Ill-gotten money well kept, untouched

Truth has its own ways of revealing itself. One of the professed and loudly proclaimed aims of demonetization was unearthing black money, unmasking the black-money holders and bringing them to book. Data already released by the RBI and other financial bodies have established the fact that very little, if at all, black money has been unearthed. None has so far been prosecuted for holding black money. Now comes a Times of India report which says that ‘offshore’ hoarding of money from India now stands at $62.9 billion or Rs. 4 lakh crore – an increase of 89 per cent from 2007. Demonetization has failed to get hold of a single dollar of this huge money stashed abroad.
A report released for the first time by the Bank of International Settlement says that Switzerland has fallen from the grace of the black money earners because Switzerland has become slightly more ‘transparent’ much to the chagrin of the Fat Cats. They now favour destinations nearer home like Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Bahrain and Malaysia. What happened in the months following demonetization raises serious doubts about the real intention of the Government behind demonetization decision. One charge is that it helped hoarders of black money to convert it to white money. The other charge is that demonetization was meant primarily for putting the Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh by starving them of cash. In the event, the BJP won in UP hands down, decimating all Opposition parties.
As the countdown for the next general elections has begun, the Government cannot avoid coming out with a convincing answer as to why black money could not be unearthed, why black money generation has not been stopped and why the long arm of the law failed to touch the black money hoarders. Most nationalized banks are gasping for breath saddled as they are with bad debts or ‘non-performing assets’ in sophisticated language and the Government is talking of merging many of the sick banks in one bank. The former Governor of the RBI, Raghuram Rajan, has warned against hasty mergers and their ill effects. Incidentally, Raghuram Rajan has also contradicted the propaganda, assiduously spread by the Government that the demonetization decision was taken in prior consultation with the RBI. The RBI was never consulted at any stage, he has exposed. He also refuted another rumour that he was unwilling to renew his term as the RBI Governor. He was never requested to stay on, he has claimed. How long can the powers that be take advantage of the gullibility of the people?

Thursday, 14 September, 2017