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GS Paper II – Current Affairs /Prelims

The cop and the crooks [op-ed]

Context:

  • The crooks hoarding black money seem to be smarter than the cop. They devised myriad ways to exchange their banned currency for new notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500.
  • it may take another 2-3 months for the currency situation to normalise.
  • Also, the presumption that about Rs 3 lakh crore may not come back to the banking system for fear of being caught has been proven wrong.
  • Almost t all the banned currency has made its way back to the banks.
  • Within 2-3 weeks following the announcement, it was clear that a thriving market for currency exchange at hefty commissions had sprung up.

Tricks used in exchange:

  • Thousands of Jan Dhan accounts — with or without the knowledge of account holders.
  • Co-opting several bank officials for exchanging their black income for a commission that went up to one-third of the amount exchanged,.
  • To conniving with jewellers and bullion merchants and buying gold at double the price that was prevailing just a few hours before the announcement on November 8, even used priests and peasants to deposit their black money.

Economy cost:

  • Costs of queuing up — loss of daily wages,
  • Drop in business,
  • Losing some lives, etc. — is hard to estimate.
  • But the gains in terms of likely higher tax revenues may accrue over a period of time and can be reasonably quantified. 

Measures can be taken to curb this:

  • Make sure that the cops carrying out this operation are honest. 
  • Those joining hands with crooks for hefty commissions, be it RBI officials, bankers, bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians, and even Jan Dhan account holders, should be given exemplary punishment.
  • whistle-blowers should be rewarded handsomely, and protected.
  • Income tax and bank officials need to follow up with all accounts showing an abrupt increase in deposits. This will be time-consuming but rewarding
  • Fix an upper limit for cash transactions, say Rs 20,000, beyond which all transactions should be through the banking system.
  • Agriculture-incomes, which have become another loophole to hide black money, need to be brought under taxation with high exemption limits.
  • Make political funding transparent.

Sources-The Hindu, The Indian Express. Page 1

GS Paper II-security issues/prelims

Agni-IV missile successfully test fired

What’s Happening-
The flight-trial of India’s long range, strategic ballistic missile, Agni-IV, launched from a road-mobile on Abdul Kalam Island, off Odisha coast, was a grand success.

What is SFC ?
It was created on January 4, 2003.
The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) sometimes called Strategic Nuclear Command, forms part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).
It is responsible for the management and administration of the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.

About Agni IV:
Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Agni-IV is a two-stage,
surface-to-surface missile
that can travel 4,000 km and
can carry a nuclear warhead weighing one tonne.
the tri-Services’ Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which is entrusted with India’s nuclear weapons, will fire the missile
Agni series is a part of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP)
NOTE:
Agni-V has a range of more than 5,000 km.

Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP): Part of missile development system in India
Trishul
Akash
Nag
Prithvi Series
Agni Series
K Missile Series (ballistic missiles)
Surya (medium-range version of the Agni ballistic missile)
Dhanush (naval version of the Prithvi).