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Today’s Talk on Editorials November 8, 2017

Discordant notes- The Hindu

A year after demonetisation, its effects have still not been quantified. The anniversary of demonetisation is celebrated as Anti-Black Money Day. When more than 80% of the cash in circulation was removed via demonetisation a year ago, to stifle the black economy primarily , the subsequent objectives  turned diversely to achieving a cashless economy, control corruption etc. The goals were shifted so fast, that getting a fix on demonetisation became tough.

It is important to note the central bank’s recommendation to the government about demonetisation, that it  would prove to be a weak weapon in the war on black money, and that superior policy alternatives were available for achieving the objective.

The results from its counting of the returned notes show that the RBI did have a point. With 99% of the demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes back in the banking system, little of the stock of the black money in the country was evidently extinguished. The majority of black money was changed to alternate forms.

Achieving a “Clean India” from corruption is unlikely in the near future. Because system is skewed in offenders’ favour. Procedures are time-consuming. there are limitations of administrative and judicial capacity, these handicap the government.

Another challenge is that of measurement. Although the chief goal of demonetisation was to place a check on black money, the central theme of the Union Government, the government has no official estimate of the size of the black economy.

the questions seem to outnumber the answers at the completion of one year. Economic costs owing to the destabilising impact on the momentum of economic growth, damage to the vulnerable informal sectors,  decline  of job opportunity   remains unmeasured.


Quad is a good idea, not Quad-plus- Livemint

It is expected the quadrilateral dialogue between India,US, Japan and Australia will resume on the margins of East Asia summit after a break of a decade.The resumption of the quadrilateral dialogue is a good idea, but it isn’t necessary at this stage to involve Britain and France.

The coming together of India, the US, Japan and Australia is being seen as building a strategic partnership to deal with China’s rise and its implications. China’s peaceful rise doctrine and revisionist tendency has presented a serious challenge to a rules-based international order. India, the US and Japan already engage with each other in a ministerial-level trilateral dialogue and annual naval exercises.

Quad dialogue is majorly a security based cooperation. Unlike in trade negotiations group where the involvement of more countries helps achieve uniformity of standards, greater scale, more intra-supply chain compatibility and higher efficiency for businesses and economies but security collaboration among a larger group is a challenging task as success depends on the credibility and commitment of each participant.

India has been reluctant to accommodate Australia in the group because Australia had previously withdrawn from the quadrilateral group. Also, Australia’s economy is largely dependent on exports to China. Australia do not have any direct disputes with China as well.

Despite these facts, Australia’s inclusion is justified  and a quadrilateral group is necessary because she is critical about the invasions of China in S.C.S. , Australia is a major economy in the Indo- Pacific region as well, there are multiple trilaterals between four countries as well like India-US-Japan, India-Japan-Australia, and US-Japan-Australia.  The last time quadrilateral engagement was attempted, it was successful in making China sit up, take notice, and register protest with all the members.

The above arguments are not valid for either Britain or France. Even if the two have islands and military facilities in the region, they are extra-regional powers. And they consider the presence of Russia as the major security threat to the global peace and security. Thus , it can be argued that quad plus is not a good idea but quadrilateral group is.

Questions arise about why India need such a partnership. This is because India needs partnerships to balance China. Also ,India’s neighbours are bound to feel more reassured of India’s words if New Delhi has the economic, military and political backing of major powers in the region.