09/12/2016 7:58 AM IST | Updated 09/12/2016 9:08 AM IST

The Morning Wrap: Barack Obama's Parting Gift To India; Demonetisation Hits Tourism

Our selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Morning Wrap is HuffPost India's selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers. Subscribe here to receive it in your inbox each weekday morning.

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The logical consequence of the cash crunch due to demonetisation is a rallying cry for a cashless economy. But the shift to online transactions will take a while in a majorly cash-dependent culture like India. In view of this situation, the government has announced a slew of incentives to encourage consumers to stop using cash for their day-to-day businesses. From buying petrol, insurance and railway tickets digitally to having service tax waived on card transactions for up to ₹2,000, these measures are expected to change deeply entrenched habits of dealing in paper money.

The Allahabad High Court termed the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by uttering the word 'talaq' thrice as unconstitutional. The HC further observed that the practice, sanctioned under Muslim Personal Law that governs marriage, property and divorce, violates the rights of Muslim women. Activists have filed a petition before the Supreme Court asking for the law to be quashed. The apex court's verdict is awaited.

The outgoing Barack Obama administration has proposed an exceptionally liberal export control regime for the incoming Donald Trump presidency for transfer of defence technology to India. The administration's agenda for Trump includes a proposal for bigger and more frequent bilateral and trilateral military exercises involving India with Japan and Australia.

Main News

Tourism and hospitality industries in India has taken a hit due to demonetisation of old currency notes, as foreigners travelling to the country have been forced to abandon their plans to visit or cut short their trip. The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) said that it has registered 20% cancellations in bookings by foreigners after demonetisation in Maharashtra.

A building in Hyderabad suddenly caved in while tiling and plumbing work was on at 10.30 pm last night, killing at least one person and injuring several others. Locals say five families were in the building when it collapsed. The reason behind the mishap is believed to be the weak foundation of the cellar.

The circumstances of O Panneerselvam taking on the mantle of chief minister of Tamil Nadu from the late J Jayalalithaa are becoming clearer. Only five senior Ministers in the state Cabinet -- O. Panneerselvam, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Dindigul C. Srinivasan, P. Thangamani and S.P. Velumani -- and party presidium chairman E. Mathusoothanan were aware of how grave Jayalalitha's health condition was and how much it had deteriorated. Sasikala Natarajan, too, had a decisive role to play in the decision.

Off The Front Page

Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam and some ministers met Sasikala Natarajan, the long-time companion of late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa to discuss their state's political future. Natarajan holds no official position in the party or the government, but the two-hour meeting amplified speculations that she would be given an important post in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

In a major crackdown on beggars and vagabonds in south Delhi, a move that may amount to illegal profiling of the poor without proof, the Delhi Police has rounded up at least 500 people staying on footpaths to have them fingerprinted and photographed. These so-called security measures were taken in the light of a major burglary conducted by Ravi (26) and Kadam (24) who amassed lakhs in cash and jewellery by breaking into houses.

The chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's labour arm, Brij Nath Rai, said that far more jobs had been lost than were created since Narendra Modi assumed office. He added that demonetisation had cost many jobs too. "Under the new government, 135,000 thousand job opportunities have been created so far but 2,000,000 people have lost their jobs," Baij Nath Rai, president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, told The Telegraph.


In The Hindu, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh writes against the current government's move to demonetise old currency notes. The decision, he says, will cause grievous injury to the honest Indian who earns wages in cash, while the dishonest black money hoarder will get away with a rap on the knuckles. "Black money is a menace to our society that we need to eliminate," he says. "In doing so, we have to be mindful of the potential impact on hundreds of millions of other honest citizens."

"Indian economic liberals may find both M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru wanting vis-à-vis the ideology of economic liberalism," writes Laveesh Bhandari in Mint. "But their story highlights a rich dialogue of ethics and dharma, responsibilities and rights, and the roles of individual, community and the state." Looking at the legacies of both these towering politicians, he concludes both had failed in what they had set out to achieve.

"J Jayalalithaa stands out as arguably the most successful star-politician the country has ever seen," writes Rajdeep Sardesai in the Hindustan Times. "The only two other star politicians who can claim to be in the same league are MG Ramachandran and NT Rama Rao." It will be a while, he says, before a Bollywood celebrity achieves such a feat.

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