Governance Now Masterminds

Stories you must read over the weekend

We replug a list of five stories and interviews that you should not miss this weekend

GN Bureau | March 30, 2017


#UN privacy expert   #Joseph A Cannataci   #Yogi Adityanath   #Narendra Modi   #demonetisation   #weekend stories  


Joseph A Cannataci is the UN’s first and current special rapporteur for the right to privacy appointed by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in July 2015. His appointment came with growing global concerns about threats to privacy in the digital age where governments and big corporations collect mass data, with increasing threats of cyber warfare and with the majority of countries looking on helplessly as the more technologically-advanced nations treat the internet “as their own backyard”. 
 
 
Here is a proposition: Narendra Modi is the top thinker, the top intellectual of our times. Is that an exaggerated claim? Not altogether... True, some of us have been diehard critics of Modi. That need not be called a lazy liberal’s attempt to seek intellectual legitimacy, because – and this is really remarkable – each of his actions, from his response to the 2002 communal riots to the perplexing demonetisation, has been criticised by somebody or the other from within his own fold. However, what is equally remarkable is that Modi continues to have a rare rapport with the masses. 
 
 
Demonetisation was purportedly ordered to fight black money, render counterfeit currency unusable, and choke terror-funding. How much of that did demonetisation really accomplish, while causing so much pain to so many? That is the question C Rammanohar Reddy, an economist who edited the sober, solid and influential Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) for over a decade, tries to answer in his new book Demonetisation and Black Money. Reddy’s book dissects the rationale, design and implementation of demonetisation and the suspect mutation of the narrative towards going cashless (or, as one of the chapters is titled, “promotion of a ‘less-cash’ economy”). In short chapters, the book explains how the black economy is not just about cash – and reasons that striking at cash alone, as demonetisation did, was futile. Reddy is now readers editor at Scroll.in, an online news portal. 
 
 
The government has told the supreme court that the Lokpal cannot be appointed because the 2013 law needs several amendments, which will be taken up only in the monsoon session. The Narendra Modi government began its innings by issuing two ordinances in the first cabinet meet – an emergency provision for lawmaking, and has issued at least 22 so far. If it has slightest urgency to fulfill the anti-corruption mandate, it would have resorted to this channel and appointed a Lokpal by now. 
 
 
Did the choice of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister surprise you? He faces numerous criminal cases for his alleged role in communal violence, but he says these are political cases, and that he is not a professional criminal. He is known for communal speeches, but he claims he speaks out only against anti-nationals and not the Muslim community. Yet, platitudes apart, neither his supporters nor his critics would deny that he is majoritarian – and a hardliner one at that.   
 
 
 

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