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Modi is ‘chowkidar’ of corrupt, says Kapil Sibal

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New Delhi: The Congress on Monday accused the Narendra Modi government of “doing nothing” on issues it held dear, saying he has become “chowkidar of the corrupt”.

Before he took over as prime minister, Narendra Modi would say that parliament would be rid of corrupt people, even if they belonged to his own Bharatiya Janata Party, former union minister Kapil Sibal told a press conference here on the eve of the beginning of monsoon session of parliament.

“He (Modi) said he was a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) of the nation’s wealth and would not allow the corrupt to steal it. But now he has become the ‘chowkidar’ of the corrupt,” claimed Sibal.

He alleged that eight of the new faces inducted in the government had declared criminal cases.

“There are twice as many ministers facing criminal cases as the previous UPA,” he said.

Sibal also alleged that there was confusion in the government over its policy concerning Pakistan and China, and it was not giving due importance to African and West Asian countries in its foreign policy.

On the smooth functioning of parliament, Sibal said that the BJP when in opposition would maintain that obstruction was part of its parliamentary strategy, but now it seemed to be thinking otherwise.

“Top BJP leaders used to say obstruction is part of parliamentary strategy,” he noted.

(IANS)

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The Answer to The Impending Questions On Demonetization Are Here

While it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

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Indian Currency. Pixabay

Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India  has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.

Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.

 

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An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

 

In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”

“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”

But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.

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“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)

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