As I See It With Sanjeev Srivastava | Here’s Our Editor’s Take On Day’s Top Stories Only On Edit Platter.
It’s almost quarter to 9 am and Delhi remains under dense fog conditions. Operations at the Delhi Airport were temporarily suspended early in the morning with the fog bringing visibility to below 50 metres. Our editor is optimistic the flights would be able to resume their operations in a few hours as the fog gives way to sunny and clear skies. But what of another dense fog that has engulfed the whole country? It’s payday today i.e. December 1 and people are standing in serpentine lines to withdraw their salaries. Some people have raised a valid question over reports that the government is going to pay salaries to its employees in cash. Will it not be a discrimination against the private sector employees?
Salaries have been credited to accounts but people are finding it hard to withdraw their hard-earned money. Economic Times reports banks reeling from cash crunch resulting from the government’s sudden decision to withdraw notes of higher denominations faced the ire of people standing in serpentine queues to withdraw cash on Wednesday after November salaries were credited to their accounts. There is a similar report in The Indian Express as well.
In the metros, banks quickly run out of cash, ATMs go dry within hours and people come back home after wasting their productive hours waiting in long queues. RBI officials say the panicked citizens are withdrawing as much cash as possible and then hoarding it in view of future exigencies. As a result, the money is not coming back to the system, leading to a situation where the banks are facing an acute shortage of cash. Our editor is of the view that people should withdraw only the required money and also spend according to their needs to help bring back normalcy in the system. However, the people standing in queues might not appreciate the suggestion.
Our editor shares an interesting statistics received in a Whatsapp message with regard to the demonetisation. On the day when the notes ban was announced i.e. November 8 banks had total 4 lakh crore bills. As they keep majority of their legal tenders in higher denominations, they must be having around 3 and a half lakh crore rupees in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Now total higher denominations bills in circulation were 17 and a half lakh crore rupees out of which 3 and a half crore was already with the banks. According to the RBI, 9 lakh crore rupees have already been deposited in the banks which leaves only 2 and a half crore rupees left with the people with a month to go when the deadline ends. There are many people who have not even deposited their cash as they are waiting for thinning out of the queues.
What will be the consequences if more than 14 and a half crore rupees are deposited in the banks with a month to go? It may not happen but if it does the government’s math could go awfully wrong.
Meanwhile, US president-elect Donald Trump – a business tycoon – has sought to put to rest growing worries over his conflicts of interest around the globe by declaring that he would soon leave his “great business in total” to focus on the presidency as it is a “far more important task” and make a formal announcement on December 15, Washington Post reports.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has raised valid questions over his decision, asking if Trump hands over his business to his children, will there be no conflict of interest. The OGE offers a solution to this issue, asking the president-elect to sell off all his businesses. Our editor doubts trump would do it; he is likely to find a way out of this, for at the end of the day he is a big businessman and he is going to run the country like a businessman. Therefore, the OGE’s objections would not matter much in his scheme of things. But for the world and people of the United States, it could a major issue. To put this in perspective, Trump has business interests in as many as 18 countries.
Another issue that hogs today’s headlines is the Supreme Court’s ruling that “all the cinema halls in India shall play the national anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem” as a part of their “sacred obligation”.
Indian Express in its editorial today has slammed the ruling opining that forcing someone to play — or to hear — the national anthem is an insult to its very idea and promise. It is an especially chilling moment when the Supreme Court curbs individual freedom in the name of nationalism. Our editor seconds the views expressed in the editorial. People go to theaters for entertainment and it does not make any sense in enforcing such regulations there. We are a democracy that respects freedom of expression. No one should be compelled to prove their patriotism in this manner.
In the US, Trump has called for punishment of those people who burn the American flag but the US Supreme Court has ruled in the past that people even have the right to burn the flag as a mark of their protest. In response to Trump’s tweet, some Americans even brunt their flags outside the Trump tower and other parts of the country. Does that make them anti-nationals? Indian Express has called upon the SC bench to revisit an earlier judgement of the court that defended the right of three school children who refused to sing the national anthem citing religious reasons. It’s unfortunate that a respected institution like the Supreme Court has failed to correctly interpret the Constitution and sought to promote a misguided sense of patriotism through its ruling.
Source - Sanjeev Srivastava / Edit Platter