1) What about general public?
It refers to a shocking judicial verdict by the Division Bench of Madras High Court directing the government and concerned agencies to ensure providing separate lanes for the vehicles of VVIPs including the judges of higher courts at all toll-plazas throughout the country. It would have been better if directions would have been given to replace toll-fees by one-time toll-tax at time of purchase of new vehicles, a fund which could have been planned to be utilised for developing new highways and expressways. It will provide a smooth ride for all on highways and expressways without the unnecessary hurdle of toll-plazas causing wastage of time.
It was not a very long time ago that a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice RM Lodha, since retired, tried to roll back VIP culture on use of red beacons by vehicles of high dignitaries rightly commenting that since every office-holder in a republic is supposed to serve the people, then how some are high dignitaries and constitutional functionaries. The Supreme Court judges some years back gifted themselves with lifetime domestic help including for their spouses at public-expenses despite getting a hefty pension. Time has come to rather end with such exclusive privileges including like running pilot-cars and practice of officers coming to see off and receive dignitaries at airports.
– Subhash Chandra Agrawal
2) Inquiry needed
Annual report of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) indicating that Rs 15.31 lakh crores out of total Rs 15.41 lakh crores worth demonetised currency, which comes out to be approximately 99.3 per cent of the demonetised notes, returned to the banks creates doubt that either fake currency has been accounted for in the system by the RBI after checking, or some duplicate series of notes might have been issued in earlier regime.
Apprehensions in this respect were clear to the RBI that when it stopped giving a daily figure of demonetised currency deposited in banks during the period of demonetisation. It was the reason that in last week of December 2016, RBI required depositors to provide the source of deposited demonetised currency, though later it was withdrawn. The RBI did not keep to its promises of accepting demonetised currency with its offices between January 1, 2017, and March 31, 2017. Still, no decision is there to accept demonetised Indian currency held with banks in Nepal and Bhutan where the system allows Indian currency in normal circulation. Now it is clear that decision is not being taken in this regard because, in such a scenario, deposited total demonetised Indian currency may cross the ultimate figure of 100 per cent. RBI should also not ignore that a substantial percentage of circulated currency can never practically come back to banks because of destroyed in fire or garment-wash, apart from kept hidden and forgotten by many who died without disclosing to their legal heirs, successors or nominees.
Unfortunately, such a nice step of demonetising currency could not get required success because of poor implementation. Voluntary-Disclosure-Scheme giving chance for 50 per cent tax on accounted currency if would have been announced on November 8, 2016 itself, would have filled exchequer with huge tax because those having exchanged by paying heavy commission ranging up to 30-40 per cent to private bodies, would have preferred giving 50 per cent tax to the exchequer. Currency-crunch during demonetisation resulting in long day-night queues on ATMs would not have been there if all centers like petrol-pumps, milk-booths, Kendriya Bhandaar etc. would have given a blanket permission to accept demonetized currency till December 31, 2016. Single Identity-Proof say Aadhaar Card together with the provision of putting ink on the finger like during voting could prevent multiple exchanges by single individuals.
– Madhu Agrawal
3) Fascinating performances of Indian sportspersons
The Jakarta Asian Games have given very pleasant moments for Indian nation owing to some heart-touching performances by the Indian sportspersons. India finished second best to Japan in the gold medal match of women’s hockey. Though India went to down 1-2, Indian women’s worked as hard as they could to clinch gold, unfortunately, contented with the silver. I appreciate their fascinating performances which pleased warmly every India and extend my heartiest congratulation to them. I hope for the best in the next.
– MFU Tandvi
4) What was meant by demonetisation?
I completely agree with what the chief of Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party Uddhav Thackeray said about demonetisation. It was indeed a great loss to the Indian economy; it affected industry severely, resulted in the fall of the rupee to its lowest level since independence, and led to over a hundred people losing their lives. It was claimed with a stress that demonetisation was meant to end black money and fake notes and to bring down terror activists in Kashmir. However, all these things have increased in the last two years and those claims too proved hollow.
– Mohd Faheem
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)