Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Critics of Demonetization must come up with Substantial arguments

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference: 
A friend linked an article on EPW (Economics and Politics Weekly) that said “Demonetisation — Modi Digs a Ditch for the BJP”. He sought out data related counter-points to this article. At first, I was reluctant to read through the article given how old and blatant lies were being used to lay the foundation for this. However, I realized that I shouldn’t have snapped out on a friend I respect a lot, and decided to write the counter he sought for it. So here goes the rebuttal.
"As I write, 70 deaths have already been reported."
This lie has been perpetrated endlessly by the media. I'd understand politicians wanting to do it (latest count of politicians is 100+ deaths), but I can't fathom why the media is doing this. Is their hatred for one man so high, that they wouldn't shamelessly use unfortunate deaths like this? This article counters this propaganda in as much detail as possible. Even after resorting to such cheap tactics, the English media continues to wonder why they are called as Newstraders. I wonder why they can’t grasp such simple things!
"The harshest comment, however, has come from Manmohan Singh".
Let's leave aside the plunder he has presided upon and just take a look at the article he wrote. The article had a lot of good English and very few data points. No one has ever said "All cash is black money", but Man Mohan Singh decides to propagate yet another lie on this front. He goes on to write that nearly 60 crore people don't have access to banking, as if it is a big badge of honour. The number of people who don't have access to banking has drastically come down since Jan Dhan scheme became a reality. At another point, Dr, Manmohan Singh asserts that "only a tiny fraction of black money is in cash". Here’s a basic question - What is the definition of "tiny fraction"? Dr. Bibek Debroy has written a detailed rebuttal to this piece in The Hindu. Suffice it to say that the article answers all queries posed by Dr. Manmohan Singh.
"All the pre-election promises remain undelivered, and most of his actions, including the so-called surgical strike, have flopped".
To counter this loaded statement would require multiple articles. The author seems to know we don't have the luxury of countering it with multiple articles. But I will link just one article in The Hindu, published as part of the 2 year anniversary of this government. As of May 2016, 18% of promises were fulfilled. A whopping 52% were in progress, meaning work has already begun on them. However, this statistic is very inconvenient to these op-ed writers! 
Next, when the author says "so called surgical strike have flopped", not only is he parroting AAP’s ridiculous claims, but he is also demeaning the efforts of the brave army forces who fought for their country. This cheap jibe attempted to link the attacks to politics succinctly summarizes the attitude of English media towards Modi-led government.
"Modi’s 2014 poll promise to get them ₹15 lakh each from the black money stashed in the Swiss Banks within 100 days of his being elected."
Modi has *never* promised this. There is not a single proof of Modi saying this. Yet, the media cabal helps the opposition in spreading this lie day in and day out. We lost count on the number of times this lie has been rebuked. The promise by the BJP was to initiate action against Black money within 100 days of assuming power. And they stuck to this promise. At one of the election rallies, Modi speculated that according to one estimate, if all black money came back to India, each person will get 15 lakh rupees. That message is subject to interpretation but can no way be construed as a promise. It is quite evident that the cabal has little regard to such facts.
"As the data on raids reveal, the cash component of the disproportionate assets, inclusive of jewelry (counted as cash), has been just 5%."
Which data has revealed this? How can data be final even without the 50 day period ending? The author doesn't show any proof of this "5%" number. Readers are bound to believe this, but unfortunately the burden on proving this wrong is left to folks on Social Media.
"Fake money... is only ₹400 crore or just 0.002% of the total currency value in circulation."
He quotes a report, but doesn't give us a link to it. There is only a media link that says this is a “secret study” and has been accessed by the Economic Times! Like the author has done in his article, if I start going by media reports, I can link reports that say Naxalites have ~7000 crores of either fake or demonetized currency. But then, I will be frowned upon! 400 crores of fake money is an understatement by any stretch of imagination. It is also nearly impossible to accurately estimate "fake currency" - how would we know the exact number then?
"If terrorists have a way of sourcing cash, they will always have ways to deal with new currencies too."
This argument really beats me. Police and army kill terrorists, but still more people keep coming up. Shall we stop fighting them, then? Merely because someone thinks terrorists will always outsmart government, the government should stop working on things against them?!
"The names of 648 traitors given in the “Panama list” are yet to be divulged."
Ah, the Panama list. I did a google search, and ended up clicking Indian Express report on this. Before even allowing me to read the link, this disclaimer prominently crops up:

Let me just reproduce the first line – “There are legitimate users for offshore companies and trusts….”
Now, how did the author decide that everyone on this list is a "traitor"? Oh wait, the burden of proof is not on the author, but it is on the reader!
"Modi as such has been hugely supportive of corporate corruption, the real generator of black money."
He cites NPAs, tax arrears and loan write-offs as proof of "corporate corruption". Just recently, the difference between a "write off" and a "waive off" has been clearly explained. But surprising "Economics weekly" doesn't seem to get this basic difference! Social media has been on the forefront of explaining the NPA problem and solutions to it.
There have been many instances of this government imposing 1000s of crores of rupees of fine on many companies (including Reliance) will be easily curbed by the english media, but op-ed writers want to conveniently ignore this. By the way, all the “arrears”, "write offs", "waivers" are all documented on paper - how exactly is this black money then?

According to a survey conducted in July 2015…”
The above was in reference to Jan Dhan accounts. First of all, why would one quote a “survey” from July 2015 while writing an article in December 2016? Second of all, why quote a “survey” when the original source is publicly accessible? Zero balance accounts as of September 2016 are ~28%. The author quotes the 2015 number to show ~70% of the Jan Dhan accounts are zero balance. If this does not amount to willful misleading of the reader, then I don’t know what does!
No wonder that there has not been a change in India’s rank by Transparency International, at 76 out of 168 countries, during Modi’s regime.”
Here is the truth – “India was placed at 76th position out of 168 countries with a score of 38 out of a possible 100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, improving from its position of 85 and 94 in 2014 and 2013, respectively
There just seems to be no end to the lies that the main stream media is willing to spread when it comes to critiquing the Modi government. I have read many articles and critiques that say the "idea is good, but implementation is bad" - and I haven't read a single article that suggested how such a good idea could have been implemented in a better manner without taking away the shock factor?
Are people facing hardships? Yes. 48% of those who took the survey on PM's app themselves said that this move has caused them hardship but they still support it. We need to wait a little longer to know the measure of success or failure of this program. Instead, EPW publishes an article that is just a summary of all "criticism" against Modi since he took power.


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