The decision to reserve 10 percent of jobs for upper caste poor too, I feel, is a way to cover up for five years of bad governance. I firmly believe in merit and people who have courage and self-belief do not need any kind of reservation. People who lack confidence, will always be needing something more, no matter how many incentives they get.
But I do believe that there are people in very remote areas who don’t have access to good education, they should definitely be helped in getting access to good education. Coming back to bad governance… I have overcome many a tough situations in life, but demonetisation perhaps posed one of the toughest challenges for me. Oh! those long queues at the banks and the uncertainty of whether I will be able to withdraw money after the wait! Demonetisation happened bang at the beginning of the wedding season.
Beauty parlour owners like me wait all year round for the wedding season since it is the most lucrative period for us. I am not too upbeat about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) either. Maybe in big cities, people don’t mind paying more after GST was introduced, but women in small towns are not at all ready to shell out extra bucks. Even if you tell them that the charges of services like manicure, pedicure, waxing etc. have gone up because of GST.
In the 2019 election I would like to vote for a candidate who understands both microeconomics as well as macroeconomics. Or at least tries to learn about them and open to other dissenting views. However, there is a marked difference as far as cleanliness is concerned. Things are definitely getting better in the heart of the town. But I get disheartened, when I see that garbage is still being dumped on the outskirts of the town. The concept of recycling is still alien to most people here.
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My tip to Narendra Modi: Since people feel so connected to him, I think he should have a Chai pe charcha at the end of his tenure and this time he should take feedback from people to ensure good governance. (The narrator did not wish to share her photograph. The images used are representational)
In December last year, a fresh bill, to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in Lok Sabha to replace an ordinance issued in September.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 has superseded an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in Rajya Sabha.
The earlier bill was approved by the Lower House. But amid opposition by some parties in the Upper House, the government had cleared some amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more palatable.
But as the bill continued to face resistance in Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance in September, incorporating amendments.
The ordinance was repromulgated recently as the first one was about to expire.
The government has maintained that despite the Supreme Court striking down the practice of talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq) as unconstitutional, men were divorcing their wives on flimsy grounds and even via WhatsApp.
The opposition has said that divorce cannot be made a penal offence and the provisions of the bill were against basic principles of the Constitution.
While the proposed law makes it a ‘non-bailable’ offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before the trial to seek bail. In a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station.
A provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail ‘after hearing the wife’.
The magistrate would ensure that bail is granted only after the husband agrees to grant compensation to the wife as provided in the bill. The quantum of compensation will be decided by the magistrate, as per the bill.
The police would lodge an FIR only if approached by the victim (wife), her blood relations or people who become her relatives by virtue of marriage. Neighbours and others cannot lodge a complaint under the proposed law.
The offence of instant triple talaq will be ‘compoundable’. Now, a magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute between a husband and his wife. This will happen only when the wife approaches the court.
Under a compoundable offence, both parties have the liberty of withdrawing the case.
The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking ‘subsistence allowance’ for herself and minor children. A woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
The move had brought our everyday lives to a standstill. But in hindsight, I feel it was a blessing in disguise for me. The move helped me switch to digital money. I started electronic payment facility in my shop. Now about 50 percent of my customers prefer e-payment over cash. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) also came with its own package of initial hiccups. Once we understood the tax slabs, things got easier for us and helped us in our business.
Earlier a service tax of 12 percent was charged on all footwear products. Now, goods up to Rs 500 come under a tax slab of 5 percent; and footwear above costing Rs 500 come under the 12 percent bracket. My shop is frequented more by people from lower middle and middle class. And they prefer buying products that are cheaper and priced below Rs 500. So a good chunk of sale in my shop is of products priced below Rs 500 and the benefit of a lower GST of 5 percent is thus, passed on to the customers.
There is also an additional benefit – we also make it a point to inform our high-end customers (who purchase goods priced over Rs 500) about the tax slab and the benefit of buying a product worth Rs 500 or less. Some of them happily agree and buy a pair of slippers or sandals in addition to what they have already bought.
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The Modi government has also been successful in implementing the Swachha Bharat campaign. My shop is located in a busy market with all kind of shops such as, eateries, groceries, wholesale, etc. Earlier there was no provision for dumping garbage. Heaps of garbage would pile up right at the entrance of the market. Also an open nallah (sewage canal) passing adjacent to the market used to drive away customers. Now you can see these dustbins — both for wet and dry waste installed around the market.
Representatives from the municipality too, visit us on a regular basis to make sure the market is cleaned up properly. I would give Modi, eight out of 10 marks for the Swachha Bharat campaign. Modi should be given another term since I do not see a better candidate to fit the bill.