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With each passing day, currency demonetisation is taking a toll on the common people. Till yesterday at least 16 had died, some while waiting in long queues to get cash from ATMs or from the lack of medical treatment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would like us to believe that all this suffering is for a good cause — curbing corruption and black money. But those who are capable of stashing away hoards of cash illegally are also likely to find newer ways to bypass the government's move. In the meantime, as ordinary citizens scramble to make ends meet, PM Modi says the innocent have nothing to worry about, days after he mocked their distress while speaking to an audience in Japan.
Insha Mushtaq Lone, a 14-year-old living in Kashmir, was like any other young girl. She loved going to school, spending time with her friends and wanted to be a doctor. But three days after militant Burhan Wani was killed, her dreams were shattered. Read her heartbreaking story here.
Our guest this week on Breakfast with HuffPost is the much acclaimed historian William Dalrymple. Read his tête-à-tête with fellow writer Manu Joseph here. At Mira Singh Farm, where Dalrymple lives with his artist wife Olivia Fraser among goats and chicken, he tells Joseph about his forthcoming books, one on the Kohinoor diamond and other on the East India Company, as well as the pleasures and pains of working as a curator of the world's largest literary jamboree, the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Defence officials claim that Indian forces are responding to each occasion of ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) "in a punitive manner". Sources in the security establishment, speaking to The Times of India, denied recent reports in Pakistan media of four Indian soldiers being killed and five posts destroyed by the Pakistan army. "Our forces only respond when Pakistani troops first violate the ceasefire. But we respond with the aim to achieve maximum impact, give a befitting reply at a time and place of our choosing," a senior officer said.
The president-elect of the United States Donald Trump has started forming his team. Reince Priebus, current chairman of the Republican National Committee, will be Trump's chief of staff, a much-coveted position in the White House, while his campaign chief, Stephen Bannon, a far-right activist, will be the chief strategist and senior counsellor. In his first detailed television interview since his electoral victory, Trump toned down his rhetoric and also promised to be more restrained on Twitter.
With the launch of Reliance Jio, promising incredibly cheap data and free calls, the sale of smartphone handsets has also gone up. Jio's arrival in the market has made Swedish telecom equipment and network services provider Ericsson AB roll-out its 4G network. The number users for the Truecaller app on Jio has also risen as have the volumes of Indian handset manufacturer Lava.
Off The Front Page
The alarm among common people due to demonetisation is leading to violent reactions, some of it fuelled by confusing information or plain ignorance about what the move involves. A taxi driver in Kolkata refused to accept a ₹10 coin from a passenger and did not let her get off the cab until she had paid him by a note. The woman, who was in the car with her young daughter, yelled for help when the driver tried to take off without letting them disembark at their destination. He was caught by the locals and handed over to the police.
With the cash crunch hitting people where it hurst most — the purchase of food items — many villages across the country have been forced to go back to the age-old system of barter. Reports from Gujarat, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Odisha reveal vegetables are being exchanged for fish and shopkeepers are giving credits to loyal customers.
The government will reintroduce compulsory Class X board examination for Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools from the 2017-18 academic year, Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said in Jaipur on Monday. The decision to conduct Class V and Class VIII examinations will, however, rest with the states.
In the Hindustan Times, Kanishk Tharoor explains the real purpose behind the protests that have erupted all over the US in the wake of Donald Trump's victory. The public outrage, he writes, is not so much a denial of the results of the elections or challenge to their legitimacy, but rather, an expression of disapproval at their outcome. The rallies are meant to act as deterrent to "normalising" Trump's win, as a section of the population is already trying to.
Economist Dipankar Dasgupta in The Telegraph writes a scathing critique of the government's policy of demonetisation. Drawing on lessons on monetary policy from Robert Lucas, Nobel Laureate and a founder of the rational expectations school of thought, the urges the Centre to "should stop gloating over the shock therapies it is planning for the nation".
An editorial in The Indian Express points out that the courts have done their bit for the reduction of pollution, but it's time for political parties, government agencies and other stakeholders to step in and take ownership of the situation. "Building safeguards without hurting economic growth requires creativity and political will," it says. "But the general thrust has been to treat pollution as a one-time affair, as individual violation or, at most, a series of disparate episodes." Until this attitude changes, India will continue to be increasingly plagued with worse levels of pollution with each passing year.
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