'Demonetisation a recent addition to Black Swan effect'

'Government's decisions after note ban raise constitutional queries'

Senior advocate Firoze B Andhyarujina on Monday termed the demonetisation of high value currency notes as a recent addition to the list of Black Swan Theory.

Andhyarujina, who practises taxation laws in Mumbai, delivered the annual Ganesh Shenoy Memorial Lecture on Union Budget 2017, organised by South India Regional Council (SIRC)-Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Mangaluru Chapter, here.

The Black Swan Theory, propagated by famous Lebanese thinker and capitalist Nassim Nicholas Taleb, refers to the effects of surprise developments on the society.
Andhyarujina, who rated the budget as non-controversial and nothing new to offer without any fresh burden on the people, however, called it as imperative to ponder over the outlay at least in the backdrop of demonetisation.

Pooh-poohed

Andhyarujina pooh-poohed the decision to discriminate district cooperative banks as improper, at least in a biggest democratic country like India. The money deposited in such banks through primary agricultural credit society (PACS) belonged to farmers and rural customers, he added.

He also raised questions over powers vested in the government to interpret with the constitution, that does not permit any decisions like that of demonetisation of currencies. Most importantly, whether the government has the right to impose restrictions on weekly withdrawals for Rs 24,000 and put the people into unnecessary hardships? Whether the latter doesn’t violate fundamental rights of the people, the senior advocate questioned further.

Fait accompli

Saying that scrapping of notes is a fait accompli, Andhyarujina wanted the government to continue to focus on five issues that have come up thereafter- dormant bank accounts turning active, emergence of namesake companies to siphon off funds, the amounts deposited and source of funds, inter-banking transactions and multiplicity of accounts.

It is equally important to discuss with Goods and Services Tax (GST) as there is a confusion over the definition of state, agriculture and agriculturists. They should be redefined, he suggested.

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