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The one voice with which the Opposition has been speaking against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to demonetise high-value currency notes is weakening. Ahead of today's meeting convened by the Congress to ramp up attack on note ban and alleged "personal corruption" of the Prime Minister, the Left parties and the JD(U) are unlikely to attend it.
If PM Modi's primary target in the attack on corruption is black money, his next is the real estate market. According to a senior tax official, he has plugged a tax loophole used by the wealthy to buy real estate in someone else's name as part of his campaign against corruption. Additionally, there will be a crackdowns on benami properties soon.
In a fresh assault on black money, the government is reportedly considering an executive order that will seek to impose fines on people in possession of the scrapped ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes beyond the 30 December deadline to deposit them in banks.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley believes India needs lower taxes to compete globally and that voluntary tax compliance by citizens should be encouraged by a friendly administration. "We have lived through the last seven decades in India under the impression that if avoidance could be done of government revenue, then there was nothing immoral about this. That was considered commercial smartness," he said.
The gold holdings of the three largest gold loan companies in Kerala have grown from 195 tonnes in two years to nearly 263 tonnes in September 2016. These three companies together have more precious metal in their vaults than the gold reserves of some of the richest nations.
Ranjit Sinha, who was the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2013 when the agency searched an office of the Aditya Birla Group in the capital, has said the investigators found a "political diary" with a list of nearly 1,000 alleged payoffs to politicians from across the spectrum. His claim contradicts the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) resistance to the demand for probe into corporate bribery raised by the Opposition.
Off The Front Page
The landscape of rural economy in India may undergo a profound and lasting change due to the effect of the notes ban by the Narendra Modi government. The cash crunch is so severe as to undo the optimism that had set in after a good monsoon and the promise of excellent kharif crops. Ground reports by analysts show that perishable crops have seen a sharp drop in prices and the future doesn't look too good as of now.
The exact cause of Har Singh Lodhi's death, in Bada Malhera village of Chhattarpur district two days ago, is yet to be established but initial reports indicate that the 70-year-old farmer died in Madhya Pradesh's Bundelkhand region after he was reportedly forced to stand on one leg for about three hours to "atone" for a calf's death.
Four people, including a tour guide and a bell boy of a five-star hotel in Connaught Place, were arrested on Monday for allegedly raping an American tourist in April this year. The 25-year-old rape survivor, who made a complaint in October, returned to India recently to depose before a magistrate and identify the accused.
In The Indian Express, Rajmohan Gandhi analyses the performance of the BJP-led government at the Centre so far to show that audacious, often divisive, rhetoric alone cannot guarantee the strength of a ruling dispensation. "Audacity has its place in leadership, but a democratic system like India's requires consultation among power-centres, even when the prime minister's primacy is conceded," he writes, before going on to suggest ways in which the nation's political behaviour can be moulded for the better.
In The Hindu, Ananya Vajpeyi writes about the overwhelming influence of caste on every aspect of life in India, from the classical arts to the disposal of bodily waste in everyday life. Focusing on the life and the politics of two recent winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2016 -- Bezwada Wilson and TM Krishna -- she traces the intersection of caste in both their works.
Writer Amit Chaudhuri takes a look at the year gone by from a personal perspective in The Telegraph. The year as been significant for him, in terms of personal loss and milestones. He lost his last surviving parent, his mother, but his daughter turned eighteen this year, and his wife and him arrived at the twenty-fifth year of their married life. "A year of long-awaited things, and extraordinary things, and unhoped-for things. Don't go yet, I say to the year. Stay a bit longer, in spite of the pain and horror," he writes in his farewell to what has been a shockingly difficult year for most of humanity.
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