Tag Archives: demonetisation

New Delhi: The BJP will sweep Himachal Pradesh, forecast exit polls. A poll of exit polls - an aggregate of eight surveys by television channels - shows the BJP getting 47 of the hill state's 68 seats. It shows the Congress ceding power and having to settle for 20 seats. 

A party needs 35 seats or more to cross the halfway mark and form government in Himachal Pradesh. In 2012, the Congress had won 36 seats scraping past the half-way mark. The BJP had won 26.   

Two polls give the BJP 51 seats, three others show it touch 50 seats in the upper range of their band, and only one shows it at just over the halfway mark at the lower end. 

 In 2012, the Congress had won 36 seats scraping past the half-way mark. The BJP had won 27.

Do remember, exit polls often get it wrong.

In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP changed the strategy it has used in recent state elections of not projecting anyone for chief minister and seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development agenda. The party named Prem Kumar Dhumal as its presumptive chief minister to take on Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of the Congress.

A 74 per cent voter turnout on polling day was seen as a vote for change and Mr Dhumal, 73, has said he is confident of a "thumping majority." 

The BJP built its Himachal Pradesh campaign around corruption charges that Virbhadra Singh, 83, faces. The Congress attacked the BJP over demonetisation and new national tax GST.

Himachal Pradesh had voted on November 9, but votes will be counted 40 days later on Monday, December 18, along with those for Gujarat.

While the Election Commission had announced elections for the two states separately - sooner in Himachal because bad weather was expected - it said votes would be counted on the same day as Gujarat as the poll panel did not want the result of one state to influence voters in another.

All exit polls show the BJP, which has been in power in state for 22 years, retaining Gujarat. 

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New Delhi: Overcoming the slowdown from demonetisation, the growth rate of India's economy is projected to accelerate from this year's 6.7 percent to 7.2 per cent next year and 7.4 percent in 2019 making it again the world's fastest growing major economy, the UN said on Monday.

"Despite the slowdown observed in early 2017 and the lingering effects from the demonetization policy, the outlook for India remains largely positive, underpinned by robust private consumption and public investment as well as ongoing structural reforms," according to the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 report.


However, the 7.2 percent growth rate projected for India next year in the latest report is lower than the mid-year update's projection made by the UN in May of 7.9 percent.

China's economic growth for this year was 6.8 percent, according to the report, putting it slightly ahead of India. But the growth projections for China is 6.5 percent next year and 6.3 percent in 2019

Releasing the report, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, said: "The upturn in global growth is a welcome sign of a healthier economy."

The report painted a rosier outlook for the world economy overall, saying "it has strengthened as lingering fragilities related to the global financial crisis subside" and recorded this year the "highest growth rate since 2011," even though it is only 3 percent. The report said that growth level is expected to continue over the next two years.

South and East Asia remain the world's most "dynamic regions" accounting for nearly half of global growth in 2017, with China alone contributing about one-third, the report said.

"Vigorous public investment in infrastructure has been critical" in counteracting negative developments.

The report warned that for India "the anaemic performance of private investment remains a key macroeconomic concern."

"Gross fixed capital formation as a share of GDP has declined from about 40 per cent in 2010 to less than 30 per cent in 2017," the report said. It added that there was "subdued credit growth, low capacity utilization in some industrial sectors and balance sheet problems in the banking and corporate sectors".

It also said that there was "some degree of uncertainty over the monetary policy stance in India." It added, "Subdued inflation, coupled with a good monsoon season, offers scope for additional monetary easing. However, if inflation accelerates faster than anticipated, the loosening cycle could end abruptly."

India's fiscal deficit has declined visibly, and it is expected to narrow further to 3.2 per cent of GDP in 2018.

Liu also warned that the improved global economic growth "may come at an environmental cost".

"This calls for stronger efforts to delink economic growth and environmental degradation," he added.





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New Delhi: Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Monday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for spinning "unsubstantiated and unbelievable" stories against political opponents.

Sinha's comments came a day after Modi said Congress leaders met the Pakistani High Commissioner here.

"Sir! Just to win elections anyhow, and that too at the fag end of the process, is it a must to come up with and endorse new, unsubstantiated and unbelievable stories everyday against political opponents?

"Now linking them to Pakistan High Commissioner and Generals?! Incredible!" Sinha said in a tweet.

Modi on Sunday had accused a group of Congress leaders of meeting the Pakistan High Commissioner at Mani Shankar Aiyar's residence before the latter called him (Modi) "neech".

Addressing an election rally at Sanand, Modi said the meeting at Aiyar's residence was also attended by former Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Continuing his attack on the Congress, Modi said: "There was a meeting convened at Aiyar's residence where Pakistan's High Commissioner, Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Ansari and Manmohan Singh were present. The meeting lasted three hours."

"The next day Mani Shankar said I am a 'neech'," said the Prime Minister. Aiyar was promptly suspended from the Congress' primary membership. He also apologised for his comment.

Sinha also advised the Prime Minister to stop communalising the atmosphere and return to the promises that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made in the 2014 general elections.

"Sir! Instead of new twists and turns, stories and cover ups, let's go straight to the promises that we made, regarding housing, development, employment of youth, health, "Vikas model".

"Lets stop communalising the atmosphere and go back to healthy politics and healthy elections. Jai Hind!," the BJP MP from Patna Sahib said in another tweet.

Sinha, a former union minister has been vocal against the policies of the Modi government, especially demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax.




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New Delhi: Barely days after a Youth Congress magazine published a meme calling Narendra Modi a "chaiwala" (tea vendor), BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday yet again invoked the jibe against the Prime Minister.

Taking potshots at his detractors within his own party, the famous Bollywood actor wondered if others can do whatever they are doing despite not being specialists, why can he not speak on economy.


He said he is repeatedly questioned by few people as to what qualification he has to speak on economy as he comes from a film background.

"If 'vakeel babu' (an allusion to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) can speak on finance, if a TV actress can become the country's HRD minister and if a chaiwala can become... I wouldn't say any further... why can't I speak on economy," Sinha said in snide remarks at book launch here.

Modi has himself said that he used to sell tea along with his father at their small tea stall in Gujarat before he joined politics.

Taking potshots at Modi, Sinha said he had been drawn towards "healthy politics" inspired by Ram Manohar Lohia, and that he had no intentions of becoming a minister.

"I am speaking from my heart though it is not mann ki baat because someone else has a patent for 'Mann ki Baat' (as Modi's monthly radio programme is called)," he said amid laughter.

"Some people say I speak against my own government's policies because I was not made a minister. To be honest I neither have any desire nor any expectations to become a minister. Even those who are ministers today have no standing of their own. They are busy flattering the master to save their skins and seats."

"I was drawn towards a healthy politics inspired by Lohia. I had not come to politics with the motto of 'Na jiyunga na jeene dunga' (I would neither live in peace myself, nor let others live in peace)," Sinha said in a clear parody to Prime Minister Modi's oft repeated "Na khaoonga na khane doonga" (I will neither take bribe nor let others do) remark.

He said that the atmosphere in the country was such that "either you are with me or you are anti-national".

"What is happening in this country? Cow vigilantes are killing people, intellectuals, writers, journalists... and now even judges are being killed. 'Aaj dhan shakti jan shakti par bhari hai' (Today, money power is stronger than people's power). And then if people like me come forward, we are attributed motives, we are questioned."

Sinha said that demonetisation has rendered millions jobless, factories have been shut, small traders, hawkers are out of work and GST is like "neem chadha karela" (bitter gourd is doubly bitter now).

"If I do not speak for the youth, for the poor and downtrodden, for the oppressed, then what am I doing in politics?" he asked.






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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today welcomed Moody's Investors Service's first upgrade in nearly 14 years of its ratings on India's sovereign bonds, calling it a "belated recognition of the positive steps taken in last few years to strengthen the economy." Mr Jaitley also hit out at critics of the government's economic policies saying, "many who had doubts about India's reform process can now seriously introspect on their position."

The Finance Minister said the upgrade was recognition and endorsement that "a number of structural reforms in the last three years have placed India on a path of high trajectory growth," and also that "India continues to  follow a path of fiscal prudence which has brought stability."


Moody's said on Friday that it was lifting India's rating to Baa2 from Baa3 and changed its rating outlook to stable from positive, saying continued progress on economic and institutional reform will boost the country's growth potential.

The upgrade, Moody's first since January 2004, moves India's rating to the second lowest level of the investment grade.


It is a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and the reforms it has pushed and comes just weeks after the World Bank moved India up 30 places in its annual ease of doing business rankings.

All markets including stocks, bonds and the rupee rallied on the ratings upgrade.

The upgrade also comes just ahead of crucial assembly elections in PM Modi's home state Gujarat, where Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has based his party's election campaign around an attack on the government over an economic slowdown, with growth slipping under 6 per cent in the June quarter. The Congress has blamed last year's demonetisation and its implementation of new national tax GST in July this year.

Mr Jaitley said, "steps, including demonetisation, among others is taking India into a digitised economy. Implementation of Aadhaar has also been a very significant step. Also, the GST, which the world has recognised as one of the most significant reform steps taken in the history of Independent India."

He refused to link today's development to the forthcoming elections saying, "In India, elections happen three or four times each year. That being the case, if everything is only linked to elections, then there would not be any steady economic development and growth. All of us will only be engaged with elections and speeches."

Sitting next to Mr Jaitley, Chief Economic Advisor to the government Arvind Subramanian said, "I think we should all keep in mind that ratings are not causes or motivators of government actions, they are welcomed collateral consequences of government actions. "

Moody's has noted that while a number of key reforms remain at the design phase, it believes those already implemented will advance the government's objective of improving the business climate, enhancing productivity and stimulating investment.

"Longer term, India's growth potential is significantly higher than most other Baa-rated sovereigns," the agency said.

It said GST will boost productivity by removing barriers to inter-state trade, also pointing out that challenges from the implementation of the new tax regime, continuing weakness in private sector investment, slow progress resolving banking sector asset quality issues, and lack of progress in land and labour reform remain key issues.





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NEW DELHI:  As Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government today celebrates one year of demonetisation, the move that yanked 86 per cent of the currency in circulation at the time as "Anti-black money day", the opposition plans united protest against the notes ban, which according to them was a "reckless" and "thoughtless" act by the central government. PM Modi, however, called the demonetisation a "decisive battle" that "Indians fought and "WON".


                        Here is your 10-point cheatsheet to this story:



  1. "I bow to the people of India for steadfastly supporting the several measures taken by the Government to eradicate corruption and black money," PM Modi said in a tweet this morning.



  1. The government has also released a short-film to highlight the benefits of , the unprecedented move taken purportedly to wipe out black money, curb terrorism and do away with fake currency notes.
  2. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, whose party has been leading protest against the notes ban move calling it "anti-poor", tweeted today, "Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives & livelihoods were destroyed by PM's thoughtless act. "




  1. Rahul Gandhi will today participate in a candle-light vigil in Surat as part of the opposition parties' "Black Day" protest.



  1. Calling the measure "anti-people", the Congress and several opposition parties will hold protests against the notes ban in several parts of the country.




  1. However, the BJP leaders, including many union ministers, will fan out across the country to highlight the "benefits" of demonetisation.




  1. Former PM Manmohan Singh also attacked PM Modi over GST and demonetisation on Tuesday calling it a "twin blow" to the economy. Dr Singh said that demonetisation was an "organised loot and legalised plunder."





  1. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley delivered a stinging rebuttal to Manmohan Singh. He said an exercise backed by "an ethical and moral rationale" was being described as loot, before going on to refer to the 2G and commonwealth games scam that took place during the UPA regime. That, he said, "is loot".




  1. Describing the November 2016 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and 1,000 currency notes as "a watershed moment for the Indian economy", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley it not only changed the agenda and made corruption difficult but because it was a "morally and ethically correct" step, it was also "politically correct".





  1. Turning up the heat on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government hit corruption and black money hard, making the opposition party angry.






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NEW DELHI:  Hours after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh renewed his criticism of the NDA government's sudden ban on high value notes that he has called "organised loot", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley delivered a stinging rebuttal. Mr Jaitley said an exercise backed by "an ethical and moral rationale" was being described as loot, before going on to refer to the 2G and commonwealth games scam that took place during the UPA regime. That, he said, "is loot".

Mr Jaitley suggested it was understandable that Congress and the BJP could not agree on what loot was.

"Their primary objective to serve one family, ours to serve the nation... so even on these preliminary points we may not be able to agree," the minister said in a takedown of Dr Singh's attack ahead of the first anniversary of the demonetisation decision.

The Congress had fielded Dr Manmohan Singh in PM Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat earlier today where the party vice president Raul Gandhi is leading a high-pitch campaign against the BJP that is focused on economic and demographic issues.

A respected economist, the former Prime Minister's meeting with traders was aimed at getting him to validate the Congress charge that PM Modi had slipped up.

The rejoinder that Mr Jaitley - who had earlier in the day written a blog to argue how demonetisation had helped people - delivered from the BJP headquarters in Delhi also attempted to take sheen off Dr Singh's performance in the country's top post.

"All that Dr Singh has to do to is compare relative credibility of Indian economy in the pre-2014 era and post-2014," he said, pointing that the Indian economy was widely seen during the decade that he was the Prime Minister as one impacted by policy paralysis.

"Today, there isn't an international agency that doesn't eulogise the structural reforms carried out... one after another," he added, by way of comparison.

In a Facebook post earlier today, Mr Jaitley had insisted the country had moved on to a much cleaner, transparent and honest financial system since the notes ban, which he described as a "watershed moment" in the history of India's economy.

"The next generation will view post November, 2016 national economic development with a great sense of pride as it has provided them a fair and honest system to live in."

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New Delhi: Days after it gave India a 30 place jump in its ease of doing business ranking, the World Bank today said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and reforms push by the government will catapult the country to the high middle-income economy in 30 years.

It credited India's "extraordinary" achievement of quadrupling of per capita income to reforms taken in last three decades.

Comparing the achievement of securing the 100th rank in the latest Doing Business Report to hitting the century in cricket parlance, World Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kristalina Georgieva said a jump of that nature is very rare since the beginning of the survey 15 year ago.

"It is particularly rare when we talk about size of India. I understand that in a cricket-loving nation hitting a century is a very important milestone," she said.

Last week, India moved for the first time into the top 100 of World Bank Ease of Doing Business global rankings due to sustained business reforms over the past several years. Last year the report had ranked India at 130.

Speaking at India's Business Reform even organised by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, she said, high-level ownership and championship of reforms is critical for success.

"We have learnt that in reforms what pays off is persistence...what we are recognising in India is that this success today is to be turned into more energy in reforms for the future," she said.

Praising the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to carry forward reforms, including unification of indirect taxes, the World Bank CEO said the GST reform creates an incredible opportunity for India to grow through a unified internal market.

There is visible impact of reforms on foreign investment, she said, adding that foreign direct investment (FDI) has doubled to $60 billion from $36 billion in 2013-14.

Besides, she said, investment in infrastructure building, investment in its people and strengthening of cooperative and competitive federalism are foundation for more progress in the future.

"We know that there is a very strong condition that extreme poverty would be history in India. The target date that was set 2026, I understand that the Prime Minister intends to shorten to 2022. Given the track record so far, I have no doubt that would be possible.

"And I have no doubt that when India hits another century, the century of independence in 2047, most people in India would be the part of global middle class. India will be a high middle-income country," she said.

The World Bank appreciated the fact that 60 million Indians in the recent past came out of destitution.

Noting that doing business is very pragmatic way to demonstrate that progress is being made, she said, the World Bank looks at doing business achievements in the broader context.

"What we have seen is the remarkable overall success story of India. Extraordinary achievements in the last three decades, the per capita income has quadrupled. It was done with an eye on lifting out people out of poverty," she said.





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New Delhi: November 8, the first anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock decision to ban high-denomination notes will be celebrated by the BJP as "anti-black money day", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced.

The opposition said yesterday that an amalgamation of 18 parties including the Congress, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool and the Left will ensure that the day is observed as a "black day" with protests and rallies in different states to highlight the cash crunch and economic slowdown that followed demonetisation.

"I think the Congress has not understood the concept of demonetisation. The ownership of cash is not known, it is an anonymous owner. So when cash gets deposited in banks, what was being laundered earlier, now gets into the law books. So for entry into the lawful system, you are liable to pay tax," said the Finance Minister.

Demonetisation, which yanked nearly 86 per cent of the currency in circulation at the time, has been acknowledged by experts as one of the main reasons for the economic lull, which saw growth plunge to a three-year low of 5.7% in the last quarter. The other contributing factor is seen as the new GST or Goods and Services Tax, which was introduced in July with confusing rates, complicated filing systems, and an online giant IT network that crashed frequently.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government have described GST and demonetisation as key structural reforms that will deliver vast progress in the fight against corruption and untaxed or black money.
The Reserve Bank of India has said that nearly all the banned currency was deposited in banks across the country, allowing critics to claim that the reform made no headway in forcing the destruction of black money.

But Mr Jaitley reiterated the government's defense today stating that "Major objectives behind demonetisation are already achieved" and said these included increasing the base of tax payers and digital transactions to make the country less reliant on cash.





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New Delhi: Tamil actor Vijay's Diwali release "Mersal" has come under attack from BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, one of whom has also sought to give a communal twist by raking up the actor's religion.

The actor has been panned for his dialogues in the film that takes a dig at GST and digital India. Vijay, who had met Narendra Modi during electioneering ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, had even lauded demonetisation last year.


However, on Friday, BJP's National Secretary H. Raja in a tweet raked up the actor's Christian origins.

"Joseph Vijay's hatred for Modi is 'Mersal'."

Referring to the actor's dialogue in the movie, Raja tweeted that in the last 20 years, 17,500 churches, 9,700 mosques and 370 temples were built. Out of these what should be avoided to build hospitals, Raja posted.

According to Raja, education and healthcare is free in government schools and hospitals. "It is a lie to say healthcare is free in Singapore."

Raja even said "Mersal" shows Vijay's ignorance in economic matters as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not a new tax and the tax on liquor is over 58 per cent.

On her part, Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan demanded removal of the dialogues relating to GST, digital payments and temples from the movie as they spread a wrong message.

She also wondered whether Vijay had asked his fans to distribute milk to poor children instead of pouring it on his cutouts erected outside the theatres.







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