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india

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He asked, if raising questions on bullet trains makes one anti-development? Or does questioning the financial policies like GST and demonetisation makes one a tax evader?

After one year of demonetisation, previous Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, 07 November 2017 said that the Demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) were poorly designed and very hastily implemented over the country.

The Congress had already announced that it would observe November 8, the day demonetisation, as ‘black day’.

He said that during his tenure as PM of the country, his government had originally come up with GST, but Narendra Modi was at the head of the section blocking it and the present GST is a great leap away from their vision. He further said that GST has been converted into a complicated mess because of multiple slabs and additional cess which is a burden. He also accused the government of Gujarat of selling forest lands to industries rather than allowing tribals to farm on the land.

Repeating his speech from Rajya Sabha, he compared demonetisation to legalised plunder. According to him, the day of demonetisation was a black day for Indian economy and democracy. He said that such a coercive step has not been taken in any economy across the world.

He claimed that these economic reforms taken by the NDA government had only helped our rival, China, since exports have rapidly increased this year.

Industries in Vapi, Surat, Morbi and other parts of Gujarat were damaged by demonetisation and GST implementation, he said, adding that these measures had decreased small businesses. He also said that, along with demonetisation, GST has founded a feeling of tax-terrorism in the country.

He criticised the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on his presonal project, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor. He said that the project is vane. But he defended himself by asking if raising questions on bullet trains makes one anti-development? Or does questioning the financial policies like GST and demonetisation makes one a tax evader?

 

-Archit

 

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He said that incidences of pelting of stones and protests in J&K and naxal activities in affected districts have reduced as an impact of demonetisation as these miscreants have run out of cash.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday, 07 November 2017 that demonetisation is a turning point in the country’s economic history and has provided the next generation with a fair and honest system to live in.

In a blog 1,843 words long, Arun Jaitley said that, November 8, 2016 signifies the resolve of the government of India to cure the country from the disease of black money. He said that the day would be remembered as a watershed moment in the books of history of Indian economy. Doing an overall analysis, he said, it would right to say that the country has moved on to a more cleaner, transparent and honest financial system.

On the eve of the demonetisation, which invalidated 86 per cent of the currency in circulation, Mr. Jaitley said that it has met its objective of reducing cash in our economy, ending the anonymity of cash, brought more individuals inside the tax net and all the while dealt a blow to black money holders.

He said that the benefits of the move may not yet be visible to some people but the next generation of India would view the decision with a great sense of pride.

On November 8 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the demonetisation of Rs.1,000 and old Rs.500 notes for fighting corruption, removing black money, cutting terror funding and removing fake currency in one stroke. Total currency worth Rs.17 lakh crore approx. was in circulation in country on November 8 2016. Around Rs.15 lakh crore worth of currency was withdrawn and as on June 30, 2017, approx. Rs.15 lakh crore has been deposited back in banks.

Mr. Jaitley said that post demonetisation, the currency in circulation is less by more than Rs.3 lakh crore. This meets with the objective of less cash economy in order to reduce the flow of black money in to the system.

The removal of anonymity has led to 56 lakh new individual tax payers who are filing returns this year and self-assessment tax paid by non-corporates has increased by 34%. The leads gathered during demonetisation period have led to the identification of 2.9 lakh suspected shell companies and 2.24 lakh companies were de-registered as a result. Actions were taken to freeze their bank accounts. He said that more than 28,000 companies had deposited and approx. withdrawn Rs.10,000 crore from 50,000 bank accounts before they were struck off.

The Income Tax Department took action against more than a thousand shell companies that were used by over 22,000 beneficiaries in laundering more than Rs.13,300 crore. To stop further money laundering, SEBI has introduced a Graded Surveillance Measure at stock exchanges.

He said that incidences of pelting of stones and protests in J&K and naxal activities in affected districts have reduced as an impact of demonetisation as these miscreants have run out of cash.

He also said that demonetisation led to a leap in digital payments. And more than 350 crore transactions, valued at around Rs.6.6 lakh crore were carried out through credit cards and debit cards. The value of transactions for debit and credit cards was Rs.4 lakh crore during 2015-16.

Jaitley said that, with the return of cash in the banking system, now almost entire cash holding in the economy can be tracked. This inflow includes suspicious transactions ranging over Rs.1 lakh crore. The tax administration is now using data analytics to find and crack suspicious transactions.

 

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China is again in the anti India news with papers furnishing front page stories on its one by one anti India actions to keep Indian political leadership in the state of quandary. While the Indian side is still encouraging massive sale of Chinese products in India and boosting economies of both the countries by way of strengthening n boosting Indo China trade relations, expansionist Dragon is busy in creating problems after problems for India.

After Doklam stand off that got settled after more than one and a half month’s hectic parleys at diplomatic level and visit to China on the sidelines of the BRICS summit by the Indian prime minister and the National Security Advisor, China has on the One Belt One Road issue also pressurised India to relent but ultimately failed to make India accept its OBOR expansionist proposal and has now come up with a more disturbing idea of diverting the water of BRAHMAPUTRA through a would be 1000 kilometre tunnel to its countryside and construction of 32 massive dams on its waters.

Though the Brahmaputra river originates from China and Assam and entire North East being on the downstream side would be badly affected if the diversion of water from Brahmaputra to the Chinese side, as being planned by it takes place in the near future. According to reports pouring in the Chinese government has already constituted a team of about 100 scientists and tunnel experts to execute this over ambitious project of diverting the massive flow of Brahmaputra towards its territory in the Tibet side of Indo China border thus badly affecting the huge population of the entire northeastern region and Bangladesh.

China seems to be least concerned about the annoyance and protest of India and Bangladesh including the environmental hazards involved in this highly expensive 1000 kilometre tunnel project. China has already invested about 40 billion US dollar in its CPEC PROJECT in PAKISTAN OCCUPIED Kashmir and build a highway from China to Gwadar in the India region occupied illegally by Pakistan. China is rapidly preparing its military base in POK to pose a direct challenge to India in the eventuality of war with Pakistan. China through its various nature of border disputes with India and anti India stance as above, always tries to keep the former on tenter hooks and insecure position. Whether it’s the issue of membership of UN Security Council or NSG or granting of Pak terrorists Mohd Azhar or Hafeez Sayeed the tag of dreaded International terrorists by UN, China has always opposed India’s stand tooth and nail.

SUNIL NEGI

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WhatsApp has hit strides in India, becoming the most popular messaging app, partially due to its simple user interface and its end to end secure encryption.

European Union has come down harshly over privacy concerns for users of popular social media platform WhatsApp. This came in wake of WhatsApp not resolving the concerned authorities’ concerns over the popular apps’ sharing of user data with its parent company Facebook, even a year after it was first issued a warning.

WhatsApp has hit strides in India, becoming the most popular messaging app, partially due to its simple user interface and its end to end secure encryption. WhatsApp changed its privacy policy in mid last year and started sharing users’ phone numbers and their other information of personal nature with Facebook without a proper memo that informs the users of this face. This act drew widespread criticism and regulatory scrutiny across Europe and Asia, and WhatsApp for a time suspended the data sharing for EU users only. Asia still lags behind when dealing with issues concerning cyber security and privacy.

EU data protection authorities, however, taking strict actions, said in a letter, sent to WhatsApp on Tuesday 24th Oct and published on Wednesday, that the company had still not resolved their concerns about sharing user data without their prior consent.

The authorities have noted that the information given to users about the privacy policy update by WhatsApp was highly ambiguous and seriously deficient considering it was related to getting their consent.

The Authorities noted that while there is a balance to be found and regualted between presenting the user with too much of the information and not enough information, the initial alert made no mention at all of the crucial information users needed. They were unable to make an informed choice, and simply clicked the agree button that resulted in their personal data being shared with the company of Whatsapp, i.e. Facebook and its family. This information can be now shared with other partner websites and can be used to present the users with targeted advertisements.

The data protection authority of Ireland, which has final jurisdiction over Facebook in the European Union because the company has its European headquarters in Dublin, said that in April it had hoped to reach a deal over the issue of data sharing with WhatsApp and the partner websites. A WhatsApp spokesperson said that, they have engaged previously with other data protection authorities to explain how their terms and privacy policy update applies to those people who use WhatsApp in Europe. They also said that they remain committed to respecting the applicable law and will continue to work with concerned officials in Europe to address the questions over privacy.

The data protection authorities also raised concern over the argument of users’ consent not being given as freely as WhatsApp claimed. WhatsApp had effectively adopted a ‘take it or leave it approach.’ This ends in users either giving their `consent’ to the sharing of their data or they are from then on unable to avail themselves of WhatsApp’s messaging services.

A new European Union data protection law will come in force in May 2018, which will give regulators the power to fine companies up to 4% of their global turnover for violating the cyber privacy laws.

What we need in India and other Asian countries is a similar outcry for cyber privacy and enactment of strict laws to protect the interests of users on a regular basis.

 

-Archit Upadhyay

 

Deepavali can be celebrated with equal fervour by various other means as well. Direct evidence is available of deterioration of air quality at alarming levels every year due to burning firecrackers during Deepavali.

On Monday, Oct. 9, the Supreme Court suspended the sale of firecrackers in Delhi NCR region till November 1, 2017. This step was taken to test whether a Deepavali without firecrackers will have a “positive effect” on the health of citizens of this region and a steadily deteriorating air quality of Delhi NCR.

Deepavali can be celebrated with equal fervour by various other means as well. Direct evidence is available of deterioration of air quality at alarming levels every year due to burning firecrackers during Deepavali. Particularly in 2016 pm [particulate matter] levels had shot up by three times, making Delhi the worst city in the world, as far as air pollution was concerned. Direct and immediate cause therefor was burning of crackers during Deepavali for this incident.

The Bench of judges pointed to the various efforts made by the government, the media and civil society to create awareness of the harms of burning firecrackers, especially on the children. The adverse effects have been witnessed year after year. The air quality deteriorates abysmally and the city chokes on air. This leads to closing of the schools and the authorities are compelled to take various measures on emergency basis, when faced with a “health crisis”.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has consistent stated for the past 20 years that sulphur in fireworks should be banned. It released in a statement, “Sulphur on combustion produces sulphur-dioxide and it is extremely harmful to health.” The CPCB has clearly said that between 9 p.m. to midnight on Deepavali, the levels of sulphur-dioxide content in the air rise dangerously.

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The United Nations will not work effectively if it is used merely as forum for destructive propaganda.

Tennyson in ‘Locksley Hall’ presented his vision of the world where “war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle flags were furled.” Mudaliar, the Dewan of Mysore speaking on behalf of undivided India had once said, the great reality, which all religions teach is the dignity of the common man.

However, all those words rang hollow, when the Indian and Pakistani delegations faced each other in the U.N. Reality was rare, as even the photograph brandished by Pakistan’s Maleeha Lodhi as being from Jammu and Kashmir was actually from Gaza. In any case, the India-Pakistan war of words was outdone by the U.S. and North Korea.

However UN’s 72nd General Assembly was made one of its most disappointing sessions because of its ineffectiveness on each of the issues pointed out by Secretary General António Guterres in his speech on September 19.

According to him seven biggest threats that face the world today are:

  • Nuclear peril.
  • Terrorism.
  • Unresolved conflicts and violations of international humanitarian law.
  • Growing inequality.
  • Climate change.
  • Cyber warfare and misuse of artificial intelligence.
  • Refugees.

UN’s actions in the case of North Korea just amounted to some more sanctions against it. The truth about sanctions is that they do not work on rogue states but they only isolate their populations from the world, which works in favour of regime’s stranglehold on its people.

On the basis of satellite pictures and the accounts of eyewitnesses, the UN Human Rights chief called military action in post-democracy Myanmar,  a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing”, as close to half a million Rohingya fled from Rakhine villages that were then burnt down and landmines were laid along the border with Bangladesh to prevent their return.

Given that Hafiz Saeed and his associates now plan to stand for public office in Pakistan and while Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi received bail despite financial sanctions, more action is expected from U.N.

Mr. Guterres pointed out on the issue of inequalities that, “eight men represent as much of the world’s wealth as half of all humanity”

UN’s first Secretary General, Trygve Lie, ran an equally divided forum and faced the same challenges before finally resigning from his post in 1952. His last words were, “The United Nations will not work effectively if it is used merely as forum for destructive propaganda. Neither will it work if it is used only as a convenience when national interests are directly involved, and regarded with indifference, or bypassed or opposed, when the general world interest is paramount.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zero is not just a numeral but an epitome of emptiness. Well! Shunya or Zero represents the philosophy of emptiness or ‘Shunyata’. India is renowned worldwide for its discovery of zero as a number. Notably, zero is significantly used in calculus and other mathematical operations. It will not be wrong to say that modern mathematics could have been non-existent in absence of zero. However, zero was discovered in India hundreds of years ago. Therefore, it is interesting to acknowledge the fact that our ancient cultural mathematics was highly advanced.

Well! Despite of the fact that zero has its roots from the ancient Indian civilization; historians from all over the world had a quest to know about the first use of zero as a ‘placeholder’ or as a number. Many historians were of the view that in the early 9th century; Indians developed the concept of zero. However, Babylonians and Mayans were also considered to have used zero as a ‘placeholder’ or number represented by a dot citing emptiness, a void.

However, according to a recent research of the group of mathematicians led by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; zero originated in 3rd century that is, 500 years back than previously thought. Before the recent findings, zero was supposed to be first used in 9th century and the evidence was found on a wall of temple at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.

According to the recent results which are obtained from the process of Carbon Dating; the zero as a ‘placeholder’ was first depicted in the ancient Indian manuscript in the 3rd century. Notably, the Oxford’s Bodleian Library had an Indian manuscript from the 3rd century from the year 1902 called ‘Bakhshali’ manuscript. The ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript has its roots from India and it belongs to the 3rd century. Interestingly, Bakhshali manuscript was found to be buried in a village which is now in Pakistan. Interestingly, this old manuscript has the illustration of zero in form of a dot representing null.

Well! The concept of zero is taken for granted worldwide. However, zero is relatively an essential for the basics of mathematics. The most wonderful concept derived from the concept of zero is that zero not only represents the void but it also connects the void to infinity. Yes, as the counting in simple mathematics proceeds, zero markedly, denotes the increment in the place value of each digits and therefore, it is also a significant component of million, trillion etc.

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New Delhi has a lot to be concerned about its pivotal position in the region. For a country that has always been the regional stabiliser, we seem to be quickly embracing the way of geopolitical revisionism.

It has been one year since surgical strikes were carried out in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on September 29, 2016. Showing no chances for a bilateral agreement, India and Pakistan have limited to firing across the borders in Jammu and Kashmir and slandering each other in global forums.

Pakistan neither acknowledged the strikes nor responded in kind did show that the general deterrence between the two nuclear powers remains intact. But from a point of view of regional stability, the surgical strikes do not seem to have been as effective as was imagined one year ago.

There are two challenges that we face now:

  • India-Pakistan escalation has become far more precarious than it has ever been in the past. Pakistan has been retaliating against us ever since the surgical strikes; by increasing the pressure on the frontlines.
  • Such preventive strikes, in other words, are unpredictable. They are fused with immense potential to lead up to a competition in ‘risk-taking’.

Such strategy of punishment against terror outfits may not have worked because:

  • Consistency and commitment are necessary for a strategy of punishment. The momentum gained by the surgical strikes was not followed up (despite several provocations.
  • Pakistan’s retaliation thereafter in the shape of supporting insurgency in Kashmir, in aiding infiltration across the border, and its support in the attacks on the Indian army continued without much reaction from India. These things lead to loss of credibility on India’s part.

Media reports show that 110 militants & 38 army personnel were killed between January and September in 2016 (i.e. before the surgical strikes). However, since the surgical strikes, around 178 militants and 69 Army personnel have been killed. Thus its strategic value is still to be calculated.

With two hostile neighbours Pakistan and China on either side, terror attacks against India on the rise, and the South Asian neighbourhood unsure of India’s leadership any more, New Delhi has a lot to be concerned about its pivotal position in the region. For a country that has always been the regional stabiliser, we seem to be quickly embracing the way of geopolitical revisionism. The costs of aggression, the self-imposed regional exclusion and taking leave strategic altruism are bound to take their toll sooner later.

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Surveys conducted by various Afghan and foreign agencies show that the Afghan people ranked Indian assistance as the most suitable because of the positive role India has played in the development programme of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan and defence ties with U.S. are expected to be the prime issues during James Mattis’s visit to India next week. Mr. Trump’s policy includes more pressure on Pakistan, no early U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, great military action on counter-terrorism and a greater role for India in sync with the U.S.

On January 4, 1950, India signed a Treaty of Friendship with Afghanistan which permitted opening of consulates in each other’s country. Surveys conducted by various Afghan and foreign agencies show that the Afghan people ranked Indian assistance as the most suitable because of the positive role India has played in the development programme of Afghanistan. The Afghans also appreciate the fact that India has never interfered in their internal affairs till date.

The energy basket of Asia needs to be exploited for the benefit of Afghanistan and the surrounding region. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline is one such example.

It is also necessary to redouble counter-narcotics efforts as Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium, accounting for 90% of the world’s supply.

A Stable Afghanistan requires involvement of the Central Asian Republics, Russia and Iran, which border Afghanistan. It is important for India to coordinate its efforts with those to ensure success.

 

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Today the NDA is in power in 18 out of the 29 States. Some have argued that the Indian polity has again returned to single-party dominance system, with the BJP taking the place of the Congress.

It’s become almost certain that the BJP will win Lok Sabha elections 2019. Today the NDA is in power in 18 out of the 29 States in which thirteen have a BJP Chief Minister. Some have argued that the Indian polity has again returned to single-party dominance system, with the BJP taking the place of the Congress.

Opposition has failed so far, because it has tried to challenge the BJP on its home ground. BJP on the other hand has prospered by scripting an alternative national narrative around:

  • A Hindutva-infused nationalism;
  • Turning elections into a referendum on national leadership, specifically Narendra Modi’s leadership;
  • Framing the elections in all-India terms rather than engage with State-level issues.

The Opposition’s counter-narrative should include:

  • Conveying an idea that the 2019 polls are about choosing between, a coalition regime to protect the values of pluralism and federalism, and a majority under an authoritarian leadership.
  • Framing the election as a referendum not on leadership but on democratic values

Indian democracy has never worked anyways, under powerful parliamentary majorities led by a PM unchecked by coalition dynamics. Two examples are Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

The Opposition’s success now hinges on it’s effectiveness in convincing the people that if they value their nation’s democratic traditions, they must elect a coalition government in 2019.