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Should the NEET, JEE exams be postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic in India?

This letter refers to the stand of opposition ruled states plea for further postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and Joint Entrance Examination (NEET/JEE) exams in India (“COVID-19: India medical, engineering entrance exams postponed”, Gulf News, July 03). It is a pity that these state leaders never consider the anxiety of students and their parents, who are keen to write these exams as delaying entrance test will be a disadvantage for the batch of the year 2020. Since the National Testing Agency has assured about their preparedness, and are fully confident to conduct the tests safely with all precautions, I feel there is no need for further postponement of these exams. Incidentally, suppose an opinion poll is conducted among the 1,500,000 plus candidates and their parents, I am confident that more than 90 per cent would be ready to write the exams to proceed with their ambitions. Hence, I feel the opposition parties, instead of trying to gain some political mileage, should extend their helping hand to the administration to conduct these exams peacefully.

From Mr Mahadevan Iyer


COVID-19: India's economy inflation and growth to take a hit

This letter refers to your report that banks have raised the alarm over the real returns on deposit accounts, turning negative with the rise in inflation numbers (“India inflation at five-year high of 7.35 per cent”, Gulf News, January 14). While during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) tenures, their finance ministers came up with surcharge, cess, etc., to fleece the common man, especially the salaried class and pensioners and senior citizens. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, under one pretext or other, continued to reduce the term deposit interest rates, which has come down from nine per cent in 2014 to six per cent in 2020. It is but natural that the common man gets disheartened to continue with their trust with nationalised banks, and searches for a better avenue to get more interest on their hard-earned savings. It is time the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Prime Minister and Finance Minister wake up to the facts to protect the interests of common man, especially the senior citizens, who are still taxed in every way.

From Ms Janaki Mahadevan

Chennai, India

Economic corruption in Zimbabwe

Incredibly, the former Zimbabwean Barclays bank chief executive and currently finance and economic development secretary said the country's economy is improving in his interview on August 2020. What is Zimbabwean finance and development secretary saying when he says that Zimbabwean economy is improving? Which metric is he using to say this? It's an unbelievable, careless and clueless statement when Zimbabwe is facing high unemployment, food shortages. No money in banks, foreign currency shortages, no electricity, most factories and industries in Zimbabwe have closed, roads are dilapidated and full of potholes, high inflation. The country also faces fuel and medical equipment shortages due to a lack of hard currency to purchase imports. All of this comes at a time when COVID-19 infections are escalating in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is now among the most food-insecure countries in the world alongside Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan.

Essential goods are scarce, and the value of the Zimbabwean dollar has continued to tumble, pushing official annual inflation to 785.6 per cent in May and causing real incomes for Zimbabweans to evaporate. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the economy will contract as much as 10.4 per cent this year following a 12.8 per cent contraction in 2019. George Gavamatanga, who is the senior civil servant and the current Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in Zimbabwe, should resign for his inaccurate, embarrassing statement. President Mnangagwa has led the mismanagement of the coronavirus; food insecurity and other socio-economic issues should resign for removed from power before Zimbabwe collapse economically.

From Mr Kudzai Chikowore

London, United Kingdom

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