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Beyond silencing critics

Most of critics are politicians and economists for whom everything that Prime Minister Narendra Modi does is questionable

Business Standard 

With reference to “Demonetisation: Evaluating the critics” (November 13) by Arvind Panagariya, the article was necessary to dispel the misconceived notions about the effects of demonetisation, but it is not sufficient to silence all its critics. Critics who have objective doubts based on their data would consider the author’s comments as an impetus to review their inference.

However, most of critics are politicians and economists for whom everything that does is questionable. They would need more proof. This would come or not come, depending on the follow-up action that the government takes, and takes persistently. Thus, the government has claimed in a recent advertisement that 17.73 lakh cases of cash deposits did not match the tax profiles and that cash deposits of Rs 3.68 lakh crore from 23.22 lakh accounts were suspect. Quick pursuit of these cases by the tax departments, beginning with high-amount accounts, would help in acknowledging the government’s resolve. Similarly, quick action in accordance with the bankruptcy code and hot pursuit of high-value benami transactions are required — particularly in real estate in big cities.

It will be the speed and objectivity with which the central government prioritises and pursues the cases of suspects with high stakes that will convince the people also. The income tax department and other agencies in charge of collecting dues will have to be staffed by honest officials so that delays do not contribute to protecting the corrupt. Speed and timing is crucial from the political angle also. The poor and the middle class have tolerated the inconvenience and loss of earning caused by because of the promise for fair returns to them in the form of various benefits. If the government fails in this regard, the political cost of will be very high.

Y G Chouksey, Pune
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First Published: Mon, November 13 2017. 22:35 IST