Demonetization – a national priority

By K.N. Pandita

The fracas created by the opposition on demonetization issue shows that it has failed to show due respect to the verdict of the majority of people in this country. It has also to learn that sitting in the opposition does not absolve the opposition of becoming realists about the development of the country.

Uncharitable opposition:

  • The opposition has to understand that Prime Minister’s decision about demonetization is not a small decision taking into account the demographic dimensions of our country. It should have understood that such big decisions of far-reaching consequence could not be taken without going through the process of hair-splitting debate on its implications. It is ridiculous to level silly charges like a “hasty” or “motivated” decision.
  • From day one of assuming the charge of the government, Prime Minister Modi prioritized action against two serious problems facing the country, namely terrorism and black money. He often reiterated his government’s commitment of acting against these two issues that sapped the energy of the nation. Modi reiterated his commitment of fighting all facets of terrorism, including the crucial funding of militants and terrorists by a network of saboteurs determined to cause serious damage to the economy of the country.
  • What is the network and what is the truth about it? Let us address this question. Our readers will recollect that in his historic speech on the night of 8 September regarding demonetization of notes of 500 and 1000 rupees, the Prime Minister said a solitary sentence that in financial matters things had come to a pass where the drastic measure of ordering demonetization of bigger notes had become a necessity. Instead of asking the PM to elucidate the ground situation in financial matters that necessitated taking a drastic step and listening from him the rationale of his decision, the opposition made it an instrument to garner support of ignorant people in and out of national political structure by exploiting small unease caused to the people in the course of shift to new currency.

Compulsions:

  • We help our readers to have a peep into the compulsions for the Modi government to take a rare but drastic step of declaring the bigger currency non-legal tender. This should be the eye opener for all patriotic Indians. In democracy, a political party is not always to rule; there are times when it has to accept to be ruled.

Pall of secrecy:

  • All the chairpersons and MDs of India’s top banks were meeting at Reserve Bank of India’s headquarters on the 15th floor of the Mint Street office in a special session that started at 7 pm that evening. They were discussing the situation from the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the economy.
  • By the way, it was the outcome of their deliberations on the subject that has evoked a larger controversy among the legal fraternity on the precise status of J&K in the constitutional framework of Indian Union a la the recent judgment of the Supreme Court.
  • In Delhi, on the other hand, the top Cabinet ministers of the Modi government were meeting over an agenda regarding MoUs between India and Japan.
  • None of the top bank chiefs or the ministers of the government were aware of what was to happen that night. The nature of the decision demanded unprecedented secrecy.
  • The Cabinet meeting closed at 7.30 pm and the PM went to meet the President to inform him about his plan. It was an administrative and constitutional requirement. The ministers were instructed to remain in the meeting hall.
  • Just before 8 PM, the TV sets were switched on to listen to the PM, with the understanding that the meeting would continue after the PM address. Of course, the announcement from the PM was going to be earth-shattering for most bankers who had to rush back to their offices to handle the situation arising from the ban imposed on bigger currency notes.

Genesis of demonetization:

  • People in our country were never told that demonetization option was under Indian government’s serious consideration as early as 2010 when Congress was in power. The role of a British Company named De La Rue in pushing fake currency in our country was talked about in some small knowledgeable official circles. In a raid on nearly 70=odd Indian bank branches along India-Nepal border in 2009-10, CBI had recovered counterfeit currency with them. This was a surprise of course, but for the intelligence fraternity the more stunning fact was that the fake currency notes recovered in these banks were not brought by any smuggler but were received from RBI itself. Actually, RBI was sending counterfeit notes to the bank branches around the country.
  • Those were the days when Nepal had become the frequent rendezvous of ISI-sponsored anti-India separatist and terrorists. Needless to remind that Pakistani and Kashmiri terrorists had hijacked an Indian airplane from Kathmando and taken to Kandahar where Azhar was exchanged for the release of hostages.
  • CBI’s raid on the RBI resulted in the agency finding same counterfeit notes in the vaults of the RBI. These were in the denomination of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. The shocking fact is that the counterfeit and fake currency notes which Pakistan was pushing into India was being collected and distributed by none other than the Reserve Bank of India among its branches. The bank that controls India’s currency had been compromised. Congress rubble-rousers who have stalled the session of the Parliament over the demonetization ruckus do not know how the government led by their party was striking at the very roots of India finances and economy. And very ironically, the Congress part Prime Minister was known as a professional economist and finance expert. This also shows how Congress echelons are pitting their minions against the NDA government only to drag the country into chaos and disorder.
  • Defending culprits involved in circulating counterfeit currency in UP and Bihar, the defence lawyer asked for the proof that the currency circulated was counterfeit. He had reasons to ask that question. The report of Indian government labs asked to put the currency notes under scrutiny that were seized from alleged ISI agents said it was real and not fake currency. But a foreign lab where these notes were sent for confirmation reported that these were so close to the real notes that it was extremely difficult to prove these were counterfeit. Such was the perfidy of the saboteurs.

RBI under cloud:

  • CBI’s persistent investigation led it to the source of the mischief, namely De La Rue, a company from which RBI imported 95 per cent of its currency paper. The Company’s profits from supply of paper to India were in the neighbourhood of 30 per cent of its total profits, and when Government of India blacklisted it, the company came to the verge of bankruptcy with 2000 metric tonnes of paper lying unused. The CEO of the company, James Hussey – godson of Queen Mother herself – resigned over something bizarre called “paper quality issues”. Interestingly an insider of the company laconically remarked that either drops of water had seeped into the paper or there was a fly in a role of paper somewhere that had spoilt the whole lot. The truth about the disuse of costly paper was suppressed.
  • However, in a formal statement De La Rue said the irregularities were of a “serious nature” but that it was “confident that neither the physical security nor the security features incorporated in the paper have been compromised for any customer and that the irregularities referred to relate only to testing of paper specifications at the relevant facility”.
  • Yet another serious security lapse was exposed in 2010. In a hush hush manner, in 1997-8 RBI had outsourced the printing of currency notes to US, UK and Germany to the tune of Rs. 1 lakh crores. The reason for outsourcing given by the officials was the soilage factor and bad condition of notes, both unconvincing to the inquiry committee. Shockingly the panel observed that RBI’s system of assessment with respect to demands and supply of bank notes in the country was off the mark resulting in a gap.
  • On November 3, 2011 a complaint was received by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) signed by “unnamed officers of the Ministry of Finance”. They said that the security was compromised not just by De La Rue, but also other companies – French firm Argo Wiggins, Crane AB of USA and Louisenthal, Germany. Insiders say that the information of compromise in security features of the paper for currency had at different times been withheld from the Home and Finance Ministry of India.
  • On November 3, 2010, BRBNMPL ( Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd) — which signs currency note contracts on behalf of the RBI — wrote to the Directorate of Currency, Ministry of Finance, that currency paper supplied by Crane AB of USA and Louisenthal, Germany, had failed tests in Hoshangabad as well but cleared re-tests at the suppliers’ foreign laboratories.

Note paper scandal:

  • In 2015, after Modi sought help in investigations in the fake currency notes from the US, it came out that the German company Louisenthal was also selling raw notes to Pakistan, resulting in a ban on the company.
  • The Indian Express quoting an official of the German firm said, “We are only keeping our interests in mind. We have proof that high-quality fake Indian currency notes are being produced in Pakistan and pushed into India through Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The availability of a common supplier could be one of the reasons behind such high-quality fake notes.”
  • This is how the Indian currency was compromised at every point – RBI, Home Ministry, Finance ministry, and the Indian and Foreign printing presses. Worse of all, our entire currency production was outsourced to unscrupulous forces who were merrily sharing the real stuff with Pakistan who was happily and arrogantly snubbing us and creating a havoc with our economy.
  • Pakistan Check-mated?
  • The free flow of Indian currency paper to Pakistan encouraged its government to set up 5 printing presses to print fake currency notes. These were smuggled to Nepal and Bangladesh (often on PIA flights). The currency entered India via UP and Bihar (Nepal border), via Malta in West Bengal (from Bangladesh), via Rajasthan border, Punjab border and via Chennai and Mangalore through the Indian expats from Gulf.
  • Pakistan used to pump in money to fund student bodies (like in JNU and Jadhavpur), media and journalists and also political parties to completely influence the elections.

The “Imminent” Assault:

  • The Modi government has acted aggressively against Pakistan on fake currency issue and also militarily –- specifically the Surgical Strikes and the heavy bombardment to the extent that Pakistan had to beg India to stop beating them up, Pakistan will obviously want another front to strike.
  • According to General GD Bakshi, a prominent security and defence analyst, India has some Rs 16 trillion of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in circulation (which is 96% of the entire money supply). Pakistan was already printing Rs 15 trillion (Rs 500 / Rs 1000) with a view to push them in India to completely “unhinge” the Indian economy in what Gen Bakshi calls an “Economic Pearl Harbour”.
  • This would have led to unprecedented terror strikes and runaway inflation and steep price rise, which would have spelt doom for India in many ways.
  • Modi rises to occasion.

All those whom you see now coming together to fight demonetization know exactly what was being planned and what led to all this. If they still choose to fight this act by the Modi government, you should know exactly from which team they are fighting this existential war of India’s future! And, with the context of how RBI, Home and Finance Ministry, and banks were compromised over the years, one can very well understand the reason for extreme secrecy and quick action – which the critics ironically call “knee jerk” and “unprepared government plan”.

Ethnic cleansing in Bangladesh

By K.N. Pandita

In its editorial of November 16, 2016, The Washington Post carried the story of brutal attacks in Bangladesh killing scores of bloggers, foreigners and members of Hindu religious minorities. A Hindu tailor was killed in April, and a Hindu priest was hacked to death in July last. Over almost two years, radical Islamists have carried out a string of brutal attacks on Hindu minority. July attack in Dhaka left 22 Hindus dead. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her governing Awami League accused Islamist opposition of fomenting terrorism. However, involvement of some leaders of the ruling party is not ruled out. Continue Reading…

Surgical strike on black money

By K.N. Pandita

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav calls PM’s ‘operation black money’ as election stunt. Kejriwal calls it “big scam”. Rahul Gandhi stands in queue to change his Rs. 500 note, and the mercenary media gives it TV hype. During Vajpayee regime, American Enforcement functionaries had detained Rahul at JF Kennedy airport with one lakh US Dollar notes in his baggage. Vajpayee intervened. Modi’s adversaries had begun lampooning his election slogan of eradicating corruption from administration. Continue Reading…

Evaluating Indo-US defence agreements

By K.N. Pandita

Energy, counter terrorism and defence stand out prominently in eight Indo-US agreements signed recently.

The civilian nuclear agreement opens the path for preparatory work on sites for six AP1100 reactors in India to be built by Westinghouse with US Import-Export Bank assuming financing role. India is energy starved. Continue Reading…

On the chessboard of South Asian defense strategies

By K.N. Pandita

Is the South Asian region (or Khurasan according to Islamic exegesis) emerging as the battlefield of a decisive clash of ideologies? Khurasan, originally an Avestic word, stands for the ‘lands to the East’. In geographical terms it could be Eastern part of Iran, Afghanistan and Baluchistan including its oceanic outreach.

The outcome of recently concluded Nuclear Security Summit in Washington is elusive if not controversial.   Continue Reading…

The ‘Great Game’ Reborn in the Indian Ocean: A Tale of Two Ports

By K.N. Pandita

The historic 19th century ‘Great Game’ of Lord Curzon’s making may be in the process of revival, albeit in different setting with different actors and varying interests.

From the vast deserts of Central Asia, the new Great Game seems to be shifting to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the premier commercial waterway of international trade. The actors are not the old imperial powers aspiring for empires but shrewd traders seeking large markets for their merchandise and accompanying political clout. They act not in isolation but in collaboration without losing sight of their respective national interests. Continue Reading…

Reality about fighting nuclear terror

By K.N. Pandita

In the two-day summit in Washington, (March 31 – April 1) representatives of forty-nine countries interacted on the danger of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons as “the most immediate and extreme threat to global security”.

Have four meetings of NSS since 2009 achieved the objective? It is a moot question. Radioactive materials in numerous countries are still vulnerable. International nuclear security architecture continues to be fragmented and predominantly based on nonbinding measures. NSS has not left behind its successor.   Continue Reading…

PM’s visit to Saudi Arabia

By K.N. Pandita

After concluding Nuclear Security Summit meet in Washington (31 March – 1 April), Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Observers are essaying the diagnosis of this visit in the background of various know or unknown complications.

Objective analyses of Modi’s visits abroad reveal his penchant for reassessment of India’s regional and global relationship with a view of infusing new vitality in the tenets of our foreign policy. His first visit to Middle East region was not to Israel as observers would have anticipated but to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Continue Reading…

Is ISIS Closing in on Europe?

By K.N. Pandita

In October 1993, I was in Brussels attending the Socialist Group of European Parliament’s seminar on Kashmir. Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Prof. Bhim Singh were also there. A group from PoK lead by Amanullah Khan of JKLF was also attending. Around midnight, my telephone rang and a local friend on the other end said that Amanullah Khan had been arrested. Indian Government had issued a red-corner letter to Interpol wanting his arrest for murder of Indian diplomat Mhatre in London. Next day, the British Parliament passed a resolution demanding the Belgian government to release Amanullah Khan forthwith. Belgium obliged. I asked my Belgian friend, who, I knew, had close contacts with Pakistanis, how the release came about that soon. She said,” Brussels is the hotbed of jihadis in Europe.” Continue Reading…

Nuclear Security Summit and South Asia

By K.N. Pandita

In his speech in Prague in 2009, President Obama touched on an important subject for the first time. He talked about security against nuclear terror, meaning securing nuclear arsenals against falling in the hands of non-State actors. A year later, the first meeting of stakeholders (NSS) numbering no fewer than 53, was held in Washington to deliberate and gradually inch towards a consensus formula of how nuclear arsenals could be safeguarded.

The fourth and perhaps the final meeting of the NSS, to which India and Pakistan have also been invited, is to be held in Washington 31 March-1 April, 2016. President Putin of Russia has declined to participate.   Continue Reading…

From seat of learning to cesspool of sedition

By K.N. Pandita

It is almost three weeks that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the ‘prestigious” university of India is aflame. What makes it prestigious? In forty-six years of its life, it did not produce a single Nobel laureate, a single outstanding thinker, a Prime Minister or chief minister or a single social figure of national or international repute. It does not figure among 200 top universities of the world. Continue Reading…

Face to face with Frankenstein

By K.N. Pandita

No surprise that Pakistani terrorist attack on Pathankot air base is getting internationalized; not at India’s asking. Pakistan’s mortification is almost unprecedented.

For the third time, the US has reacted on Pathankot attack. Recently Secretary of State Kerry spoke to Nawaz Sharif asking him to take on the terrorists. Continue Reading…

Pathankot airbase attack

By K.N. Pandita

The four-day-long operation in the premises of Pathankot air base is heading towards completion. Combing operation may still be on partly. Six Pakistani terrorists have been finished. Our forces have suffered bigger loss in terms of human lives. We salute the martyred soldiers and share the grief of their kith and kin.

This is not the first attack of its kind undertaken by Pakistani jihadis. It differs from previous attacks in at least two ways. One, it came soon on the heels of PM’s unscheduled stop over at Lahore. The visit was in search of peace. Two, it was aimed at causing great damage to defence assets of Pathankot air base. Continue Reading…

Breaking India-Pakistan logjam

By K.N. Pandita

On his flight back home from Kabul, Prime Minister Modi broke journey at Lahore. This unusual drop off has become a subject for speculation. Congress spokesman says Indian nation will have to pay heavily for the tea Modi had with Pak premier Nawaz Sharif at his family residence in Raiwaind. The case merits dissection.

Some called the visit “sudden”, albeit honestly; yet it doesn’t seem to be sudden. High level visits, even if for a couple of hours only, are neither sudden nor unscheduled. Of course, the nature of the mission demanded secrecy. Continue Reading…

Stop holding Parliament to ransom

By K.N. Pandita

For one full week the Parliament remains paralyzed by the Congress-led opposition, creating disorder and ruckus when the sessions begin and staging walkouts when serious business needs to be contacted.

What boycotting MPs are doing is illegal. They are paid by the tax payer. The Parliament session is held through huge funding by tax payers. The assurance given to the tax payer is that his problems will be addressed, and if possible, solved at national level. There is also a sort of unwritten bond between the Parliament and the people who give it a shape through their vote, to utilize their money judiciously and in the interests of the country. Boycotting MPs are drawing from public exchequer to mar and not make the sessions. Continue Reading…

To Washington with domestic baggage

By K.N. Pandita
(to give the rest of the world a better understanding, all wikipedia-links are added by Heidi, the editor and blog owner).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while on his US visit in October last cancelled his scheduled visit to Chicago. He would not give Imran Khan’s brats any chance of spoiling his visit by staging a protest demonstration… Continue Reading…

G-20 fight against terrorism

By K.N. Pandita

Paris carnage shadowed G-20 Anatoly (Turkey) summit. Besides a press release, summing up economic and developmental agenda, the summit released 9-point agenda on its fight against terrorism.

G-20 was not as much specific and vociferous on its policy on terrorism in any of its previous summits as at Anatoly. This shows that it takes terrorism now even if the Mumbai carnage of 2008, which claimed a toll of over 200 innocent souls, did not scratch its humanistic sentiment.   Continue Reading…

Carnage in Paris

By K.N. Pandita

Paris has come under the attack of Islamic militants. It is the bloodiest after World War II. Reports are that 127 innocent people are massacred and 200 injured some seriously. The most beautiful capital in Europe could never imagine that carnage of this brutality would ever befall it. This attack has come close on the heels of January attack in which 17 people were killed in Paris including Charlie Hebdo the editor of satirical magazine, and a Jewish supermarket. Terrorists targeted restaurants, concert halls and market places sending down terror and chaos in the city. The President who was at a stadium watching a friendly football match between France and Germany was evacuated under close security arrangement as the terrorists conducted attack outside the stadium. Continue Reading…

Critical turn in national politics

By K.N. Pandita

The apprehension was that majority mandate in the Parliamentary elections would turn the head of BJP. Unfortunately, that happened. The glamour of victory overshadowed the need for astute state management.

The more powerful sections within BJP leadership drew inspiration from RSS think tank. Seniors and veterans of the party knew the risks involved in party looking for brainwaves from that source. Continue Reading…

The passion for self- mockery

By K.N. Pandita

About three dozen Sahitya Akademi awardees reportedly returned their awards. They did not say whether they returned the accompanying amount also.

Evidently, they had received award for contribution to India sahitya (literature) not politics. It was literature when they received award and it is politics when they return it. A question arises: Was it then their mock contribution. We do not comment on their literary acumen; we talk of their sincerity to the profession. Continue Reading…