Economic self-reliance has been jettisoned by Modi govt to please the corporates
Railways, steel, electricity, LIC and defence sector are all running in profit, but govt opened doors to domestic and foreign corporates. This amounts to mortgaging the country to foreign corporates
Our country is a sovereign democratic republic. People alone are rulers. People elect governments. Based on the norms of the Constitution, the government should be restrained by the basic constitutional principles and thus implement laws.
But it has become common for the ruling government to take unilateral decisions.With individuals adopting dictatorial methods, crushing aspirations of the people and above all acting against the self-reliance of the nation, the Central government is attacking the fundamental rights of the people and violating the Constitution.
During the 2014 elections, several promises were made by PM Narendra Modi. Out of these, how many are being implemented? There is no review on this issue. Modi never opts for self-criticism. As a matter of fact, if any one criticises him, he will be treated as ‘anti-national’.
Modi is ruling the country contrary to the promises made by him. Demonetisation and Goods & Services Tax has ruined our economy. In the 2019 elections, the BJP after winning another mandate started functioning without any restraint. The agenda of the Sangh parivar which was kept at abeyance for some time came out in the open. The scrapping of the autonomous status of Jammu & Kashmir is just one instance of it.
And now since last one year, attempts are made to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Defections to BJP from opposition parties are being openly encouraged. And if anybody dares to criticise the government about its acts of omission and commission, their voice gets throttled in various ways. Modi clearly wants to have a democracy without any opposition.
As a climax, even agriculture, which is an ancient profession and providing employment to many apart from feeding the nation, is being corporatised.
Successive governments in the past felt that Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) are for self-reliance of our nation. Immediately in the aftermath of independence, the government had evolved five year plans. The then government tried to evolve economy democratically. And that is how Green Revolution was ushered in the country.
In five year plans, they gave priority to irrigation projects which was to meet the need for irrigation of cultivable lands and also cater to the needs of people for drinking water.
There was every effort to strengthen Public Sector Undertakings that are not just for either earning profits or for creating more jobs. They are meant for social objective and to benefit all people of the nation. Public Sector Undertakings do not belong to any individual but to the entire nation.
Past governments faced many difficulties in order to establish key sectors like steel, textile, railways etc in the public sector 60 years back. As most technologically-developed countries like America, Japan did not come forward to help newly-independent India; the then socialist country Soviet Union had come forward to establish many steel plants, oil refineries.
The present BJP government headed by Modi has declared that the duty of government is not doing business. It is the duty of others. The govt says that if 100 Public Sector Undertakings are sold, it can get Rs 2.50 lakh crores.
But the fact is that the Vizag steel plant alone costs Rs 2 lakh crores. If 100 PSUs are sold, much more money should come to the government. They want to kill the golden goose and want to keep it as dinner for corporate friends.
We can manufacture many commodities by ourselves through PSUs, provided that we can arrange raw materials and marketing facilities. We can put an end to many imports. We need not depend on other countries; we need to be self-reliant
About opening the doors of profitable companies to Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), it is common to say that Public Sector Undertakings are running under losses to justify their privatisation. But Modi gives a different reason. He says that profit making industries would be sold easily. LIC is running under profit and helping the government whenever financial assistance is required. It is not running under losses at all. But Modi government has increased FDI from 49 to 74 percent. If doors are opened to foreign investors, how will the country be self reliant?
20 crore workers went on strike against these policies of privatisation and dismantling of the public sector of the Modi govt all over the country on November 2 last year.
Railways, steel, electricity, LIC, BSNL and defence sector are all running in profit, but the BJP government headed by Modi opened the doors to domestic and foreign corporates. This amounts to mortgaging the country to foreign corporates.
Banks are being merged in order to help their friends-cum-loan evaders. So far Rs 8 lakh crore worth of loans are being evaded which have become nonperforming assets.
The burden of more taxes is heaped on the common man through Goods & Services Tax. Apart from this, prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas have all shot up. As diesel prices are being hiked, transport charges are also being hiked. Prices of essential commodities have soared up.
Does self-reliance mean selling profitable PSUs at cheaper rate to corporate friends and heaping burden of taxes and price rise on the common man?
People should ask BJP leaders how many jobs have been created. During the period of lockdown, how many in general and how many migrant workers in particular lost their livelihood Whether people could live in peace, and freedom?
Modi government is preparing to conduct “Amruth Mahotsav” on the occasion of 75 years of independence. The concept of self-reliance has proved to be a misnomer. In this crucial situation, people should awake, open their eyes, raise their consciousness, fight against selling of profitable companies to foreign investors, privatisation and above all against corporatisation of agriculture.
Views expressed are personal
The writer is Telangana State Secretary, CPI