Whenever it comes to the threats from anti-national elements, may it be terrorism or naxalism, we tend to divert the blame on outside factors. However let’s apply common sense, let’s see through the practical and very effective possible measures, because it indicates that the action is pending on you and me, hence we can shape up the results!!!
As TOI reports, Latest data from National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC) show that India suffered 212 bomb blasts in 2013 — more than double of what Afghanistan (with 108 blasts) suffered. That makes our country 3rd most dangerous place in the world – next only to Iraq and Pakistan. And most of us are NOT aware about our weakness, hence don’t know ‘what to do?’ When the vulnerability is accepted, let’s look at what can be done and let’s act now!
After 11 September 2001 attack on US twin towers, there has been no further attack possible on US till 2014, though terrorist are infuriated by US actions across the world. Whereas just 3 months later, Indian Parliament was targeted by the terrorists and thereafter there have been series of terrorist attacks every year.
Why is that US could stop it and India could not?
Here are some comments from US government agency FBI’s report
“It’s not surprising. Money fuels the operations of terrorists. It’s needed to communicate, buy supplies, fund planning, and carry out acts of destruction.
But there’s a flip side to this proverbial coin. In the shadowy, secretive world of terrorists, this spending leaves a trail—a trail that we can follow to help expose extremists and their network of supporters…sometimes before they can strike.
That’s why shortly after 9/11, we established the Terrorist Financing Operations Section (TFOS).
TFOS chief Jane Rhodes-Wolfe believes that the combined efforts of the financial industry, international partners, and federal, state, and local agencies have “established an increasingly difficult environment for terrorist financiers to operate in undetected…and ensure an ongoing and coordinated approach to terrorist financing to help prevent future terrorist attacks against the U.S.”
Aren’t you aware that in India about 70%-80% of transactions happen in cash, whereas in US most of transactions happen through banks. In UK it is more than 95%, they are targetting to go cashless, with lessons learnt after serial train blasts. You can imagine the untraceability of cash transactions in India as compared to US. And that seems to be the primary reason of our ineffectiveness in countering the anti-national elements. So though both the countries took actions in catching hold of immediate actors involved in the activities, India could not trace and could not stop the trail, till now.
What are problems with the rampant cash in India?
- The rampant availability of cash leads to majority of transactions in cash hence un-traceability. This obviously leads to ineffectiveness of efforts to counteract anti-national activities. To a large extent cash route is chosen even for high value transactions because of the complex and heavy taxation.
- Of the available cash, more than 94% is in denominations above 100, that leads to ease of cash transactions, this helps not only anti-national elements but even the detrimental corruption
- The same high denominations promotes printing of fake currency notes. And these cheaply available Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) are widely used for anti-national activities, you can take a read at recent news about it and there are many moreTerrorism and Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs): A Growing Menace.Here are some more linksMoney Jihad – Combating terrorist financing!
But what facilitates printing Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs)?
- Average cost of printing a note is about Rs. 3 to Rs. 4
- And there is also some cost involved in bringing that into circulation through illegal means => so total cost per fake note may go up to Rs. 30 to Rs. 40.
- It is evident that there is huge benefit in printing fake currency notes of denomination 500, 1000 and even 100. That’s why of the detected fake currency in recent years, about 99% of it is in denominations of 100, 500 and 1000.
So these high denomination currency notes are largely responsible of FICNs, hence terrorism and other anti-national activities. These technical flaws in our system are barely known or discussed.
What can be changed in India?
Knowing the highly detrimental effects of cash and FICNs, it is no-brainer that we have to move to traceable means of transactions, the bank transactions and need to get rid of high denominations.
The next question comes to our mind is that ‘Is moving to bank transactions doable for India, which has very high illiteracy?‘
- And the first response to that should be ‘If country like Kenya can bring about revolution through mobile banking, why we cannot in India?‘
- ASSOCHAM also known as the country’s “Knowledge Chamber” has published a report in the context ‘Mobile Payments in India: New frontiers of growth‘, which shows India’s infrastructure/technology readiness
- Our own government’s committee formed under chairmanship of Mr. Nilekani submitted a report on ‘Unified Payment Infrastructure‘, which recommends use & promotion of micro-ATMs and mobile banking
- We have to get rid of high denominations, as even recommended in Arthakranti Proposal and it has many more benefits attached. The currency revoking is definitely doable, as can be seen from RBI’s recent decision to revoke currency printed before 2005.
So what can we do?
As one can understand that apart from enhancing the activities by defense forces, we have to overcome our internal weakness (cash & high denominations) and fortunately the weaknesses is technical, so it can be corrected in shorter time frame.
Though the action will have to ultimately taken by our central government and RBI, it is only you and me who can influence that action. When a common man can understand this simple logic, RBI & the Government must already be knowing it. Recently in Jan 2014, in line with Arthakranti proposal, BJP did talk about removing high denominations along with simplification of taxation, as complex taxation is also partly responsible for more cash transactions.
As we are not sure if any national political party will really take this up on their agenda, you and me have to demand for that action. We have to take up that small action of demanding, if we want to protect ourselves and if we want our country to be safer for us as well for our next generations to come!
For reference: Some more reports from US agencies