In­sight into de­mon­eti­sa­tion

Book an­swers ques­tions that still haunt In­di­ans

Sunday Tribune - - BOOKS -

AMONG the most an­tic­i­pated nov­els for this month is Don’t Tell The Gov­er­nor by Ravi Subra­ma­nian, whose sto­ries are set against the back­drop of the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try. Pub­lished by Harper­collins In­dia, his 10th novel weaves a fic­tional nar­ra­tive around de­mon­eti­sa­tion.

“When the prime min­is­ter de­clares de­mon­eti­sa­tion at 8pm on Novem­ber 8, 2016, it leaves the na­tion stunned. But the gov­er­nor of the Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI), who should have ide­ally been party to the de­ci­sion, is at a cross­roads. He has just car­ried out the most brazen act of his life yet, it looks like it might also have been his most fool­ish,” the pub­lisher said about the nar­ra­tive in the up­com­ing book.

“Will he be able to pull him­self out of the mess he has got into or will he be con­demned for life? Will he man­age to re­tain his au­ton­omy or meekly sur­ren­der to the forces be­hind the mas­sive scam? Or is he go­ing to be the vic­tim of a very sin­is­ter plot? Run­ning des­per­ately out of time, the gov­er­nor has one week to set things right.”

The next book, non-fic­tion, is by Meera Sanyal, who stepped down from her role as chief ex­ec­u­tive and chair­per­son of the Royal Bank of Scot­land (RBS) In­dia in De­cem­ber 2013, and is ti­tled The Big Re­verse: How De­mon­e­ti­za­tion Knocked In­dia Out (Harper­collins In­dia).

De­scrib­ing de­mon­eti­sa­tion as a black swan event in In­dian his­tory, the book, ac­cord­ing to the pub­lisher, will pro­vide “the most com­pre­hen­sive anal­y­sis of the pol­icy, its ex­e­cu­tion and pit­falls”. It will present un­prece­dented in­sights backed by data, his­tory and re­search, and as a re­sult, an­swer the ques­tions that still con­tinue to haunt In­di­ans, on the what, why and how of de­mon­eti­sa­tion.

Sanyal notes in the book: “While the Modi gov­ern­ment claimed that it was the sil­ver bul­let that In­dia needed to elim­i­nate many of its long-stand­ing prob­lems such as black money, cor­rup­tion, tax eva­sion and ter­ror fund­ing, the months that fol­lowed proved it oth­er­wise. The re­turn of 99.7 per­cent of the banned 500- and 1 000-ru­pee notes showed that the RBI’S idea of a De­mon­eti­sa­tion Div­i­dend was noth­ing but a mi­rage. In the process, liveli­hoods of mil­lions in the in­for­mal sec­tor were de­stroyed, caus­ing enor­mous dis­tress to farm­ers and traders and forc­ing many mi­cro, small and medium busi­nesses into bank­ruptcy.”

And then there is Of Coun­sel: The Chal­lenges of the Modi-jait­ley Econ­omy (Pen­guin Ran­dom House In­dia) by for­mer chief eco­nomic ad­viser (CEA) Arvind Subra­ma­nian, whose trustee­ship saw the coun­try through one of the most hotly-con­tested and tur­bu­lent pe­ri­ods of eco­nomic gov­er­nance and pol­i­cy­mak­ing in re­cent decades from the de­mon­eti­sa­tion to the in­tro­duc­tion of the Goods and Ser­vices Tax.

Subra­ma­nian, ac­cord­ing to the pub­lisher, pro­vides an in­side ac­count of his roller-coaster jour­ney as the CEA. With an il­lus­tri­ous cast of char­ac­ters, Subra­ma­nian’s part-mem­oir, part-an­a­lyt­i­cal book candidly re­veals the nu­mer­ous tri­umphs and chal­lenges of pol­i­cy­mak­ing at the zenith, while ap­prais­ing In­dia’s eco­nomic po­ten­tial through com­pre­hen­sive re­search and orig­i­nal hy­pothe­ses.

Bi­b­lio­philes will also be in­tro­duced to A Stranger Truth: Lessons in Love, Lead­er­ship and Courage from In­dia’s Sex Work­ers by Ashok Alexan­der (Jug­ger­naut). When Alexan­der left a cor­po­rate job to head Ava­han, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion’s pro­gramme to stem the growth of the HIV epi­demic in In­dia, he was plunged into a world far re­moved from the com­fort zones he had lived and worked in.

It was a grind­ing place where women sold them­selves for 50 ru­pees (R9) and 14-year-olds in­jected drugs. It was the shadow world of trans­gen­ders and of young gay men in a coun­try that still crim­i­nalised same-sex love.

Dur­ing the 10 years Alexan­der built Ava­han, it grew to be­come one of the largest and most suc­cess­ful HIV pre­ven­tion pro­grammes in the world.

Based on his ex­pe­ri­ences, A Stranger Truth brings alive the world of peo­ple most vul­ner­a­ble to HIV/AIDS, and some of the heroes among them.

And last but not the least, there is Heads You Win by Jef­frey Archer, pub­lished by Pan­macmil­lan. It is billed as an “in­cred­i­ble and thrilling novel” by the mas­ter sto­ry­teller, whose fi­nal twist will shock even his most ar­dent fans.

The pub­lisher said that this was the in­ter­na­tional num­ber one best­selling author’s “most am­bi­tious and cre­ative work” since Kane and Abel. | IANS

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