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If you'd thought the excitement over the US Presidential elections was going to consume you for the next few days, our prime minister had other plans for you. On the eve of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's big day at the hustings, PM Modi dropped a bombshell by announcing his plans to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes that are currently in circulation. Already most places, except for a few, will have stopped accepting these notes by now. Modi's decision, directed at stemming the circulation of black money, has been applauded by banks. Secretary of Economic Affairs Shaktikanta Das has called it "a powerful step" while Modi's close aide, Amit Shah, has described the move as "surgical strike on black money". The RBI chief, Urijit Patel, doesn't anticipate disruption in phasing out the obsolete notes, which will be replaced with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes soon. If you're wondering what next and how to get your cash sorted out, read this explainer. In case you're still panicking, this list of jokes off Twitter may help you keep calm.
In spite of Modi's masterstroke of deflecting attention from the US elections, the polls are still happening and people are just as keen to know what's going on. Follow our live updates from the different US states here. Keep an eye on our frontpage for a variety of stories and infographics.
Who should Rahul Gandhi look up to as he is elevated to the rank of President of the Congress? According to G. Pramod Kumar his role models are closer home: his grandmother and former PM Indira Gandhi and the current PM, Narendra Modi. To become a successful leader, as Kumar writes, it is not only enough to be a good strategist, but Gandhi will also have to burn with the ambition to succeed.
The Trump family seems to be stealing the show at the US elections in more ways than you can imagine. Eric Trump, son of the presidential nominee, has tweeted a photograph of his completed ballot, breaking a New York state law in the process. Donald Trump, on the other hand, was greeted by a jeering crowd chanting, "New York hates you!" when he went to vote. While he seemed hardly bothered by the reception, Trump did not forget to take a peek at his wife Melania's ballot, just to make sure she was voting for the right candidate.
Following the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, Sensex and Nifty are both feared to open lower this morning. If the short-term effect is going to be negative, there will be long-term gains in getting rid of black money, experts claim in Mint.
As Nitish Kumar embarks on his Nischay Yatra, Bihar's top bureaucrats are worried about the delay over the implementation of the students' credit card scheme, which is part of the chief minister's promotional agenda. Under it, young people could be granted a loan up to Rs 4 lakhs for higher education, without any guarantor, self-help allowance @ Rs 1,000 per month for two years, or for taking admission to a skill development course. The centres to disburse this scheme were inaugurated in every district on October 2, but are not operational at several places still.
Off The Front Page
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is furious over Narendra Modi's unexpected move to abolish Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. "WITHDRAW THIS DRACONIAN DECISION," she tweeted in all caps, followed by a series of similar messages venting her frustration at this decision. "This is a financial emergency. The Prime Minister should resign, taking full responsibility. The President should take charge," she told The Telegraph.
A day after the ban on NDTV was put on hold, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is contemplating re-structuring the inter-ministerial committee that reviews cases of violation in the broadcast media. The ministry has faced severe criticism for pulling up the television network for its coverage of the Uri stikes. "Just as film certification has a graded process that includes two committees under the purview of the Central Board of Film Certification, followed by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, there is no such means for a channel to seek a review by the ministry,'' a media person complained to The Times of India.
The Centre has asked states not to deny driving licences to people who are hearing impaired, if they have suitable cochlear implants and other devices that allow them to hear sufficiently while driving. A report by AIIMS says such cars, driven by hearing-impaired people, should have a sign saying so. Those who are issued the licence must also pass a stringent test taken in actual road conditions.
As Narendra Modi and the British prime minister Theresa May discuss matters of mutual interest, London-based journalism Sunny Hundal reminds them not to forget justice for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh violence that killed nearly 3,000 in the wake of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Many of the families affected by the pogrom are based across the diaspora.
In Mint, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha argues that the quest for a new fiscal policy is perfectly legitimate as long as it doesn't abandon fiscal discipline. A committee headed by veteran bureaucrat N.K. Singh is expected to recommend changes in Indian fiscal rules when it submits its report to the government in the coming weeks. In his article, Rajadhyaksha raises five questions to ponder the direction of this forthcoming policy.
In The Telegraph, S.L. Rao points out the silver lining in the fracas over the departure of Cyrus Mistry from the Tata Sons group. Surveying the history of the company and the moments that defined its ethos, Rao concludes, "Mistry's abrupt dismissal might mark a major step towards better corporate governance and performance in all of corporate India."
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