Morning Brief: Modi Promises A
New India; Corporate Giants Back Demonetisation; L&T Cuts 14,000 jobsNarendra Modi during a rally. Photo credit: Chandan Khanna/AFP/GettyImages

Good Morning, Swarajya Readers! Here's What You Need To Know Today.

Modi Promises A New Nation In New Year: Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his party MPs on Tuesday that the decision to demonetise notes of higher denomination was to help the poor. He promised a new nation in a new year and a clean-up of what he called the 70-year-old slush pile of black money.

Corporate Giants Back Modi’s Demonetisation: Corporate giants and a majority of start-ups in India have backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation campaign. Prominent among them are Tata Group interim chairman Ratan Tata and Mahindra Group chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra. Meanwhile, C-Voter poll showed a majority of India is in favour of demonetisation.

Demonetisation Windfall For Municipalities: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation decision has led to a windfall for 47 municipalities. According to estimates, by Tuesday, the municipal tax collection for civic bodies had reached Rs 13,192 crore, compared to just Rs 3,607 crore last November. Big Bazaar has tied up with State Bank of India and enabled mini ATMs across all 260 stores to help consumers withdraw cash.

BJP Wins Key Bypolls: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress won two Lok Sabha seats each, claiming it was a vindication of their stand on demonetisation, as ruling parties in six states and Puducherry won the by-elections, retaining most of the assembly seats.

India Vows Retribution After LoC Mutilation: The Indian Army has vowed “retribution” after Pakistani troops killed three soldiers and savagely mutilated one of the bodies on Tuesday close to the border in Jammu and Kashmir. This comes after Pakistan’s Sartaj Aziz, the de facto Foreign Minister, confirming his visit to India. New Delhi has not proposed a meeting yet, and the LoC attack may hit the chance of any bilateral talks.

Opposition Plans To Target Government: A united opposition decided to escalate its attack on the government over the demonetisation by holding a “dharna” in the Parliament House precincts on Wednesday, setting up a meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee and holding street protests in the coming days.

L&T Slashes 14,000 Jobs: In one of the biggest corporate retrenchment exercises in recent times, Larsen & Toubro, India’s biggest engineering firm, has shed 14,000 employees, or 11.2 per cent of its total workforce. The $16-billion diversified conglomerate said on Tuesday the step was an attempt to “right size” its strength in the face of business slowdown.

Boost For China As Trump Vows To Kill Trade Pact: An Asia-Pacific trade pact linking the US and 11 countries lay in tatters on Tuesday after US President-elect Donald Trump said he would kill the deal on his first day in office, opening the way for China to assume the US' leadership mantle on trade and diplomacy in Asia. Trump also said he will not pursue investigations against Secretary Hillary Clinton's email controversy.

Zakir Naik’s NGO Granted Scholarship To IS Operative: A National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe has revealed that Abu Anas, an accused in Islamic State case, received Rs 80,000 from Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as scholarship in October 2015. The Enforcement Directorate is probing a layering of funds amounting to Rs 100 crore received by Naik’s family and IRF.

Ratan Tata’s Ego Led To Bad Business Decisions, Says Cyrus Mistry: Ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry on Tuesday alleged that patriarch Ratan Tata once tried to sell the TCS to IBM and his "ego" led to bad business decisions like Corus acquisition at double the original cost. Mistry also scoffed at Tata Sons for “apportioning credit” for Jaguar Land Rover turnaround to Ratan Tata’s personal vision.

MUST READ OP-EDS

Currency Reform: A Risky Natural Experiment: There is a good reason why the attention of economists around the world is focused on India. This is a rare, and perhaps unprecedented, natural experiment whose deeper effects will be known well after the dust settles down.

Cutting The Code With CRISPR: Even if we can agree that there are risks inherent in meddling with the gene pool, we have to recognise that certain genes are bad in every conceivable context.

Judicial Appointments: Will Old Order Change? The government seems to believe that more than the pace of appointments, the judiciary is stonewalling on reform to the current collegium system.

Is It Possible For Banks To Follow RBI’s Rate Cut? Given the regulatory and compliance framework of banking in India, is it possible for banks to follow RBI’s rate cut as per the expectation? An analysis.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

The Good News: Demonetisation Spurs Behaviour Changes We All Hoped To See: Here is an indicative laundry list of post-demonetisation good news, including the short-term one where cash pushed into people’s hands is about to spike, alleviating the shortage psychology.

Larry Summers’ Fluffy Piece On Demonetisation Fails To Convince: Even though he presents no hard evidence for his assertions, Larry Summers doesn’t shy away from making them nonetheless, writes Rupa Subramanya.

I Took A Trip To My Village And Talked About Demonetisation With People; It Is Clear That…: Demonetisation is affecting different classes differently, but, at a macro level, people appear to be stoically bearing the hardship in the hope of a better future.

Economics Of Disruption: Demonetisation Is The Beginning Of Something Big: If it is possible to run the economy electronically it then becomes easier to downsize government, remove some of those positions where bureaucrats wield rent-seeking, discretionary powers.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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