Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

New disclosure scheme a welcome step

The new unaccounted income disclosure plan announced by the government on Monday is a welcome step.

It will give another chance to people who have hoarded black money and were working in the parallel cash-based economy that had been in existence for the last sixty years.

This scheme is expected to bring in much-needed funds to be spent on irrigation, education and health.

Moreover, it will not give such people a chance to complain that there were not given any opportunity to disclose their unaccounted income.

On the other hand, the common man, no doubt facing cash crunch woes, has emphatically demonstrated on Monday that it is not with the Opposition on the demonetisation issue.

The strike call had no effect in most of the metros and urban clusters.

The Opposition itself appeared to be divided, with BSP, SP and JD(U) refusing the support the strike call.

The significant part is that not a single major Opposition leader is saying that Prime Minister Modi’s demonetisation move is wrong.

All the charges that are being made by the Opposition relate to lack of adequate preparations to implement the decision.

Mutilation of jawan’s body is an act against humanity

The horrendous act of mutilation of an Indian army jawan’s body by Pakistani soldiers near Line Of Control in Machhil sector of Kashmir is a cowardly one, an act against humanity. Understandably, this act has created a sense of outrage in the minds of the people of India. This is the second time in two months that an Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by Pakistan. India must respond and teach Pakistan army a lesson. Our army and BSF jawans are on high alert on the border, and are trying their best to stop Pakistan’s designs to infiltrate terrorists into our territory by providing covering fire. Our enemy’s desperation and intentions are clear. Our army and BSF should take care that no more fatalities occur on our side. The seizure of two new Rs 2000 currency notes from two terrorists killed in Kashmir points to the fact that terrorists and their masters sitting across the border are desperate because of the government’s decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 old currency notes.

Demonetisation strategy is moving in the right direction

Circulation of currency notes in India is to the tune of nearly Rs 16.5 lakh crore, out of which Rs 500 and Rs 1000 legal tenders that were withdrawn on Nov 8, were to the tune of nearly Rs 14 lakh crore. The government feels that the financial position of almost all banks will improve with the infusion of huge amount of cash. The banks will then have money to loan out to new startups and other big companies. This will surely give a boost to the manufacturing sector and will create more job opportunities. With better liquidity, the banks will be in a position to lend at lower rates of interest. This will also help the real estate sector which is in urgent need of infusion of money. With nearly one-third of the money circulation reaching the banks within a short span of eight days, the government now feels that its overall demonetisation strategy is surely moving in the right direction.

Of course, questions have been raised about why exemptions were not earlier given to farmers and families who had weddings to organise. The government’s point was that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted utmost secrecy before making the announcement, and had consulted only six persons. These advisers had anticipated problems and had suggested solutions accordingly, but now that more and more problems are coming to the fore, the government is providing more exemptions and solutions. When it was found that people were jamming queues outside banks to exchange old notes more than once, the govt came forward with the idea to use indelible ink to ensure that nobody exchanged old notes more than once. Similarly, farmers and families involved in wedding preparations were given exemptions. The latest problem is that though the government is announcing exemptions, the implementation and execution part needs more speed.

Use of indelible ink has helped in shortening queues

It is gratifying to note that the use of indelible ink on the forefinger of those exchanging money in banks has resulted in shortening of queues, as some people were exchanging old currency notes multiple times in the absence of any such restriction. Some experts had doubted and mocked at the government’s decision to use indelible ink, but this method has helped. There is another suggestion for banks to issue tokens to people desirous of exchanging or depositing money. This will do away with long queues outside banks and people can use their time for other productive uses instead of standing in queues for long hours. One should admire the resilience and untiring efforts of bank employees across India who are engaged in executing the demonetisation plan. The overall work is gigantic and the resources at the disposal of the government are limited, but one hopes, we will soon tide over the cash crunch crisis.

Hats off to common people for backing demonetisation move despite woes

Now that the queues outside banks and ATMs across India are continuing, the government is coming forth with solutions to address each problem. Officials are working day and night to find solutions, but considering a big country like India, such problems were bound to occur. The government should have anticipated these problems in advance, and, on this count, I have no hesitation in saying it was failure on part of the Centre to anticipate problems. But hats off to the common people, who after spending entire days in queues, are with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes. The poor people’s common refrain is that they fully support the decision, but there should have been proper planning before implementing such a big decision. This could have avoided unnecessary harrassment to the common public.

Why was there no proper planning for demonetisation?

It is true that when a major policy decision like demonetisation is taken, people do face problems for sometime, but this could have been avoided through meticulous planning. When R 500 and R 100 notes were being demonetised, the authorities should have anticipated the problems that the common people would face on a gigantic scale and should have planned accordingly. The Centre must now immediately start plans to alleviate the problems being faced by common people at all ATMs and banks. Common people, housewives, daily wage labourers, small traders have been leaving their homes and shops for the last three days and queuing outside banks and ATMs for hours, but at many places, cash is soon exhausted. These problems did not crop up all of a sudden. The banks knew such problems would arise, but no solutions were planned in advance. Because of lack of cash, trade in small and big markets, footfalls at cinemahalls and shopping malls have almost come to a standstill. Urgent steps are needed to ensure that there is adequate cash flow to the common people.

Catch hoarders of black money, but spare common people their woes

The multiple raids by Income Tax department in the Metros and other cities against traders and jewellers on Thursday trying to help black money hoarders is a welcome step. Similar steps by Railways and Air India not to refund high-value tickets purchased with old Rs 500, Rs 1000 currency notes are also praiseworthy, but if one looks at long queues of common people outside banks across India on Thursday, several questions do arise. Why were not more counters opened in banks to swiftly deal with the large number of customers who had come to exchange old notes? Why was not sufficient cash kept at banks to deal with the huge rush? Why were separate counters not opened for women and senior citizens? Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may well say that there is a 50-day window for exchanging old notes, but for people hailing from lower and middle classes, a 50-day wait is too long. These are ordinary people who need money for their day-to-day essential requirements. And the result was chaos.This could have been avoided. Moreover, it is still not clear why the government has printed Rs 2000 notes and has also announced it would print new Rs 1000 notes. This flies in the face of earlier assertions that most of the black money has been hoarded in high-denomination currencies. For the record, in the US, the highest denomination is a 100-dollar note, and in the UK, it is a 50-pound note. Then what was the logic behind printing fresh Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 notes, if the aim was to root out black money?

Common people must not suffer after demonetization move

It is true that several sections of people are facing problems after the Centre demonetized old currency notes of Rs500 and Rs 1000 denominations.

If patients in private hospitals face cash payment problems relating to surgery and purchase of medicines, then the govt must step in.

The govt hopes, the situation will improve by next week, but sufferings of patients cannot wait till then. What can patients do, if private hospitals refuse to take payments through old currency notes or by cheques?

Similarly, this being the onset of wedding season, families busy with purchases are facing problems.

There is no doubt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intentions to uproot black money are laudable, it will stop the parallel economy and fake currency trade in its tracks; even the common people acknowledge it, but govt should also consider practical difficulties being faced by common people.

We hope the government will surely come out with solutions so that common people do not suffer because of the demonetization move.

PM’s bold decision will break the spine of drugs, terror networks

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bold decision of taking Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes out of circulation will surely break the spine of hawala traders, drugs and terror networks that are operating on a big scale across the country.

These old currency notes will now be merely pieces of paper. The bold decision will also effectively put out of circulation several lakh crores worth fake Indian currency notes, thus giving a boost to the Indian economy.

Those citizens who have huge amounts of black and unaccounted money in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denominations, will have to face the flak.

One should help that the system will operate smoothly after banks and ATMs reopen. My appeal to all people is: those who have legal money with them, DO NOT PANIC.

Your currency notes will be exchanged at all banks and post offices, if you provide your residence proof. Beware of unscrupulous people who may try to fool ordinary people by promising them quick exchange of currency notes at a discount. There is no need to panic.

Rahul as Congress President

It was the unanimous view of members of the Congress Working Committee on Monday that the party should immediately declare Rahul Gandhi as the party president, but there was a minor technical hitch.

The current incumbent, Sonia Gandhi was not present at the meeting of the CWC, as doctors had advised her to stay at home and avoid travelling through the smog outside.

Had the announcement of Rahul as party chief been made in the absence of Sonia Gandhi, it could have sent wrong signals to the world outside.

Hence, it was decided that senior members of CWC would now meet party chief Sonia Gandhi and communicate the unanimous view of the working committee.

Only after this, party chief Sonia Gandhi will make the formal announcement anointing her son as party president.

It is now clear that the reins of party will now be in the hands of Rahul Gandhi, with assembly polls in UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand looming on the horizon.

Do not blame our security forces

Our security forces, whether on the border or fighting insurgency or terrorism, work under tremendous stress. When terrorists are killed in encounters, the knee-jerk reaction always has been to allege that the encounters were fake.

The audio of police wireless conversations during the encounter with 8 SIMI terrorists in Bhopal makes one thing clear: how the encounter took place, how police officers were giving directions to their juniors, etc.

There seems to be no scope for manipulation. The audio makes it clear that the SIMI terrorists, who had escaped from jail, were armed and they were firing at the police.

Now since questions are being raised about the encounter, a judicial probe has been ordered and it will conclude whether the encounter was genuine or not. My view is that, if we have to fight terrorism, we should come out of this mentality of blaming our security forces.

The curious case of an ex-serviceman’s suicide

Ex-serviceman retired Subedar Ramkishen Grewal came to Delhi with three of his colleagues, consumed poison, then rang up his son to tell him that he was committing suicide, even as his colleagues watched…raise several questions.

The audio of the telephonic conversation raises more questions than answers.

Since this was an ex-serviceman’s suicide over an emotive issue like One Rank One Pension, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal immediately tried to take political advantage because of mistakes on part of Delhi Police.

Had Delhi Police allowed Rahul and Kejriwal to meet Grewal’s relatives, the matter would have ended there itself. Moreover, what Retd Gen V K Singh has said is vital.

He has said that Grewal’s suicide had less to do with OROP and more to do with the local bank branch which was paying him less amount.

However, in the present scenario, political leaders do not seem to be speaking on facts, they are creating an emotional issue, which, for them, is essential for politics.