THE MORUNG EXPRESS
Indians suffering after 'atrociously' planned note ban: NYT New York, JaNuarY 10 (IaNS): The "atrociously planned and executed" currency ban and a subsequent cash crunch has made life increasingly difficult for Indians, the New York Times has said in its latest hard-hitting editorial criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to check black money and corruption. The daily said in an editorial on Monday that there was little evidence that it had identified black money hoarders or curbed graft in the country. "Two months after the Indian government abruptly decided to swap the most widely used currency notes for new bills, the economy is suffering," the Times said. "The manufacturing sector is contracting; real estate and car sales are down; and farm workers, shopkeepers and other Indians report that a shortage of cash has made life increasingly difficult," it said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 that the high value currency that made up 86 per cent of all currency in circulation could no longer be used in most transactions and would be replaced by new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes. Modi said this was necessary to combat corruption, black money and terror funding. "But the swap was atrociously planned and executed. Indians had to line up for hours outside banks to deposit and withdraw cash," the daily observed. "New notes have been in short supply because the government did not print enough of them in advance. The cash crunch has been worst in small towns and rural areas." "The amount of cash in circu-
Trinamool blames PM Modi for 'demonetisation deaths', to meet Prez
People queue outside a bank to withdraw cash and deposit their old high denomination banknotes in Mumbai. (REUTERS File Photo)
lation fell by nearly half, from 17.7 trillion rupees ($260 billion) on November 4 to 9.2 trillion ($135 billion) on December 23," the Times said citing the Reserve Bank of India. "No economy can lose that much currency in a few weeks without creating major hardship -- certainly not one like that of India, where cash is used for about 98 per cent of consumer transactions by volume. "And while a growing number of people have debit cards and cellphones that can be used to transfer money, most merchants are not set up to accept such electronic payments," the Times said. The editorial said: "There is little evidence that the currency
swap has succeeded in combating corruption or that it will forestall future bad behaviour once more cash becomes available." The government had said that people bringing more than Rs 250,000 of the old notes to banks would have to show that they had paid taxes owed on the money. "Because of those rules, officials had expected that a lot of black money would never make it back to banks. "Yet news outlets are reporting that Indians have successfully deposited the vast majority of old notes. That suggests that either there wasn't as much black money out there as the government claimed or that tax cheats found a
way to deposit their hoards of cash without attracting the government's attention, perhaps with the help of money launderers. "Many Indians have said that they are willing to tolerate some pain in the fight against corruption. "But their patience won't last if the cash crunch continues and the swap does little to reduce corruption and tax evasion, as many economists predict," the daily said. It was the second editorial the Times wrote to criticise the move. Earlier, in November the daily said the demonetisation of high value Indian currency had caused chaos and "was poorly thought out and executed".
New DelhI/kolkata, JaNuarY 10 (IaNS): The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, which has been agitating seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday held him responsible for over 120 deaths due to the note ban. The party said it will approach President Pranab Mukherjee to seekhis intervention. At the conclusion of Trinamool's three day nationwide stir against demonetisation and political vendetta by the Modi government, party MPs will meet Mukherjee on Wednesday where they are expected to raise both the issues. "We are meeting the President on Wednesday afternoon," said party MP Sultan Ahmed. According to sources, besides demonetisation they will also be raising the issue of a "national government" replacing Modi as the Prime Minister. Trinamool supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has mooted a National Government headed by BJP veteran L.K. Advani or Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley or Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Earlier in the day, Banerjee tweeted details of 122 people who, she claimed, had died due to the cash crunch following the November 8 demonetisation. "Modi, you are arrogant. You are responsible for 120+ (122) deaths," she said posting statewise details of the "victims" including the reason for their deaths. As per the list, Uttar Pradesh, at 32, has the highest number of deaths followed by Bengal with 13 and Maharashtra with 11. Banerjee claimed that in Modi's home state Gujarat, five people have died due to demonetisation. While three of them died in bank queues, a woman commit-
ted suicide after failing to buy food for her family and a bank cashier ended his life owing to stress. Later addressing an event in Bengal's Burdwan district, she said the "Tughlaqi" decision (demonetisation) has crippled the economy and demanded Modi to own up the responsibility of the "demonetisation deaths". "Anyone who speaks out against the Centre is branded corrupt and agencies are sent after them," said Banerjee who has been accusing Modi of vendetta politics following the CBI arresting two of her MPs - Tapas Paul and Sudip Bandyopadhyay - in a chit fund scam. Ridiculing Modi's plan of a cashless Indian economy, she accused the Prime Minister of being a "salesman of plastic currency". On the second day of the anti-Modi stir, Trinamool MPs in the national capital, blamed Modi for destroying the economy and asserted that their fight will continue until he is removed from office. "During demonetisation protests in Parliament, Modi reached out to Sudip Da (Bandyopadhyay), but he refused to meet him, hence, this political vendetta. "Modi has lowered the status and dignity of the Prime Minister's office. Our fight will continue until Modi is removed from office," said Party MP Kalyan Banerjee Protesting in Odisha's Bhubaneswar, Trinamool General Secretary Subrata Bakshi said the party will intensify its agitation against Modi. The Trinamool on Monday launched its three-day "Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao" (remove Modi, save the country) campaign holding demonstrations across Odisha, Punjab, Bihar, Manipur, Tripura, Assam and Jharkhand, besides West Bengal and the national capital.
BSF denies poor quality food served to troopers Election Commission warns parties of Speaking in Hindi, Yadav alleged that a gun to an officer. New DelhI, JaNuarY 10 (IaNS): The 'stern action' for violating model code "Considering the situation of his family Border Security Force (BSF) on Tuesday troopers were served bad quality food and said there was no evidence to allege that poor quality food was being served to its troopers on the border. Inspector General D.K. Upadhyaya said an enquiry by a DIG could not find anything to back the allegation made by a trooper on a video that has gone viral from the Jammu and Kashmir border. The statement came a day after a video uploaded by BSF trooper Tej Bhahadur Yadav went viral, prompting the BSF to initiate an investigation. In the video, Yadav sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention, saying the plight of troopers posted along the cold, hilly border was pathetic.
at times were forced to go hungry. Claiming to be from the 29th battalion of BSF, he accused unnamed officers of illegally selling off the food supplies meant for the troopers. He also posted other videos showing a poorly baked 'chapati' and dal which he said had "nothing except salt and turmeric". Refuting the allegations as baseless, Upadhyaya said officers and soldiers of the BSF were served similar quality of food. He said others, including the cook, would be questioned. The officer said Yadav had in the past been accused of insubordination and faced court martial in 2010 on charges of pointing
and children, the force took a lenient view in Yadav's case. Despite dismissing him, Yadav's service was continued only after giving him 89 days RI (rigorous imprisonment). "Since then he was kept in the headquarters so that he can work under supervision and could not repeat such an act again. "As he submitted a letter for voluntary retirement from January 31 and it has been accepted, he was sent to the post on December 28. He was sent there 15 days ago as some soldiers were on leave." Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday ordered the Home Secretary to seek a report from the BSF over the video.
Indian-origin woman in UK has 4 kids after 17 miscarriages loNDoN, JaNuarY 10 (PtI): An Indian-origin woman in the UK who suffered 17 miscarriages and was told she may never be able to have babies is now the proud mother of four daughters. At the age of just 18, Lytina Kaur, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells, was given the heartbreaking news that she may never be able to have children. Lytina who is now 32 was told she may never be able to give birth after she relapsed and had a bone marrow transplant.
"I was still quite young when I was told I couldn't have children. I didn't think about it too much at the time and thought I'd worry about it when I crossed the bridge. However, when I got married at 23, it was heart-breaking," she told 'Nottingham Post'. After her wedding in 2007, Lytina, who is from the East Midlands region of England, decided to try and have a family of her own. But before becoming a mother-of-four Lytina had several miscarriages, the first of which happened in 2010 after she conceived twins. Between 2010 and 2012, she
Organ donation awareness drive launched to check black market trade MuMBaI, JaNuarY 10 (thoMSoN reuterS FouNDatIoN): Doctors in India will now get text alerts reminding them to ask families to donate organs of their deceased loved ones as part of a nationwide campaign to solve the country's organ shortage that has fuelled a black market trade in organs. The drive, "Poochna Mat Bhoolo" - which means "don't forget to ask" in Hindi - will target 300,000 doctors and is the latest in a string of awareness campaigns in the country after a kidney racket involving a poor woman was busted in a top Mumbai hospital last year. According to government data, 200,000 people are waitlisted for kidneys in India and 30,000 currently await a liver. Legal donations meet about 3 to 5% of the demand. "Families don't remember to donate organs when a loved one dies, or it's too late by the time they do. So we are reminding doctors to speak to them immediately after a death," said Krishan Kumar Aggarwal, president of the Indian Medical Association, which launched the drive. "Human trafficking for organs will stop if cadaver organ donations pick up." Commercial trade in organs is illegal in India. Donations to a patient by a close relative are allowed but are few in number. Some waitlisted patients, in desperation, seek the services of middlemen to arrange organs for money. Campaigners say the organ supply-demand gap can be bridged if doctors, particularly those in intensive care units of major hospitals, are sensitised to counsel families to donate organs. The "Poochna mat bhoolo" campaign is critical as it would have doctors speak to families, eliminating middlemen. Posters reminding doctors to ask the donation question will be put up across hospitals as part of the campaign.
suffered as many as nine miscarriages before undergoing one free cycle of IVF on the UK's state-funded National Health Service (NHS) a year later, which was unsuccessful. Between 2013 and 2015, a hospital in India made six attempts to implant her embryo into a surrogate - but each ended in miscarriage and the couple gave up. However, she eventually became pregnant and gave birth to her first daughter Kiran in September 2015. The other three followed within months of that. In November 2015, twin ba-
bies Kajal and Kavita were born in India after the hospital had transferred the last four embryos to a surrogate as a goodwill gesture. And in June 2016, Lytina gave birth to Kiyara at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. "In the end, we were really lucky...I love spending time with my kids and I need to make the most because they'll be in school in a few years' time," said the mother of four. She said she goes through a box of 82 nappies every five to six days - and that she has also stopped counting the amount of baby formula and food she uses.
New DelhI, JaNuarY 10 (IaNS): The Election Commission on Tuesday warned political parties of taking "stern action" again violation of the Model Code of Conduct, saying it will not remain a "mute spectator". In a letter addressed to office bearers of political parties, the poll panel reminded the parties that the Model Code of Conduct, that came in force on January 4 when elections in five states were announced, restricts leaders from making communal statements. "...political parties and their leaders should desist from making statements to the effect of creating disharmony between different sections of society on the basis of religion as the same disturb the peace and tranquility of the society which is absolutely essential for free and peaceful conduct of elections," the letter said. It also referred to Supreme Court judgments on the issue. "The Commission will not remain silent spectator if the provisions of law of MCC (model code of conduct) are violated and no one can do it with impunity. "The Commission will take stern action for all violations
under all powers available," the commission said. It asked the political parties to issue advisories on this. This comes on a day when a show cause notice was issued to BJP leader Sakshi Maharaj, who at a religious gathering on January 6 called for implementing the Uniform Civil Code and indirectly held the Muslims responsible for the population explosion. The panel also said on Tuesday that with a view to timely disposal of clearances sought under Model Code of Conduct by various state governments, and to avoid "frivolous references" being sent to the Election Commission and Chief Electoral Officers, screening committee headed by Chief Secretary have been set up in each of five pollbound states to examine each complaint before sending it to the Commission. EC fixes Jan 13 for hearing on Samajwadi Party's 'cycle' The Election Commission on Tuesday fixed January 13 to hear the Samajwadi Party's warring factions led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav to settle the dispute over control of the
party and its election symbol of "cycle". According to EC sources, the commission has asked both to appear before it on January 13 at 12.30 p.m. "The ECI will hear arguments from both sides before deciding on whom to award the party symbol 'cycle'," the source said. The commission's action came a week after both the factions led by Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh claimed their stake over the party symbol. Mulayam Singh first approached the EC on January 2, a day after he was dislodged as the party chief by Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle and close confidante Ram Gopal Yadav at an emergency national party executive meeting. Ram Gopal Yadav approached the EC the next day to stake Akhilesh Yadav's claim over the party and its symbol. Meanwhile, Mulayam Singh and Ram Gopal also met the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Monday asking him to speed up the process before January 17 as the process of nomination begins for the first phase of polling in the state to be held on February 11.
Unrest in the Valley: "Irreversible Loss" to Kashmir students, says Economic Survey Report New DelhI, JaNuarY 10 (PtI): The education sector has been badly hit in Kashmir Valley during the five-month-long unrest, causing "irreversible loss" to students, the Economic Survey Report has said. "Due to the closure of schools, the academic session got badly hit to the extent that it caused irreversible loss of study and tuitions to the students. The exams conducted by J&K Board of Secondary Education for 10th and 12th standard students covered only 50% of the total syllabus. "However, an option has been given to the students to appear in March (for 100 per cent syllabus coverage) also," according to the Economic Survey Report, 2016, tabled in the Assembly today. It said 31 school buildings were gutted -- 17 fully and 14 partially -- during the five-monthlong unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter, whereas 15 school buildings were saved by employees of education department and local community from being burnt. In 2016, schooling could be conducted only for a period of
four months in Kashmir valley, it said. The 10th class and 12th class exams held in November covered only 40%to 50%of the total curriculum, it said, adding that students of classes 1st to 9th had to be given mass promotion. The exposure to violence and armed conflict reduces the quantity of education attained by children of conflict areas. Main contributories to the lessening of attainment of quantity of education include destruction of infrastructure, fear of sending children to schools, incorporation of youth into armed groups, negative economic shocks to households and forced displacement, the report said. The loss of 50 per cent content of the syllabus will surely have to be covered by the student community itself so that they are able to compete in ensuing entrance exams held at the national level, it said. Around 95 per cent students have appeared in the 12th board exam and 99 per cent students have appeared in the 10th exam in the Valley and decision was taken by the government for relaxing Term-2 examination from classes 1st to 8th.
The total strength of the enrolled students in 10th and 12th classes in the Valley schools is of the order of 56,277 and 31,964, respectively, during academic session 2016. In higher education institutes, where the session started in March, class work could be conducted up to July 8 only and from July 9, the colleges have also been closed, resulting in loss of study of 130 days and more, the report said. This has resulted in the delay in the coverage of 1st semester syllabus and also is resulting in the delayed conduct of 1st semester exams, it said, adding that hartals have also badly affected coverage of other semester studies. Similarly, in the universities in the Valley, the class work at Master level remained badly affected. The class work in medical colleges and NIT was also affected badly, resulting in stress to students and their parents, it said. In the academic session 201617, 84,811 students are enrolled in all government degree colleges in Kashmir as against the strength of 72,000 in 2015-16. The loss of
studies of 130 days and more is "irreparable" and will have to be compensated through conduct of evening classes and additional classes on holidays to make the students have the knowledge in order to enable them to compete with student community at the country level, it said. The level of expenditure during the first two quarters of 2015-16 was of the order of Rs. 26.79 crore, while expenditure during the first two quarters of financial year 2016-17 is of the order of Rs. 48.43 crore, the report said. It further said that Rs. 8.98 crore has been utilised on development of infrastructure of University of Jammu, University of Kashmir, Islamic University, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University. The prevailing turmoil and strikes in Kashmir Valley have obvious implications on the implementation of technical education programmes. The impact of strikes has been deep and profound on the educational atmosphere in the Valley, it said. Technical education institutions/ students in the valley were not
able to complete their academic/practical work fully within the prescribed period, it said. Skill-based courses require no disruption in the process in order to guarantee easy transmission of skills. The normal skill imparting process as well as new skill development initiatives got hampered due to strikes, resulting in truncation of initiatives. This may consequently affect the formation of generation's next workforce, the report said. A good number of working days have been lost due to the prevailing strike resulting in non-creation of adequate infrastructural facilities in various institutions and slow execution of new projects/works in the valley, it said. For proficiency and efficiency, the up-gradation of available facilities and equipment used in the teaching and learning in the technical/craft institutes, is a must. But, due to incessant strike, action in this regard got hindered, it said. Closure of financial institutions also led to recording of low financial progress under various programmes during the period, the report said.