 80 people have died; their demise brought about by, among other factors, electrocution and the shower of debris. The prudent mass evacuation initiative on the part of the state government — five lakh people were reportedly moved to safety before the storm struck — may have minimized the death toll. But the devastation has been extensive, both in the city and the hinterland. Calcutta, having tossed and turned throughout a frightful night, woke up to a day that bared scenes of unprecedented destruction. Thousands of trees uprooted by Amphan lay strewn across the city’s streets; keeping the fallen trees company were displaced electric poles and wires. Deltaic Bengal’s countryside, which has borne the brunt of natural calamities, witnessed the all-too-familiar sight of flattened mud houses, ravaged roads and communication networks and damaged embankments,” read the full editorial here.








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