An Audacious Move
This refers to your cover story on demonetisation (Turbulence, December 18). It is the best thing that has happened to India, post Independence. This announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 gave little time to the black marketers and must have given them a rude shock. Perhaps, this is the most effective way of curbing the instances of black money in circulation and terror funding that have over the period assumed dangerous proportions. There is no denying the fact that corruption is rampant, and for many vested interests it has literally become a way of life to make quick bucks through illegal means. There is a near parallel economy of black money running, which is retarding the growth process. No doubt, the common people may be put to hardships in the short to medium term. But the government's efforts to minimise the inconvenience in terms of exchange of old currency notes in banks and meeting the emergencies at hospitals, railways, petrol stations, etc., are also most welcome. Overall, it is clear that the whole exercise is intended to discourage the people from making high-value cash transactions by promoting in a big way the other available modes, like the plastic cards, along the lines in western countries. In a nutshell, it is an audacious and historic move that will hike by a huge measure the performance rating of BJP government and build their credibility, furthermore.
Srinivasan Umashankar, Nagpur
First Step in Cleaning Up the Economy
This refers to your cover story on demonetisation. Yes, immediate effects of cash demonetisation are probably not on the lines that the government would have envisaged. But having said that the pain and patience of our citizens should not go waste and this cash demonetisation should just be the first step in the fight against black economy. As we all know that not only has the Prime Minister taken a huge political gamble with demonstisation but has also put economic growth on the back burner for at least 2-3 quarters. It highlights the significance of the scheme for Modi and his team. It appears to be just the starting point for the government. Modi has himself said that there will be many initiatives after this to weed out corruption and black money from the system. In fact, on November 8, Modi talked about three things - eradication of black money, fake currency and terror funding. After more than a month, we cannot say that that all three objectives have been met. He appears to have been partially successful. Indeed, now comes the most critical part - the issue of funding political parties. It remains the biggest source of black money. The Prime Minister has talked about transparency in political funding and now he has to walk the talk. Funding of political parties has to be made transparent and the government has to work towards cleaning up the system. Every donation, irrespective of the amount and right from Panchayat to national level, should be disclosed to the public. It should come under right to information. Once that happens, I am sure political parties will have to toe the line.
Bal Govind, Noida
Questioning Manmohan's Maunbrat
This refers to your demonetisation article. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called it the "organised loot" and "legalised plunder" of the common people. While he is partially right as people's hard-earned money saved in banks is not available to them for the time being, what about the scams and mismanagement of the country's affairs during his regime? Why did he remain silent? Besides, he was an economist. By remaining silent and not acting on his duties as PM, he was responsible for the country's slow development and even for the downfall of Congress. In allowing this he acted like a true politician. If he was unable to act independently on the right track due to any reason, the right thing would have been to resign as PM.
Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi