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This is how Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Subramanian Swamy disguised themselves during the ‘Emergency’

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By Ila Garg

Imposed on June 26, 1975, the Emergency was perhaps the darkest hour in the history of the Indian democracy. The initial days of the period were marked by utter chaos. Some people were slaughtered while many families were separated. Several people disguised themselves to ensure safety. Among them were some popular faces too, like that of Narendra Modi and Subramanian Swamy. But why were they seen in the Sikh attire during the emergency in India is a major question!

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Indira Gandhi, instead of taking responsibility of the prevailing corruption, chose to use her power to subvert law and brought India under a state of emergency. For 21 months, the country was pushed through a dark tunnel and rebels were captured in an instant. It was a sheer abuse of the power that Mrs. Gandhi demonstrated, bringing everything under the state censor.

Freedom, which India had attained after a long struggle, ceased momentarily. Even the press was censored. All news articles needed government approval to get published. People were arrested on a large scale to avoid as many protests as possible. Jai Prakash, Morariji, L.K. Advani, Asoka Mehta, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee were among the first ones to be arrested. Even the royalty was not spared. Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia and Maharani Gayatri Devi were also arrested with immediate effect.

In such a situation, where no one was safe, how could Narendra Modi and Subramanian Swamy feel otherwise! So for a long time, they both disguised their real identity.

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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.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“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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