Going beyond the obvious

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The Indian media runs at many levels. Without brandishing the numbers of the number of newspapers channels or getting into the breakups of their national reach; regional reach; local reach, it is obvious that their views and selection of fact are often, determined  by the interests of the promoters.


The government itself has been relegated into the position of a promoter of news. This is sad because whereas the government has the legitimate role of promoting the duly identified policy it need not be a daily player amongst contending points of view.


In the present situation government is both a promoter and a regulator of news. Perhaps, among the biggest needs in the running of institutions in this country is the need to quickly and clearly think through the definition of the regulator: its boundary conditions and indeed the teeth which it can be armed with. Freedom of expression, as is widely recognized cannot become a license for expression.


Furthermore, no collective can run only on the compliance enforcing capacity of regulatory agency. What moves the wheels is a reasonable understanding of the regulations and the ability, of those affected, to comply willingly.


A simple illustration will clarify the situation. Consider a traffic constable in the middle of a square charged with the responsibility of regulating traffic. He cannot do it efficiently or for that matter in any sensible way, unless, by and large, vehicle driver and pedestrian is aware of the regulation governing that square and the dominant majority agree to confirm to it. Any other situation will lead to a jam and the traffic constable as the custodian of the left turns/right turns/ the banned turns will be rendered infructuous.


So much has been said on de/re-monetization perhaps, there are very few points of view, still unstated. One has to pick up information through reading and listening. The time may it requires runs into hours per day.


Compare this to the vast majority of people in India who do not have hourly access or for that matter even daily access to one class of media or another. Their ability to absorb and analyze will be determined by the capacity of access they have to a range of views and ability to analyze and judge there from.


This is an extremely demanding situation. The average reader of the newspaper probably does not even know the stakes of the promoter of the media and his political slant. It is not a secret that a very large number of national channels are under strong influence of non-Indian organizations. Be that as it may, even the one to one correlation: say between channels X/Y/Z and their Indian or non-Indian  promoters is not common Knowledge.


This has affected the discourse on demonetization like it would on any general topic of relevance. The debates rage on what percentage of currency notes have actually been brought back into the system. Even the most conservative estimates stated in the columns, put it at 97%. This is supposed to be too high a figure for comfort. A commonly held perception is that several lacs  crores of money has been around in accounted money and therefore the shortfall in return of currency notes, should have been of an equivalent amount.


The assumption further goes on to argue that since larger deposits have been made, more than expectations, there is a need to go through, with the thin comb, all the suspicious transactions. This may be a huge task for the total number of IT officials that the government has. This may take a much longer time then would be good for the health of the national economy. Since the writer of these lines is not privy to privileged thinking in governance circle the writer can only use the layman's body of knowledge and insights to suggest the way forward. 


It can be nobody's case that the entire funding corpus of the Naxalite  movement has found channels to come back to the banks. It cannot be anybody's case either that the dominant corpus of funds being used by the separatist movements in different parts of the country has found its way back to the banks-even, if through the usual suspects. The same can be said of many other economic activities outside the legal framework of this nation's normal operations. 


The search has to be on for the processes through which and the background from which such agencies received the currency notes, to begin with. Even that will only give part of the complete answers. As has been pointed, in the preceding paragraph, about certain sectors viz  the  Naxalite movements, separatist movements and more, there is a missing link in the information-chain of demonetization which needs to be filled.


There are lay citizen like the writer of these lines, who want the professional analyst and those privy to structured or unstructured methods of the actual body of information to indicate credible explanation. 


I propose 2 possible approaches, at this point of time as posers. Was there more currency in circulation than is formally recognized ? Did clear channels exist for the outside-the-law activities? Did/do they continue to be used even after Nov 8? This time for new notes?  How else can one explain entire consignments of fresh currency notes being found in raids?
These and related questions are important not only to be raised but tackled for business to flourish. If the purpose of demonetization is to reinforce clean channels of financial transactions and promote healthy business some of the posers of this text need to be handled frontally and with care.

Read 87 times Last modified on Sunday, 23 April 2017 22:05