Modi govt’s move to disinvest in LIC may well end up destroying the bluechip public sector company

Govt is already engaged in dealing with bids from consulting firms, investment bankers and financial institutions, to be opened on July 14. That will be the beginning of the process of killing the LIC

Modi govt’s move to disinvest in LIC may well end up destroying the bluechip public sector company

Binoy Viswam/IPA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government champion a special style of functioning. Saying something and doing the opposite is the crux of it. Even in framing the slogan "sab ka sath sab ka vikas", this was the approach. During the last six years the country could witness many a time the ease of the Prime Minister doing this business.

‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ was the latest propaganda piece that came out from his storage of sloganeering. It came in the middle of a crisis and hardships which the country is passing through. From next day onwards when the inspiring slogan was put into practice, his real intention was unveiled. The earth and the sky, along with everything around were put for sale. And FDI became the chanting mantra for the Atmanirbhar drive. The crisis faced by LIC today is to be understood in this background.

The department of investment and public assets management (DIPAM) is entrusted with the task of disinvestment in this great public sector corporation which was called as jewel in the crown of 'Indian Atmanirbhar'.

It is already engaged in dealing with the bids from consulting firms, investment bankers and financial institutions. The bids are to be opened on July 14. That will be the beginning of the treacherous process of killing the LIC. It is the first step to give away the pride of the nation to the whims and fancies of private capital from within and abroad.

The role and the task of LIC is going to be drastically remoulded. The gigantic public sector in the insurance sector is coming to an end. This move is anti-PSU, anti-people, anti-national and contrary to the very concept of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. It should be opposed tooth and nail.

The total workforce in the LIC from top to bottom have raised their voice of resistance. Every patriotic section among the citizens of India should come to the fore to urge the government to desist from the suicidal track.

PM Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may not be aware about the story of the public sector. It was the natural response of a national government to the call of the people to protect them from the crooked private companies who were ruling the roost. Under the initiative of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Finance Minister C D Desmukh took the decision for establishing the LIC. 245 Indian and foreign companies were taken over by the act of the Parliament with an initial capital of Rs. 5 crore.

During the course of time it has grown into a mighty public sector financial institution providing insurance coverage to millions of people. Its assets have also grown to the tune of Rs three lakh crore.

Thousands of employees, officers and agents have worked hard to strengthen this public sector. LIC, with its huge resources, has stood with the nation in the patriotic duty of building progress. Its profits were rerouted to the service of the nation in the form of investments in social sectors like housing, power, irrigation, water supply, seewage, road, port, bridges, railways etc. The country and the people benefitted a lot from the service of LIC during the last 64 years.

In their frenzy for privatization the BJP government is not concerned about these aspects of LIC. Even in the present days of COVID-19 the entire world has come to acknowledge the failure of the private sector and the inevitability of public sector. It is at such a juncture the Modi government is singing its praises for the market greed, covering it in the garb of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

After 14th of July, the priorities and concerns of LIC will be altered. Its emphasis will be changed. National priorities and reasonable returns to the policy holders have been the main criteria of LIC's investments. The public offer, through disinvestment, will displace LIC and it will be forced to cater to the private needs of the major shareholders.

Foreign investors who were eyeing this great financial institution will definitely make use of the offer rendered by the ‘nationalist government' led by Narendra Modi. The already existing private players in the insurance sector would naturally jump into the scene and try to reap gains.All along these years, LIC could prove its efficiency and commitment because of which the private insurance companies were pushed to a corner.

The Modi government has now opened the doors before them not to compete and overtake the public sector but to enter into its structure and to eat away its vitals. This is the novel way of capital to impose its private motives of greed and profit over the public sector.

LIC is the latest, surely not the last testing ground for this capitalist economics to thrive. The slogan of LIC used to be "Yogakshemam Vahamyaham", which means your welfare is our responsibility. All along the last 64 years, LIC was assuring to the crores and crores of people of India. Now the Modi government is keen to assure with the same commitment their corporate friends from within and outside.

The country cannot remain as mute spectators to this anti national move. This is the time to rise in unison and to tell the government, “Do not kill the LIC"

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