Modi govt’s ‘monetisation’ plan a 'monopolisation' plan of public assets
It is imperative for the govt to explain how it plans to compensate future generations if it appropriates all their future earnings today
Much has already been written about the Centre’s ‘monetisation’ plan, which aims at the dilution of public sector units and other assets that came up over several decades and cater to the basic needs of the country’s citizens. It was their tax money that was spent to build infrastructure like roads, power sector, energy sector, health services, educational institutions, airports, railways, etc.
These assets will essentially be given over to private buyers on a platter in the name of giving them on lease for 30 to 50 years.
The government claims that the assets would continue to be owned by it for the entire lease period, but it is obvious that their value would get depreciated almost to nil by the end of it. It is not surprising that the terms of return of the money invested, or the compensation to the tax payer, has been kept illusive.
Illusive is also any meaningful strategy of the government of the day to contribute to nation building, through measures such as creation of vital infrastructure.
After independence, the government played a vital role in creating public sector units to fight against unemployment and to provide inputs for basic development in sectors like energy, power, mining, transport etc. The development of science and technology and building of heavy industries could be facilitated only because of the focus on public sector units.
But the privatisation spree of the Modi govt has appropriated even the future earnings that are yet to come. There is an ominous silence about the details of the ‘monetisation’ plan. It is imperative for the govt to explain how it plans to compensate future generations if it appropriates all their future earnings today.
We must wake up to face the reality that almost every public asset in the country is up for ‘sale’. They will be transferred to separate units to be financed by various trusts, almost like the mutual funds, with global and local funds shares.
Certain sectors may not be attractive to global players, like coal mines and hydro and thermal generation plants. But it is also a fact that irrespective of social rejection or ecological adversities, global finance would not hesitate to take up projects that would help financialisation of capital.
Further, there could be only a few corporate groups with access to bank loans to bid for the public assets put up by the govt which may lead to concentration of wealth in few hands. This will lead to monopolies. With role of the government getting feeble, the question of stability too arises.
All in all, the ‘monetisation’ plan does not portend well for the nation and millions of its citizens in the long run.
Views are personal