Nearly eight months after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked the economy by banning 86 percent of the country’s currency, business has more or less returned to usual. On the one hand, that’s a testament to the Indian economy’s resilience. On the other, it also means that Modi’s hopes of creating a cashless economy will not be immediately realized.
As part of the Indian government’s plan to ensure the nation’s rapid urbanization leads to improved quality of life, rather than just contribute to more slum growth, officials announced today that they have added 30 more cities to its select Smart Cities Mission. Critics of the $7.5 billion initiative say the plan ignores the needs of the urban poor.
Five farmers were killed today in Madhya Pradesh, India, during violent protests against what they contend are unfair pricing and debt obligations. Demonstrations by Indian farmers over allegations of excessive debt and improper financing that began last Thursday in the neighboring state of Maharashtra have escalated as they also spread to other regions.
India’s campaign to end open defecation has been widely celebrated by officials as an innovative and aggressive success. Even Bill Gates recently declared that the country is “winning its war on human waste” with a 360-degree video. But independent surveys and investigations have come to a vastly different conclusion – that victory, unfortunately, is not in sight.
In its latest bid to crack down on foreign funding of civil society, the Indian government has revoked the license of one of the country’s largest public health organizations to accept foreign contributions. Largely funded by the government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Delhi-based Public Health Foundation of India is a public-private partnership launched by the government in 2006.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked India for 50 days of patience when he pulled the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes – the two largest denominations that comprise 86 percent of the country’s currency – out of circulation on four hours’ notice last month. “Punish me if I do not deliver,” he said, according to India Today. Now 37 days in, things have yet to settle down.