DailyOh! Downward spiral of Indian economy, to the last rites of Pranab Mukherjee

VandanaSep 01, 2020 | 18:44

DailyOh! Downward spiral of Indian economy, to the last rites of Pranab Mukherjee

The spiral started spiraling downward in 2016.

Your network may not follow you anywhere you go, but trouble for your network providers has followed them closely. The Supreme Court today gave them 10 years to pay revenue dues of Rs 1.6 lakh crore to the government. The first 10 per cent of this amount has to be paid by March 31, 2021. While Vodafone Idea would have to pay 50,000 crore, Bharti Airtel has to cough up Rs 26,000 crore.

vodafone-690_090120041253.jpgTelecom operators have to pay the government Rs 1.65 lakh crore over 10 years. (Photo: Reuters)

Vodafone Idea had earlier said it will have no option but shut shop if it was asked to pay the entire amount in one go. It wanted 15 ‘goes’. It has got 10.

The government, of course, needs every drop of money it can lay its hands on because the economy is in a downward spiral. The GDP has shrunk by a full 23.9 per cent, surpassing expectations of about 18%.

They spiral started spiralling downward on November 8, 2016, when demonetisation was announced. Before businesses could absorb that shock, GST was announced. And even as the government was failing to pay states their share of the GST, wham came the pandemic. So you see the pandemic has to take the blame for both its doing and also for things that were battering the economy even when the pandemic was just a virus living in bats living in caves.

Talking of GST, the Centre, which has failed to give states their due share, has asked states to borrow money to meet expenditure. Six states have ‘disliked’ the Centre’s suggestion in toto. Delhi, West Bengal, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Telangana have told the Centre, why don’t you borrow and give us the money. Why don’t both parties want to borrow? Because what you borrow, you must return. In this case, return with an interest.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is “saddened”. If the saddening has anything to do with economy, we are not sure. Sitharaman has not said anything about the GDP numbers. What’s saddened her is the “passing away of former Rashtrapati Shri Pranab Mukherjee”.

Mukherjee was cremated with full state honours at the Lodhi crematorium today. The ex-President’s son Abhijit Mukherjee performed his last rites. Before the cremation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind paid their respects to Pranab Mukherjee.

In a Covid-less world, the final rites of the former President sure would have been grander. But Covid has exposed us to a brand-new world. Even in the new world, old customs are being followed with customisations. Cremating the dead is among those customs.

Do you know where the word cremation comes from? Cremation, the Word Of The Day, originates from the Latin word ‘cremare’. Cremare means burn but is used strictly for incinerating the dead. Most religions bury the dead, Hindus cremate them. In Christianity, cremation was once considered blasphemous because it was taken to be showing a disbelief in resurrection. Now, cremations are an increasingly popular way of letting the dead go.


cremation-690_090120042404.jpgPranab Mukherjee was cremated today at the Lodhi crematorium. (Photo: Reuters)

Pranab Mukherjee was cremated today and people are busy sharing their memories of the man. One of the many memories of the man is his own memory, which is being compared to that of elephants. Not only did he remember people and their faces, but also their names. Big deal? Yes, very big, given the number of people politicians meet on a daily basis. He would even recall Union budget outlays over the years and quote them when required.

That he is being commended for his memory is good, but even better is the fact that the humble elephant’s memorising skills too are being spoken about in the same breath. What is so special about an elephant’s memory?

Elephants recognise each member of their herd but their memory goes beyond. Once two elephants worked at the same circus. They then got separated. Their paths crossed 23 years later and whoops, they rejoiced at that meeting. With almost the same emotional quotient (EQ) as humans, elephants are the only non-humans to mourn their dead. Now, dogs too mourn their dead but elephants perform burial rituals and return to visit graves.

But dead humans can sometimes need more than a burial, or cremation. Dead humans may need justice too. The dead never claimed it simply because they can’t. But those alive need it to find closure. One person seeking such closure is former international cricketer Suresh Raina. In a tweet, Raina has asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to find out the people behind the death of his uncle and cousin. Raina’s bua is on life support and the cricketer wants to know what happened with them.

In search for justice for Sushant Singh Rajput, CBI is questioning Rhea Chakraborty’s parents. Yesterday, Rhea told CBI that she never took drugs but Sushant used to use marijuana even before she met him. But what was Rhea talking to Gaurav Arya about banned drugs? Rhea has given some answer to the CBI on that question (because she clearly can’t say 'pass'), but it turns out CBI is not ‘satisfied’ with the answer.

sus-690_090120041954.jpgThe CBI today qustioned Rhea Chakraborty's parents in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. (Photo: Facebook)

There also are no satisfactory answers to why Sushant’s sisters hid the truth about knowing that their brother was taking medicines for anxiety and other mental health problems.

Fully satisfied with Dr Kafeel Khan’s arguments, the Allahabad High Court has dropped charges under the tough National Security Act against Khan and ordered his immediate release. Dr Khan was in February booked under NSA over an alleged anti-CAA speech at Aligarh Muslim University on December 12, 2019. Now, a lot of people spoke against CAA so why was Dr Khan’s speech singled out? Because the speech was seen as one promoting enmity between two religions.

The HC order is good news for Dr Khan, and the rise in car sales is good news for the auto sector. Maruti-Suzuki has seen a year-on-year growth of 17 per cent in car sales. In August 2019, it sold 106,413 vehicles. In August 2020, 124,624 units.

In April 2020, the company had reported zero sales because the economy was under lockdown.

That should offer a glimmer of hope for the economy, which is desperate to latch on to any glimmer in sight.

On that note, we will sign off for today.

See you tomorrow.

Last updated: September 01, 2020 | 18:44
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