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Elusive targets: No appreciable drop in J&K militancy or fake money

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Jammu/Srinagar, Oct 30: Demonetisation appears to have failed to meet two of its most hyped objectives in Jammu and Kashmir — dealing a severe blow to militancy and curbing fake money.

In contrast to long queues of exasperated people waiting to exchange high value currency notes seen outside banks in other states, no bank in J&K witnessed such queues.

“Due to violence all around, the average Kashmiri never keeps large amounts of cash at home. This is the reason that when people outside the state were losing sleep to get currency notes exchanged, Kashmiris did not rush to the banks here”, said Elizabeth Maryam, a teacher of economics in Srinagar.

One of the objectives of demonetisation was to ensure that cash resources for militants would dry up. Ironically, Kashmir has witnessed more incidents of militancy after demonetisation than before it.

“We do not believe demonetisation has seriously affected militancy in the state. Logistics like shelter, passage and cash are mostly routed through over ground workers and sympathisers of militants and those who could arrange high value notes in the previous system are doing so presently as well”, said a senior intelligence officer here who did not want to be named.

When asked about the fake currency the militants were believed to carry and circulate before demonetisation, the officer said that distinction needed to be made between fake currency circulated by ordinary fraudsters — who use photocopying or equally shoddy crude methods — and militants.

“Fake currency notes carried by militants come from across the border. It would be foolish to believe that sophisticated forgers would not use finer methods and better technology to fake Indian currency notes. If they made ‘good looking’ fakes of old high value currency notes, they can also do so with the new issues”, the officer said.

One indicator suggesting the impact of demonetisation on black money was the initial slump in real estate trading in J&K. The hiccup, it appears, had been because of fear and confusion. “The prices of real estate have been rising here while these have fallen or remained stagnated outside”, said a real estate dealer who did not want to be named.

Interestingly, there were no major raid or recovery of unaccounted high value currency notes in Kashmir after November 8.

Big business houses carried on their commercial activities as usual, although the cash crunch did affect their daily operations to a limited extent.

“No big business house in Kashmir showed signs of panic as happened in other states where laundering of black money was needed to keep a business afloat”, said a prominent hotelier.

Militancy related incidents did not reduce, although stone pelting incidents came down due to anti-militancy operations, according to intelligence officials. “The theory that stone pelting and militant activities would take a beating has not been proved right,” said an intelligence officer.

“Security forces have been battling stone pelting incidents as sporadic outbursts — those are either spontaneous or sponsored, but believing that money has been the main motivation for such acts is stating too much”, said the officer.

Read more…Demonetisation was blessing for realty sector, RERA and GST will clean it up

The state government too says as much about militancy in the state. In reply to a question by a BJP MLA in the state legislative assembly on whether demonetisation had affected unrest, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the government had received no report that would indicate that demonetisation had affected the unrest.

The chief minister had also said in her reply that no case had been registered indicating that fake currency had been used to stoke unrest.

By By Sheikh Qayoom 

(Noteban Series)

India

All India Kisan Sabha to hold protests for loan waiver

AIKS will also extend its support to the protest march of ex-servicemen fighting for One Rank One Pension (OROP) on January 27.

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New Delhi, Dec 18 : Buoyed by the announcement of farm loan waiver by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments, Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on Tuesday said it will hold another round of protest in the rural parts of the country to press for a complete loan waiver across the country and guaranteed remunerative crop prices.AIKS will also extend its support to the protest march of ex-servicemen fighting for One Rank One Pension (OROP) on January 27.

AIKS General Secretary Hannan Mollah said that ‘rail roko’ and ‘rasta roko’ will be held in all villages to urge BJP-led central government to hike the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agriculture commodities as per the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission and waive loans of all farmers in the country.

“The outcome of recently-concluded elections showed that farm crisis was one of the major issues. The Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have waived farm loan because of the protests this year,” he said addressing a press conference.

“We have decided to keep momentum going till Lok Sabha elections to get our demands fulfilled. As many as 106 organisations under the banner of Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will participate in the protest,” he said.

The planned protest would be separate from the ones being held by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) which represents over 200 farm outfits and the AIKS is also a part of it, Mollah added.

AIKS President Ashok Dhawale said Congress “showed no mercy to the farmers” by offering a loan waiver but farmers protests compelled it to do so.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has announced signing off the file on crop loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh as on March 30 this year.

Dhawale demanded the cut-off date be extended to December so as to make farmers, who have taken loan this year, free from the cycle of debt completely.

The AIKS leaders asked Congress governments to implement the loan waiver scheme without riders.

“Loan waiver scheme with conditions was a bad experience in BJP-led Maharashtra. In another BJP-ruled state of Uttar Pradesh, farmers received cheques of Re 1. So there should not be any condition,” Dhawale said.

Newly elected MLAs from Rajasthan, Girdhari Lal Mahiya and Balwan Pooniya, who contested on Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) tickets, said they would take up the cause with the government to make farmers in the state debt-free.

Pooniya said farmers were “looted” by the Modi government under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, a crop insurance scheme, as the premium was high but compensation was low.

Expressing concerns over Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that loan waiver was not a solution, Mahiya said “It is hypocrisy. We will have to confront the government in the Assembly and on the road.”

Reacting to the NITI Ayog’s remarks that loan waiver is no answer to the debt trap, Mollah said the premier institution had become a “chamcha” (sycophant) of the BJP government.

“It is good for nothing. It agrees with whatever the government says,” he said.

On former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan remarks over the loan waiver, Mollah said “We know that it is not a solution. However, farmers are under debt because of low remuneration. They have been incurring losses for so many years. Let there be one-time loan waiver along with an announcement of the MSP fixed on Swaminathan commission’s recommendations, farmers will not need a loan waiver again.”

AIKS leader said they would meet Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh over agrarian crisis in the country.

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India retaliates after Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Poonch

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Pulwama encounter

Srinagar, Dec 18 : India is strongly retaliated after Pakistan Army resorted to heavy mortar shelling    along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Pakistan Army  violated ceasefire by indiscriminate firing with small arms, automatics, and mortars .The troops guarding the borderline retaliated and the  exchange of fire was continuing intermittently  when last reports came in. The unprovoked firing from Pakistan side began in the evening.

On December 12, an encounter broke out between militants and security forces in Sopore area.

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Winter session : Rafale disrupts Parliament for the sixth consecutive day

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New Delhi, Dec 18 : Proceedings in both Houses of Parliament were disrupted for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday over various issues, including the Rafale fighter jets deal.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day hours after it met as both opposition and treasury benches created a ruckus over the Rafale deal, prompting admonitions from the Speaker for being unruly and “worse than school kids”.

Following the first adjournment at noon, when the House reassembled, the scene inside the lower House was no different.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to transact the business for the day but was repeatedly interrupted due to the sloganeering.

“It’s not sending a good message outside. I have heard from people from abroad asking what is happening in the Indian Parliament,” she said.

Mahajan said she had received feedback that even school children behaved better than parliamentarians.

But no amount of chiding helped as the Congress, AIADMK and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members trooped near the Speaker’s podium and started raising slogans against the government.

The Congress demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 36 ready-to-fly Rafale jets deal with France, accusing the government of lying before the Supreme Court on the matter.

The AIADMK members wanted Karnataka to take back its proposal to construct a dam across the Cauvery river at Mekadatu, while the TDP raised several issues related to their demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Both ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress members exchanged heated arguments, with the opposition seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the other demanding the same from Congress President Rahul Gandhi for misleading the House and the nation on the defence deal.

Amid sloganeering, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs C.P. Chowdary introduced the National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill 2018.

As the din continued, Mahajan urged the members to go back to their seats and allow the House to function smoothly.

“Parliament is for debate and discussion, but this is not the way. This session is very important and we all have to face elections next year. The government is ready for discussion.

“We have a responsibility. We have to maintain the standard of Parliament,” she said.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that opposition was ready for discussion and urged the government to accept the demand for JPC probe into the Rafale deal.

“We respect democracy. But the Prime Minister is silent. We are demanding a JPC probe into the Rafale deal. The deal was discussed at length during the No-Confidence Motion.

“Accept the probe for smooth functioning of the House,” he said.

To this, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government was ready for discussion on any issue but the JPC probe.

“The need for JPC doesn’t arise as the Supreme Court in its verdict has made it clear that a probe is not needed,” he said.

As the din continued, Mahajan adjourned the House for the day.

Earlier, when the House met, the Congress, AIADMK and the TDP raised their respective issues.

Amid the din, Mahajan had to adjourn the House initially till noon.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned for the day minutes after it met in the post-lunch session amid ruckus by both opposition and treasury benches.

As soon as the House met, Congress member Anand Sharma raised a point of order and referred to a remark made by Minister of State (MoS) for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel in the morning with respect to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

Sharma said Goel — who had sought an apology from Gandhi for allegedly making false allegations against the government on the Rafale deal — had violated the rules as the Congress chief was not a member of the Rajya Sabha.

He demanded to know as to “on what basis” Goel made such a remark.

This led to noisy exchanges between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) members, who were on their feet.

In the meantime, the AIADMK members again trooped to the podium with placards.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House for the day amid the ruckus.

Earlier in the day, as the upper House met, members from Tamil Nadu-based parties — AIADMK and DMK — came near the podium holding placards and raising slogans. They were protesting against a proposed dam on the Cauvery river.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the most important issue was the breach of privilege of the House by the government on the Rafale deal.

Chairman Naidu said that he was “examining” the breach of privilege notices given by the opposition and would soon take a decision.

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