Skip to main content

A little gain after more pain( The Hindu)

Income tax authorities on the trail of illegal acts of money exchange in commercial banks following the demonetisation are netting bigger fish than they may have expected. Investigations into the hoarding of new currency notes in the denomination of Rs. 2,000 have implicated not only mining barons and contractors, but also government officials and politicians. But with Wednesday’s searches in the residence and office premises of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao (who has since been replaced) leading to the seizure of loads of cash and gold, expectations are that more high-profile personalities will come under the scanner of the enforcement agencies trying to grapple with diversion of currency notes by bank officials to those in need of converting their stockpiles of ill-gotten high-value currency notes. It is now clear that in the first few days after the demonetisation announcement, when government-imposed limits on withdrawals were in force, and people were queuing up before banks, several unscrupulous officials of both public sector and private banks conspired to convert demonetised notes to benefit black marketeers and corrupt public servants. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have accounted for most of the seizures, running to more than a hundred crore rupees in new notes, but this is surely an all-India phenomenon. If other States have not witnessed such seizures, it is more likely due to failure on the part of the investig
Many of these cases would not have come to light but for the illegal exchange of old notes that the black money hoarders were forced to undertake following the demonetisation. Whatever the flaws in the implementation of the demonetisation process — and there are indeed many — the fact remains that it was the demonetisation drive that enabled the law enforcement agencies to get to some of the money-launderers. Although the seizures are huge, these are not much more than the tip of the proverbial black money iceberg. That black marketeers and corrupt public servants have been able to quickly change so much of their under-the-radar wealth into new currency notes easily explains how most of the notes out of the Rs.15.4 lakh crore that were in circulation before the demonetisation have been returned to banks a week before the December 30 deadline. By all accounts, deposits in the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for black money disclosure are not very significant. The Centre is therefore under pressure to prove that the demonetisation drive has been effective in unearthing black money. Substantial seizures from the corrupt is a way of signalling this, and it will be no surprise if the raids only intensify in the days to come.


Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…