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Black Money – “Economics is not a moral subject”

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Back in 2008, when the whole world was in a financial ruckus, India was not as affected as rather seems to be the fact. Altogether the country was extraordinarily afloat throughout the whole incident and started recovering just in a year.

And all of that was the blessing of ‘black money’.

Yes, that is what the chief economist of the World Bank and former head adviser to the Indian government, Kaushik Basu claims in his new book, An Economist in the Real world.

What is the deal?

The deal is simply that when all the nations and their banks were busy tackling the overburden of subprime loans (one that is given to people who have a previous record of difficulty in maintaining the repayment schedule) crisis. Indian almost suffered from none.

  • It is evident from the instance of 2005 to 2008, when the economic growth of India was an astounding 9% per annum.
  • But the underlining trick was in the scenery of housing and property pricing boom which had gone up to the rate of 16% between 2002 and 2006; more than the average income of India and even more than that of USA.

All because unlike most parts of the world, in India one will not find the price of the house or that of the property listed in the real estate agent’s office. The amount of the land is fixed by the seller and the person can easily demand the first half in the form of formal payment while the rest in cash. And this latter mode of payment is what constitutes the ‘black money’.

A bit more of the deal –

First up is that the moderate the payment is on the official papers, the less the risk of receiving a hefty capital gains tax bill. While the second one is that, it also benefits the buyer as they have to pay much less of the property tax.

While the UK and the USA did start charging as much as 110% more mortgage at the peak of the property boom, in India the mortgage amount has always been much lower than the actual cost of the property.

That’s why when the prices of the houses and lands fell in India back in 2008 and 2009, the

banks were still comfortably within the range of the property values.

How to solve the problem, according to Mr. Basu?

Some time back, Mr. Basu famously advised the government to criminalize the bribe-takers instead of the givers.

It will be interesting to see if the law is implemented then how the equation will affect the whole dynamics.

Though, he laments that the Indian law has not taken his suggestion into the account. It is likely that if it is ever sanctioned then the bribe-givers, freed from the threat of prosecution will automatically want to resist and be reluctant to take part in the bribe cycle again.

Ultimately, it can be concluded that his whole explanation is sound enough as proved by the fact that India’s economic growth was 7.4% in the third quarter of 2015. Apparently the fastest growth of any major nation in the world.

Kaushik Basu was talking to BBC

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President Ram Nath Kovind Pays His Condolences to Former UN Chief Kofi Annan

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 "for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world".

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India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death.
India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death. Flickr

India on Saturday condoled the death of former UN Secretary General and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan with President Ram Nath Kovind expressing his condolences to the former Ghanaian diplomat’s family and the UN community as a whole.

“Sorry to learn of the passing of former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan,” Kovind said on the Rashtrapati Bhavan Twitter handle.

“My condolences to his family and to the UN community,” he stated.

Annan, 80, died on Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, with his wife and three children by his side.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that the former Secretary General of the UN and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” his family said.

Kofi Annan
Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. Flickr

Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

He also led a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar.

The Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi supported Annan’s recommendations on the crisis in the country’s Rakhine State.

Also Read: New AI Model to Identify the Risk of Heart Disease in Indians

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”.

His tenure as the UN chief coincided with the Iraq war and the HIV/Aids pandemic. (IANS)