Archive for December, 2016

Demonetization has not Succeeded in any Part of the World

December 19, 2016

 

 

Eighteen days after the announcement of the demonetization of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 currency notes by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the initial fanatic enthusiasm and tide of nationalism is gradually dying out. The government has been compelled to mobilize the entire party machinery to launch a huge nationwide propaganda campaign including huge advertisement in print and electronic media to justify this step as an attack on the alleged black money. Those who called it a financial and political emergency, are now swearing that the effects of this step has been more pervasive and suffering caused is more massive than the politic suppression of the emergency declared by Ms. Indira Gandhi. This has unsettled the lives of almost every section of the society – rural – urban, male – female, young old, shopkeepers – public servants, labour- contractors, students – teachers, wage earners – professionals. The worst hit are daily wage earners who have lost their employment. The season of marriages caused bitter suffering in families which had to meet the expenses for marriage ceremonies. Nearly seventy five deaths have been recorded in the media caused by this phenomenon.

Many people have the view that the step is right but the implementation is wrong. It is said that government did not do proper home work before taking this step. It is also said that black money will be curtailed through this action. The PM and other ministers have attacked the opponents of the step of demonetization by saying that they are not nationalists and that they too are involved in black money. If a rational study is made about the history of demonetization in the world we will find that this step has never succeeded in any part of the world. Demonetization was done in 1982 in Ghana, in 1984 in Nigeria, 1987 in Myanmar, in 1991 in USSR , in 2010 in North Korea and in India in 1946 and 1978. In all these attempts the desired objective of abolishing black money was not achieved. In India currency notes of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 10000 were demonetized in 1946 and currency notes of Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 and Rs. 10000 were demonetized. Despite these the black money has increased. The editorial of Economic Times of 14th Nov. 2016 states that the black money constitutes 20 % to nearly 60 % of India’s economy. The experts give different data but one thing is certain that it is a sizeable portion of country’s economy. But it is beyond dispute that the step of demonetization will not be able to control more than 2% of this black money.

The argument that demonetization will be able to destroy the fake money in the economy. But the experts say that fake currency in Indian economy is not very widespread. Experts estimate it at about Rs. 400 crores. But demonetizing currency worth Rs. 14 Lakh crores for controlling this much money is not very commendable when the cost of new currency notes is going to be nearly Rs. 12000 crores.   The security features of new currency notes are in no way much different from existing currency, as stated by the RBI officials. The result is that within a fortnight of demonetization fake currency notes have come into circulation. Even terrorists who have been shot have been found possessing new currency notes.  It is shocking that the ruling party speaks of terrorists and Naxalites in the same breath. The fact is that the two cannot be compared.

The passionate appeal of the PM to give him fifty days has proved to be hollow since there is no improvement in the situation in twenty days. More problems will come on 1st December when salary distribution will take place and suddenly demand for new currency will rise. Today, banks are cashless. Many banks have imposed limits on withdrawal from personal saving banks accounts although there is no such announcement from the side of the government. The 86% currency which has been withdrawn cannot be replaced within the declared fifty days. Saumitra Choudhury, former member of the Planning Commission has stated that the capacity of minting institutions is sufficient to replenish the chests in the given time. The currency notes demonetized are 1571 crores of Rs. 500 and 633 crores of Rs. 1000. The capacity of Bhartiya Note Mudran Private Ltd. which prints Rs. 1000 notes is 133 crore pieces per month. In the place of 633 crore Rs. 1000 notes, 318 crore pieces of Rs. 2000 are to be printed. This will require at least two months. Similarly, Security Printing and Minting Corporation India which prints Rs. 500 currency notes has the capacity of printing 100 crore pieces  per month. To replenish 1571 crore arithmetically it will require fifteen months.  In this situation the excessive stress on the use of plastic money and private players like Paytm is easily understood.

However, the doubts about the ruling party’s intentions have already been aired by opposition parties. The purchase of lands by the BJP for its Party offices a few months before the announcement is being seen as fishy. The long term effect of this decision is yet to be seen but in the immediate scene the working class is the most hard hit community.

 

 

 

 

 

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Remembering a Revolutionary: Fidel Castro

December 19, 2016

 

Fidel Castro, led Cuba, a small island country with a population of eleven million to revolution through guerilla war, threw over the American supported dictator Fulgencio Batista government and remained the President and Commander – in Chief of Cuba for nearly forty nine years. He survived six hundred and thirty eight attempts on his life by the American secret service CIA and passed away peacefully on 26th Nov. 2016 at the age of ninety. His brother Roul Castro, the present President of Cuba had been given the responsibility in 2008 when Fidel voluntarily withdrew from political life due to health reasons.

A close friend of India Cuba remained a strong support of India on all international forums. Fidel Castro had a very close relation with Pdt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and called Smt. Indira Gandhi his sister. During the civil war in Angola, the Non-aligned Movement had taken a stand to support the freedom movement in Angola. Cuba helped that movement through military intervention by sending its army. This intervention had its impact in Nigeria and South Africa where the freedom movements got a boost because of this. Fidel Castro emerged as a champion of the people’s struggles all over the world. Nelson Mandela himself went to meet him when he got released from the prison after the independence of South Africa.

Born on August 13, 1926 in a family of Spanish migrants in Biran, Eastern Cuba, Fidel studied in several schools before he joined the University in Havana and got a doctorate in Law. Even during his university days he had started taking part in political activities and had participated in an attack in the leadership of Juan Rodrigdge on Dominican Republic to overthrow the American supported government. The attack was not successful. He later joined the Party of the Cuban People. He was planning to enter national politics but the dictator Fulgencio Batista cancelled elections. Fidel attacked Moncada Military station with just 150 people  in an attempt to overthrow the Batista regime. But he could not succeed and was arrested. In jail he meditated ways to remove the dictatorial regime and form a people’s government in Cuba.

In 1955 after his release from prison he with his brother Roul, went to Mexico where they met  Argentinian doctor and revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. Che was a Marxist revolutionary and after observing massive poverty in South America during his motorcycle tour and also after observing the Left government in Guatemala, he had decided to bring about a revolution in the world overthrowing the American Imperialism. Fidel also wanted the puppet of America Batista regime in Cuba. They became friends and Che Guevara taught the techniques of guerrilla warfare to Fidel. With just eighty one comrades on a boat Granma they set off for Cuba and with the support of the masses overturned the regime in Cuba. The dictator Fulgencio Batista Fled the country and Fidel Castro took the command. In 1961 American forces with some of the dissident Cubans attacked in Bay of Pigs. In this battle Fidel himself led the Cuban forces riding a tank and giving command.

The battle was won by Cuba. Fidel Castro adhered to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and led a communist government right in front of USA for nearly half a century. He faced severe embargo by the American governments. Eleven American Presidents right from Eisenhover to George Bush tried to remove him through all means including attempts to murder him, but failed. The last President Barak Obama was slightly positive who tried to normalize the relations between the two countries and also visited Cuba recently.

In his leadership Cuba developed its agriculture so much so that the country came to be known as the “Sugar Bowl” of the world. Several new discoveries in health and genetics were made in Cuba. Ernesto Che Guevara was the Minister of Agriculture before he went away to Bolivia for carrying forward the work of socialist revolution. Fidel Castro was a hero of the people and remained so till his last breath. After his demise the whole world paid rich tributes to him. He remains a source of inspiration to the people’s struggles all over the world. Red Salute to this great revolutionary.