A ROLLERCOASTER YEAR COMES TO END BUT EFFECTS CONTINUE

Effects of Demonetisation[/caption] The government also kept shifting its explanations regarding the main aim of demonetisation. It initially stressed that it was aimed at curbing black money and root out corruption. Subsequently it began emphasising its objective to shift the economy to the digital mode or less-cash economy. The poor roll out of the scheme added immensely to the woes of the people. The verdict on the impact of demonetisation is awaited. It could take a long time before the final word is said. The time for deposit of demonetised currency notes closes at the end of the year after which there will be fines for holding these notes. Even the beginning of the year had been dramatic with terrorists from across the border entering the high security Pathankot Air Force base on New Year’s day. The first ever attack on an Air Force station in the country has had lasting implications for the security of the country. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the Pathankot attack filed the charge sheet in the case in December but many vital questions remain unanswered. The country is not any closer to getting the conspirators punished. All four terrorists were shot dead by security forces during the encounter. The charge sheet has named Pakistan based terrorist Group Jaish-e-Mohammad and its head Maulana Azhar Masood as the main conspirators. Pakistan, for the first time ever, sent a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Following that Pakistan has denied the charge that the terrorists were Pakistanis or that the attack was planned in Pakistan. [caption id="attachment_7637" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Pathankot-indian-air-force-Pakistan-jit-team Pathankot-indian-air-force-Pakistan-jit-team[/caption] Towards the end of the year there was another major attack by terrorists from across the border on an Army post in Uri in which a dozen Indian soldiers were killed. This led to coordinated surgical strikes by Indian forces across the Line of Control (LoC). This was the first time India had openly declared that it had conducted surgical strikes inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The army also remained in the headline news for two other major events. One was the prolonged agitation for One Rank One Pay (OROP) which was accepted by the government but a section of ex-officers remained dissatisfied. The other was the contentious superseding of two senior Army officers for the appointment of the army chief. Gen Bipin  Rawat was appointed Chief of Army Staff. [caption id="attachment_7460" align="aligncenter" width="821"]Gen Rawat Gen Rawat[/caption] On the political front, elections were held in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. BJP grabbed power in Assam for the first time ever while Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu retained power. The Left wrested power from the Congress in Kerala. Thus it proved to be bad year for the Congress as it got confined to just five states, all small states except Karnataka. A major political loss this year was the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa. Her death sparked off mourning across the state and reportedly nearly 100 of her supporters died due to shock. Another sitting chief minister who passed away this year was Mufti Sayeed of Jammu and Kashmir. His daughter Mehbooba Mufti later took over as the chief minister of the state. The year saw two major international events bound to affect India in the shorter and longer run. The first was the Brexit under which the Britishers voted to move out of the European Union. India shall have to re-formulate its foreign policies in the wake of the decision. It may lead to the possibilities of some major India Inc offices moving out of UK for greener pastures in Europe. The other major event, which shook not just the US but the entire world, was the election of Republican Donald Trump as the next US President. India’s relations with the US are bound to be affected by the policies adopted by the new president who is considered unpredictable and who is expected to take decisions which would have world wide ramifications. [caption id="attachment_7638" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]funeral-of-jayalalitha Funeral of Jayalalitha[/caption] While Modi had developed a good relationship with US President Barack Obama, the silver lining is that traditionally Republican presidents have remained more inclined towards India than those belonging to the Democratic Party. Nevertheless it will be tested if Trump begins to act on his pre poll slogan of bringing jobs back to America and reducing work visas for Indians. 2016 is bound to go down as a watershed year for modern India when PM Modi began to take implement bold policies and take bold decisions such as retaliation on Pakistan. The ripple effect of the events this year are bound to impact lives of its citizens as well as Non Resident Indians. // ]]>