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Atal Bihari Vajpayee critical; prayers pour in from across parties

Arti Ghargi

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Prime minister Narendra Modi along with various other BJP leader visited AIIMS and enquired about the health of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) on Thursday released the latest health bulletin on the medical situation of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

According to the released statement, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s condition continues to remain the same.

The 93-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party leader was admitted at the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion. “Unfortunately, his condition has worsened. His condition is critical and he is on a life-support system,” the AIIMS had said in the statement last night.

Prime minister Narendra Modi along with various other BJP leader visited AIIMS and enquired about the health of the veteran BJP leader. Senior BJP leader LK Advani and daughter Pratibha Advani on Thursday morning arrived at AIIMS to inquire about his health.

Speaking to media, Kanti Mishra, niece of Vajpayee said, I have been praying to god that just once I can see him give a speech again. Our family can never ever erase that image of his from our minds. I hope he gets well soon.

The prayers have started pouring in for the former PM.

Sachin Sawant, MPCC GS:

Triple talaq

“He has been a charismatic leader, respected among all the section of the society and also by the opposition. He always maintained a decorum, maintained a status of his post. Although as opposition parties we have had ideological differences regarding governmental policies as a person and as a leader of integrity everyone respects him and will continue to do so. He will always remain as an ICON for generations & political aspirants. I still admire his speeches, even when he criticized us, we as a party had always welcomed his views and saw it as a healthy criticism.”

Gajanand Kirtikar, Shivsena MP:

Sangli

“When he was actively involved in politics, we were actually together as a party (referring to the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition). There were few occasion in my political life that I could share the same stage as Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji while he was addressing us in a party meeting in Mumbai, the feeling was similar to that when I shared a stage with Mr. Bala Saheb Thakre.”

Nawab Malik, NCP Spokesperson:

Triple Talaq

“We pray that God gives him a long life, we pray that he gets better soon. We as a party send him regards for his early recovery. As a Former Prime Minister of this country, He has been a phenomenal orator, good poet & he has always followed the right Dharma also guiding & encouraging his party me to follow right Dharma.”

Naseer Al Zakaria, Congress Spokesperson:

Umar khalid

“I met him in person thrice in his house and he has always been hospitable. In fact few years back, when I was representing the government of India in Washington DC, at that time Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji was visiting New York as a leader to the Indian Delegation in the United States., he has always shown keen interest in the International affairs so I happen to call him but he was not available to take the call so I left a voicemail & I was amazed after coming in afternoon I received a call from him in my office we discussed issues of importance to India and the United States. During this time, he was the leader of the opposition but it shows one’s good character how warm and respectful he is towards to even a very ordinary person and that to someone from an opposition party that memory hinders in my mind.”

“At two occasions we met in his residence, he was very warm & hospitable and we had again met during a Parliamentary committee meeting on external affairs, he spoke on the importance of Indo-US relations, he guided, this was before he had become the Prime Minister of India. Congress party is really concerned about his health; we are praying for his well-being but in those days one party remark that BJP under the leadership of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a BJP that was accepted by the entire nation but today’s BJP under the leadership of Mr. Modi is highly unacceptable to the people of India. Mr. Modi should learn something from him.”

 

D Raja, Rajya Sabha MP, CPI:

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Image Source: Web

“He is one of the senior most politicians that we have in our country. He was actively involved in politics for over 6 decades, for past few years he has not been keeping well and today he is struggling for his life, his condition is reported to be very critical so we wish & hope that he survives this crisis & recover very soon. Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is one of the most respected politicians by all sight, though we as two different parties had ideological differences, but at the same time, he respected views of the left. As a political activist he has always valued & respected the views of other parties, there have been instances when the media speculated that he is the right person in the wrong party.”

HW Reacts

Should we be excited about the 8.2% GDP growth?

Arti Ghargi

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Should we really be excited about the 8.2% GDP growth? HW News brings you reactions from across party lines and experts.

 

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for the first quarter (April – June) of the fiscal year 2018-19 surged to a more than two-year high of 8.2 per cent, government data showed on Friday. The gross value added (GVA) growth rate for the said quarter came at 8 per cent. The GVA gives a picture of the state of economic activity from the producers’ side or supply side, as opposed to GDP which gives the picture of the consumers’ side or demand perspective. The GDP growth rate in the last quarter was 7.7 per cent while that in the first quarter of the previous financial year (2017-18) stood at 5.59 per cent.

Speaking on the GDP numbers, economic affairs secretary SC Garg told news agency ANI, “Economic performance is back to very normal. We had over 8% of quarterly growth last time in the first quarter of 2016-17. Now after 8 quarters, we are at 8.2%. From 8.1% we have come to 8.2% which signals economic growth now on a steady high growth path.”

However, the former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that the GDP numbers are just stats while rupee value tumbling to 70 is the reality.  So, should we really be excited about the 8.2% GDP growth? HW News brings you reactions from across party lines and experts:

Sunil Shah, Market Expert:

Demonetization

“I would have a balanced reaction because this is a year-on-year number. If you see, this is year on year number and last quarter was 5.7% so it has grown on a narrow base. At the same time, what is happening is manufacturing activity has picked up. The service sector has been a laggard. Ultimately, service has to do very well. Manufacturing, of course, has to do well but I won’t be over-excited because if you see the corresponding number of the last year’s first quarter was 5.7% so it was already on narrow base. Still, it is a good number and it shows that may be, there are headpins in the form of last year what was the crude oil prices around this time, what was the dollar rate at this time, so now where have we been the whole year, whether we can grow at these numbers. the last years second, a third and fourth quarter had higher growth than this first quarter. I would say yes, the number is satisfactory but I would not be very excited about it.

Vishwas Utagi, Vice President, All India Bank Employee Association:

demonetization

“This 8.2% figure is only for tree months i.e April, May and June of 2018. It is based on the basic figures of 2017. The base price was 5.3% and from there it is compared. This comparison will not last long even in perhaps the first quarter. Increase in the manufacturing IIP which has gone up. But then for the first time, it has come so it is okay, it is good. But then the prices which have been compared is not proper. Ultimate nine quarters the GDP was going down but in this quarter it has come up. That does not mean that the GDP is growing and the way it is put in the media, which is even crossing China’s, is something ridiculous. Chinese Economy is four times bigger than the Indian Economy. Basically, the GDP calculation methods have changed since 2014 and in that context, this 8.2% will be  2% less than it will be 6.2% in the real terms but then still the manufacturing industry has improved. This is a good time, but that does not mean that there will be continues GDP growth because already all the indicators are very very marginal and some are very negative. In that context, there cannot be any referring to that. In this context, one has to understand that the Rupee has become very weak and though we have a lot of formations, still the RBI is not intervening into reverse the slide of the Rupee because these are the consents of the Export and Import trade. So when we say that the GDP is growing at the same time all the weakenings are in Import and Export trade and the currency fluctuations and secondly the market which is showing almost 38,000+. Nothing is matching with each other. So, these are all aberrations.”

Akhilesh Bhargava, Business Editor, HW News:

“It is good that the GDP growth has come to 8.2% in this quarter, the quarter ended in June 2018. But it does not mean that the entire year we are going to witness this kind of growth above 8%. the reason for that is there are a lot of challenges on the economic front. The first is weakening Rupee, which has been weakening fueling inflation, combined with that GDP growth down the line is bound to be impacted. The next one, which is a factor on the horizon is that the fiscal deficit has been rising. the government has already spent its entire fiscal deficit for twelve months in these very four months. The space to spend is not there. the growth has been driven by the space in India by spending in India in last twelve months in particular. if the government is not able to spend because of fiscal deficit you again have a situation where the growth will temper down. the last one on the horizon which is completely unknown which is, what will happen with Trump China trade wars, how it is going to impact India, how will it impact India’s growth and how will it impact our inflation. These factors are going to determine the trend of economic growth in the next at least three more quarters. so will the same growth statistic come in the next quarter end and thereafter we don’t think so.  but in what range would it be in that case, we think it would be in the range of  7 to 7.5% plus * seems to be on the higher end.”

Madhav Bhandari, BJP Spokesperson: 

Sangli
“Definitely, it is a good news. In a global perspective, it is a new record where other major economies have been declining and we are growing at a good speed. For me it is a good news and sustaining this speed is a necessity and I am sure the government will be successful in this respect.”

 

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HW Reacts

Is the arrest of five activists justified or not?

Arti Ghargi

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activists

The question is whether the arrest of these activists are justified or not. HW News brings you reaction from across party lines:

 

The Maharashtra Police today revealed the connection between the Maoist group and arrested activists on Tuesday planning to overthrow the Narendra Modi government. Pune police on Tuesday during raids at various parts of the country arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, and P Varavara Rao in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence in January. The police had alleged the arrested activists have links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Addressing a Press Conference,  PB Singh, ADG Law and Order said, the arrested activists played an active and crucial role in a conspiracy by Maoist organizations to overthrow the lawfully established Indian government using weapons procured from Russia and China. Displaying letters allegedly exchanged by some of the arrested activists PB Singh said that the evidence collected so far clearly establishes links of arrested activists with Maoist organisations.

Maharashtra Police

Reading out the contents of a letter written by one of the accused to Varvara Rao, PB Singh read, “Due to enemy’s decision to impose demonetisation, we haven’t been able to help comrades in Gadchiroli and Chhattisgarh… please don’t misunderstand me. Bhima Koregaon agitation has been successful. The unfortunate death of a youth must be exploited. The riots were effective and we should mobilise the Dalit population against the rising brahmin-centred agenda of the BJP.”

However, on the other hand, several intellectuals and activists have come out in support of the arrested human rights activists and lawyers saying the arrest is an attempt to suppress dissent. The Supreme Court in a hearing on Wednesday had ordered that all these five activists should be kept under house arrest till 6 September and observed that the “dissent is a safety valve of democracy”.

Now, the question is whether the arrest of these activists are justified or not. HW News brings you reaction from across party lines:

Anwar Rajan, Member, PUCL:

activists

“There may be an inquiry but before the inquiry, the arrest is not justifiable. If you find any proof then there is a chance to arrest but before that, it is not justifiable. We have to clearly put some proof that it is a conspiracy or these are the proofs. this is not at all justifiable. I don’t know if this decision is from police or its the government’s decision. It may be the decision of the government because there was a discussion going on, on Sanatan Sanstha people’s hand in the killings of Dabholkar, Pansare and so on. So, I think the present government, it is BJP and Sangh Parivar, they want to divert the people’s attention towards some other issue and it may be the reason that they created this type of issues and then the arrest.”

 

D Raja, CPI MP:

activists

“It is police who alleged the charges, why should one believe polices version. People should look at the truth and these are all well-known activists and everybody knows about them. Where is the evidence? police have not produced any evidence, that is why we are strong on reservations. It is nothing but an action by the Maharashtra police and the government to intimidate the activists. It is also an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the failure of Maharastra government and Maharastra police not taking any action against Sanatan Sanstha. Why did they not arrest the culprits in the perceived matter? So the government cannot resort to such arbitrary arrests of the activists just to intimidate everybody in the country.”

“Those who are critical of the government, those who question the government, they are all being intimidated. Even the Supreme court has taken note of that and it has said that dissent is a part of our democracy and they cannot be put in a police custody like this. This is what one should try to understand. There is also a growing assertion of the Dalits in the country because there is an increase in the attacks on Dalits and their constitutional rights, democratic rights. What happened in Maharashtra, Bhima Koregaon, who should be held responsible for this? Maharashtra police should answer, Maharashtra government should answer. Instead of taking any credible action against those people who resorted to violence and planned such an attack on Dalits. Now the government is trying to intimidate all activists by arresting them.”

 

PK Jain, Ex-IPS officer:

activists

“As a police officer, I would say that it is too early to say whether it is justified or not. The police have found the letters, sometime in the month of June or so, they have worked on that information for the next two months. It is September now. In the last week of August, they have made the arrest or detention, whatever it was. That means they have worked on the information for two months. They must have got something in their hands which I am not aware of, which you are not aware of. So they must have made the arrest on some basis. It is very difficult for me to comment on whether it was justified or not but what I presume as an Ex-Police officer is that the arrest would be based on some information available with the police and let the law take its own course. Let them take it to its logical conclusion.”

 

Vishwajeet Kumar, General Secretary, AISF:

activists

“It automatically reveals a serious situation prevailing in the country. An anonymous letter comes for the prime minister stating that he will be killed. There is no fact and explanation about it. However, such kind of police action is very unfortunate. This move is taking the country towards the dark history. It shows that our government has become absolutely fascist. We are completely against it. A kind of atmosphere is being created where those keeping the books of Karl Marx are termed Naxalite or Maoist. There is a conspiracy to end the education, dialogue, debate and dissent within the country, but the public will not accept it. The end of all things is certain, the public is getting up. At present, they have the power of media and wealth and all the powers in their hands, due to which they are seen in front, but this will change after a few days.”

 

 

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Has demonetization served its purpose?

Arti Ghargi

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demonetization

Has Modi government’s claim of black money being reduced turned out to be hollow? Moreover, has demonetization served its purpose?

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its annual report of 2017-18 on Wednesday claimed that about 99.3 per cent of the total demonetised high-value notes have returned back to the banking system.

Addressing the media on the annual report, Economic Affairs Secretary SC Garg said, “Out of Rs 15.41 lakh crore which were in circulation when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of high-value notes of 500 and 1000 on November 8, 2016, Rs 15.31 lakh crore worth notes were returned to the banking system”. The released data clearly states that 10,720 crores worth notes have not yet returned back to the banking system.

MK jain

Garg further informed that the government has successfully achieved the intended objectives of demonetisation which included curbing black money and terror financing and promoting digital payments. Speaking about the cost of printing new notes post-demonetisation, RBI informed that during 2016-17 it spent around 7965 crores on the printing of new 500 and 1000 rupee notes while it was earlier about Rs 3,421 crore in the previous years. In 2017-18 the RBI spent another Rs 4,912 crore on the printing of the notes.

Speaking on the counterfeit currency, RBI said the fake notes detected in Specified Bank Notes (SBNs) decreased by 59.7 and 59.6 per cent. RBI further added that the counterfeit notes detected in the new  500 and 2,000 notes during 2017-18 were 9892 and 17929, against 199 and 638 respectively in 2016-17.

With 99.3% of banned currency coming back to the system and only 0.7% leaving out of it, has Modi government’s claim of black money being reduced turned out to be hollow? Moreover, has demonetization served its purpose? HW News brings you reactions from across the party lines:

 

 

Anand Sharma, Congress Working Committee member:

demonetization

“It vindicates the position that the Congress party and the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had taken at their time that the deficient to demonetize Rs. 500 and Rs.1000. notes withdrawing almost 15 and a half Lakh Crores was a disastrous decision and all the reasons which were given by the Prime Minister to justify the reckless actions which inflicted enormous damage on the Indian economy  have proven to be false or wrong. It was people’s money and Prime Minister had said the action was to curb black counterfeit currency and terror funding. The first fact is that the money is back, the cash was lying with the people and he had, in that process, defamed our citizens. It also presented a bad image of the Indian economy to the country as if it was run on black money. Even the 10,000 odd crore which will not come back perhaps that is the money or currency which is with Bhutan and in Nepal and some with the Indian citizens who were not able to return, it was not Black Money.”

“Second, this was not people’s money which was used on terrorism because terrorist were found with the new Rs.2000 currency notes in crores within ten days or two weeks of the demonetisation in encounters with Pampore and other places. Third, the new 2000 rupee notes were counterfeited and what is important is that the RBI report also says that there is a constant decline when it comes to the counterfeit currency, they have given the numbers. The numbers are coming down. Earlier also it was left in .004% that was the counterfeit currency if you go by the numbers. So there you will see the justification for doing what the Prime Minister did.”

“We ended up losing 1.5% of our GDP. Almost 15 crore people those who were daily wage earners, daily income earners went jobless their incomes were hit, factories were shut down, almost one-third of the MSME’s in the country and the workers returned to their villages. So, that is the damage of which no compensation is there. Hundred and forty Indian citizens or more died standing in the queues and the Prime Minister should apologize to the people for a wrong decision. It was not only wrong, it was also a cruel decision because Millions and Millions of our citizens for forty days or more were lined up outside the banks. No work was happening but that was also a loss to the Economy because people were lined up outside the ATM’s, outside the banks begging for their own money. they were starved of their own money which was legitimate money lying in their own bank accounts. These are the questions which have come up and it exposes the Prime Ministers wrong decision, it was arbitrary. It should not have happened.”

Akhilesh Bhargava, Business Editor, HW News:

Nitin Gadkari

“The entire exercise of demonetization that the Reserve Bank has come out with the figures that 99.3% of the currency was deposited finally is back with the banks makes it a mega failure. It makes it a mega failure for various reasons. The government’s primary purpose and what they had said in that point in time that almost 5 Lakh currency will not come back into the system and will be cancelled on its own never worked out. So, the primary objective is defeated. All the other reasons why we are saying that it was a success are secondary reasons which are being pulled out because the primary purpose is lost.”

“We need to also be mindful of the fact that the government incurred a huge cost in printing new currency which was in the range of about 15 thousand crores, so the old currency which was withdrawn we have put in new currency at a cost of 15 thousand crores. All the hardships that the informal sectors particularly the small traders, small businessmen have suffered and the workers who have suffered, the daily wage labourers not just in cities also in the rural sector, their hardship was enormous. They suffered for a few months but when you look at this entire event, it was dreadful.”

Sunil Shah, Market Expert:

Demonetization
“We can say that the whole reason for that was to clean the system and to see to it that the counterfeits get out of it which was a huge number, that has been achieved. The counterfeit notes of the previous currency were the biggest menace and that was one of the reasons that he( Prime Minister, Narendra Modi) introduced this(demonetisation). It has served limited objective. The overall work that they wanted, eradication of black money does not seem like happening because so many money has come back but when it comes to stopping the major three issues one of which was terror funding, there they have achieved success because after the demonetization the terrorist activities went down. The second was counterfeit notes which were taken out of the system, these objectives were achieved. Thirdly, black money  is something which they could not achieve. These are the three things.”

Vishwas Utagi, Vice President, All India Bank Employees Association:

demonetization
“In the demonetization process, all the notes have come back. The RBI was estimating 3 lakh crores will not come back, but now the reality is all the money has come back. Not a single reason for which demonetization was carried out was fulfilled. The derivative tax is increasing. The black money sources are more now, the figures are very clear. Till now 99.3% currency notes have come back. My contention is, the cash in co-operative banks is not considered. If it is considered then it will go 100 plus. This is mind-boggling. Because co-operative banks were excluded from demonetisation right up to June 2017. That means RBI’s estimation is a complete failure and the government’s claims are totally false. It is a big disaster in the Indian economy. The economy has lost the GDP of 1.5% in this entire process.”

Madhav Bhandari, BJP Spokesperson:
Sangli

“In my opinion, it has served its purpose because the currency has come back, reckoning currency has been accounted. The entire currency had come to the merriment, it has come into the tax net also. It has served its purpose of fighting black money. Because of this move three to four lakh accounts had submitted more than 10 lakh rupees in their accounts. They have been questioned, they have been scrutinized and they had to clear their source, assets and this is the real black money which was stored in these accounts due to which the black money  has been unearthed and it is a fact. The earlier government has admitted that counterfeit currency has been entered in our nation. This counterfeit currency has entered into our nation cross-border so the nations which are inciting terrorism in our country they were fueling terrorism with the counterfeit currency. This stand was also taken by the earlier government because of this move(Demonetization) that counterfeit currency has been negated and has helped a lot to counter terrorism it has served the purpose to a great extent.”

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