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Nitish, Kejriwal target Modi, back each other

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New Delhi: Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday shared a stage here and took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding special status for Bihar and full statehood for Delhi.

At a function to honour select people from Bihar living in Delhi, both Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar hit out at Modi on issues ranging from One Rank One Pension (OROP) to black money.

Senior-JD-U-leader-Nitish-Kumar-640x360Speaking a day after Modi announced Rs.1.25 lakh crore for Bihar, the Aam Aadmi Party leader said: “If the PM has so much money, he should first meet the demand of soldiers demanding OROP.”

He also wanted to know if the prime minister would give the money to Bihar only if the Bharatiya Janata Party wins the coming assembly election or even if it loses.

In a sarcastic tone, the Delhi chief minister said: “I wonder whether he (Modi) will give even 1.25 paise to Bihar.”

Expressing support to Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal-United in the Bihar elections, Kejriwal urged the people of the state to “create history”.

Echoing Nitish Kumar’s repeated demand, Kejriwal said Bihar should get special status so that it makes rapid economic development.

Nitish Kumar, who received a rousing welcome at the event, listed the achievements of the Bihar government, saying it was developing in double digits and the school dropout rate had fallen steeply.

“Even then they call Bihar a BIMARU (sick) state,” he said, referring to a term Modi used in an election speech. “And they comment on my DNA.”

“Give Delhi the status of a full state, and give special status to Bihar,” he said.

Kejriwal also spoke at some length about the problems he has been having with the central government over the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) in Delhi.

“For the past 23 years, the ACB was with the Delhi government. But from June 8, the BJP government used the paramilitary to capture it.

“The chief minister of Delhi has no control over the ACB now,” he added.

Thanking the Bihar chief minister for sending honest officers to work in Delhi’s ACB, Kejriwal said: “People of Bihar have to choose between a (state) government which is helping to strengthen the ACB and a (central) government which wants to capture it.”arvind-kejriwal-crazynews.in3_1

Nitish Kumar said both he and Kejriwal were targeted by Modi and they must help each other in every respect.

The JD-U leader said he invited Kejriwal to Bihar to speak on the public delivery system. Kejriwal said he has accepted the invite.

In recent months, Nitish Kumar has met Kejriwal at least four times while visiting Delhi.

(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)