THE VANISHING RBI withdraws the ₹2000 currency note

Arshad Shaikh studies the recent announcement by the RBI to withdraw the ₹2000 currency note from circulation. While the RBI says that it is a routine exercise, many see it as one more opportunity created for the government to score brownie points before the general elections by projecting as the second surgical strike on black money. As the scars of the 2016 demonetisation are yet to heal, critics have come down hard on the decision and called it needless and creating more confusion than clarity. Sadly, very few focus on the impact of its withdrawal on the economy, which needs healing rather than strikes and blows.

The Kerala Story Another insidious film to malign Islam and Muslims

Arshad Shaikh writes on the growing trend in Hollywood and Bollywood (the film industries in the US and India) to deliberately portray Islam and Muslims negatively with the express intent of creating misinformation and hatred. Under the guise of creating fictitious plots and characters, the image of Muslims that gets reinforced after watching such films is that they are prone to terrorism, their nationalism is suspect, they lust after women belonging to other faiths, they have many children, and ready to commit acts of violence in the name of their religion. Another addition to this trend of making Islamophobic films is the newly released film, “The Kerala Story”. While attempts to stop the film’s release did not succeed, it managed to polarise public opinion and bring the issue of Islamophobia, freedom of expression, censorship, creative licence, and “art versus reality” into the national spotlight.

Can DedollarisationEnd Pax Americana? Significant international trade bypassing the dollar sets off huge debate

Arshad Shaikh studies the recent trend of countries led by the BRICS nations to trade in other currencies by moving away from the US dollar. Will this dedollarisation accelerate the end of Pax Americana? Will the greenback lose its status as the world’s reserve currency? What impact will it have on the American and global economy? Some view these questions as more hype than reality.

Delhi Witnesses Selective Demolition Drive Madrasa TehfizulQur’ān faces the wrath of a bulldozer squad without notice

Abdul Bari Masoud presents a report of how Madrasa Tehfizul Qur’ān in Delhi faced the wrath of a bulldozer squad of Union Urban Development Ministry’s Land and Development Office (L&DO) with a sizable presence of policeat odd hours and without any prior notice on April 11 while the case is pending in the local court and hearing was scheduled for April 13.

A BOMB THAT NEVER WAS The myth of population explosion causes irreparable damage

Arshad Shaikh analyses the recent study on current trends in population by the Club of Rome. It forecasts a peak in global population by the middle of the 21st century followed by a rapid decline. Although this may help in easing the fight for environmental protection, it will not be easy for nations that aggressively pursued ‘family planning’ to reverse their falling birth rates.

Attempt to Incite Communal Riots by Hindu Mahasabha Members Foiled by UP Police

Mohd. Naushad Khan citesAmar Ujala’s report which claims that members of the Hindu Mahasabha allegedly killed cows to provoke communal violence but Uttar Pradesh Police arrested the miscreants and foiled their plan to incite communal riots in the state. He also writes that at least 15 separate incidents of communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims were reported from six states: West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

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SOS FOR DRUG REGULATION The “pharmacy of the world” needs a serious revamp

Arshad Shaikh studies the recent move by the government to centralise drug regulation in India.  Despite massive gains in the exports of drugs and vaccines, we are still plagued by shoddy regulatory standards and mechanisms. A string of deaths in some countries after allegedly consuming Indian medicines has sullied India’s image as the “pharmacy of the world”. There is an acute need for course correction in sorting out our pharmaceutical industry. Hopefully, our policymakers will live up to the task.

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Cometh The Blessed Month

Alhamdulillah, the sun of the blessed month of Ramadhan has beamed on us once again. The month that brings with it abundant blessings, copious rewards and abounding favours of Allah (سبحانہوتعالیٰ).  In Islamic calendar, this month of Ramadhan has been set apart exclusively for Ibadah (prayer). For this purpose, unlike normal days, decks are cleared and hindrances removed in this month by Allah (سبحانہوتعالیٰ) to create favourable atmosphere and ambience facilitating easy and smooth indulgence with prayer by opening the gate of the Paradise, closing the door of the Hell and fettering the Satan (Bukhari – 1899). On the other hand, the rewards for prayers are made manifold.  As the holy month progresses, the rain of blessings, bounties, favours and rewards becomes heavier and heavier and ascends to its peak in its last ten days.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY INCOMPLETE MGNREGA allocation slashed, PLFS data disappointing

Arshad Shaikh studies the reduced allocation for MGNREGA in the Budget and the recently released PLFS numbers. Contrary to the government’s position that the status of our economy has reached the stage of “recovery complete”, it appears that we are still experiencing significant rural distress. A major challenge for our policymakers is to generate enough jobs for our youth and control inflation. However, those who govern us seem to be fixated only on growth numbers and bloating the size of the economy. The data on unemployment is not pleasant, and the lack of a “jobs policy” makes those numbers gloomier.

THE NEW LOAN SHARKS Credit card usage on the rise in India

Arshad Shaikh studies the rise of credit card usage in India. The latest RBI data shows a surge in payments for purchases using credit cards. While it is being touted as a sign of economic recovery after the pandemic, the flip side to such overzealous spending usually leads to a debt trap with the cardholder ending up paying enormous sums in interest payment to the card company. Credit card usage encourages personal debt and reduces savings. Many get addicted to spending beyond their means and buying things they do not need. They become easy prey for banks and credit card firms – the new loan sharks in the market.

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