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In the long run we are all dead



Manmohan Singh
Former PM Manmohan SIngh



By Chanderkent

There was a Bollywood film in 1978 called Kasme Vaade starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rakhi which I remember watching with my boarding school friends. But this is not so much about the film it’s more about one of the songs of the film “Kal kya hoga kisko pata, abhi zindagi ka le lo maza”, which was a rage among kids who were about to enter their teens. I had long forgotten this song till I heard our former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speak last week in the Parliament and the song just came like a bolt from blue.

I don’t recall as when our former Prime Minister who is also a leading international economist spoke in Parliament but when he spoke we all listened. He made four key points during that speech which merits comment. He agreed with the demonetisation drive introduced by Prime Minister Modi as he couldn’t have said anything on contrary which would have meant disagreement on the issue of cleansing the scourge of black money from the system. But frankly speaking it didn’t say much.

While agreeing with the objective he described the demonetisation as a monumental mismanagement which could be understood by the way it was implemented as the whole exercise has so far been less than smooth and you cannot expect the major opposition leader to gloss over govt’s lapses in the planning and execution of remonetising the economy after scrapping the old high value currency in a single stroke.

The third key point in the former Prime Minister’s speech was very important as this is where Singh’s statement in the Rajya Sabha began unravelling the intricacies and cobwebs of demonetisation. He minced no words and made a frontal assault on Modi Govt by describing the current demonetisation drive as organised loot and legalised plunder. Now how otherwise you can explain the serpentine lines outside the lakhs of ATM and bank branches in the country jostling and fighting to get their legally hard earned money.

We don’t see those archetype hoarders of illegitimate or black money in the more popular lingo, standing in queues as it’s open secret that most of those big fishes with deep pockets had a prior info about this major policy decision of Modi govt and they already had parked their ill-gotten fortune in some other popular asset forms like gold and real estate. It’s also common knowledge that banks, petrol pumps, hospitals and jewellers in most of the places saw this demonetisation drive as once in a life time opportunity to make their millions and in that sense it is an organised loot and legalised plunder.

And finally, the former finance minister who also subsequently became the Prime Minister of India scoffed at the suggestion of Modi Govt that these setbacks are temporary as the long-term gains to the Indian economy would more than compensate the difficulty and turmoil faced by an ordinary citizen. Modi further said that he knew that people are facing inconvenience on account of shortages of cash but they need to bear it for another 50 days as things would dramatically improve after that. He needed to remind not only the fellow parliamentarians but the entire country that he was wasn’t just an ordinary politician but also an economist of international repute when he contemptuously made that famous quote of legendary economist John Maynard Keynes, “In the long run we are all dead.

Manmohan Singh was not haughtily disdainful or pointlessly silly when he made that comment as he didn’t quote Keynes out of context. He reminded the disruptive Prime Minister Modi by making that famous statement, “In the long run we are all dead”, and he tried to articulate the principle by which most of the governments lived all these decades. Being an ace economist Manmohan Singh knows a thing or two better than anybody that the current demonetisation is a death nail for the economy as it is almost impossible to turn the predominant cash-rich economy into a cashless economy overnight.

Even by conservative estimates the GDP will be hit by roughly 2 to 3 percent resulting in a massive hit of more than 4 lakh crore of rupees. The demonetisation has hit Indian economy across the sector resulting in losses of elephantine proportion in terms of business and man-hour losses. A large section of immigrant workforce depends on their daily wage payment and the demonetisation will have a disastrous effect on them. More than seventy people have perished since November 8 announcement and the current chaos is not helping either as people are fast losing their faith in the currency and banking system which will have a debilitating effect on the general well-being of country’s economy.

According to reliable sources the rating agencies have downgraded India’s rating in the light of the recent move by the NDA govt on making the economy cashless. By scrapping the high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in order to check the flow of black money, has led to a cash deficit situation and banks are struggling to replace the demonetised currency. The move could dent the consumption growth in Asia’s third-largest market which otherwise got a fillip after the bountiful monsoon. In the short term the black money present in the system would have also increased the consumption but now it will suddenly come to a halt.

The flow of hard currency has suddenly stopped which has also affected the manufacturing sector and the general economic activities have come down. According to Surajit Mazumdar, economist and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University warned that this will have a negative impact on the economy. Mr. Mazumdar said that areas such as informal credit sector will be immediately affected and once they are hit the ill effects remain for a longer period. For example if a producer or a manufacturer is not able to sell his product then he is unable to repay his debts which affects in settling his credit which hits him hard in the long run.

Modi has taken a gamble by making an effort to make the economy cashless and his leadership, his government’s and his party’s future is at stake by taking an unprecedented step which no other Prime Minister had dared to take in the past. Assembly elections are about to take place in Punjab, Goa and Uttar Pradesh and it will be interesting to see as how voters react to Modi’s historical but daring step, will they repose their confidence in Modi by voting for BJP to endorse his step of fixing the black money hoarders who got away with their misdeeds with impunity and that too for long. There is another possibility that they will like to reconsider their option after experiencing the disruption in economy which made their day to day life miserable. Instead of “In the end we are all dead” Manmohan Singh may have crooned.

Que sera, sera
whatever will be, will be
the future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
what will be, will be……


DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.


World gearing up for a third world war : UK warns of Russian threat




There is a growing unease in United States and Britain about Russia  progressing in achieving “Eurasian Union” of former Soviet republics along the lines of the European Union under Vladimir Putin. Britain has warned that Russia is the biggest threat to UK’s security since the end of the Cold War. Drawing similarities with the 1914 First World war, UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson has equated Moscow to North Korea after Russia has threatened to unleash nuclear war.

Due to the Russians’ presence in the Mediterranean region and the Kremlin’s “increased assertiveness,” it is time Britain gets stronger, he said. This comes just a week after Britain ordered ships to pass the disputed South China Sea, much closer to the Chinese coast than the white cliffs of Dover.

General Nicholas Carter has also warned that Britain will be unable to preempt or respond to Russian aggression unless its military capabilities are overhauled to match Moscow’s military capabilities. Since 2000, Putin has been Russia’s most powerful man after the resignation of Boris Yeltsin, holding positions of both prime minister and president and had been consistently working to achieve superpower status for Moscow and global hegemony equivalent to US.

The West became cautious of Puin moves after the Russian seizure of Crimea in March 2014, followed by its annexation. UK former defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon issued calls for increased defence spending, citing growing threats from Russia and cyber-attacks.

Fallon admitted that Britain has all the evidence of Putin’s intent to subvert western democracies, from the Netherlands to Montenegro, from Germany to even the United States.” “Through cyber, our enemies can target us anywhere on the planet: not only stealing our information, but exploiting us, coercing us, disrupting our energy supplies, our armaments, even our governments. Almost anybody can become a cyber-warrior: a laptop and some smart software can inflict enormous financial and physical damage on individuals and entire countries.”

To establish foothold in Middle East, Russia has significantly increased its military operations to Syria. Taking forward the geopolitical and ideological idea, Putin called for the Eurasian Movement of the Russian Federation, and said that there is a unique “Eurasian” civilization in Russia and its neighbors, distinct from both East and the West.

To pursue his goal, Putin clinched free trade pacts with countries to form Eurasian Union. The Russian leader is aggressively trying to achieve Eurasian integration process due to many common factors binding Russia and the European countries together : common history, geographical proximity, massive amounts of trade, etc. But confrontation is most likely between Russia and Europe.

The tensions between Russia and the West escalated after Russia air force purchased 10 of the strategic TU-160M nuclear bombers, code named Blackjacks by NATO. The TU-160M worth 15 billion rubles ($269 million) is capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles or 12 short-range nuclear missiles and can fly 7,500 miles non-stop without refuelling. US, UK and Europe are worried over Putin standing for re-election on March 18 – a poll showing he is likely to win.

Russia has deployed over 330,000 soldiers on its western border while NATO has stationed biggest military build-up on Moscow’s borders since the cold war. Moreover, Russia carried out simulated attack exercises across northern Europe, from Kaliningrad to Lithuania, as part of a new tactic in exploiting the gray areas between peace and war.

Talking about the military hardware, Britain fighter jets are stationed in Romania, US tanks, troops, artillery has been deployed in Poland to counter the Russian warships armed with cruise missiles in Baltic Sea.

An armada of Russian ships from the Baltic Fleet have been dispatched from Baltiysk naval base, in Kaliningrad Oblast, for large scale military exercises. Sweden, whose eastern coast borders the Baltic Sea, is issuing the advise for the first time since 1961 – the height of the Cold War.

U.S. National Security Strategy released by Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster states Russia and China are “revisionist” powers, genuine geopolitical rivals to the United States that “challenge American power, influence and interests,” while “attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”

Russia military has been deeply engaged in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine since April 2014, where fighting has claimed 10,000 lives. The United States, European Union and other Western countries are continuing to put political and economic pressure on the Kremlin. Putin’s Russia is active today. “Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine—he is either trying to get those countries back into his realm .

Washington approved for the first time lethal weapons sales to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed militias and the announcement of a new U.S. sanctions list that targets Russians such as the Kremlin-appointed strongman in Chechnya.

Russia denounced the American strategy document as an “imperialist” relic of a delusional superpower that persisted in acting unilaterally on the world stage.


By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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Royal Orchid announces the opening of group’s newest hotel in Nashik




 Royal Orchid Hotels, the fastest growing hospitality chain in India today announced the opening of its new hotel in Nashik named ‘Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village’. Nashik popularly known as the wine capital of the country has gained immense popularity among the tourist in India.

Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village, with 32 rooms offers boutique accommodation with varied dining and banquet facilities. The glorious property will give travelers a mesmerizing experience and contemporary luxury.

On-site amenities at the hotel include a completely refreshed restaurant, a winery, a state-of-the-art fitness center and outdoor pool, as well as a business centre, and spa services. The hotel has a wide range of facilities that let the guests choose from various room categories designed in keeping the touch of the city with elegance and relaxing atmosphere.

Located in the northern part of the state of Maharashtra, Nashik is developing as a lively city with a blend of the ancient and modern touches attracting tourists from across the country. The city has numerous forts, temples, historic sites as well as a home to industries. The city offers green pastures, mountains and tours of the wine yard.

The most important attraction of the city includes Vineyards and Hindu temples situated in and around Nashik. May it be an important corporate event or a business meet or a simple getaway to explore nature and feel the essence of spirituality, Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village allows enormous options to its guests. The guests can experience the beauty and culture of Nasik just by availing one of the several facilities that the hotel provides to its patrons.

Chander K. Baljee, Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotels said, “The hotel is the perfect complement to our recently refreshed Regenta portfolio of hotels across India. We are taking continuous steps towards expanding our presence all over India. The new hotel in Nasik is one such move towards achieving our aim. The government push toward tourism sector is giving us the much needed enthusiasm to go aggressive in adding new properties to our bouquet. Going forward we will continue to add more properties to both-explored and unexplored tourist destinations”

By now we have added eight properties – Mysore, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, Kanpur, Dwarka, Indore, Pushkar and now Nasik in the current fiscal year taking the number to 49 hotels. We will continue our efforts in expanding our presence all over India”.

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Nationalism of Narendra Modi is under question



The economic bungling by Jeweller Nirav Modi, Business tycoon Vijay Mallya  and Lalit Modi has put a serious  question mark on the nationalism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His conspicuous silence on  India’s largest banking fraud to the tune of Rs 11,400-crore and still counting is shocking as he repeatedly claimed to have won the huge mandate on the basis of giving achhe din to the people of India but crony capitalists have escaped India with taxpayers’ money and there is no clarification from Narendra Modi who has taken the voter for a ride.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi  to speak on  the Nirav Modi and Rafale scams rather than seeking suggestions for his Mann Ki Baat programme from the general public.

The intentions of Modi government are also conspicuous when the central government  opposed a plea seeking an independent Special Investigation team ( SIT )probe and deportation of billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi in the Supreme Court,citing an FIR has already been filed and that a probe was on.

The Supreme Court has already admitted the PIL, filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud and has now been listed for further hearing on March 16.The PIL has made Punjab National Bank, Reserve Bank of India and the ministries of finance and law and justice as parties.

Modi has been touring the world citing that his government is enhancing the status of India as an investor friendly country and where there is an ease of doing business. On the contrary, his reforms of demonetisation and GST has benefitted selected Business people having links with the ruling party and crony capitalists and general public has been made to bear the burnt. The economic frauds have dented the image of India globally and these types of  incidents would amplify questions about distress in the country’s financial sector reeling under bad loans.

What type of image is being projected when the  picture in which billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is seen with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Davos where the 48th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum took place  from 23 to 26 January 2018. The summit was attended by world’s leading figures .

On January 31, PNB filed a case of “criminal conspiracy and cheating” against the gem trader, members of his family and others two weeks ago alleging a 2.8 billion indian rupee ($44m) fraud.

The Modi government is busy creating eyewash by deploying agencies to probe the scandal  and the Central Bureau of Investigation  on Tuesday arrested five senior executives in connection with the multi-crore PNB fraud including Vipul Ambani (President, Finance, Firestar International/Diamonds group), Kavita Mankikar (executive assistant and authorised signatory of 3 accused firms), Arjun Patil (senior executive, Firestar group), Kapil Khandelwal (CFO, Nakshatra and Gitanjali group) and Niten Shahi (Manager, Gitanjali).

Modi asked people of India in 2014 to vote out corrupt UPA regime then how he and his government is defending the scandals that have occurred under his tenure of just four years . Modi is even trying to bring back the culprits to India .

The question should be asked to the ministers of Modi government what type of nationalism they carry with them when they do not value the life of Indian citizens ,when Dalits are being thrashed ,security personnel get killed on the border when our ruling political class provokes the enemy country just to showoff the Indian voter (woo voters) that they are superior than other political parties. Modi should have strengthened  the country militarily, economically and cohesively as an answer to the huge mandate given by the voters on trust.


By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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