Benefits of Demonetization & cashless economy for Poor

Ever since #Demonetization was announced on Nov 8th , there has been lot of hue & cry  from different sections of  the society. People who never bothered about the well being of poor, farmers & the downtrodden have become their messiah overnight and have been wailing &  beating their chests at top of their voice ,  as if someone in their families have died.  Well , let me clarify that I  am not generalizing all the people in our country but the corrupt politicians, businessman, tax evaders, terrorists, Maoists and Modi haters who actually have been hurt hard due to demonetization but cannot their agony in open. As a  result the best excuse to go after this decision , Modi government and Indians who are supporting this step is to raise & hide behind  the suffering of the poor people.

I am not raising objections against all those people who have genuine concerns and feelings for the poor, especially daily wage laborers, small farmers ,  etc. who have been hit hard by this move. I too understand the pain & challenges of poor and have deep sympathies for the families who lost their near and dear ones due to demonetization ( Still an open topic for discussion ).

But with due respect I would like to disagree with all such people who are arguing that poor will be adversely affected by this move. In my opinion this particular move will be beneficial to this particular section of the society. Here are the reasons why :

  • Economic Inclusion:   No doubt, India is the  fastest growing economy in the world and have made tremendous progress over the years, there has been greater urban-poor divide. On one hand sizeable portion of population has moved in the middle and upper middle class, considerable section of society still lives below poverty line. These include laborers , farmers etc. who need to be brought in the formal sector of economy. These people may be poor & illiterate but they are not stupid enough to understand the benefits of being part of formal economy. Instead of waiting for the perfect day & perfect condition ( which will never happen ) , demonetization & subsequent step of government  to go cashless are bold steps which will leapfrog & align them to this growth trajectory.
  • Reduce impact of corruption : The poor has always been the victim of corruption. And he has been deliberately kept poor & illiterate so that he can be continued to be exploited as fodder for votes and milk the system in his name. What we are failing to understand is; the more we go for digital transactions , bringing poor in the banking system, encouraging cashless transactions, the more we are plugging the loopholes in the system which allows corruption to spread its root.
  • More social welfare schemes for poor : Reduction or parallel economy and increase of cashless transactions will help in  reducing the tax evaders and hence result in swelling of revenue coffers of the government. This money in turn can be used to spend on social welfare schemes like rural healthcare , education, electricity, roads etc. Ultimately it will benefit the poor for whom we are so concerned about. It’s win-win situation for both economy and the poor.
  • Reduce exploitation : Most of us must have seen that wherever payments and wages are paid in cash, people are being exploited. Even though minimum wages have been declared by government, people are made to sign on X amount but paid Y amount, where Y <X .When the owners will be asked to pay their workers through banks , they will have to abide by the rules of minimum wages , PF account etc. Also there will be digital trail to track the  actual earnings of such businessmen, thus tax evasion will be much difficult. Again there will be counter question that people will be asked to part with their earnings to their owners in cash once they are paid in full. But again the probability of doing so will not be as high as it is now.
  • Technology as an enabler : Remember the time when we had to wait for years to get a landline telephone in our homes ? No one thought this would change but with advent of mobile phones and the reduction in tariffs it changed the picture of society. What are was termed as privilege of rich has become just another item in the hands of even a rickshaw puller. The impact &  change is evident in the society. Similar kind of revolution is what I foresee now in terms of UPI, USSD, netbanking, Aadhar based transaction, mobile wallets, Paytm etc..Technology has the power to change our lives and believe me , technology will play a major role in elevating poor from their current situation.
  • Cheap loans : Being denied access to banking  system, it’s the poor who have to rely on sahukaars for loan who charge them interest ranging from 50%-100% p.a. Though there are several schemes of government to provide collateral free loans to poor but increase in tax revenue will help govt. to provide loans at much reduced rate of interest. Again its the poor who will be benefitted.
  • Security & convenience : The poor without banks have to keep money insecurely with them in their house which is prone to being stolen and also is dead money since it doesn’t fetch them interest. Having bank accounts will help them manage their money well and securely and also money in circulation is good for economy and banks.
  • Social Independence : It will provide financial and social independence to the poor & needy ; especially women who have to rely on males for financial planning  & help. eg: my maid in Noida used to earn but it was her husband who spent money, major part going for his drinking habits.
  • DBT ( Direct Benefit Transfer ) : The money provided in the schemes like MNREGA and other subsidies can be directly credited in the bank accounts of poor & farmers. This will also help reduce pilferage and reduce corruption where earlier money was directed to few corrupts whereas the deserving poor didn’t even get the minimum wages.
  • Windfall gain for poor : We all know that bank accounts of poor has been used to launder money of the rich. I agree it’s illegal but the poor has been paid commission for doing so. So in a way, it’s a windfall gain for the poor and has resulted in redistribution of wealth from rich to poor.

Let’s not deny the fact that in the short run there will be some amount of pain & suffering for  the poor but in the long run they will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the  move. And all those who are crying hoarse for the suffering of poor should ask themselves – Haven’t these people suffered the most for past 70 years  ? Do you want them to continue to suffer them for next 70 yrs more or make them suffer for next few months which will eventually turn things in their favor in coming months and days. So instead of cribbing day & night, let’s try to help these people in adopting technology in their day to day life.

One saint  ( popularly known as Mauni Baba)  has rightfully saidIn the long run we all are deadbut before dying don’t you want to leave a legacy for coming generations which they can be proud  of ?

 

 

 

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Day 30 of Demonetization : Game changing announcements to incentivize digital payments

After the historic announcement of #Demonetization on 8th Nov , India witnessed an unprecedented shift in its behavior and attitude towards handling money. Though going cashless was the only option left in wake of less availability of cash in hand, people showed greater enthusiasm and maturity in adopting the big digital push.

What could not have been achieved in years of awareness campaign suddenly saw the light of the day and there was a gradual but positive shift in the habits of people. While we can still debate if the option of going  for cashless transactions was forced on people but there is no denying of the fact that digital transactions have immense benefit for economy and thus for growth – the biggest agenda of Modi government. We all have been raising questions that while people are opting for cashless transactions in current situation but what happens after 30 Dec when sizable amount of money would have been pumped into the system ? Will people still opt for cashless means  ? Won’t people revert back in their older habits of cash transactions ?

To answer all such questions and making sure that going cashless not only provides ease for people but also provides incentives , Arun Jaitley made some major announcements today. In my opinion these  measures will give major boost to those who continue and adopt digital transactions. These measures were long due to incentivize people who wanted to opt for cashless transactions but the system was  against them- both in terms of infrastructure , economics and also in the attitude of people.

 

Below are the key announcements done :

  • For those using cards and e-wallets, Petrol and Diesel purchases will now attract a 0.75% discount.

  • The government will provide 2 POS or Point of Sale machines for free to each village that has a population of over 8,000.

  • Railways to give 5% discount on catering, retiring room on payment by digital mode
  • All railway passengers who buy tickets online get free accident insurance cover worth Rs 10 lakh

  •  Monthly and seasonal tickets for suburban railways to offer 0.5% disc on digital payments

  • Insurance bought online from customer portal of public sector companies will get 8% discount for life & 10% for general insurance
  • Public Sector Banks will ensure that merchants don’t need to pay more than Rs. 100 per month as monthly rental for PoS terminals

  • Digital transactions of up to Rs 2,000 will be exempted from service tax
  •  Highway toll will see 10% discount on digital payments
  • NABARD will give Rupay card to people who have Kisan Credit Card

 

 

 

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My journey from being AAPtard to being Bhakt

 

modi

All those who are close to me and know personally, have been well aware about my political leanings, my thoughts about India, its political system and other ill-will surrounding us. They may disagree with me on various views but I am confident that they would agree on one point that I wish for a better India, a developed nation, a country which we all can be proud of.

Not so long ago, there was anti incumbency wave in India against corruption and political outfit which had been ruling India for several decades. People were fed of hearing about scams being  exposed on a daily basis during UPA regime. The people of this nation had literally given up their hopes that things could ever change. The anticorruption crusade started by Anna Hazare had taken the entire nation by surprise and a hope arose in the minds of people that even a common man has the potential to challenge and change this system. With huge frustration, sympathy wave and an indomitable will to fight & change the system, common man  hit the streets of the country. There were dharnas, demonstrations, peaceful protests , candle light march, hunger strikes and all of a sudden the air in the country was of more like the movie Rang de Basanti where a generation would awaken from their  deep slumber of ignorance.

Indians dreamt of  a nation which was corruption free, where there was no poor & hungry , where rules were followed, where there was no black money  and honesty prevailed , in other words  “ Ram Rajya “ would prevail. With these thoughts in mind, people moved out from the comforts of the home and hit the streets. It was termed as second freedom struggle. I too went to Jantar Mantar, India gate, Ramleela maidan, fighting for Janlokpal along with fellow Indians (read here )

But I never realized ,  how smartly this crusade was hijacked by Kejriwal &  team . Things took a different track when it was decided to form a political party to take on the ruling dispensation. Blinded by faith , I supported the party that was formed, even though some of the members were against this decision. I continued to support him and his party and even campaigned, donated and convinced most of my friends, colleague  &  people known to me to vote for AAP. I did all this with single hope in my mind that AAP would bring fresh lease of life in political system of this nation. They  would be the party with a difference and will show the idealism which we all had hoped for. The brute majority given to AAP in Delhi elections were a proof that people wanted to give chance and an opportunity for a welcome change, to try and experiment something new which might change the political landscape and future of this nation. There were huge promises made before election and the junta waited patiently  to see how those would  be fulfilled. But with the passage of time, the dream was shattered bit by bit and the reality dawned to us. Kejriwal & his ministers forgot they are in power and no more activists to do dharnas, instead need to  work as per the existing system using the state machinery to deliver the promises made to the people. After all , this is how the framework of the constitution has been defined and working since decades. What started as Modi bashing crossed all the limits. In politics you can fool a person once, even twice but not always. One can be anti-Modi but if you get so obsessed with hating him that you become anti-national then fingers will be raised and your intentions would be exposed. This is what exactly happened.

In 2015  when AAP was elected to power in Delhi I lacked trust in any of the existing parties; be it congress ,  BJP, SP, BSP , TMC etc. As a result when NDA won the elections in 2014 and Modi was elected as PM I did not have much faith in him too, in fact I was very skeptical about him. My opinion was mostly affected due to our biased Main Stream Media  which went overboard in doing biased  negative publicity of Modi for 2002 Godhra riots without giving him the  appreciation of  developing  Gujarat as the most prosperous state, which he deserved. I was politically immature to understand that it was only one riot under him whereas Congress had a history of riots under their reign but could influence the public perception since they had media in their pockets. People close to me tried to show me the true picture but as a  so called “AAPtard” I refused to buzz and at the most I would say “I will wait and watch how Modi performs as PM of this country”.

Since I have deep interest in the politics of the nation, I kept track of the work of both these leaders -Modi & Kejriwal. As time passed, I realized& understood  that Modi is a man of vision. He has grand plans for this nation; he is devoted to the core and extremely hard working. He is an able administrator and knows  perfectly how to utilize his  existing resources , people &  system to get the work done ( just like how we execute any project in IT with existing resources and team ). he has been working tirelessly to fix &  bring into shape the otherwise rotten & broken system.( I would not mention the various schemes, policies & its success here since its available in public domain ).

Whereas Kejriwal was always cribbing and playing blame game instead of focusing on work to be done. Initially I tried to defend and justify all the actions of Kejriwal, later I kept quiet with grim mood but finally when I saw his views for Modi’s for surgical strike & demonetization I lost the remaining sympathy for him. Agenda of Modi has been pro development and I am really impressed by the usage of technology, transparency & accountability in his governance model. He did not even shy away from taking tough decisions- be  it doing surgical strike on Pakistan or replying  to Supreme court on the issue of triple talak. Not only has  Modi improved the image of India across the globe , but he has awakened the feeling  of nationalism in Indians which was brutally punctured.

There comes  defining moments in the history  where  one decision by the government affects  generations to come by  and it came on 8th Nov 2016, when  Demonetization was declared by none other than Narendara Modi. This move has stumped me and has won my heart. I have never seen or heard any politician so brave to take this kind of decision knowing very well that it has the potential to backfire politically if common people don’t understand the intent of this step. This bold act of him   has made it very clear that he can go to any extent for the bright future of this country.

All these actions of Modi in past 2 years have  impressed me from the core and I never realized how I became true nationalist, the term which is commonly used by opposition parties as “bhakt” . If being a nationalist , thinking about welfare of the country, working for upliftment of poor and downtrodden, reducing corruption is called as  being “Bhakt” then I am proud to be called so. I hope that people understand the long term impact of this decisive move of Modi and how the coming generations will benefit from this act.

Till that time I will continue to be a supporter for good actions of the government and a critic for the things it does wrong. Being labeled as “Bhakt” for such thought is not bad, isn’t it  ?

 

 

 

 

 

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Demonetization of rupee : Political & economical masterstroke or a blunder ?

money

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on 8th November that rs500 & rs1000 denomination notes will cease to be legal tender has stumped the nation and has been the center of debate across the political & social circles. The initial response to the decision came as a  welcome delight to most of the honest taxpayers & the common masses but took the political class & the corrupt by surprise.

All of a sudden the tables seemed to have been turned and it seemed to be an excellent but very bold decision. The social networking sites , newspapers and other platforms were filled with shock ,awe and praise for Modi’s “surgical strike” on the menace of black money.In his address to the nation, Modi himself had warned that this decision will cause inconvenience to the public for the short term but it is benficial and required for the long term gain for the nation as such. There is not doubt about his intentions and being part of the system we all knew how difficult & brave this decision was,  to take headon with a framework where corrupt & powerful had become nothing short of Frankenstein monster. The situation in Indian society has become so grim that corrupts have  got social acceptance  and honest & poor were looked down upon. Needless to say this strata of society has been feeling cheated and let down by the system.

But as the days passed , there seems to be more chaos than it was initially anticipated. There are lot of factors which has resulted in creating panic in the minds of people but I would like to mention here  the role of opposition parties and main stream media ( often termed as MSM). It is notable to see that MSM has been loosing credibility all across the globe. The most recent example is election coverage of US, where MSM had crossed all limits of negativity and inclination in favor of Hillary Clinton and shamelessly announced her the winner without even waiting for the final mandate of people. The final result was entirely contrary to what they have been projecting for long. It’s not a rocket science to understand that social media played a major role  in echoing , revealing and channelizing the real voice of the people.

Something similar is happening in India too. Ever since coming to power , Modi has been taking various steps to disrupt & fix the broken system , thus affecting media houses which had become more as dallals rather than independent press. Media had played a major role in projecting Modi as a massacre of 2002 riots , neglecting his other major achievements as CM , leader, statesman and a man of action. Though it was expected ,but what makes me upset is when the so called fourth pillar of democracy doesn’t rise to the occasion.

Demonetization is a major reform taken by the government and any reasonable and sensible media house would have covered this entire operation in a positive manner to help it become a success.

Ever since the announcement, the  opposition parties are in tatters  and behaving like headless chickens , still coming to terms how to respond to this step. They are concerned about their truckloads of ill gotten wealth which they had accumulated over the years after looting this nation. Within 4 hours it was reduced to junk and their anger was obvious to Modi’s decision. To hide their frustration they are trying to raise concern of common man which they had never cared of otherwise. Suddenly they have become messiahs of poor & needy.

I agree there is genuine problem of people, but instead of playing constructive role in helping out the needy, these political parties with hand in gloves with MSM are spreading panic and rumor amongst people. One of them even went to the extent of saying that there may be a law & order problem if this scheme is not rolled back. Was he threating to create riots ? This attitude of politicians and MSM are bigger threat to this nation than ISIS or Pakistan. As a common man , the least I expect them is help people tide over this crisis instead of trying to milk out the situation for their political gains at the cost of nation.

All I have to say is that there is no doubt on the intent of the government to curb black money, fake currency and militant funding but hindrance in execution due to the above two reasons is causing more chaos. No doubt this move will give the required boost to the Indian economy but only time will tell if this was masterstroke of Modi government or a political hara-kiri.

 

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Rs 500, Rs 1000 bank notes not valid from Nov 8 midnight

currency

In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation through Doordarshan, India’s state television. He is then scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee after his telecast. This is the first time Modi addressed the nation in this manner since he was elected more than two years ago. The address will be first in Hindi, followed by an English telecast. Modi’s address to the nation comes at the end of the day in which he met the three chiefs of the armed forces – Army Chief Dalbir Singh, Navy Chief Sunil Lamba and Indian Air Force Vice Chief BS Dhanoa – to review India’s security following the tension with Pakistan. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was also present at the meeting. The Prime Minister then chaired a meeting of his senior ministers.

The meeting came as tension along the India-Pakistan border continues, with over 100 violations from the Pakistani side since the surgical strikes that India carried out on terror launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the intervening night of September 28-29.

 

Highlights:

•This speech is for a special request that I am going to make to the nation.

•We are for empowerment of poor and for their rights.

•The various schemes launched by the government are aimed at empowering the poor. It shows the government is dedicated to the poor.

•Corruption and black market is a big hindrance in removing poverty.

•India a bright spot in global economy. This claim is not by us, but by the IMF.

•Corruption is the biggest bane for us. We are Number 70 on corruption index.

•Terrorism is being funded from across the border using fake currencies

•We took many steps to contain the menace of black money

•We made an SIT on black money with a retired judge of Supreme Court

•We entered into agreements with various countries to contain black money transactions

•We introduced the amnesty scheme to announce black money

•Corruption, black money etc are such things which are pushing the country backwards

•Rs 125 lakh crores came out during amnesty scheme on black money

•Some people have misutilised their positions for corrupt practices

•Some honest people have fought corruption as well

•On one side terrorism, fake note currency is destroying the country and on the other corruption and black money is destroying the country

•Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will be invalid from November 8 midnight

•The process of cash circulation is directly related to corruption in our country impacting the lower classes of our society

•From Midnight Nov 8, 2016 today, Rs 500 and Rs1000 notes are no longer legal tender

•You have 50 days (From 10 Nov to 30 Dec) to deposit notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in any Bank or Post office

•On November 9 and in some places, on November 10, the ATMs will not work

•ATMS will limit money to Rs 2,000 a day initially

•On November 9, all banks will remain closed for public work

•There will be no change in any other form of currency exchange be it cheque, DD, payment via credit or debit cards etc

 

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Feelings of an Army man after Surgical Strike on Pakistan

checkmate

Today evening, as I parked my car in front of gate no. 9 and walked into South Block (Indian Army Headquarters), I looked up at the grey-golden New Delhi sky. I tried hard to see if Pakistani nuclear warheads were slamming into the ground and if Chinese paratroopers were really landing atop Rashtrapati Bhawan. I saw neither. I shrugged my shoulders, smiled, and walked inside AHQ for that obligatory cup of black coffee (always without sugar), and the much-needed camaraderie. I found both. The Indian Army never disappoints.

Now that we have crossed the Rubicon, that much vaunted Line of Control, caused havoc, and come back without any casualties, it is time to put things in perspective. This is a time to celebrate, but it is also a time to be on top alert. Pakistan will hit back, as sure as night follows day. And we are ready.

To those who doubted our ability and resolve, you may want to reconsider your opinion about the Indian Army. I hope we have given you enough faith to go by. We are not Seal Team 6. We are Indian Army Special Forces. This is our backyard. We are better.

To those armchair strategists who cried hoarse and created absolute panic about Pakistani tactical nuclear warheads, China’s response, CPEC, Russia and everything between Mongolia and Disneyland, please take a deep breath and relax. There are no Pakistani induced mushroom clouds over Delhi. And there are no Chinese paratroopers. In fact, there is almost no reaction from China.

And finally, to those who believed in the Indian Army, my heartfelt gratitude. Thank you for believing in us. We have never let you down. Your faith means enough for us to die for. This is your army.

We went into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and created merry hell. This was a purely anti-terror operation. We tried to keep our focus and avoid collateral damage. The only Pakistan Army soldiers who were killed were those that came in the way. How many terrorists were killed? Your guess is as good as mine. The media may give you figures of 35-40 terrorists and 9 Pakistan Army regulars, but these are guesstimates. Our boys were busy killing, not counting.

For over a week, the targets were under surveillance of our intelligence agencies. Based on intelligence inputs, the SF teams and some elements of infantry (commando platoons, mostly Ghatak) rehearsed for this operation and then, at a moment of their choosing, infiltrated (parachuted) into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. They completed their mission and ex-filtrated back into our own area.

All praise to the Special Forces and other specialized elements that carried out this operation. It was textbook perfect. Such an operation requires, apart from meticulous planning and a very high level of training, nerves of steel and sinews of iron.

I am a soldier and totally apolitical, as all soldiers are. But credit must be given where it is due. Prime Minister Modi displayed remarkable courage. He first cornered Pakistan diplomatically and economically, and when the time was right, he ordered the Indian Army to smash them militarily. All bases covered. As the old saying goes “ek chaal, sheh aur maat”. Checkmate.

Pakistan Army denies that such an incident took place. Smart move. If you admit that it did, you will have a tough time explaining to a war-induced, hysterical populace, how this happened. And the next question will be – how do you plan to retaliate? For an institution that has gobbled up much of Pakistan’s scarce wealth in the last 70 years, such a situation has embarrassed them. Modi has not made Pakistan Army bleed as much as he has, in full public view, taken off their khaki trousers. The Pakistani Army is not dealing with hurt. It is dealing with shame.

Khwaja Asif, Pakistan’s motor mouth defence minister, who till yesterday was threatening nuclear war, is suddenly at a loss for words. Brought up to believe that Indians don’t have it in them, he seems a defeated man, shoulders drooping.

And ISPR, that media house of all media houses, and the official mouthpiece of the Pakistan Army is oddly silent. No more aggressive tweets from Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa.

There will be a grand meeting tomorrow at GHQ, Rawalpindi and all will be held to account in the court of Emperor Raheel Sharif. More F16s will land on highways and some more Pakistani politicians will threaten nuclear war. The passes will close in a few months, and before that, Jihadis must be pushed into India. This will be a long winter.

There are troubling times ahead. Pakistan will not lie down and die. It will retaliate. We are vigilant on the border. We will not let an Uri happen again.

To the families of the brave heart martyrs of Uri I say, “Sleep well tonight. We have avenged our brothers”.

Congratulations, India.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#adgpi #IndiaStrikesBack

~ From the facebook wall of Major Gaurav Arya

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Is a Vegetarian diet for you?

Closeup on autumn vegetables on cutting board

One of the most confusing questions being asked by a person is  “Is a Vegetarian diet for you? ” . Well the answer needs to be given by the person himself but before answering the question one should be well aware about pros and cons of being vegetarian.

 

A vegetarian diet is great for good health when it is taken in  nutritionally-balanced diet Vegetarian food has low  saturated fats and contain very little or no cholesterol. They  are also rich source of fiber , vital vitamins , folic acids, phytochemicals, nutrients , lower in calories. Vegetables are also assumed to be safer since they are the lowest one in the food chain and thus have the least contamination of pollutants etc.

One has to make sure that nutrients are taken from vegetables and not from animal or animal products. One also has to make sure that in the wake of having vegetarian diet one doesn’t indulge in having fast food products or junk foods which are rich in high-fat , nutrient deficient and overall harmful for health. The benefits of being a vegetarian is complemented by having a healthy lifestyle , doing regular exercise , having ample sleep, devoid of tensions. One should also make sure he is keeping off from alcohol , cigarette or any other harmful substances. One needs to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and should try to indulge in any kind of sports activities.

 

So if you are still thinking is vegetarian option right for you , you needn’t think overtime. It has several benefits and you must definitely go for it. You can refer to  this site for more informative details

 

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