Baba Ramdev may get most of his demands met by the government even before he starts his fast in less than 24 hours from now.
According to sources, the Government is keen to present him with an ‘action plan’ at the venue of his planned fast, which is due to start tomorrow.
The marathon meetings that the government ministers, including Kapil Sibal and Pranab Mukherjee are having with the Yogi are learnt to be efforts to identify exactly what the Baba wants.
However, the Baba is reported to be adamant and does not want to back down till “100%” of his demands are met, not least because it will be an anti-climax after the huge build-up to the fast.
With two meetings, including one at 1 pm at the Ramlila grounds planned for today, the government expects to come out with its plan by the evening or morning tomorrow. Ideally, the government wants the Baba to make the announcement of the new plan to tackle black-money on the occasion that would otherwise have marked the start of his fast.
Baba Ramdev, who has announced his intention to clean up India’s politics, is all set to go on a fast to achieve one of his biggest demands — the unearthing of un-taxed income. The so-called ‘black money’ is not shown in any record and is ‘missing’ from the Nation’s income. The government does not get any tax on this income.
The existence of ‘black money’ has also led to the creation of a parallel ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ economy. A large chunk of the black-money is derived from illegal sources — such as bribes and benami investments — and the phenomenon is closely associated with crime and corruption.
Such money is kept outside the banking system — in the physical form as cash, gold etc..
Baba’s demands including a move to withdraw the 500 and 1000 rupee notes, which will force the black money hoarders to bring their high-value notes to the banks for exchange — thus revealing their assets.
The government has been caught on the wrong foot by the threat by the Yogi to launch a fast-cum-agitation to force it to take strong steps. Two months ago, a veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare brought the government to its knees in the most popular middle-class agitation since India became independent sixty-four years ago. Baba’s threat is being taken even more seriously since, unlike the Hazare campaign which drew its participation from the well-to-do middle class, the Yoga teacher has a much bigger, mass support base.