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Govt paper far from white

At a time when there is growing public resentment over corruption and generation of unaccounted wealth that gets stashed in tax havens, the government's so-called White Paper on black money neither sheds new light nor offers any concrete action plan to deal with the problem. The entire exercise, undertaken with the sole aim of fulfilling an assurance given to Parliament to table such a document in this session, smacks of an attempt at obfuscation.  

The same casualness is evident in the way estimates of illicit capital outflows from India, made by the likes of Global Financial Integrity (GFI), is dealt with. These estimates largely compare officially recorded exports/imports of goods from/into India with the corresponding figures reported by the countries to/from which they are being shipped, with the difference being recognised as capital flight.

Clearly, the government can't have it both ways. If the size of the problem is not as large as the neutral estimates make it out to be, the government should not cite the large inflow of FDI as proof that black money has come into India. One would obviously look for much more than such broad conjectures or inanities about the need to create awareness about a “complex socio-economic problem” in a White Paper. 

S C DHALL, Zirakpur


While the UPA hardly has any other more effective option than offering one-time amnesty scheme for tax evaders to encourage disclosures and recover tax, the initiative must be applauded in the larger interest of improving economic health of the exchequer.

The scheme to implement a gold deposit plan can prove beneficial to stop accumulation of black money. There is no need to let wealth in the hands of a selected few remain unutilised just because they are afraid of disclosing it. One does hope the amnesty schemes include investors having cash or gold deposits abroad too. In a free economy, there should be no limits on cash holdings. On the contrary if the government encourages banks to offer competitive interest rates on fixed deposits over three months at rate equivalent to those offered by Public Provident Fund or similar schemes which is close to 7 or 8 per cent, most of the black money stashed by hoarders will surface out in banks leading to a better access to the overall parallel black economy for higher rates of growth.

A no objection certificate from the Income Tax Department has created another impediment. There should be no cap on the number of bank accounts, rather all the accounts should be interlinked for better overall assessment of an individual’s deposits by the government. Reducing the number of bank accounts will also encourage holding up of black money in sources not easily traceable.


Kashmiri Pandits

The statement of the Corps Commander as mentioned in the news report “Time ripe for return of Kashmiri Pandits to Valley: Corps Commander” (May 21), however well meant, does not augur well with the Kashmiri Pandits. What was the Army doing when the hapless Pandits were being hounded out two decades ago?

As a Kashmiri Pandit, I am curious to know the benchmark achievement that oozes so much of optimism about Kashmiri Pandits’ return knowing well they were brutally targeted as they were seen symbolising Indian presence in Kashmir and that they practised a different faith? Not a single case of rape, individual or mass murder like Wandhama or Nadimarg, has ever been pursued and the perpetrators who deserve to be tried for crimes against humanity roam free masquerading as ‘politicians’.

Is it a ploy to test the worthiness of the much-acclaimed ‘normalcy’ in the Valley? Or is it part of the state design to ensure a token presence of Kashmiri Pandits at a time when speculations are ripe that the pliable Indian state is ready with the ‘out of box’ Kashmir solution that is likely to reverse India’s constitutional clock vis- a- vis Kashmir by six decades to placate the Kashmiri Islamists? Or is it both?

Let it be known that no Kashmiri Pandit worth his salt will ever compromise on his intrinsic Indianness. Can the Army guarantee that Kashmiri Pandits will have full freedom to wear their Indianness on their chests as they do proudly in their exile?



Indian Urdu writers

The HRD Minister has appointed a committee to look into all aspects of offensive material in NCERT textbooks. Very few people know that apart from English and Hindi books, NCERT also prepares textbooks in Urdu. Surprisingly, a number of Pakistani poets and writers write for these books.

To name only a few, there is Nasser Qazmi, a poet whose anti-India jingoism was broadcast on Radio Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pak war; Mushtaq Ahmad Yusafi whose anti-India writing is well-known; Faiz Ahmad Faiz whose poetry collections were published as a Pakistani citizen, except ‘Naqsh-e-Faryadi’.

In one of the NCERT’s Urdu textbooks of higher secondary level there is Faiz. but no Firaq.

Why should our children be forced to read Pakistani poets while there is no dearth of Urdu poets and writers in India?

Interestingly, Urdu is being neglected in Pakistan on the plea that it is an Indian language. Is there any Urdu writer from India prescribed in the textbooks of Pakistan?




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