Hemant Soren wins trust vote; Cyrus Mistry: Wear rear belt; EPFO’s wish to push retirement age

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Opinion Watch

For about 10 days now, Jharkhand politics is bearing the heat of a letter that is lying with Governor Ramesh Bais.

The Hindu and The Pioneer have turned their spotlights on Ranchi’s key development, with the Chennai-headquartered daily noting that “the JMM-led alliance has been wobbly despite its numerical dominance in the face of the BJP’s constant threats of sabotage”.

“The BJP appears to have developed second thoughts, and is unsure of its strategy to deal with Mr. Soren,” TH commented in its Edit, while the daily urged the Governor to announce his decision forthwith.

It must be noted that the Governor is bound by the decision as conveyed in the letter of the Election Commission in the Office of Profit cases.

TP reminded that ED is also investigating cases of irregularities in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) money laundering case. The daily raised a few issues such as politicization of corruption, erosion of credibility of Constitutional offices, agencies and police executing political commands.

Conflict of interest is the basic test that’s applied on those who hold public offices, and Soren allowed renewal of his mining lease while holding the Mining Ministry. This should be a ground for debarring him from electoral politics.

Cyrus Mistry: Wear rear belt  

Cyrus Mistry had much more to offer, to India and its economy, with his business acumen and insatiable hunger to beat the best in the world.

The Indian Express and The Hindu in their respective Edits have stressed on the importance of wearing the rear seat belts, stating that such a simple act can same many lives.

IE notes that “almost every Indian is guilty of disregarding this basic norm”, as the rear seat belt can check sudden violent force, which otherwise can throw people away.

The daily recalled that a report of the government pegged 15,100 drivers and passengers dying in 2020 for not wearing the seat belts, while a total of 17,800 passengers in four-wheelers died the same year.

TH grimly noted that the deaths due to road accidents according the National Crime Research Bureau Report for 2022 have reached alarming levels at 1,55,622 in 2021. Also, it added that while the national highways constitute a mere two per cent of the road length they account for 36 per cent of fatalities in accidents.

Indeed, the daily rightly quoted an IIT Delhi report that stated that “air-bag deployment reduced mortality by 63 per cent, lap-shoulder-belt use reduced mortality by 72 per cent and combined air-bag and seatbelt use reduced mortality by more than 80 per cent”.

Possibly a certain percentage of the tolls collected on highways be spent on camera-based monitoring to impose prohibitive fines for not following the safety norms.

EPFO’s wish to push retirement age     

The untold story of the current generation of employees deprived of the pension benefits at par with their parents is the improvement in the life expectancy, which is now 71 years against 53 years not so long ago.

Now, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, noted The Economic Times, wants the retirement age be increased, principally to postpone the pension liability.

The daily underlines that the EPFO still needs the government to subsidise its guaranteed returns, while the National Pension fund performs much better with at least 100 basis points.

Almost 85 per cent of the EPFO corpus, Rs 12 lakh crore, is deployed in debt, with much less returns. The daily advocated the deployment as startup capital. In the US, the pension funds are invested in equities too. It may just also be a case to look at the management of EPFO.

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