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Scars only getting more visible with time: Manmohan Singh on notes ban

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New Delhi: In a scathing assessment of the demonetisation exercise, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the “scars and wounds” it caused are getting more visible with time and the decision’s second anniversary is a day to remember how “economic misadventures” can roil the nation.

The senior Congress leader asked the government not to resort to further unorthodox, short-term economic measures that can cause any more uncertainty in the economy.

Describing demonetisation as an “ill-fated” and “ill-thought” exercise, Singh said in a statement that the havoc it unleashed on the Indian economy and society is now evident to everyone.

 

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a ban on then in use Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination bank notes with immediate effect. “Notebandi impacted every single person, regardless of age, gender, religion, occupation or creed,” Singh said.

“It is often said that time is a great healer. But unfortunately, in the case of demonetisation, the scars and wounds of demonetisation are only getting more visible with time,” the former prime minister said.

Beyond the “steep drop” in headline GDP growth numbers after demonetisation, the deeper ramifications of ‘notebandi’ are still unravelling, he said. Small and medium businesses that are the cornerstone of India’s economy are yet to recover from the demonetisation shock, Singh asserted.

“This has had a direct impact on employment as the economy continues to struggle to create enough new jobs for our youth,” he said, adding that the financial markets are volatile as the liquidity crisis wrought by demonetisation is taking its eventual toll on infrastructure lenders and non-bank financial services firms.

In his strong criticism of demonetisation, he said the full impact of the demonetisation exercise is yet to be understood and experienced.

“With a depreciating currency and rising global oil prices, macro-economic headwinds are also starting to blow now. It is therefore prudent to not resort to further unorthodox, short-term economic measures that can cause any more uncertainty in the economy and financial markets.”

Singh also urged the government to restore certainty and visibility in economic policies. “Today, is a day to remember how economic misadventures can roil the nation for a long time and understand that economic policy-making should be handled with thought and care,” he said.

The Congress has announced that it will hold a nationwide protest on Friday to mark the second anniversary of demonetisation.

It has also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the people for “ruining and wrecking” the economy.


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National

85 pc loot during Congress regime plugged:PM Modi

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Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday described NRIs as India’s brand ambassadors and said they were the symbols of the country’s capabilities.

The Prime Minister was inaugurating the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. “I consider NRIs India’s brand ambassadors.

They are the symbols of our capacities and capabilities,” he told the gathering.

 

“People of Indian origin are in leadership roles in countries such as Mauritius, Portugal and Ireland,” he said.

PM Modi also alluded to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s comment that only 15 paise of Re 1 reaches masses and said the Congress government had done nothing to stop the leakage.

The Prime Minister added that his government had stepped in to rectify the situation. The “85 per cent loot” taking place during the Congress regime had been plugged “100 per cent” through technology, he said.

“We have given about Rs 5,80,000 crore to people, transferred to their bank accounts through various schemes. Imagine, if the country was being run on the older system? Then Rs 4,50,000 crore would have vanished,” PM Modi said.

Continuing his attack on the Congress, he said efforts to stop the “leakage” could have been made earlier as well but there was no intention and will power. “Our government is moving towards ensuring that the aid given by government is directly transferred to beneficiary accounts through direct benefit schemes,” he said.

Mauritian Premier Pravind Jugnauth, who is the chief guest for the three-day event, also spoke on the occasion. He hailed the Prime Minister for India’s transformation through initiatives such as the Skill India and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao schemes. He also praised PM Modi’s global stewardship in promoting clean energy and for setting up the International Solar Alliance.

Jugnauth announced that his country will hold a Bhagwad Gita Mahotsav next month and a Bhojpuri Festival next year.

For the first time, the three-day convention is being organised from January 21 to 23 instead of January 9 to allow participants to visit the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the Republic Day parade in the national capital.

The theme of this year’s convention is ‘Role of Indian diaspora in building new India’.

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‘Madrasas promote ISIS ideology, shut them’: UP Shia board chief to PM Modi

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New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi on Tuesday said that madrasas promote ISIS ideology.

Rizvi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shut Islamic seminaries across India so that Muslim children are not influenced by it.

“If madrasas across the country are not shut down soon then after 15 years half of the Muslims will start favouring the ISIS ideology. It has been observed across the world that ISIS is targeting children and asking them to follow them,” Rizvi wrote in the letter.

 

The UP Shia Board chief added that Muslim children should study with students of other religions in schools so that they are able to get better education.

The comments are likely to irk several Islamic clerics and scholars.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Rizvi cited the example of Kashmir to substantiate his point

“In Kashmir, ISIS supports can be seen in huge numbers. In rural areas, Madrasas are destroying the future of our children being run on donations as their owners are hungry for money,” he stated.

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Yashwant throws his hat in PM race, calls self ‘closest’ person to deliver on job creation

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New Delhi: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha threw his hat in the race for prime ministership when he declared himself as the “closest” person who could deliver on job creation, building roads, townships and industries.

Sinha, a former finance minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led previous NDA government, also said that Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari would not succeed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he and BJP chief Amit Shah will “not retire” even if the BJP fell below the 200-seat mark in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The former BJP lawmaker said the problem in the country was non-creation of crores of jobs and millions of kilometres of roads. India needs a leader who can make agriculture profitable and set up irrigation projects, townships and industries, he said.

 

“We have to do a lot of work in this country… We will have to find somebody who is prepared to buy this theory and start doing it,” he said.

Asked who the person could be, Sinha told a news channel, “There is nobody in my mind.”

Asked who was closest to deliver all this, he said, “The closest is me, myself, what I am,” leading to a laughter in the audience of the event hosted by the channel.

“I am very close behind him,” said CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, seated next to him, when asked if he endorsed Sinha.

Various opposition parties are seeking to unite to put up a united front to defeat the Modi-led BJP in general elections, with the BJP taking a swipe at them saying all are prime ministerial aspirants in the opposition camp.

About speculation on whether Gadkari would succeed Modi, the disgruntled former BJP MP said, “There is no hope in hell for that.”

Sinha said what he is saying is “because I know the kind of vice-like grip the current prime minister and the party president have over the BJP and even after the loss in elections where they could be below 200, they will not retire from their leadership.”

“It is a very fond hope that some media people are nursing that Gadkari might succeed Modi,” he said, negating the possibility.

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