Modi’s lot many surprising announcements might be surprising many.But, ‘Modi seems as if, on with a different strategy’ obviously; more enterprising than these small gains from any such uncertain moves.
A Serious Study Report; By: Harbans S Nagokay.
First ‘Budget Merger (Railways), secondly ‘Surgical Strike, Third Demonetization and now gone against the decades-old tradition in the Indian Army to appoint the senior-most officer as the chief; all this-to a certain extent building Modi’s image as real-time sensation.
High-brows; among the social orders are not taking all such moves as per some political motives as thus not about winning the Uttar Pradesh or Punjab elections, though academics might give it ‘Grade A’ with the appointment of a Special Investigation Team to probe black money as soon as he took over in 2014; he launched the first voluntary disclosure scheme for foreign assets in 2015, which turned out to be a flop as it levied an extortionate 60 per cent tax. PM Modi learned from that and launched the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS) for domestic black money that closed in September, and managed to obtain Rs 67,382 crore – of which 45 per cent will be tax, payable in instalments.
Thus those who declared concealed incomes in IDS-1 will not be thinking they were chumps to do so. And just in case even this does not work, he has shifted the goalposts to a less cash, more digital economy.The defining features of all these initiatives are the following: one, giving everybody at least one opportunity, if not two, to come clean; two, avoiding harassment of those who do so; and three, persisting with the idea even at the cost of angering the BJP’s own core support base among traders and the professional classes. This cannot make sense to any politician unless the gains expected are even more overconfident.
Overall, the focus has been on bringing millions of people in the less formal sectors to the formal financial sector, where banks can lend money to them at lower rates. The Jan Dhan inclusive banking scheme, which has reached banking to almost every household, and the Mudra Bank, are the enabling features in this scenario. Digital payments will enable even distant hamlets to join the banking mainstream through mobiles.Having demonstrated his focus consistently, it would be a serious mistake to think Modi will not do anything about political funding reforms or corruption in real estate – the two big black elephants in the room. At the all-party meeting held in Delhi on 15 November, Modi suggested that parliament should discuss state-funding of elections. And the benami properties law notified in November is another pointer to who Modi plans to target next. His strong political backing for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), something he opposed when he was Gujarat chief minister, is one of a piece with this goal. It is about expanding the tax net like never before.
Perhaps nothing explains the deeper design behind these initiatives better than the Prime Minister’s recent address to party members on 16 December, where he said that bureaucrats had been instructed to avoid questioning people who reported sudden spikes in incomes or employees.
No one should ever assume that Modi is plotting only tactical political moves. It is clear that his political ambitions are much larger than one has assumed, and this goal takes the possibility of good economic outcomes into its embrace.In a few sentences, this appears to be the grand plan: shifting the BJP to the center of the political spectrum by focusing on the empowerment of the less fortunate without expanding free giftunreasonably. In terms of direct voter inducements, one can expect cash inflows into Jan Dhan and lower taxes for all due to a widening of the tax base.By doing this and all the connected reforms, Modi expects to make BJP the natural party of government, and give himself a second term, which is the timeframe needed to implement pro-poor reforms meaningfully.
There are, however, very good reasons for why Lt Gen Rawat was promoted over his senior colleagues. They are discussed at length. According to former GOC of India Syed Ata Hasanain, “it is a gratifying moment for me, personally, to see one of my former General Officers from the challenging days of 2011 in Srinagar being appointed as the new Chief of the Army Staff’.
In his recently written article, former GOC Hasnain revealed that Lt Gen BipinRawat, currently Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS) is set to be the new army chief with effect from 1 January 2017, on the superannuation of Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.The announcement has drawn attention for various reasons. First, the appointment has been made a mere two weeks before the crucial position is due to fall vacant; it usually happens at least two months prior. Second, Gen Rawat supersedes two competent General Officers, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen P M Hariz. The Indian Army has normally followed a system of appointing the senior-most qualified officer as army chief. The tenure is three years or till the age of 62, whichever comes earlier. In the past, it is only at the time of appointing the successor to Gen K V Krishna Rao that the government did something similar and overlooked the then senior-most qualified officer, Lt Gen S K Sinha, and appointed Lt Gen (later Gen) Arun Vaidya as the army chief in 1983. That remains the only precedent.There is a system in place for appointing the army chief. The army headquarters and, in turn, the Ministry of Defence forward the names and dossiers of five senior-most qualified officers, after the current army chief, to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). The record of service of the officers is scrutinized. The ACC may ask for a longer list if they decide that some of the names under consideration are unsuitable. The word ‘qualified’ here means that the names of officers of the General cadre only can be forwarded. There may be officers of services or other arms who have not been inducted into the General cadre but are senior to the others eligible; but since they are not in the command chain, they are not eligible for consideration.So, what is unusual about this appointment? First, for the first time ever, two of the senior-most General Officers after the army chief have been overlooked and the fourth in seniority appointed. The government is within its right to do that.
GOC Hasnain; further verbalized and written that at the outset, I’d like to add that in 2011, when in command of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, I put in a special request to the Military Secretary Branch that I would best prefer the services of then Major Gen Rawat for the command of the crucial Baramulla Division. The request was accepted and Lt Gen Rawat served an outstanding tour of duty with me, displaying throughout his complete understanding of the threats and the ways of overcoming them. I have no doubt that he will display the same grit and competence in the elevated role. The eyes of the Indian Army and the nation are on him. I wish him a great innings as army chief.
By all said and done, since 31st December, is quite near and festival of Christmas followed by New Year celebrations are approaching soon. Then, a proud moment for the state of Jammu and Kashmir is otherwise in full swing with ‘A 15-day festival showcasing food, culture and craft of Jammu and Kashmir got off to a colorful start at DilliHaat’ with leaders from the tourism industry appealing to tourists to visit the state and enjoy the “unparalleled” hospitality of its people.MoS Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir, Priya Sethi inaugurated the event that started last evening and will continue till December 30.