THOSE who had money that was not accounted for used dubious methods to get over the hurdles demonetisation posed to convert it into white money (Cover Story, November 24). It was honest citizens who bore the brunt of the “surgical strike” against black money. Although the government claimed that the war against black money and corruption was a “success”, the reality was different. After a pause, it was business as usual for those indulging in accumulating black money and corrupt practices. Prof. D. Narasimha Reddy highlighted various issues in his scholarly lecture “Demonetisation, corruption and black money”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, senior Ministers and officials are in denial mode about demonetisation. Digital transactions no doubt increased, but that could have been done without demonetisation and the attendant disruption of normal life, slowing down of the economy, and the loss of jobs. What we need is not hasty measures such as demonetisation, but drastic changes to make trade and business more transparent and the granting of permits and licences easier.
Government officials should be held accountable for their decisions. The war against black money and corruption is a long hard battle that needs the willing cooperation of people, not quick-fix solutions such as demonetisation.
D.B.N. Murthy, Bengaluru
AS one who was associated with the textile industry for more than four decades, I can say I have never witnessed such a slump in the sector as can be seen today across the country. The photograph on the cover was depressing and emblematic of the industry’s woes after demonetisation and GST. The same state of depression is reflected in every medium and small-scale industry. None of the declared objectives of demonetisation has been achieved. GST has become a nightmare for medium and small industries and needs a drastic overhaul.
N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala
A YEAR after Modi made his dramatic announcement regarding demonetisation, the country is yet to recover from the shock. It is not an exaggeration to say that demonetisation is a colossal failure as it has not achieved any of its objectives. Rather than defending the indefensible, the Modi-led dispensation should now admit that demonetisation was a monumental mistake and apologise to the families who lost their kin while standing in queue to withdraw their own hard-earned money.
M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu
THE recent policies of the Central government such as demonetisation have caused more losses than gains. These policies have completely failed to achieve their objectives. For economic growth, unemployment must be at minimum levels, but the reverse is the case in the country. And the government never admits its mistakes.
Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi
DEMONETISATION and GST have wreaked havoc on the lives of ordinary citizens. That the demonetisation drive was a monumental blunder can be gauged from the fact that the common man is still reeling under its impact. On the other side of demonetisation, Modi has failed to provide the agrarian community with acceptable minimum support prices. That the RBI was dancing to the tune of the Modi regime is a sad commentary on the state of affairs. Modi should intervene or the situation may further deteriorate.
S. Murali, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
DEMONETISATION was done in order to curb the circulation of black money, which is used to run a parallel economy in the country. There were certain drawbacks to its implementation, but one cannot say that it has ruined small businesses and agriculture. Modi is the most criticised leader in the world. All his moves and actions are criticised.
The effects of GST and demonetisation will be known in the long run. GST was introduced to arrest tax evasion by the business classes and bring more and more of them into the tax net.“One nation, One tax” will be a reality in the next one or two years, especially when petroleum products are included in the GST structure as has been promised.
Modi does not have a magic wand to transform India overnight. No scam has been reported in the country in the past three years, unlike during the rule of the United Progressive Alliance, whose skeletons are still falling out of the closet.
N.R. Ramachandran, Chennai
WHILE the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will be a litmus test of the BJP’s much-touted policies of demonetisation and GST, what is at stake for the Congress party, whose electoral fortunes have nosedived election after election, is its very existence (“Shifting dynamics” and “Close contest”, November 24). The verdict in Himachal Pradesh seems to be a foregone conclusion in favour of the BJP because of rampant factionalism in the Congress and because no senior party leader campaigned in the State.
In Gujarat, Modi’s personal charisma could tilt the balance in favour of the BJP. Its well-oiled election machinery and well-orchestrated campaign strategy should help the BJP overcome the anti-incumbency factor and propel it to power once again. The lack of an effective State leadership and the required organisational set-up has been the Congress party’s greatest disadvantage in Gujarat.
B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
HUNGER, poverty and unemployment are the main reasons for people to seek loans from dubious sources (“Lost to usury”, November 24). But when moneylenders threaten those to whom they have lent money with the aim of getting more interest, the result is tragedies like the one that occurred recently in the Tirunelveli Collectorate complex. The practice of “khandu vatti” is barbaric. This kind of financial activity is a sort of terrorism and should be banned.
A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai
THE article “Paradigm shift” (November 24) lucidly analysed President Xi Jinping’s address to the Communist Party of China’s 19th congress on October 24. China can easily become “the world’s first advanced socialist country”. India and other developing nations can draw inspiration from the “China model”. However, Western-style liberal democracy and neoliberal economics can liberate many nations from ticklish situations. By 2049, India will be on a par with China, Russia and the U.S. in many respects. Pure democracy takes more time and energy than totalitarianism. China’s “Belt and Road initiative” must not affect the sovereignty of other nations. Xi has no women in his leadership team. One fondly hopes Xi’s “Long March” to achieve the two centenary goals will, among other factors, enable India-China ties to grow stronger and be free of tension.
Thomas Edmunds, Chennai
XI JINPING’S contribution to China’s growth in his first five-year term in office was remarkable. As a result, China is all set to surpass the U.S.’ GDP by the year 2029. Xi identified the principal contradiction in China today, which is “between unbalanced and inadequate development and people’s ever-growing needs for a better life”, and said that removal of this contradiction would guide his policy formulation in the coming decades.
This principal contradiction is very much here in India, too, where the gap between the rich and the poor is growing more strikingly every day, but the government neither recognises this nor is doing anything to remove it. On the one hand, Xi exhorts the People’s Liberation Army to improve combat capabilities, and on the other hand he says he is ready to work with India to promote constant progress of bilateral relations. This is something difficult for India to swallow. Xi’s signature Belt and Road initiative will further boost China’s economy and its leadership in the region and the world.
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
ACCORDING to available data, India is the number one beef exporter in the world, exporting about 24 lakh tonnes annually, followed by Brazil (20 lakh tonnes) and Australia (1.5 million tonnes) (Cover Story, November 10). Six companies are mainly responsible for the bulk of Indian beef exports. Beef exports generate a lot of money annually. That is why there are no restrictions on big export companies in the country being involved in the cattle trade. RSS supporters and some BJP leaders have a monopoly in this sector. The restrictions on the cattle trade are beneficial to the exporters of bullocks. They are able to buy cattle at the lowest price in the world market and, because of good demand in the world market, can multiply their profits.
Iyas Ali, Malappuram, Kerala
I DO not disrespect any caste or religion or condemn any justifiable means of earning a livelihood, but I strongly condemn the idea of killing even an animal (unless it is absolutely necessary). To seek it as a solution is not a part of Indian values. To deprive something of life just because we think that it is no longer useful or can no longer make an economic contribution is contrary to Indian morality. If an animal is old and no longer productive, that does not make it useless. If an animal causes ecological or economic problems, a solution that is better than killing it can be found.
Ashwarya Soral, Jaipur
SPAIN will survive the current turmoil over Catalonia wanting to become a separate state (“Catalan crisis”, November 10). The Spanish government has already dismissed the Catalan government. Other autonomous regions of Europe are watching the situation. There are calls for a unified Spain, with hundreds of thousands of people holding marches for a unified Spain. Catalonia is a rich region of Spain. The European Union and the U.S. are against an independent Catalonia. The separatists are losing ground, it seems.
Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai
ALTHOUGH the Allahabad High Court’s acquittal of Rajesh and Nupur Talwar must be a huge relief to them, the murder of their daughter, Aarushi, remains a mystery largely because of the shoddy investigation conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Police (“Murder mystery”, November 10). It is disappointing that the CBI too failed to gather conclusive evidence to apprehend the real culprits. The court held that there was an absence of clinching evidence pointing to the guilt of the Talwars. The CBI needs to get its act together and conduct thorough probes in all cases, otherwise the trust people have reposed in the country’s premier investigation agency will get eroded.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana
THE Rs.2,000 currency note and cash transactions of up to Rs.2 lakh being allowed for purchases of gold and jewellery without any identification such as PAN are clearly crafty ways to allow the storing and laundering of black money (“The golden ‘Diwali gift’”, November 10). There is no Lokpal to expose the government’s insincerity when it comes to containing corruption. The country’s decision-makers must learn to refrain from making moves without adequate preparation for political gains. It is high time the government concentrated on corrective and constructive steps to save the nation from irreparable ruin.
M.N. Bhartiya, Alto-Porvorim, Goa