May a good source be with you.

EDITORIAL: A Journey to Jail?

The signalling is clear. The Modi govt will go to any extent to protect those who fund it and enable it to out-spend all political parties.

Today is a sun-filled and clear day for the Republic. News Central 24X7 wishes all its readers a Bright and Happy Republic Day.

For anyone with the thinnest of veils before their eyes over the anxiety of this Modi government to shield moneybags, fly by night operators who have looted India and continue to do so, this must bring supreme clarity.

The fog has been lifted.

The blog by the Minister without Portfolio, Arun Jaitley from the United States, berates the CBI for an FIR against Mrs and Mr Kochar cronies who have run ICICI bank and people’s money into the ground. He writes anxiously; “Sitting thousands of kilometers away, when I read the list of potential targets in the ICICI case, the thought that crossed my mind was again the same — Instead of focusing primarily on the target, is a journey to nowhere (or everywhere) being undertaken? If we include the entire who’s who of the Banking Industry — with or without  ‘evidence — what cause are we serving or actually hurting,” Jaitley wrote in a blog Friday.

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In a message directed at the Bureau, Jaitley adds: “My advice to our investigators — Follow the advice of Arjun in the Mahabharat — Just concentrate on the bull’s eye”.

So “who’s who” does he have in mind? Clearly, those in high places who fund the richest party in India through Electoral Bonds. Funds of these rich crony businessmen, desperately required as a General Election looms.

Jaitley has done well to send a signal to rich friends who owe crores of public money and refuse to return it, that the Modi government has no intention to get to the end of scams.

Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul ‘bhai’ Choksi; all friends of Modi and this government have been allowed to Loot and Scoot with ease over the years, but now, the panic in the Modi government is complete.

We, at News Central 24X7, welcome this admission. Also as the BJP’s Treasurer, Railway, Coal and now Finance Minister has also jumped in, and tweeted his predecessor’s blog. Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister has also thrown her lot in with protecting Mrs and Mr Kochar.

The signalling is clear. The Modi government will go to any extent to protect those who fund it and enable it to out-spend all political parties’ spend put together. An Association of Democratic Reforms Report in November 2018 has stated how the BJP had received 87% of the money given by Electoral Trusts. More recently it became clear how the maximum amount of unaccounted money was being routed to BJP through Electoral Bonds. The BJP gets more than 95% from that unholy and dark manner of funding.

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It is bad enough that the Modi government, as it admitted in Parliament, has already waived off more than Rs 3 lakh crore of unpaid bad loans of its rich friends in the its first three years.

More than ever, as Income Inequality, already in place in India, is accelerating now, at an alarming pace, undue assistance extended to rich conies, like these Modi Ministers are extending, makes no moral or economic sense.

As the Oxfam Report on Income Inequality states clearly; “73 percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent, while 67 crore Indians who comprise the poorest half of the population saw one percent increase in their wealth.

It further says; “In the last 12 months the wealth of this elite group increased by Rs 20,913 billion. This amount is equivalent to total budget of Central Government in 2017-18.”

The growing rural distress, which has brought farmers to the streets several times each year is indicative of how the other 99% is forced to live. “It would take around 17.5 days for the best paid executive at a top Indian garment company to earn what a minimum wage worker in rural India will earn in their lifetime, presuming 50 years at work. (Oxfam Report, 2018)”

So, if any one requires a leg up, in moral terms or to boost domestic demand, which will eventually push up the Indian Economy and generate well-being and restore livelihoods after the Demonetisation blow and that of the tardy and callous implementation of the Gabbar Singh Tax, it is the poor or distressed farmers.

BJP’s skewed Economics, which is actually Cronymics, has played havoc with Non-Performing Assets. Its allowing the rich to raid public money has resulted in the scandalous List, which former RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan sent to Modi’s office in February 2015 but no action was taken. Now, as Prof R Ramkumar of TISS argues in The Hindu today, Agricultural NPAs have zoomed since 2015, due to failed policies of the Modi government; “NPAs in agriculture remained stable at around 4 to 5% between 2011 and 2015. This was despite the fact that agricultural growth averaged just 1.5% between 2011 and 2015. D. Subbarao, the former Reserve Bank of India Governor, had pointed out in a 2012 speech that the rise in agricultural NPAs between 2009 and 2011 was due to the “general economic slowdown” after 2009 and the introduction of new norms in the “system-wide identification of NPAs”.

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Ramakumar says; “Agricultural NPAs began to rise again after 2015. There is enough evidence to suggest that this rise was not the result of any moral hazard; it was real, policy-induced and a direct consequence of acute agrarian distress that spread across rural India after 2015. In particular, the demonetisation of November 2016 aggravated already brewing agrarian distress by sucking cash out of the rural areas, crashing output prices and disrupting supply chains.”

So, we wish Modi, his party and his Ministers a very Happy Republic Day and thank them for lending clarity to where they stand and why, as they press the panic button on FIRs against Looters.

“A Journey to nowhere (everywhere)?”

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