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PM Modi’s Demonetization Move: Is it Curbing Corruption or Creating Mass Chaos?

Demonetization drive is creating a more hassle prone situation rather than solving the corruption issue

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Protest in India (representational Image), VOA

Nov 19, 2016: This year, November 8, 2016 marked a turning point not only in the history of BJP but on India’s economy as well and the reason is none other than demonetization. The demonetization of India followed by the devaluation of China shows that the two most powerful developing countries are into some serious drive of setting their own examples in world politics. When 86% of currency notes in a country of 1.3 billion people are rendered illegal tender in a matter of hours, it is bound to create a short-term disruption in daily lives.

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Prime Ministers repeated speeches and thanking his people or their constant co-operation is even going in vein as the money supply is too short of demand. It is becoming an issue for the small traders, middle class and the poor at large. Moreover, the speedy transition in withdrawal and deposit are acting as an insult to injury. The information is resting on the educated mass while the poor ones are getting depressed at repeated shocks. There are certain consequences as listed below:

ATM crisis

The biggest cash crunch is experienced by the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) which are still lagging in the reconfiguration of new 500 and 2,000 notes. In order to reconfigure 220,000 cash machines in India at least a period of one month is required, according to Mr. Navroze Dastur, the managing director of India and South Asia at NCR Corporation. It supplies about two-thirds of country’s machines. Dastur said it will take as much as a month to adjust all the ATMs.

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Gold Rush

Most successful way to hide one’s black income is by purchasing gold. This will not only put a white mark on the black spot but will be a safer asset for the long run. Thus  a new gold rush also emerged soon after Modi’s announcement. “Jewellers who had shut shop for the day on Nov. 8 had to reopen their stores within a couple of hours and were selling gold up to 4 a.m,” Chirag Thakkar, a director at gold wholesaler Amrapali Group said by phone from Ahmedabad in Modi’s home state of Gujarat. “Customers were lining up with bags of cash. Some jewellers even had to call the police to organise the crowds.” Customers paid as much as 52,000 rupees per 10 grams, almost double the current prices, he said. In order to curb the situation, all the gold shops are closed as of now. Thus, bringing a halt to the gold market, which is incurring the loss for a week now.

Re-employment of the Retirees

Banks are under huge pressure of masses and their huge responsibilities. The extreme mass pressure is complimented by the lack of cash which is adding to the chaos. The State-run banks have called their retired employees to handle the pressure of exchanging money. Bank employees have been working long hours without breaks to ease the transition, and the government has told lenders to provide them with transportation and food, All India Bank Employees’ Association General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said over a call.

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Inputs of religious institution

The Government has requested the religious institution to donate their cash of lower denomination to meet up the cash crunch. Martin De Porres church in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, a south Indian state, decided to open its donation boxes after seeing the public’s suffering, Jimmy Poochakkatt, the parish priest, told India Today magazine. Shree Dharma Shastha Mahavishnu Temple in Mumbai also opened its offering box, Raghunath Raghavan, president of the temple trust said by phone.  According to Finance Ministry, for easing out the tension and bringing back the money in circulation, the money lenders are also reaching out to religious places to ask them to deposit funds given by devotees.

Defense Jets

Cash supply to the remote areas of the country are undertaken by the Defense Jets. “Depending on urgency, security and non-availability of commercial aircraft, requests for support from the Indian Air Force is within standing procedures,” a spokeswoman for Reserve Bank of India said.

Currency notes are usually transported from printing presses owned by the central bank to some 4,000 vaults around the country and then to bank branches in specially-built trucks with gunners for security. Since the crackdown, new currency bills have had to be airlifted by helicopter from Patna after reports of shortage in Bokaro and Jamshedpur, a finance ministry official said.

Trucks Abandoned

Naveen Gupta Secretary General of All India Motor Transport highlighted that nearly 9.3 million trucks were abandoned by the drivers midway after eight days of the announcement as they were in short of cash. India’s roads carry about 65 percent of the country’s freight. Drivers don’t have enough money for food, truck maintenance and to make payments at border check posts. “It will take a few more days for the situation to normalise,” Gupta said in an e-mailed statement.

Free Coffee

In Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, Starbucks Corp. has been serving free coffee to people waiting for many hours in queues in front of ATMs and banks, a spokesman for the company said.

Over demand of Rolex

Soon after PM Modi’s announcement of demonetization, there was a rush for buying costly stuff to cover up the black earnings. Demand for Rolex watch was one of them. One luxury watch outlet in north-west Mumbai saw 45 units of Rolex watches sold on a single day, according to a representative of a watchmaker, who was present when the sales took place. Demand matched what the shop would usually sell in a month and the store had to turn away customers, the person said, asking not to be identified because the person is not authorised to speak to the media.

– by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram with inputs from agencies. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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Only A Strong Leader Can Control The Mobocracy

Today we need a strong leader and strong nation. But this doesn't mean that it has to be against the culture of political pluralism. Such a leader need not be against federalism, need not run an unitary government.

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EC bans online streaming of web series on Modi. Pixabay

BY: JAYANTA GHOSAL

I am a human being – Homo sapiens. But does that mean I am poor, brutish, nasty and small? That is what Thomas Hobbes had thought. Machiavelli’s prince had also said that if you want to control people, the masses, the electorate – then you’ve to keep a whip in your hand like the ringmaster in a circus. Only a strong leader can control the mobocracy.

The great Indian political circus has also had several Prime Ministers. From Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi. Each Prime Minister is unique The modus operandi is different. In 2014 when Modi entered Lutyen’s Delhi, the popular perception was that a strong man has arrived. Like the arrival of James Bond, after the World War II to dispel the darkness of the depressed British masses. Plato had preached that for a philosopher king who would also be the representative of God – that he will bring justice to mankind.

India
The Vajpayee era could easily be said as the beginning of the ‘swarna yug’ of Indian economy. It was under his leadership that India went for Pokhran 2, but was he a strong leader? The Indian mythology of strong leadership would dictate that he wasn’t. Pixabay

Today in a democracy, we chose our leader through the process of election. There is no monarch. Nor do we have a philosopher leader like S. Radhakrishnan. We have Modi and the popular perception persists that he is a ‘strong leader’. At the eve of another election, the discourse on strong leadership has started again. But we need to understand that strong leader doesn’t mean an undemocratic leader. I think that even in a coalition government one needs a strong leadership to run the coalition. A strong leader does not mean that he will be blunt to the ideas of others – that he or she will not listen to the voice of the people. Rather, if you want to frame policies, you’ve to talk to experts, bureaucrats and even other people.

After getting 282 seats, was Modi reluctant to listen any other opinion?

I think this belief is absolutely wrong. I know his style of functioning and I can say, bluntly, that each and every day he spoke to several people on different subjects. In Lutyen’s Delhi, there is a wrong perception that he takes his own decision – this isn’t correct. In Delhi, he begins his daily routine with briefing meetings. Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra meets him first. Then P.K. Mishra and other PMO officials. He talks to his PS and APSs daily. Then, the PM conducts video conferences with his department secretaries. He would also hold such conferences with state government officials.

He also has his own unique way of taking inputs from the feedback from the ground; a team, a set-up that isn’t just restricted to social media like Twitter or Facebook. He seeks opinion from the chaupals of different villages. Before the declaration of the election, he conducted a review meeting. The PMO wanted to know the status of implementation of different Government of India schemes in the country’s 29 states and 7 union territories.

It is true that Modi didn’t encourage the Dalal Raj of the political system. In Maharashtra, what is the reason for the deteriorating relationship between Uddhav and Modi took in the past 5 years? Was it ideological? Was it the just the BJP’s single party mindset? An arrogance of big brotherhood? The informed political circle know that the actual reason is because Shiv Sena couldn’t get the malai of Delhi’s power. It started with the Mumbai corporation and ended in a cabinet birth for Shiv Sena.

When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, Balasaheb quarrelled on several issues. But the supply line for Shiv Sena was never disturbed. Vajpayee was the first NDA PM in 1998. The Vajpayee era could easily be said as the beginning of the ‘swarna yug’ of Indian economy. It was under his leadership that India went for Pokhran 2, but was he a strong leader? The Indian mythology of strong leadership would dictate that he wasn’t.

Vajpayee was, after all, a man of political consensus. How can such a leader be characterised as strong? Here lies the fallacy. Once the late Pramod Mahajan of the BJP told me: “Do you know what is our major problem in this party and government? And what is the advantage the Gandhi family of the Congress have?” He explained: “In our party it is a tyranny of democracy. Vajpayee may be the leader but there is an oligarchy. Advani, M.M. Joshi, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha. And beyond these leaders there is Nagpur. Humhara yaha fayasla lenese jada chintan manthan hota haye!”

In congress there is a working committee but only one Gandhi will take the final call. Nobody can object. Sharad Pawar and Purno Sangma raised issues and they had to leave the party. Only once Vajpayee did not disclose the decision to Advani also — and that was the Pokhran blast and that event made Indian leadership strong! See, Advani pressurised Vajpayee to hold general election six months early. And Vajpayee accepted. He lost the election.

democracy
Our Constitution suggests a quasi-federal structure, and such a leader can be a symbol of that political entropy. But creating a hate campaign against Modi, projecting him as an autocrat – is that democracy? Pixabay

Can anybody dictate Modi like this today?

In the party national executive meeting held at Palampur (Himachal Pradesh), the BJP leadership led by Advani took the resolution in 1989 to start Ramjanmabhomi movement. Vajpayee objected but he was a loner and a minority voice. Now this model of Vajpayee leadership is desirable? When a General cannot issue order to his soldiers forcefully? Second, when you are a victim of political blackmail. P.V. Narasimha Rao had to manage JMM MPs to win the no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha. How can he be the strong man? Manmohan Singh did not like it, but chargesheeted Lalu Prasad was in his cabinet. I recall that once, while accompanying him during a trip, he said on record that keeping Lalu in cabinet is coalition compulsion. Manmohan Singh wanted to go to Pakistan to talk. The party said no. How can he be a strong leader?

Also Read: Diabetes During Pregnancy Spikes up the Risk in Kids Later

Today we need a strong leader and strong nation. But this doesn’t mean that it has to be against the culture of political pluralism. Such a leader need not be against federalism, need not run an unitary government. Our Constitution suggests a quasi-federal structure, and such a leader can be a symbol of that political entropy. But creating a hate campaign against Modi, projecting him as an autocrat – is that democracy? Actually, till today, I have not seen one Devkant Baruah statement in the BJP saying ‘Modi is India’. (IANS)