PLUS 12-PAGES MAGAZINE CHENNAI SUNDAY DECEMBER 11, 2016 `5.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION ‘I MAKE AN EFFORT TO KEEP MY TEMPER IN CHECK’ The carefree Ranveer Singh talks about his new release Befikre, shares his views on success and tells us who he really is deep down PUNCH OUT THE SPIRIT In dry Nagaland, where liquor still flows free, a martial arts trainer resorts to taekwondo to keep the youth away from alcohol and drugs COVER STORY CURATOR OF A CULTURE COLLAGE TEEN NOIR Sudarshan Shetty of Kochi Biennale shares his insights about the theme and vision of the fest With 1.3 million adolescents dying across the world due to preventable or treatable causes in 2015, health professionals and rights activists rise to combat the trend that threatens to hobble India’s young generation EXCLUSIVE VOICES TJS George Prabhu Chawla Ravi Shankar ■ Shampa Dhar-Kamath ■ ■ ■ CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUPATI SASIKALA GETS OPS STAMP TO LEAD PARTY Despite complaints of currency shortage in banks, officials seize K24 crore in TN, K5.7 crore and K65.66 lakh from Karnataka and Telangana, K2 crore in Delhi Bharat Ratna pitch for Jaya from Cabinet E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai WITH the question about the next general secretary of AIADMK yet to be resolved, late leader J Jayalalithaa’s close aide, VK Sasikala, received support from many leaders including CM O Panneerselvam, who urged her to assume the responsibility of leading the outfit in Jayalalithaa’s absence. “Sasikala had grasped the line of thought and way of functioning of Jayalalithaa during the past 33 years. Just like Jayalalithaa knew the grassroot-level cadre, Sasikala too knows them well. If the AIADMK is to continue as a movement with military discipline, the only way out is Sasikala taking over as the general secretary and leading the party There is no differing . view in the party on this. If anyone expresses any contradictory view, that person is not a cadre of this party,” Panneerselvam asserted in a late night statement on Saturday . With this, Panneerselvam joined other leaders who came out in support during the day, including seniors like presidium chairman E Madh us u dhanan, Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai and former minister KA Sengottaiyan, besides a large number of State cabinet members. Many of them made a beeline at the Poes Garden residence to meet and appeal to Sasikala directly so as to end the rumours about I-T sleuths hit new notes EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai/ Hyderabad/ Benguluru E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai O Panneerselvam a difference of opinion within the party over the question of succession. On the rumours spread against Sa sikala on social media, Pa n neerselvam said Sasikala had dedicated her life to Jayalalithaa for the past 33 years and recalled the late leader’s statement that Sasikala had filled in the vacuum left by her mother. STALIN TO BE ELEVATED? The DMK has convened its general council for a meeting on Dec 20, which has triggered expectations among functionaries about the possible elevation of party treasurer MK Stalin and the return of his dissident elder brother, MK Alagiri, into the party fold. MEETING for the first time after the death of CM J Jayalalithaa, the State Cabinet headed by her successor, O Panneerselvam, decided to recommend Bharat Ratna for the late leader. The hour-long meeting at the State Secretariat also sought the Centre’s nod to install Jayalalithaa’s life-size bronze statue at the Parliament complex. The resolution adopted by the Cabinet added that Jayalalithaa’s portrait would be unveiled in the State Assembly hall. A `15 crore memorial for her would be raised within the MGR memorial complex on Marina beach, which would be renamed as ‘Bharat Ratna Puratchi Thalaivar MGR - Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Selvi J Jayalalithaa Memorial’. Earlier, ahead of attending the Cabinet meeting, Panneerselvam and colleagues visited Jayalalitaa’s memorial. WILL SERVE LIKE JAYA DID, SAYS OPS: P4 New currency notes worth B5.7 crore seized during an I-T raid in Chitradurga. The money was found hidden in the bathroom| EXPRESS 07 In the rural economy especially, language issues are huge. What will a villager who knows only his regional dialect do if he or she is expected to use a smart phone to transfer cash? SUNDAY VELLORE 7% Digital literacy rate in India Indians without internet EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi ARRESTED former Air Force chief SP Tyagi on Saturday told a designated court that the decision to procure VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was also a part of it. Tyagi’s accusations came during a hearing of the remand petition moved by the CBI. The CBI had on Friday ar rested Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev and lawyer Gautam Khaitan. The trio were arrested in connection with the alleged `450 crore bribery case in the `3767 crore VVIP chopper procurement deal. While the CBI sought 10-day remand of the accused for confronting them with one another, the court sent them for four-day police custody till December 14. Senior counsel N Hariharan representing Tyagi claimed in the court, “It was a collective decision and not his (Tyagi’s) individual one. It was a collective decision of which the PMO was also a part. The file moved through several levels but I am the only one who has been arrayed as accused.” CBI told the court that Tyagi had “abused his official position” and when he was the Air Ch ief Marshal, he had made investments in land and other properties and has not disclosed the source of his income. At this point during the argument by the CBI counsel, the former IAF chief, who was present in the courtroom, told the ma gistrate, “My agricultural lands were bought from 2002. I can give account of all my land investments if they (CBI) want.” After hearing the arguments, the magistrate remanded the three accused to CBI’s custody till December 14 saying, “considering the seriousness of allegations and gravity of the matter, I am of the considered opinion that CBI custody of the accused is required for a fair probe”. EXPRESS READ CYCLONE VARDAH MAY HIT TAMIL NADU COAST TRUMP SPELLS TROUBLE FOR H-1B VISA HOLDERS The Tamil Nadu Meteorogical Department has predicted that Cyclone Vardah will cross the Bay of Bengal in the next two days. It is expected to make a landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam on Monday. Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvannamalai are likely to receive heavy rainfall. P5 US President-elect Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would not allow Americans to be replaced by foreign workers, in an apparent reference to cases like that of Disney World and other American companies wherein people hired on H-1B visas, including Indians, displaced US workers. P11 1.46 million 86 PoS machines needed across the country Number of POS machines per one lakh Indians. Brazil has 3,299 CASHLESS OR CLUELESS? A bout 16 km from Coimbatore, in a fast developing and predominantly agricultural locality called Thondamuthur, Anandi gets her two children ready for school — a routine unchanged for the last seven years. But in the last week of November 2016, there is one change. Anandi needs to get the children out of the house by 7 am, an hour earlier than usual, because she needs to go stand in the line outside her bank before it opens for the day. The small stash of hundreds she had withdrawn last week is running out. Anandi is a domestic servant, agricultural worker, and an occasional flower vendor. She is among the 26 per cent of Indian policymakers call illiterate. Her family does not own a smart phone. Anandi’s situation stands in stark contrast to the Narendra Modi government’s rhetoric over How’s it even e-POSsible? the days following the Nov 8 demonetisation of `500 and `1,000 notes, newspapers were plastered with full page ads by online financial technology firms which wanted to cash in on the sudden withdrawal of 86 per cent of the currency in circulation. The weeks subsequently saw the same firms announce immense jumps in their subscriptions and transactions. But the geographical spread of these was not disclosed. In response to an email query from New Indian Express, Paytm, India’s market leader in the mobile transaction space, claimed that nearly 50 per cent of its transactions now were coming from smaller cities and towns. “Thousands of kirana store owners, vegetable and fruit vendors, food stalls, pharmacies and many more merchants across India’s semi-urban and rural areas now accept Paytm…. and after introducing the Paytm android app in 10 regional languages, we are expecting that share to grow to around 70 per cent,” said the company’s spokesperson. But cities and towns, however small, only account for a little over a quarter of the Indian population. According to the 2011 census, 72.2 per cent of Indians still live in villages, none of which is covered by online grocery firms. Big Basket is India’s largest online supermarket, but according to its CEO Hari Menon, the company does not have any presence in rural areas. “We do not operate there. In our urban markets, however, we have seen a 50 per cent jump in sales after November 8,” he said. The story was the same for other online retailers. Transactions jumped, but the large majority of the Indian population does not have the option to turn online, even if they wanted to. Forecast of Smartphone users (million) 238.8 2015 292 2016 340.2 2017 381.7 the most immediate hurdle, an operational one, that needs to be acknowledged is the fact that banking infrastructure on the ground is currently incapable of handling a cashless economy According to the latest . RBI data on cards and point of sale terminals (for August 2016), there are a total of 26.37 million credit cards and 712.46 million debit cards in use. However, the overwhelming majority of debit card transactions (85.2 per cent) were done at ATMs to withdraw cash and not at point of sale terminals. “The current split between PoS 2019 444.7 2020 But, 83% Indians have no smart phone? 2 BENGALURU Indispensable to any shift to a tech-enabled transaction system is literacy, generic as well as digital. And in the current technological environment, a working knowledge of English. There was an implicit acknowledgement of this very real barrier in the slew ofannouncements the government made on December 8; one of them was that a web portal and a TV channel, Digishala, would be launched to increase awareness on transacting digitally . But the task is monumental. Reports peg Indians with such knowledge of English at just 10% of the population. Digital literacy and access to the internet is even worse. According to a report from NASSCOM, India had approximately 330 million internet users as of 2015 and even the best estimates put the number of internet us- smart phones is insufficient to support a cashless economy A . survey by Pew Research released in February put the rate of smart phone ownership among adults at just 17% , of which only 7% come from low income households. Internet speeds are also far behind global standards. TRAI says that only 15% of 1.02 billion mobile subscribers have broadband level connections. ers by 2020 at only around 730 million — 56% of the current population. Data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) put the number of internet subscribers in India at 342 million as of March 2016 -- a penetration rate of 27%. More than 912 million Indians do not have internet. Of those who do, only 13 per cent live in rural areas. Even the penetration of 1 A women buying rice from ration shop with her debit card at Ibrahimpur village, Siddipet Mandal, in Hyderabad 2 A scene from Bengaluru 3 From a bakery in Kozhikode, Kerela 4 A roadside chaiwala accepting Paytm in Visakhapatnam 5 Ibrahimpur village Pics: Sathya Keerthi, A Sanesh, R V K Rao 10% 53% 56% population that knows English Mobile phone reach Internet penetration forecast by 2020 3 KOZHIKODE Digital drive Surge in digital transactions according to govt in the last one month Nov 8 Dec 7 Rupay cards (E commerce + POS) No. of transactions (Mn/day) 0.39 1.60 Cumulative growth(%) Indians having no smart phones 0 83% 100 316 Value of transactions(` cr/day) 39.17 236 503 E wallets No. of transactions (Mn/day) 1.7 6.3 271 Value of transactions(` cr/day) 52 191 3,721 48,238 87% Population living in villages 1,196 27% Internet penetration people in rural India without internet access 267 UPI No. of transactions 72.2% Value of transactions(` cr/day) 1.93 15 677 USSD No. of transactions 97 1263 1202 1 14 Value of transactions(` lakh/day) Oct 5.02 Nov 9.81 95 1,221 1751.3 What if I made wrong entry? 1,300 Point of sale machines No. of transactions (Mn/day) Value of transactions(` cr/day) 4 VISAKHAPATNAM 43 If the lack of physical infrastructure is a gaping gap in the Prime Minister’s cashless policy the conse, quences of the lack of operational framework to address problems arising from hundreds of millions transacting online everyday is frightening. The problem of transaction costs, surcharges and service taxes on digital transactions continues to exist, despite the government removing or relaxing several of these on Dec 8. “Ideally, the gover nment should re-route gains made from the cash management costs and others to banks so that they can provide transactions at zero charge,” says agric u l t u re e c o n o m i s t Vi j ay Sardana. “Banks just do not have the means to provide zerocost transactions the way balance sheets look now,” added the private sector banker. But these are the easy problems. “What are the redressal mecha- Source: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology But where are the banks in villages? But 2018 416.3 terminal and ATM transactions are incongruous with the vision of a cashless India,” admitted a board member of a leading private sector bank. To turn potential customers like Anandi towards using plastic money for their day-to-day use, the number of PoS terminals and card swipe machines must first reach levels that India’s peer countries have reached. Currently RBI data records just 1.46 mil, lion PoS machines across the entire country — less than 86 per one lakh Indians. Brazil, in comparison, has 3,299. And while the RBI does not provide data on the split between urban and rural regions for PoS machines, bankers say they are predominantly urban. The government has tried to implement measures to correct this shortfall. On Dec 8, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated that the government would provide two PoS terminals to every village with a population of less than 10,000. But an idea of the explosion necessary in PoS machine distribution can be ascertained by RBI’s estimation, as long ago as last December, that India required “at least 20 million” — a 13.6 fold increase. This was before the government’s policy turn toward making India cashless. 5 IBRAHIMPUR nisms in case of mistaken entries? How long will it take to refund such an error? And most importantly where does the li, ability lie in case of errors? These are all incredibly simple but absolutely essential questions that need to be asked before considering such a move,” pointed out Sardana. “The beauty of having cash in hand is that if you or I accidently pay a couple of hundred extra, we can immediately rectify it. How will a mistake of one extra zero accidentally added be resolved when you transact online? How long will it take? Such a system needs to come with strong liability clauses,” he said. Security is also an issue. Cyber crimes and frauds have risen, with hackers proving difficult to track down after heists. Just a few months ago, the Indian banking system admitted to a data breach that saw nearly 3.29 million debit and credit cards compromised. SHOWING THE WAY This Telangana village in a fast-track mode to go cashless against all odds P H A R E E S H @ Ibrahimpur (Siddipet) UNDER pressure of demonetisation, India is adapting willy nilly to what the Prime Minister called a less cash economy. Fed up of standing in queues at banks and ATMs, people are making a shift towards cashless transactions, mainly in urban areas. But how would a village cope? To gain some insights into the coping process, New Indian Express visited Ibrahimpur, a village in Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s native district of Siddipet, which has been touted as some kind of a model village for the brave new world. It’s a village of a little over 270 households, about 80 km from Hyderabad, the state capital. After a few weeks of difficulties, the youth of the village, the district administration and the local bankers got together and decided to do something about it. A few PoS machines and a bit of political will helped. Something of a cashless has indeed been achieved in this island of rural India. Even though we see each other daily, they are suspicious that I may have charged them extra. They go to other people and show them the message and only then get convinced Ramaswamy, a trader In Ibrahimpur, one can go to a store or hotel water without a rupee in one’s pocket. “Be it our groceries or even a bottle of toddy we no longer need to look for , small change,” one villager said, flashing his RuPay card. K Ramaswamy, who runs a kirana store in the village, said 50 per cent of his business now is cashless. “I used to do business of `3,000 daily. After November 8, my business dwindled drastically . I got a Point of Sale (PoS) machine four days back and now my business has improved,’’ he said, beaming. Ramaswamy, however, is quick to add that people, particularly the illiterate and the elderly, remain doubtful when he swipes their card. They get a message on their phones after the transaction is done but they can’t read the message as it is in English. The change is making the elderly and the uneducated nervous. At the village fair price shop, one couple, Shetty Lakshmi and Balaiah, stood around watching as fellow villagers bought their rations by swiping their cards. Balaiah seemed bemused. He has a phone but he can only take calls from his sons who live in Hyderabad and Siddipet. He cannot send or read SMS messages.But the We have to change with the situation or our lead a life of standing in queues. It will take a week for the village to go entirely cashless and a couple of months for the villagers to fall in line K Yella Reddy, a local leader harbingers of this change, the youth of the village led by a local ‘leader’ named K Yella Reddy say , the people will have to clear the thicket as they go. Yella Reddy HORIZON I P7 Cashless or Clueless? 1 IBRAHIMPUR the last few weeks that India is poised for a leap into a “cashless economy”, a leap that no developing nation has dreamed of trying. She personifies the barriers that a nation of 1.3 billion needs to cross before reaching that brave new world: illiteracy inad, equate smart phone penetration, absence of a pan-India, seamless high-speed data network and millions of unbanked people. How will Anandi make that leap? In Ex-IAF Chief Tyagi drags Manmohan’s PMO into chopper deal Vijay Sardana, agriculture economist 11 12 2016 912 million In this week’s Horizon, Jonathan Ananda asks four questions we must answer before making a leap into a cashless economy speaks like the Narendra Modi of Ibrahimpur. On the day Express visited Ibrahimput, the collector of Siddipet, P Venkatram Reddy came by , to see how things were going. “They know they have to change and the people of this village are more adaptable when compared to others,’’ he says. At Ramaswamy’s store,the shopkeeper said villagers were skeptical whether the transactions were fair. “We’ll talk to the service providers to see that SMSes come in Telugu,’’ the collector said. Four questions we must answer before we make a leap into a cashless society EVEN as new currency is being tightly rationed to the common man lining up at banks, the Income-Tax De par tment on Satu r day seized `24 crore in new notes from a car in Vellore and `5.7 crore during raids in Chitradurga. The `24 crore is said to belong to sand mining baron J Shekar Reddy, a member of the board of trustees that administers the Tirupati temple, and is in addition to the `10 core in new currency already recovered from him. Sources in the I-T Dep a rtment told Express that 50 kg of gold was also recovered from his house in Nungambakkam in Chennai. With the CBI joining the probe late Friday, the sand mining baron seems to be in further trouble as the I-T De par tment has so f ar seized nearly `34 crore in new currency from him, with the total haul amounting to `130 crore in cash and 177 kg of gold. However, sources in the CBI said their investigation is not linked to the seizure. “It is more of a record-oriented search,” they said. To distance his government from the bad press earned by Shekhar Reddy, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed that he be removed from the board of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams ( T T D ) w i t h i m m e d i at e effect. The new cash seizure of `5.7 crore in Chitradurga, was part of a discovery of `6.6 crore tucked away in a secret chamber in the wall of a bathroom in the house of JD(S) leader KC Veerendra. `5.7 crore of the lot was in `2,000 notes and `90 lakh in `100 bills and `20 notes. They also seized 32 kg of gold buscuits and jewellery . Meahwhile, CBI sleuths investigating a postal scam carried out on Indian Postal Service officer K Sudheer Babu unearthed `65.66 lakh in new currency notes, taking the value of the scam up to `3.75 crore. In Delhi, police raided a law firm in Greater Kailash and recovered `2 crore in new currency and `8 crore in old currency . (With inputs from Delhi)
Express Publications (Madurai) Limited publishes the prestigious English language newspaper The New Indian Express from 21 centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa.
Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. also publishes the Tamil daily Dinamani, Cinema Express (Tamil) and Malayalam Vaarika (Malayalam). Through a sister company, Kannada Prabha Publications Ltd., it publishes the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha.