The Indian demonetisation fiasco

More than a month ago, on November 8th, in a nationally televised speech, Indian Prime Minister Modi announced that from that midnight onwards 85% of value of cash in circulation in India will become invalid. The two higher denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 which were withdrawn from circulation formed the bulk of cash in use. Government gave time till December 30 to exchange or deposit old invalid notes, but put heavy restriction on the amount of withdrawal of new notes from Banks.

The stated reason for such a drastic move was to curb black money, eliminate counterfeit notes and to reduce terrorism.  Looking back after a month it seems the move failed in all counts while putting ordinary people, especially the poor to severe hardships. Moreover it opened new avenues of corruption with involvement of bank and income tax officials.

Most economists were very critical of the move. Here are some excerpts of the criticisms.

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Hindutva and the hypocrisy of beef politics

Police in the Indian state of Haryana is very busy nowadays. It is not because of a sudden spurt in robberies or rapes. Those crimes are always there but no one is much bothered about it. They are currently busy sniffing out presence of beef in Biriyani, a rice  and meat preparation.

 The National Crime Record Bureau’s latest data shows that Haryana has the second highest number of complaints being lodged at police stations after Uttar Pradesh in the country.
Police officials in the state’s Mewat district, however, have been given a different priority collecting biryani samples from street vendors to check for beef.
Mewat is Haryana’s only Muslim-dominated district and the diktat from the state government’s Gau Sewa Ayog (Cow protection commission) has come just ahead of Bakri Eid, the Muslim religious festival, on September 12.
Bharti Arora, DIG in charge of the special task force to check cow smuggling and slaughter, and Mewat SSP Kuldeep Singh along with Ayog chairman Bhani Ram Mangla met locals in Mewat on Tuesday to discuss the issue. Mangla said the directions to the police were issued in the wake of a number of specific complaints that the biryani vendors were serving beef. After Mewat, sampling will be done in other districts as well.

Haryana has one of the most stringent cow slaughter acts in the country with a maximum jail term of 10 years.

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