Letters to the Editor

Print edition : December 23, 2016


THE hard-earned money of account holders is not available to them (Cover Story, December 9). There is no way out but to live without cash or make do with limited cash. The government has made all citizens cashless poor for some time to come. Life comes to a standstill without cash. This is big trouble for genuine taxpayers. The best course is for the government to abolish income tax. The cash withdrawal limits set are unrealistic and illogical and are there because there are not enough new notes; the scheme could have waited until sufficient quantities of the required notes were available.

Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi

WHEN India decided to scrap its high denomination notes, it should have emulated the European Central Bank (ECB). Just like India, the European Union is withdrawing the 500 euro note because there are concerns it is being used for illicit activities. In India, the Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes were scrapped hours after the Prime Minister made the announcement. However, the ECB announced that the production and issuance of 500 euro notes would be stopped by the end of 2018 and that these notes could be exchanged for low-value notes for an unlimited period at central banks in Europe. The ECB does not want people to lose trust in its currency.

India has a long way to go before it can become cashless; one has to consider illiteracy, charges for using debit/credit cards and cheque books, and the risk of hacking. One cannot go cashless for low-value transactions. Politics is the reason behind demonetisation.

Deendayal M. Lulla, Mumbai

IN the war against black money, it is farmers, the poor and the lower middle class who have been the major casualties. With 86 per cent of the notes in use declared illegal and the constant changing of rules on cash withdrawals, sundry traders and business people lament the loss of business. The country’s GDP could fall by up to 2 per cent, says Manmohan Singh. It is baffling how the government is going to dispense wages and pension to beneficiaries when there are not enough ATMs and bank branches for the population. Worse, most people living in rural and semi-urban areas do not have bank accounts. Before blocking the use of high denomination notes, the RBI ought to have been ready with at least half of the new currency notes needed.

Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai

THE cardinal blunder the government committed while demonetising high-value currency notes was the introduction of Rs.2,000 notes, which were not ATM compatible and which the general public is treating as “untouchables” for it is not able to get change for them. In order to pacify the opposition parties and wipe the tears of common people, the government should allow people use the banned notes until December 30. If relieved of tension and the pain of torturous queues outside banks and ATMs, the entire population will support the government’s drive against black money. The government’s talk of long-term benefit of the demonetisation is visionary, but there should be short-term benefits first.

K.P. Rajan, Mumbai

DEMONETISATION has literally crippled the country right from day one. It is clear that the BJP dispensation took this decision to deflect people’s attention from its poor performance record. While the demonetisation is heaping misery on the common man, one heard the news that public sector banks wrote off more than Rs.7,000 crore of loans owed predominantly by wilful corporate defaulters. Then there was the gala wedding in the family of former BJP Minister Janardhan Reddy in Bengaluru, the expenses for which have been estimated at more than Rs.500 crore. When the whole country is strapped for cash, how could a former Minister indulge in such a splurge?

J. Anantha Padmanabhan, Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

MOST people are convinced that demonetisation has wreaked havoc on India’s growing economy, especially the rural economy. The worst hit are poor daily wagers, small farmers and petty traders. People are running from pillar to post to get their hard-earned money back from the banks. Those in the top echelons of the RBI, who blindly toed Prime Minister Modi’s line, are also responsible for this chaos. One feels concerned that some BJP leaders are calling Modi a messiah.

N.C. Sreedharan, Kannur, Kerala

INDIA was in hot water because of the problems in Jammu and Kashmir. Modi announced the demonetisation. Immediately, this problem filled newspapers and social media. Modi thinks that by establishing new currency, Kashmir and the Kashmiri people have become safe and sound. Demonetisation is equal to the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

Nabeel Sidheeq A.P., Kozhikode, Kerala

SOME people argue that there should have been preparation before demonetisation. Even an illiterate man would have converted his black money to white money if there had been advance notice of demonetisation. But, banks should have been prepared. The new Rs.500 note should have been produced along with the new Rs.2,000 note. With only Rs.2,000 notes available, people are in need of change.

Kirankumar N., Chamarajanagar, Karnataka

THE government’s decision to declare the Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes illegal should be respected as it was taken to curb corruption and block black money. However, the government should not create confusion and panic among the public. The Supreme Court was right to warn the government that there would be severe consequences if the cash crunch was not resolved soon. The government should take urgent steps to resolve the currency crunch.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai

THE Modi government’s “surgical strike” to wipe out black money is appreciated by the majority of Indians even though there are reports of a lot of suffering because of the cash crunch. This is only the beginning of the process to get rid of black money, and the government still has a long way to go. There are nasty corporate companies and individuals who will do anything to scuttle the process. Well before political hooligans take the upper hand, it is up to the IT Department and other regulatory authorities to prove their worth. This is the chance for Indians to make their nation better for future generations.

K.A. Subramanian, Palakkad, Kerala

THE demonetisation, which has so far been playing havoc with the economy, is a bold move. Even though the common man is facing difficulties, this will only be temporary and the long-term gains will be enormous. It will trample the parallel economy run on black money, help contain inflation and help put the economy back on the track, thereby benefiting the common man. It is distressing that the Congress, the Left parties and the Trinamool Congress are making a hue and cry about and opposing a well-thought-out move of the government that is in the larger interest of people and the nation.

K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad, Telangana

THE title of the Cover Story made it clear from the outset that this issue of the magazine was not going to give a balanced view of the demonetisation. It failed to acknowledge the common people supporting the move who were willing to stand in queues. Until now, honest people from the salaried classes had been considered foolish for not trying to evade taxes. For the first time they are enjoying the fruits of honesty and are relishing the effect this move will have on those with unaccounted-for wealth.

Ritvik Chaturvedi, New Delhi

U.S. election

THE article “To friends in the U.S.” (December 9) rightly warned the citizens of the U.S. of the impending dangers of a Donald Trump presidency. It pointed out the similarities between Indian and American politics. However, the rise of right-wing politics is a global phenomenon and not confined to these two nations, and it is no wonder that people such as Trump and Modi are chosen as candidates for the highest office in their respective countries. Both leaders have only a modicum of respect for democracy and pluralism. As a result, the attack on institutions, the aggressive use of social media and the attempt to gag the voice of democracy will be the order of the day. The article does not end in despair but with hope. Governments may try to instil fear in people’s minds, but the extraordinary courage and resilience of the people will restore the ideals on which these two countries have been built.

P. Vijayakumar, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Equal pay

The article “End of wage disparities?” (December 9) was an incisive analysis of the wage aberrations in the private and public sector and in government departments . The ongoing exploitation of workers should have been stopped a long time ago as it is inconsistent with Article 14 of the Constitution. The Indian wage structure is full of holes, and there are numerous wage boards for different segments of workers.

The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, that states there shall be equal pay for equal work for both men and women is practised more in the breach. India being a labour-intensive economy, wage disparities erode workers' living standards. The Centre must immediately amend the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, in line with the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment upholding “equal pay for equal work”. These benefits must be transferred to the unorganised sector. The penal provisions for non-compliance must include the suspension of business processes until the laws are followed.

B. Rajasekaran, Bengaluru


IT was a mistake on the part of the Modi government to raise the Balochistan issue because India’s locus standi in the Kashmir issue will look more vulnerable than the Pakistan’s hegemony over Balochistan (“Balochistan vs Kashmir”, December 9). Even if India provides overt and covert support to Baloch nationalists, there is no guarantee that they will not take Pakistan’s side in a critical situation involving India and Pakistan, which would leave India high and dry.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath, Aranmula, Kerala

Encounter deaths

THE Cover Story article “Rise of the police state”(November 25) raised the grave question, Is this a civilised state? The photograph that appeared on the opening page of the article was enough for one to conclude that something wrong had happened. What shocked people was not the cruel murders of the eight young men but the statement of the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh that no inquiry was needed to look into the deaths. The government’s reaction was undoubtedly a message to the nation that people the BJP government or the RSS brand anti-national will be killed.

Hajee A.H. Hatheeb, Nagore, Tamil Nadu

ONE has to recall that just nine and half months ago, a Supreme Court bench said that a thorough inquiry should be ordered into “encounter” killings in disturbed areas because “[i]t would not be correct to say that merely because a person was carrying arms in a prohibited area, he or she becomes an enemy or an active member of a banned or unlawful organisation.... Before a person can be branded as a militant or a terrorist or an insurgent, there must be the commission or some attempt or semblance of a violent overt act.” But the way agencies of BJP governments selectively target Adivasis, minorities and others clearly indicates their do-not-care attitude to the court’s verdict.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act has been in force since 1958 and is responsible for many fake encounters. The government must take measures to stop fake encounters.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad, Haryana

THE Punjab police killed many Sikhs in fake encounters from 1978 to 1995, but I found no mention of this in the Cover Story. Were they not citizens of India and human beings like the others mentioned there? Why this discrimination?

Baldev Singh, Kapurthala, Punjab


I FOUND the translated short story “The saga of Sarosadevi” (November 25) very moving, especially the last paragraph which showed the pathetic and helpless condition of Sarosadevi’s mother.

Narayana Krishna Yaji, Shirali, Karnataka