Coke, Reliance Enter Indian Dairy Drink Market

“Jallikattu” or bull-taming, is an agricultural tradition intended to conserve and improve native cattle species, now under an existential threat from imported breeds and big corporations.

From the New Indian Express:

Natives that are not grown for pride are sent for slaughter causing drastic decline in sex ratio. Jallikattu enthusiasts claim the sport help to sustain bulls for longer.

“The bulls that don’t win the game are not used for pure-breed next generation natives. Each of the strong, pure natives are used for inseminating 10-15 cows. Let’s say half the bulls win human beings. Each of these will give rise to 15 more pure natives,” says a professor of Dairy Technology at TANUVAS. Going by Rajasekaran’s number, more than a lakh-and-a-half pure natives are produced by every batch of Jallikattu bulls.

Native species do not produce as much milk as some imported species and without impregnation by the best studs, partly conserved through Jallikattu, their existence would be in doubt.

India’s largest milk producer, Amul, in Gujarat, uses Jersey cows, imported from Holland.

Meanwhile,  beverage giant, Coca-Cola, is teaming up with India’s Reliance to enter the dairy drinks market in India, this year.

With demand rising powerfully, milk will soon have to be imported along with exotic semen and other inputs needed to continue cross-breeding the native and the foreign species. More imports means higher prices making milk unaffordable to the poor; it means higher costs, making farming impossible to the marginal farmer; it means reliance on European and hybrid breeds that demand more water and are less hardy; it means foreign species’ milk that causes schizophrenia, autism and type-1 diabetes.

That’s the context needed to understand the anger at the PETA-inspired ban of Jallikattu, already heavily regulated under India’s animal protection laws.

 

Meet The People Behind Tamil “People-Power”

Read Previous Post:

Tamil Spring Color Revolution? Massive Protests Against Bull-Taming Ban”

In my earlier post on the subject, I mentioned that the Jallikattu protests (like the Jallikattu ban itself) seemed to be a well-organized effort, not a spontaneous outpouring.

In the first place, the constant signalling by the major media that it was “MakkalMovement,” (Makkal means people in Tamil), people-power, undirected, and spontaneous, sounded like propaganda.

Second, the epicenter of the protest was at Marina Beach in Chennai, the site of earlier Dravidian and Tamil identity protests, showing that this was a choreographed event, not happenstance.

The black outfits and flags deliberately hearkened back to the black-shirts of  early Dravida politics.

Third, the Jallikattu protest was led from the start by the urban, the young, the and sophisticated, whereas Jallikattu itself is a rural and traditional sport.

The spokesmen have been tech-savvy relatively affluent student groups, hardly representative of an uprising of rural cattle farmers.

The J-movement in fact sounds and feels like a well-funded and organized political movement.

And so it is.

From the Hindustan Times, comes a report naming the leaders of the Jallikattu uprising, which, contrary to the media, was first planned more than 3 years ago in 2013.

The starting point was a Chennai professional and bull owner with rural roots – Himakiran Alagula.

In 2013, Alagula contacted P. Rajasekharan of the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Federation, who had been fighting for the practice for a decade.

Karthikeya Sivasenaapathy, the managing trustee of the Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation near Tirupur joined the team.

The founder of that institution, Kuttapalyam K. N. Saminathan was chairman of the livestock development committee of the TN government for over a decade, an MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly or lower house of the state government), and an appointee of former TN Chief Minister and founder of the Dravidian identity movement in its current form, C. N. Annadurai.

Once a protege of Annadurai, the charismatic Lankan-born Tamil actor, M.G. Ramachandran used his enormous popularity with the masses to split the Tamil identity party – the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or Society for the Advancement of  Dravidians)  and create the Anna DMK, using Anna’s name to propel the movement into a personality cult with a humane face.

It was also under MGR rule, a band of criminals was transformed into a Tamil liberation army (Tamil Tigers), with the assistance of Mossad.

Also under MGR, Tamil Nadu devolved into a corrupt police-state.

This transformation speeded up with MGR’s mistress and former co-star, Jayalalitha, who by the time of her death was regarded as a mother goddess- Amma.

Amma, as I pointed out earlier, is a form of Shakti, the consort of Shiva and Shiva, misconstrued as Lucifer is the presiding “deity” of the New World Order.

Thus, the original atheistic,  iconoclastic, rationalistic, anti-Brahmin Tamil movement of E.V. Ramaswamy, whom the British empire originally cultivated to break up the unity of the nascent Indian state through a false opposition of Aryan and Dravidian concocted by imperial apologists, was transformed in a few decades into a popular, religious and semi-mystical cult headed by a Karnataka-born and English convent school-bred Brahmin grand-daughter of a physician to Mysore royalty.

Jayalalitha, moreover, was brought up when young by her maternal grandparents, one of whom worked for Hindustan Aeronautics, an Indian government-owned aerospace corporation with a long history of collaboration with US defense contractors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which have extensively documented ties with the  intelligence agencies.

Even Annadurai, the recipient of a Yale Chubb fellowship, was hosted by the US state department,  which suggests that globalist attempts to erode Indian sovereignty through the southern state, have been continuous and long-standing.

Thus, to read that behind the “leaderless” Jallikattu protests is a protege of one of the pillars of Dravidian identity politics is to realize that the current Jallikattu protests very likely mask another face of globalist intervention in India.

The purported MakkalMovement was also joined by someone described in the Hindustan Times article as a “businessman” from Coimbatore, Balakumar Somu.

Somu shows up on the pages of the Vijayvaani website which styles itself an “internet based public opinions forum” giving a niche for independent journalism. The site is copyrighted from 2008-2013 and has a registered office at 300 Gulmohar Enclave, New Delhi. There are articles by left-wing dissident journalists like James Petras and libertarian right dissidents like Paul Craig Roberts. Both just fit into the spectrum of allowed dissent in the West and are prominent voices therein, again providing another Western link.

Somu describes himself as follows:

The author is an IT professional, animal rights activist, freelance photographer and active blogger. He is pro-active in defence of Jallikattu, a sport with over 4000 years of recorded history.”

On  Jallikattu.in, which he appears to have founded, Somu is described as an “IT professional” with “wide ranging experience in India and abroad.”

This constitutes another foreign angle to the story.

The pro-J group went on to get the backing of something called the Biodiversity Conservation Council of India, which calls itself a non-profit public charitable trust and describes its mission as bringing about the goals of the United Nations, one of the premier tools of the globalist elites:

BiCCI seeks to legally revive and promote events of bio-cultural significance like Jallikattu, Rekla Race, traditional cattle/livestock shandys, Kambala, Bailgada and conduct bio cultural events under the aegis of United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity NCBD. BiCCI strives to support rural folk including women, women’s self-help groups, tribals, who rear native breeds of cattle, train them to produce cattle by-products and provide marketing support to them.

BiCCI intends to work with the Convention on United Nations convention on biological diversity, bringing together various organisations working for the conservation of native cattle of India and “to promote the “National biodiversity act 2002”.

The team at Biodiversity Conservation Council of India includes the following individuals:

  1. Srinivas Ratnasami, a prominent Madras High Court lawyer and dog-breeder who advises the Kennel Club of India.
  2. Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, Board of Managers at TN Agricultural University at Coimbatore and managing trustee at Senapathy Kangayam Cattle Research  Foundation
  3.  Balakumar Somu, a former IT consultant from Singapore, now resident in Coimbatore, and founder of Activists for Righteous Harmony of Animals Movement (AHRAM), a blogger, and photographer.
  4. Himakiran Anugula, an entrepreneur and advocate of sustainable, organic and local practices.
  5. Saravana Kumar, an engineer who owns a construction company and several farms, resident in Madurai.
  6. Raja Marthandan, a serial entrepreneur and aficionado of organic farming and native cattle species.
  7. Sundar Ganesan, Director/Trustee at Roja Muthiah Research Library, with an interest in archival work and the preservation of heritage. The Roja Muthiah Research Library, one of the best private collections of Tamil publications has been preserved at Chennai with the help of grants  from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Ford Foundation along with collaboration from the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine

The website is dated 2017 and 4/7 of the members seem to be the same people behind the pro-Jallikattu movement, so one wonders if the BiCCI has a substantial presence outside this particular web-page and this particular issue.

Under the tab CAMPAIGNS, one finds a few tweets about Jallikattu and nothing more, which suggests that BiCCI is simply a PR effort intended to create the impression of a substantial Indian body behind pro-Jallikattu activism.

I could be wrong, but the evidence so far suggests that a very worthy cause (the viability of Indian cattle breeds) is being used as a vehicle for Tamil identity politics intended either to revive the fortunes of the Tamil parties…..or to co-opt it for some other purpose…

Perhaps that purpose is a diversion from the dire consequences of demonetization on the informal sector.

Or it could be that the protests and ensuing commotion enable some other infiltration, or will justify intervention from the Center.

In any case, things are not as they seem.

 

 

 

Government Widens Financial Reporting Requirements

The government is widening the number of transactions that will be directly reported by financial institutions to the income tax division:

Reiterating its November 2016 instruction, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in a notification dated January 17, has also asked banks to report all cash deposits of Rs 2.5 lakh or more made in one or more accounts of a person during November 9 to December 30, 2016, the 50-day window for deposits that was provided by the government following its decision to scrap high-denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

“Cash deposits during the period November 9, 2016, to December 30, 2016, aggregating to Rs 12.50 lakh or more in one or more current account of a person (and) Rs 2.5 lakh or more in one or more account (other than a current account) of a person will have to be reported to tax authorities,” it said. Also, cash deposits during April 1, 2016, to November 9, 2016, in any account that are reportable should also be intimated to the tax authorities by January 31, 2017, the notification said.

It made it mandatory for a banking company or a cooperative bank to report cash deposits aggregating to Rs 10 lakh or more in a financial year, in one or more accounts (other than a current account and time deposit) of a person.

The tax department has also made it mandatory for a company or institution issuing bonds or debentures to report receipts from any person an amount aggregating to Rs 10 lakh or more in a financial year for acquiring bonds or debentures. A similar limit has been set for reporting purchase of shares and mutual funds.

“Buy back of shares from any person (other than the shares bought in the open market) for an amount or value aggregating to Rs 10 lakh or more in a financial year will need to be reported by a listed company,” the notification said. Purchase of foreign exchange including travellers cheque and a forex card aggregating to Rs 10 lakh would have to be reported to tax authorities.

Property registrar will have to report to tax authorities purchase or sale by any person of immovable property for an amount of Rs 30 lakh or more. Also, cash payment exceeding Rs 2 lakh for sale of goods or services of any nature will have to be reported, the CBDT’s notification said.

Banks will also have to report one or more time deposits, other than a time deposit made through renewal of another time deposit, of a person aggregating to Rs 10 lakh or more in a financial year, the CBDT said.

Payment made in cash for purchase of bank drafts or pay orders or banker’s cheque of an amount aggregating Rs 10 lakh or more in a financial year as well as payments made in cash aggregating Rs 10 lakh or more during a year for purchase of prepaid instruments issued by RBI need to be reported.

A banking company or a cooperative bank would also have to report cash deposits or cash withdrawals (including via bearer’s cheque) aggregating Rs 50 lakh or more in a financial year, in or from one or more current account of a person.”

 

Tamil Spring Color Revolution? Massive Protests Against Bull-Taming Ban

Related image

According to a legend, once Shiva asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. Inadvertently, Basava announced that everyone should eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. This mistake enraged Shiva who then cursed Basava, banishing him to live on the earth forever. He would have to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Thus the association of this day [Mattu Pongal] with cattle.” [Pongal Festival.org]

Update, January 22, 2017:

An ordinance has been passed that allows Jallikattu to proceed without interference in Tamil Nadu.

Note: My post, unlike my anti-demonetization posts, does not appear individually in a google search. I tried immediately after posting and after it a couple of times. No luck.  You can draw your own conclusions from that.

Meanwhile, please note that the massive demonstrations across TN were singularly well-coordinated and peaceful, and very well-prepared, with beautifully done masks of bulls, vinyl posters in Tamil and English (for foreign media), and well-spoken student leaders. Bull masks and black flags and outfits abounded. IT students and Face-book featured prominently, while several major media outlets captioned the whole thing repeatedly as “undirected,” “people power” (MakkalMovement)- a signalling of the kind common in intelligence operations.

All this in a country where bus-burning and hooliganism is the norm during protests. Here, by contrast, police and protestors cooperated like long-lost family members.  The (BJP) Center and the (AIADMK) State leaned over backwards to accommodate each other.

I suggest this is an exercise in consciousness-raising, using a cardinal symbol of Shiva, the bull; opposing the old globalist feminism and virulent rights talk (PETA) with the new, controlled opposition globalism of managed nationalism and the virile male (Putin, Trump).

Supporting that interpretation, around the time of this bull-celebrating New Year festival, comes the inauguration of US president Donald Trump, the bull in the globalists’ feminist china shop…a master of bull in his own right…a stud bull…

 

 

 

ORIGINAL POST

While any protest against demonetization  has been swiftly quelled by the Central Government and blacked out from media coverage, one wave of protests in Tamil Nadu has quickly become headline news:

That’s the protest against a three-year ban on Jallikattu, a 3000+ year-old traditional Tamil sport characteristic of the Tamil Spring/Harvest Festival (Pongal) in which young men chase and wrestle down a fleeing bull to snatch money or gold tied to its horns:

In Tamil Nadu, Jallikattu is Veera Vilayattu or warrior sport, where a man matches wit and sinew with a raging bull and grabs a small bag of coins or Jalli, tied to its horns. The most daring among them twitches through the flaying horns and threshing hooves and hangs on to its hump as the animal completes a short lap of 50 metres. In the days gone, he would also win the daughter of the owner of the bull in marriage. It is about courage, masculinity, and above all, cultural ethos.”

Images of Jallikattu appear on Indus Valley seals, proving the ancient and indigenous nature of the tradition:

Indus Valley civilisation is known for being one of the most advanced and sophisticated amongs its contemporaries. The sport of Eru Thazhuvathal is celebrated so much that they decide to make a seal depicting the same.”

The Indian branch of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Animal Welfare Board began their campaign to add Jallikattu to the list of activities banned under laws prohibiting cruelty to animals.

In 2014, a 2-member bench of the Supreme Court banned Jallikattu completely. 

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Misra said, “Forcing a bull and keeping it in the waiting area for hours and subjecting it to the scorching sun is not for the animal’s well-being. Forcing and pulling the bull by a nose rope into the narrow, closed enclosure or ‘vadi vassal’ (entry point), subjecting it to all forms of torture, fear, pain and suffering by forcing it to go the arena and also over-powering it in the arena by bull tamers, are not for the well-being of the animal.”

But Tamil animal activists have joined bull-tamers and their aficionados to insist that the sport is not inherently cruel, despite occasional abuses.

They argue that the ban constitutes an intentional assault on Tamil culture by the Central Government.

What is clearly true is that the objective of Jallikattu is not harming or killing the bull, as it is in Spanish bull-fighting. People, not bulls, seem to be the main victims:

This is Jallikattu, an ancient and bizarre bull-wrestling sport that takes place in villages throughout Tamil Nadu every January to celebrate Pongal, a New Year’s festival that coincides with the ancient rice harvest. Though similar to and older than the Spanish running of the bulls, it’s bloodier. Instead of bulls getting killed, it’s the people. In previous years, as many as 20 young men have been fatally gored, and several hundred, including spectators, have been mauled, trampled or otherwise injure.”

Since the original impetus for the ban was the death in 2004 of a 14-year-old spectator, framing the issue as one of animal-rights versus human (read, masculine/patriarchal) cruelty is obviously misleading.

But that is how it has been framed, with the international animal-liberation movement taking a prominent role.

In January 2016, the head of PETA was detained by Indian police for blind-folding a statue of Gandhi in protest against Jallikattu.

Regarding the anti-Jallikattu activism, BJP gadfly and alleged Mossad mouth-piece Subramanian Swamy has charged that it is funded from abroad and is part of an Afro-Dravidian separatist movement intended to fragment India. He has insisted on a CBI investigation:

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has alleged that protests organised against Jallikattu have been inspired from abroad and he intends to take the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation in terms of funding of the animal rights organisations.”

Far more germane to the issue than animal-rights is the question of indigenous farming technology.

Jallikattu is a tradition that ensures that certain skills (bull-taming without the use of a rope) are conserved among agriculturalists and certain traits (virility, strength, and speed) are conserved among indigenous breeds:

Male calves in other regions are sold and taken for slaughter in a few days. Only in regions where there are events like jallikattu are they kept. The owner of an imported cow will like it to deliver a female calf. If she does, it’s a windfall. If it’s a male calf then he will have no use for it and he has to feed it. It will go to the slaughter house for Rs. 500. A lot of mutton we eat is the meat of these under-one-week calves mixed with mutton. The same will happen to these native breeds if not for activities like jallikattu. With reduced availability of males, farmers will have to go in for artificial insemination, which is cost prohibitive and is directly in contravention of in-situ conservation. Unless there are bulls being bred and reared in the in-situ region, the genetic pool of the breed will not be healthy as no adaptation to changes in climate, local environment has been ingrained. We are messing with evolution when we abandon in-situ conservation with bulls and natural servicing/mating.

Native cows do not yield as much milk as the imported breeds. So they don’t have a supportive or sponsored breeding programme. Artificial means are not adopted for native breeds. So as a fall out of the banning of jallikattu, they will soon fade away and become extinct.”

Viewed against the back-drop of an incipient digital dictatorship inaugurated by the Modi demonetization fiasco, it becomes obvious that the ban on Jallikattu is not a distraction from, but a replication of, the ban on currency notes.

The cash ban, as I showed in an earlier blog-post,  was effectively a war on small and medium businesses and the indigenous financial sector.

That sector uses indigenous methods of financing (chit-funds, hawala, angadia payments, etc.), all of which depend on a combination of cash and promissory notes/back-dated checks.

Ban cash and you break the back of the native financial sector and the economy that depends on it.

Ban Jallikattu, likewise, and you break the back of native farming and cattle-breeding and the economy that depends on it.

This year, the Jallikattu issue has boiled up into open, state-wide protests around the Pongal season (the 4-day harvest festival in mid-January).

Pongal, by the way, means “boiling.”

State-wide Jallikattu protests, triggered by anti-Jallikattu activism and the arrest of thousands of pro-Jallikattu protestors – have become a stand-in for a spectrum of discontents –

*The unilateral imposition of demonetization on the country, causing untold hardship in drought-hit Tamil Nadu

*Income-tax raids that appear to target Tamil Nadu

*The suspicious but uninvestigated death of the charismatic and popular Tamil Chief Minister, Jayalalitha

*Apparent attempts by the BJP government to insert itself into  post-Jaya politics to gain a foot-hold in the important state

*The refusal of northern neighbor Karnataka to abide by a SC (Supreme Court) directive to share Cauvery River water with  drought-hit Tamil Nadu….

*The inadequate central government response to drought in Tamil Nadu

Despite these popular grievances, however,  there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes of what is being dubbed an undirected “people’s movement”.

ITEM

Tamil Nadu is the most industrialized of all Indian states along with Karnataka. Bangalore is the center of the software and outsourcing industry while there is a vast amount of foreign investment in TN’s Coimbatore and in Chennai, a manufacturing center.

Western intelligence agencies are active here, protecting the investments of the business class.

ITEM

Tamil politics has been the locus of foreign intervention ever since the British fostered the rise of Dravidian (south Indian) consciousness, by subsidizing the promotion of anti-Brahmin groups, out of which the DMK and the Anna DMK (to which Jaya belonged) developed.

A water-shed moment was reached during the Chief Ministership of famed film-star M.G.Ramachandran (MGR), who mentored Jayalalitha, reportedly his long-time mistress.

Under MGR, Tamil consciousness got a new, violent face, with the rise of the Tamil Tigers.  The Tigers, renowned as the world’s deadliest terrorists/freedom-fighters, began as a band of murderous roving bandits. Patronized by both the Mossad and Indira Gandhi, they eventually became a thorn in the side of the national government and one of their group murdered Mrs Gandhi’s own son, Rajiv, then the Indian PM.

The British also endorsed  a highly questionable racial narrative that pitted dark-skinned Tamils as the eternal victims of light-skinned Aryan and Vedic Hindus of the north, a narrative that is part of the Afro-Dravidian movement, which Rajiv Malhotra has identified as a Western strategy to create a Tamil secessionist state out of TN and NE Sri Lanka, home to a militant Tamil diaspora.

The Afro-Dravidian narrative in turn reinforced another fiction sponsored by imperialist ideologues – the Aryan invasion of India, a theory of the origins of classical Indian culture that has been discredited by genetic data and archeological records.

All this forces us to accept the following basic scientific fact: outside of Africa, South Asia contains the world’s oldest populations, and modern Europeans are themselves among the peoples descended from migrants from India, going back more than 40,000 years. This should be the starting point for studying history in the Holocene or the post Ice Age period.”

But, while PETA and other anti-Jallikattu animal rights groups are certainly funded from abroad,  there is evidence that the pro-Jallikattu groups are also well-funded, come mainly from Westernized student groups and IT professionals  savvy with social media in the well-known tradition of “undirected,” and “leaderless” people’s movements (Makkal Movement) that has become the new face of intelligence interventions.

Here’s more evidence of an intel connection:

1.  Both the PETA spokesman in India and anti-Jallikatu representatives have introduced the meme of “Arab Spring” into the public language around the protests. The Times of India, an elite media organ, was one of the earliest to insert the meme into Jallikattu discourse.

The Economic Times and a host of other major media outlets did so too.

2. The pro-J protests have been drawn from among relatively affluent, Westernized student groups in Chennai and appear well-funded.

3. The bull itself is the animal of Shiva and Shiva is identified by the world order as its presiding deity, using the popular but erroneous Christian identification of Shiva with Lucifer (which I have refuted on this blog).

On January 16, simultaneously with the Jallikattu uproar and the Pongal festival, in which the bull plays a prominent part, India became an associate member of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research).

Outside CERN is a statue of Shiva in Nataraja pose (as a dancer, creating and destroying the worlds). The statue was recently depicted in a some kind of hoax video of human sacrifice to Shiva that was actually filmed within its precincts.

4. The protests have targeted the successors to Jayalalitha, CM Paneerselvam and Sasikala Natarajan, Jaya’s chosen Chief Secretary, for inadequate action on Jallikattu.

These are the same figures that the BJP itself has been interested in targeting, in an attempt to fracture the AIADMK and the DMK to secure control over the state.

5. The attacks against PETA were initiated by Subramanian Swamy, of the BJP, a known Mossad disinformation outlet.

6. The bull is identified with pre-Vedic Indian culture, supposedly presided over by a mother goddess,  associated with a snake and bull.  The mother goddess in the form of Shakti is the female counterpart of Shiva. The snake is identified with Saivite worship. For instance, the Naga (snake) sect in Tamil Nadu are Saivites.

Amma means mother in Tamil and was the name assigned to deceased former Tamil CM Jayalalitha. There is at least one important South Indian guru named Amma who is given great prominence in globalist initiatives like the fight against modern slavery and is featured by the UN.

Recently,  South Indian television networks have had a plethora of shows featuring snake-gods and humans who morph into snakes, including the popular serials, Mahamayi and Nagini.

 

 

RBI: DeMo Disclosure Endangers Life, National Security

From Gulf-News:

India’s central bank refused to share specific details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ban on high-value banknotes citing danger to life and national security, as the mystery deepens over who took the unprecedented decision.
The Reserve Bank of India recommended the move, which was accepted by the cabinet and announced by Modi on November 8, Power Minister Piyush Goyal told parliament in November. The RBI board approved the ban three hours before Modi’s speech and hadn’t discussed the matter before, a slew of responses to Bloomberg News’s Right to Information requests show.
However, the RBI told a lawmakers’ panel this week that the government had “advised” the monetary authority to “consider” the ban a day before the RBI board made its recommendation. The government then “considered the recommendations” and decided to withdraw the notes, culminating in Modi’s address that blindsided the nation.
The cloak of secrecy that has shrouded the currency ban decision is likely to bolster the view that authorities, both on Mint Street and in New Delhi, were not prepared for such a decision and the way it was announced. It risks undermining perceptions of the central bank’s independence and raises questions about Modi’s decision-making style and his communication with the RBI.
More clarity may emerge when RBI governor Urjit Patel deposes before a parliamentary committee on January 20. Details are essential to help assess the success of the shock move as well as gauge the impact of the decision on Asia’s No 3 economy.
“It is very perplexing that the RBI doesn’t answer questions about how the decision was arrived at,” said Shilan Shah, Singapore-based India Economist at Capital Economics. “There are concerns that in the whole process the RBI has been sidelined by the government and that raises questions about its independence,” he said, adding that authorities have not been transparent. Bloomberg News asked the RBI 14 questions between December 8 and January 2. The central bank as of January 11 had answered five, disclosing the date and time of the RBI’s board meeting and the fact that the board had never discussed demonetisation before November 8. It said it doesn’t have information to answer one question, on how many of the worthless notes have been deposited at commercial banks. It transferred two questions on printing of new notes to organisations that manage the presses. The RBI said that a question asking “what prompted the board to discuss and approve the withdrawal of notes” doesn’t come under the definition of “information” under the RTI Act. It provided different answers to a question asked three times, seeking details on board members who opposed the move. In two replies the RBI said “it is a matter of fact that the decision was unanimous.” In a separate response, it said “this information is not available on record.” To a question seeking details on the number of demonetised notes already at banks on the evening of Modi’s speech, the RBI claimed an exemption, citing danger to the life or physical safety of anyone who disclosed this information to the public. The RBI also claimed exemptions on two questions seeking detail on its preparations for the demonetisation and studies it used to forecast the impact of the move. Sharing these “sensitive matters” would endanger India’s sovereignty, integrity and security, according to the RBI.
The use of those specific exemptions are “perplexing,” Capital Economics’s Shah said. Shailesh Gandhi, a former bureaucrat with the Central Information Commission, told the FirstPost website on December 31 that the RBI’s attitude of stonewalling smacked of “sheer arrogance.”
“What the RBI is doing by refusing to answer queries under RTI is denying citizens their fundamental rights,” Gandhi said. Lawmakers are also seeking answers. Parliament was gridlocked as the opposition demanded discussions and voting on the measures, the Supreme Court is hearing petitions against the legality of the steps, and two lawmaker panels have sought explanations from the RBI.
The decision to demonetise was taken only when the stock of new currency notes was reaching a “critical minimum,” enough to meet a significant part of demand, the RBI told a panel in a note accessed by Bloomberg News. However, the currency swap was riddled with rule changes and data that analysts have questioned. Patel will depose before another lawmaker panel on January 20, which is expected to seek his view on the impact of the demonetisation on India’s economy.”