Pausha Krishna 3, Vik.Samvat 2073.Yugabda 5118: 16 December 2016


Pausha Krishna 3, Vik.Samvat 2073.Yugabda 5118: 16 December 2016

3. THAILAND: King Rama X proclaimed 4.  Pune-based scientist wins cosmic challenge
5. TeamIndus to send first ever privately funded spacecraft to the land of Moon 6. Rashtrapatiji presents 'distinguished Indologist’ award to Chinese professor Yu Long Yu
7.  'Seva Dham' should become the epicentre of social transfor-mation: Mohan Bhagwat 8. RSS agenda is not against any religion - rss sarasanghachalak
9.  'Educating the mind important': Dalai Lama: 10. Be proud of our knowledge tradition: Hosabale
11.  RSS expressed condolences on demise of J Jayalalithaa and Cho Ramaswamy 12. Hindu University of America (HUA) Launches Online Master's Degree Program on Conflict, Peace and Hindu Philosophy
15.  Allahabad High Court order on triple talaq most welcome 16.  international Gita Mahotsav
17. 7th World Ayurveda Congress 18.  Sushma Swaraj among 15 global thinkers for novel Twitter diplomacy
19.  PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi in Trump's advisory council 20.  IIT-Kanpur student gets Rs 1.5-crore offer from Microsoft
21.  UAE-based bharatiya girl wins Intl Children’s Peace Prize 22. Kamal Sabri received the Nashville Music City Award
23. Thousands gather for consecration ceremony of newly renovated Sri Siva Durga temple 24. RSS serves society during cyclonic storm Vardah


War on black money


1. FESTIVALS: Makar Sankranti, the holy day on14 January, marks the commencement of the Sun's northern course in the Heavens - the Uttaraayana patha. This turn in the Sun's course takes place at the point of time when it enters the sign of Makara or Capricorn. Light symbolises the warmth, i.e., the love and affection, the quality of the heart. In many areas of Bharat, this is symbolised by the distribution of til-gul- the til-seed and jaggery. On the social plane, the Sankraanti carries a vital significance for national welfare. It is the warmth of love and fellow-feeling among the people of a country that ultimately makes them stand up in unison in adversity or in prosperity. The birth of Swami Vivekananda on the Sankramana day in 1863 is an inspiring indication of the passing of the long night of self-oblivion and birth of an effulgent era of resurgent Hinduism. The day is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. -goTop


2. UNESCO CALLS YOGA 'HUMAN TREASURE': Two years after the United Nations declared June 21 as World Yoga Day to promote mental and physical wellness, Yoga was declared as 'human treasure' at UNESCO's 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity organised at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Declaration of Yoga as a "human treasure" during the meeting enjoyed the unanimous support of the 24 member Intergovernmental Committee. "Never ever happened before! After Yoga inscription, entire conference does Yogic breathing." are the words of Ruchira who felt the glorious impact of Bharat's ancient wisdom charming the global mind. Ruchira Kamboj, ambassador and permanent representative of Bharat to UNESCO, Paris wtote on her twitter: "Yoga just inscribed by UNESCO. Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 24/24 Votes, Journey from 'Indian2WorldHeritage' completed." The UNESCO note says that Yoga is Bharat disseminating this ancient tradition. It can potentially foment a dialogue on the ideas of peace and tolerance to meet the sustainable development. -goTop


3. THAILAND: King Rama X proclaimed: HIS MAJESTY King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun was proclaimed as the 10th King of the Chakri Dynasty i.e. 'King Rama X' on December 1 after he accepted the invitation made by the President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in accordance with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's will, the Constitution and Palace Law. The proclamation ceremony was held in the evening when King Maha Vajiralongkorn, then in his capacity as Crown Prince, granted an audience to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, Supreme Court President Veerapol Tungsuwan, and Regent pro tempore PremTinsulanonda.

At the audience at Ambhorn Sathan Villa in Dusit Palace starting at 7.16pm, President Pornpetch asked the Crown Prince to ascend the Throne and become the 10th King of the 234-year-old Chakri dynasty. After he accepted the invitation, King Maha Vajiralongkorn prostrated to pay respect in front of the portraits of his parents King Rama IX and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.The new King then addressed the audience briefly before ending the ceremony. -goTop


4.  Pune-based scientist wins cosmic challenge: Ten years ago at an international conference in Melbourne, renowned Bharatiya theoretical physicist Thanu Padmanabhan from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, threw a challenge to the international community of astrophysicists to prove his ideas on dark energy in universe wrong by 2016. At the end of his plenary talk on December 15, 2006 at the 23rd Texas Symposium, Padmanabhan offered a bet to the audience that in the next ten years there will be no evidence to contradict the theory that dark energy (cosmological constant) is at the root cause of accelerated expansion of the universe. While most astronomers did not want to accept the wager, it was taken up by David Wiltshire, professor in the department of physics and astronomy, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

On December 13, 2016, Wiltshire made an announcement conceding the wager in the CosPa2016 International conference in Sydney.

Four years ago, while working on a deeper paradigm of Einstein's theory, Padmanabhan along with his daughter Hamsa Padmanabhan, co-authored a paper where they derived the numerical value of the cosmological constant. This was published in international journals.

As per the terms of the wager, Padmanabhan was given a lamp of his choice to help him better illuminate his calculations of the dark energy. "In case I had lost, I would have had to buy David a clock of his choice to help him keep better track of the lack of constancy of cosmological ideas I had offered him to extend the bet for another 10 years, but he refused," Padmanabhan said. -goTop


5. TeamIndus to send first ever privately funded spacecraft to the land of Moon: TeamIndus, a space technology company announced on December 1 that it will launch Bharat's first ever private mission to the moon. Bengaluru based start-up 'TeamIndus' will use ISRO's PSLV to lift up the rover on December 28, 2017. The aim of the mission is to successfully land the rover on the moon which will travel at least 500m on the lunar surface and beam back high-definition video and images back to the earth.

It's the only Bharatiya organization competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30-million reward that requires privately funded teams to land their spacecraft on the surface of the moon. The total expense of the project is about USD 60 million. TeamIndus investors include, Ratan Tata; Sachin & Binny Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart; and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd. TeamIndus has 25 global partners in Japan, Germany, Spain, UK and US. -goTop


6. Rashtrapatiji presents 'distinguished Indologist' award to Chinese professor Yu Long Yu: Rashtrapati Pranab Mukherjee presented the second ICCR 'Distinguished Indologist' award to Prof. Yu Long Yu of the People's Republic of China on December 2 at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs and Prof. Lokesh Chandra, President, ICCR.

Speaking on the occasion, Rashtrapatiji said it is not surprising that the 2nd Distinguished Indologist Award is being conferred on a scholar from China, a civilization with which Bharat has age-old academic and cultural exchanges. The contacts between our scholars, scientists and historians date back to ancient times. These mutually inspiring relationships were further reinforced by the impelling ties of religion, trade and cultural affinities.

Prof. Yu Long Yu, Professor and Director at the Centre for Indian Studies, Shenzhen University, has studied Indology for half a century and is the pioneer for Indology in South China. He has translated  Bharatiya  novels, dramas, literature of more than 300 thousand Chinese characters and published more than 80 academic articles. He is the author of several books. He has set up the Centre for Indian Studies and Tan Yunshan Sino-Indian Friendship Museum in Shenzhen University. -goTop


7.  'Seva Dham' should become the epicentre of social transfor-mation: Mohan Bhagwat: "Seva Dham should serve the objectives for which it is established and the society should benefit from it," said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat speaking at the inaugural function of new building 'Seva Dham', the office complex of Arunachal Pradesh Charitable Task (APCT).  The Seva Dham should become the epicentre of all the service projects and charity works undertaken by RSS through its registered societies like APCT and Seva Bharati Arunachal Pradesh, he added.

He lauded the initiatives like vocational and skill development projects undertaken by the APCT and wished success to its entire further endeavour.

Assam Kshetra Sanghachalak Asim Kumar Dutta, Kshetra Karyavah Manik Chandra Das, state Industries Minister Tamiyo Taga, Ziro MLA and first RSS trainee of Arunachal Pradesh Tage Taki, office bearers of APCT & Arun Chetana Sammelan, Vibhag Pracharaks including many senior RSS functionaries from other NE states were present. -goTop


8. RSS agenda is not against any religion - rss sarasanghachalak: "People often ask about Sangh agenda .. Sangh has no agenda, rather, we intend to groom good human beings with high moral values, that makes it different and unique in the world," RSS Sarasanghachalak Dr Mohan Bhagwat said at the unveiling of a collector's edition of RSS-inspired weeklies "Organiser" and "Panchjanya" commemorating 90 years of the founding of the organisation. Bhagwat said that prevalence of social issues like "untouchability" was a bigger challenge before Hindus and every individual should make his own efforts for its eradication. -goTop


9.  'Educating the mind important': Dalai Lama: "Education of minds is important. Values of love and warmth are what religion actually stands for .. should be included in the modern secular education in Bharat," said spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the fifth convocation of Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) on 9th December. The Dalai Lama, while emphasizing the importance and value of education, also said, "A healthy mind is the most important element for a healthy body. Helping others and serving others as much as you can is the proper way to lead a meaningful life. We can never obtain peace in our outer world until we make peace with ourselves". According to him, the very purpose of religion is to control onself, not to criticize others. Lieutenant governor and vice-chancellor of the university Najeeb Jung was also present at the event. -goTop


10. Be proud of our knowledge tradition: Hosabale: Delivering inaugural address at the two-day national seminar on "Knowledge Tradition of India" organised by Makhanlal Chaturvedi Journalism and Communication University, Bhopal in Patna as part of its Silver Jubilee celebrations, RSS Sah Sarkaryavah Dattatreya Hosbale said that reading books or collecting information do not help acquire knowledge. The true knowledge is the capacity and capability to use that information for the benefit and welfare of the humanity.

Praising the MCJ University for its efforts to rejuvenate Bharatiya knowledge tradition, he said that while other universities seem to have drifted from their basic objectives but this varsity is pursuing knowledge in its true tradition. The university has carried its important achievements in its efforts to the various corners of the country, Hosabale said.

Presiding over the event MCJ varsity Vice-Chancellor Prof Brij Kishore Kuthiala said that we need to utilise our rich 'Knowledge Tadition' in view of the present perspective and future requirements.  -goTop


11.  RSS expressed condolences on demise of J Jayalalithaa and Cho Ramaswamy: rss expressed deep condolences on demise of Tamilnadu CM J Jayalalithaa and eminent political analyst Cho Ramaswamy. The condolence message on the demise of J Jayalalithaa described her as a fearless woman with an indomitable spirit who had ruled over the hearts of common people of Tamilnadu, who fondly addressed her as "Amma". Condolence message on the demise of Cho Ramaswamy said that he always dared to speak out his opinions emphatically and fearlessly, be it in the form of unconditional support or sheer criticism. -goTop


12. Hindu University of America (HUA) Launches Online Master's Degree Program on Conflict, Peace and Hindu Philosophy: The Mahatma Gandhi Center for Non-Violence, Human Rights and World Peace at the HUA is launching an online Master of Arts program in Conflict, Peace and Hindu Philosophy starting in January 2017. The core courses of the program such as principles of Hinduism, Gandhian conflict resolution and introduction to conflict and peace studies are designed to offer an integral approach to conflict and peace in which the best elements from the East and the West are factored. The program will train academicians, professionals and peace activists from across the world to integrate the core principles of Hinduism with other cultures and traditions towards resolving conflicts at various levels. For further details about the program email Dr. Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, Director, Mahatma Gandhi Center, HUA at -goTop


13. 21 day 'Vishwa Sangh Shiksha Varg-2016' by HSS at nairobi: Dwitiya Varsh Sangh Shiksha Varg for Vishwa Vibhag started on 10th December at Premier Academy, Nairobi. A total of 31 shiksharthis from 10 countries are participating in the 21 day camp. A havan was performed before the inauguration program, in which Anil ji Oak, Akhil Bharatiya sah-vyavastha pramukh gave the inaugural speech. A book 'A Bouquet of Geeta Shlokas' compiled by senior swayamsevak from Nairobi A E Purushottam Rao was released on this occasion. HSS Kenya Sanghachalak Ma. Navinbhai Shah, Vishwa Vibhag samyojak Saumitra Gokhale, sahsamyojak Ravi Kumar and Dr Ram Vaidya and several swayamsevaks from Nairobi also attended the program.-goTop


14. ISLAMIC SCHOLAR SEVERES 40-YEAR-OLD ASSOCIATION WITH AIMPLB OVER 'TRIPLE TALAQ' ISSUE: Anguished over the stand adopted by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on the issue of triple talaq, Prof Mohammad Shabbir, former dean, faculty of law, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and AIMPLB member of the since 1976, has revolted against the stand of the Board on 'Triple Talaq'. Prof Shabbir, who served as Vice-Chancellor (Acting), Chairman, Department of Law, Dr Ambedkar Chair Professor of Law, and Coordinator, PG Studies and Research, International Islamic University, Malaysia, was associated with the AIMPLB since 1976, four years after the Board was founded in 1972. Since then, he was very active member of the Board. -goTop


15.  Allahabad High Court order on triple talaq most welcome: Allahabad High Court has held that this form of "instant divorce" in the form of triple talaqis "most demeaning", and it "impedes and drags Bharat from becoming a nation". Refusing to comment on the legality of the practice, the court upheld constitutional supremacy and said that no personal law board was above the Constitution.

The Rashtra Sevika Samiti, a national women's organisation, has welcomed the decision on triple talaq issue and said that it would help restore the honour and safety of hundreds of affected Muslim women. The decision has underlined a big win for Muslim women in their fight against fundamentalism, said senior RSS leader and Patron of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) Indresh Kumar. Welcoming the decision, Indresh Kumar said that the High Court has described triple talaq as cruelty against the Muslim women.

The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), a social reform movement of Muslims, has said that the intention of the Modi government on this contentious issue was very clear. MRM women’s wing National Convener Reshma Hussain welcomed the court order and said that they would conduct a signature campaign.-goTop


16.  international Gita Mahotsav: Geeta Jayanti on December 6, celebrated for the first time internationally, commenced at Kurukshetra, amid chanting of hymns and 'Gita Pujan' performed by Haryana Rajyapal Kaptan Singh Solanki and Mukhyamantri Manohar Lal Khattar. They also inaugurated the Saraswati project, under which 93 villages sites will be developed as pilgrimage and tourist spots. On the occasion, they also reviewed the model of Gita Gyan Sansthan, under which an institute for research on Bhagwad Gita would be set up.

The seminar on Bhagwad Gita began with paying tributes to the Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha by observing silence for two minutes as a mark of respect to the departed soul. Later, president of Ulema Foundation, Sawgawan Sadat, Amroha and scholar on Bhagwad Gita Maulana Kokab Mujtaba made a vivid analysis of various aspects of the Gita that can inspire the entire humanity. Founder of American Institute of Vedic Studies David Frawley and chairman of Ram Das Mission in the US Bhai Satpal Singh also presented their views on Bhagwad Gita.

On concluding day of the International Gita Mahotsav on December 10, global chanting of verses from Shrimad Bhagvad Gita was done simultaneously in Kurukshetra and 25 other countries from 6 pm to 6.15 pm. The countries where the verses were chanted include Bharat, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, UAE, UK and USA. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar were present at the global chanting ceremony and recited verses from Bhagwad Gita with others at Brahamsarover. Hema Malini the renowned actress performed the Draupadi dance at the funtion.

One person each from 574 districts of the country had reached Kurukshetra with one shloka scripted on their traditional dresses. Apart from this, 18,473 school students also recited the 18 shlokas from 18 chapters of Gita and created a world record. -goTop


17. 7th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) was held from December 2 to 4, 2016 at Science City in Kolkata, West Bengal. The focus theme of the Congress was "Strengthening the Ayurveda Ecosystem." The major components of the congress were public outreach session, Ayurveda Clinics for the general public and Public Lectures.

Speaking at the valedictory function of the Congress on December 4, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik asked Ayurveda researchers and practitioners world over for inputs which can be incorporated in order to streamline the study and practice of traditional medicine. -goTop


18.  Sushma Swaraj among 15 global thinkers for novel Twitter diplomacy: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi congratulated external Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on being named in the Global Thinkers of 2016 list compiled by the Foreign Policy magazine.

Swaraj was named in the 'decision makers' category along with the Democratic Party US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US attorney general Loretta Lynch among others. "Very proud to see our hardworking External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj part of the ForeignPolicy Global Thinkers list 2016! Congrats," Modi tweeted. The magazine recalled how, when around 10,000 Bharatiya workers in Saudi Arabia faced a "food crisis" earlier this year due to job losses, Swaraj tweeted about the issue to six million followers on the social media website. "What followed was a week-long social media operation in which Swaraj posted information for migrants about rations provided by the Bharatiya embassy, claims for unpaid wages and government-organised transportation home," it said.

The magazine said: "From evacuating Bharatiyas from Yemen to helping replace lost passports, Swaraj has earned the nickname 'the common tweeple's leader' for her aggressive use of Twitter." -goTop


19.  PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi in Trump's advisory council: Bharatiya-American PepsiCo CEO IndraNooyi has joined Donald Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum that aims to assist the president-elect in implementing his economic agenda.Chennai-born Nooyi, 61, is the only Bharatiya-origin executive in the 19-member President's Strategic and Policy Forum. The other corporate bigwigs to join the forum are Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and SpaceX and Tesla chairman Elon Musk. The forumwill meet with the president frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the president implements his economic agenda. "America has the most innovative and vibrant companies in the world and the pioneering CEOs joining this forum today are at the top of their fields," Trump said. "My administration is going to work together with the private sector to improve the business climate and make it attractive for firms to create new jobs across the United States from Silicon Valley to the heartland," he added.

PepsiCo is the largest US food and beverage company with about 1,10,000 employees and 100 plants across the country. During the general election, Nooyi was a known supporter of Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. -goTop


20.  IIT-Kanpur student gets Rs 1.5-crore offer from Microsoft: A student of IIT-Kanpur who hails from Delhi has received a job offer of nearly Rs 1.5 crore per annum from Microsoft. This is the highest ever salary offer to a student of IIT-K. The student has been offered a position at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond. He will get $136000 (Rs 94 lakh) as base pay and $70,000 for relocation, medical and visa charges and stock ownership options. The total package, with annual bonus and joining bonus, works out to nearly Rs1.5 crore. -goTop


21.  UAE-based bharatiya girl wins Intl Children’s Peace Prize: A 16-year-old Bharatiya environmental activist Kehkashan Basu has won this year's prestigious International Children's Peace Prize for her fight for climate justice and combating environmental degradation. Kehkashan, based in the UAE was presented the award by Bangladesh's Nobel peace laureate Mohammad Yunus at a glittering ceremony in The Hague. The International Children's Peace Prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, Chairman and Founder of the Dutch Kids Rights Foundation, and is awarded annually to a child, anywhere in the world, for his or her dedication to children's rights. -goTop


22. Kamal Sabri received the Nashville Music City Award: Like classical music instruments, the sitar and the tabla, the sarangi is also being recognised and appreciated in the West.

Kamal Sabri the sarangi maestro son of famous Akashwani Sarangi player Ustad Sabri Khan, was awarded the Nashville Music City Award  for the International Artist of the Year 2016 at the event held at Centennial Performing Arts Theatre in Nashville recently. "I think Bharatiya music has spiritual power that connects people from across the globe to it. The sarangi has been an important part of it but was not highlighted much. Over the years, it has got much more exposure in the West," said Sabri. -goTop


23. Thousands gather for consecration ceremony of newly renovated Sri Siva Durga temple: Nearly 20,000 Hindus queued up under the morning sun to enter the renovated Sri Siva Durga temple after a special consecration ceremony on Sunday Dec 4. The temple in Potong Pasirin Singapore had undergone a two-year, $2.7 million reconstruction. All Hindu temples undergo renovations and repairs every 12 years, and the temple and its deities have to be re-consecrated through a ritual known as Maha Kumb abhishekam. Other races and religions in the community helped out for the event. Volunteers from the Mahakaruna Buddhist Society, with an office in Kim Keat, distributed breakfast and drinks to the crowd.-goTop


24. RSS serves society during cyclonic storm Vardah: Gusty winds wreaked havoc in Chennai on December 12-13. Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Vardah’ hit Chennai and coastal areas of Tamilnadu causing heavy damage to the City. Winds with a speed of 110 km/per hour uprooted many trees, hitting the Chennai worst after decades. Warning by meteorological department had kept the citizens to stay indoors and safe. RSS Swayamsevaks from various parts of the city were on field helping the people to move to safe places; cutting uprooted trees paving way for the vehicles to move freely and cleaning the roads. This timely action helped in restoring essential services in the affected area.-goTop


25.  SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: RSS Sarkaryavaha Ma Bhayyaji Joshi will visit Nairobi - Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: MakaraSankramana embodies the ardent prayer of every Hindu heart -




Lead me, O Lord, from untruth to Truth, from darkness to Light andfrom death to immortality. -goTop



War on black money

Demonetisation is a courageous reform that will bring substantive benefits

 JagdishBhagwati, Pravin Krishna, Suresh Sundaresan 


On November 8 Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a surprise reform to the nation: the government declared that the high-denomination 500 and 1000 rupee notes, which constituted more than 85% of currency outstanding in value, would be invalid as legal tender and could only be deposited into bank accounts until the end of the year.

This is a courageous and substantive economic reform that, despite the significant transition costs, has the potential to generate large future benefits.

India is largely a cash-driven economy, though a rapidly growing percentage of the population is becoming tech savvy. A shadow economy reliant on cash transactions and evading taxes, especially on high value transactions such as real estate purchases, gold, and intrinsically illegal activity, has taken deep and highly persistent root. Counterfeiting of Indian rupee notes and their subsequent use in funding of terrorist activities has also been an important concern.

While the pernicious effects of a large black economy and tax avoidance have been well recognised, no tangible policy action has been taken until now. Modi's radical move to invalidate the high denomination notes, in which the black economy primarily transacts, is a daring step.

Economically and politically powerful constituencies with considerable stake in the shadow economy have been upended. Undertaking this reform has required the political courage to impose predictable transition costs on the economy to lay the foundation for sustained future benefits - the converse of what one normally expects from one's politicians.

Some economists have advanced a criticism that this initiative is an abrogation of contract and trust in the currency. This is incorrect, as the policy allows for the exchange of old notes for new notes. Although the process is inconvenient, and subjects many households to hardships, it forces the cash from the black economy to be deposited into the banking system, potentially increasing transparency and expanding the tax base and revenues to the government from taxes and surcharges.

Inevitably, the Indian economy will move towards digitisation of economic transactions, with cash currency playing a relatively minor role. The argument that the policy is anti-poor is suspect as a significant fraction of the taxes and surcharges that will be collected from the reform initiative is to be allocated to social programmes.

Finally, it has been argued that the action is despotic. On the contrary, this action has been taken by duly elected officials within the framework of a democracy. To be effective, the policy required an element of surprise. Given this surprise factor and the magnitude of the reform, the rollout of the policy has generated predictable hardships.

The shortage of new currency notes and limits on withdrawals has led to considerable anxiety about wage and pension payments, and cash financing of even routine household expenditures. The frequent changes in rules during the past month, over how money deposited into accounts will be taxed, how much money may be withdrawn and which exemptions would apply, for instance, have led to unnecessary confusion.

Nevertheless, there has been an impressive level of support at the grass roots level for this reform, as evidenced by the absence of any rioting, looting or acts of mass protest. But the policy makers must manage this transition process efficiently and with empathy, to ensure sustained support from the common man.

As per the Income Tax Amendment Act of November 28, 2016, the government will tax unaccounted income deposits at 50% and will only prosecute those who, upon investigation, are found to have engaged in illegal or criminal activity. This move is hoped to motivate the transfer of wealth from the black economy to the banks.

Several recent developments suggest that the demonetisation drive may well yield significant benefits.

First, around 80% of the currency in higher denominations has now been deposited back into bank accounts. Since individual deposits will now be matched with their tax returns and unaccounted deposits will be taxed, this will yield a windfall for the government permitting large increases in social expenditures.

Second, we already see an impressive switch into digital transactions. Thus, this one-time demonetisation itself could have long-term beneficial impact by nudging reluctant consumers into e-payments, whose transparency will ensure greater tax compliance and a higher permanent tax base.

Third, the government's action taken will put a major dent in counterfeiting. With the new notes being much less prone to counterfeiting, social benefits will be earned immediately.

In any other time, one would have to be unreasonably idealistic to expect, from politicians, a major economic reform, which offers substantive benefits in the future, but comes with significant political costs in the transition period immediately following the reform.

India, however, seems to have voted in a prime minister who is prepared to take on political risk in his efforts to fulfill his commitment to root out corruption - and has promised even more. We await his next steps.

Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor at Columbia University. Pravin Krishna is Professor of International Economics at Johns Hopkins University. Suresh Sundaresan is Professor of Finance at Columbia Business School --December 13, 2016, Times of India. -goTop

Shri Vishwa Niketan