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No Achchhe Din Yet: PPP: PANACEA FOR PROBLEMS, By Chanchal Chauhan, 21 July 2014 Print E-mail

Events & Issues

New Delhi, 21 July 2014

No Achchhe Din Yet


By Chanchal Chauhan


The panacea for all of India’s perennial problems under Prime Minister Modi’s Government seems to be the mantra of ‘PPP’ (Private-Public-Participation). Notwithstanding, the Prime Minister’s promise of ‘achchhe din’ during electioneering, the ground reality underscores continuity of worse days. With the hike in rail fares, diesel, gas and essential commodities prices inflation is rising.


Notably, these ‘hard decisions’ taken within 50 days of Modi coming to power has made life of the poor more miserable than under UPA II. Worse, corporates are reaping profits out of the poor’s desolation as prices of onions, potatoes, tomatoes, vegetables and food items of daily consumption are skyrocketing, despite the Government’s assurances  of taking punitive action against hoarders, importing onions and raising its export price etc.


 Alas, no visible change is seen in markets. Some leaders continue to ‘pass the buck’ to Manmohan Singh Government, as if he was hoarding stocks of onions, potatoes and other commodities in his New Delhi bungalow or constituency Assam!


Notably, the Government so far has done nothing new except to change the nomenclature of some components of the political system followed since Independence. The country adopted a mixed economy model, read PPP path wherein the private sector reaped benefits and capitalists like Dhirubhai Ambani, GD Birla, Tata’s turned into big ‘monopoly houses’ busy amassing huge wealth.


Pertinently, unknown to many former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi nationalised banking, insurance, steel, coal and other minerals primarily to ensure finance and raw materials supplies at cheaper rates to big monopoly houses, making our public sector subservient to the interests of private monopolies. Thus, capitalism grew rapidly and continues to do so.


Today, old and new monopolies have grown into big sharks and turned into large corporates, in essence, holding the reins of Government. All are in powerful positions and can even buy profit- making public sector ‘navratnas’.


Plainly, it is corporates pressure which impels our policy makers to ‘service’ their interests by hooting for disinvestment of public sector enterprises which were built with people’s money. Consequently, the PPP incantation is to oblige these big corporates along-with international finance capital who helped the BJP come to power.


Undeniably, this pressure manifests itself in all policies emanating from Raisina Hill. It was apparent in The Railway and Finance Ministers Budget speeches, all in the name of ‘reforms’. Indeed, the change in Government is akin changing the CEO of a corporate whereby, industrialists pocket a big chunk of national wealth (minerals, oil, gas, land etc) as also earnings of the aam aadmi who are fed daily on assurances only.


The essence of the PPP is the continuation of the same economic policies of privatisation and liberalisation dictated by international finance capital which forces Governments of all developing countries to allow entry of foreign direct investment (FDI) in all sectors including railways, defence, banking and insurance.

An analysis of Finance and Railway Ministers Budget speeches highlights this. In fact, the only difference between the present and earlier speeches was the absence of poetic quotes, no matter both were prosaic. Concentrating only on how to take care of corporate houses and assure them profits by allowing PPP in all sectors.


Arguably, in the coming days vested interests will also pressurise the Government to allow FDI in retail which the BJP is opposing. Will it somersault?  Remember, in a stagnant economy developing countries can only survive by extracting profits from the masses.


History shows that the right-wing Governments always proved to be the most suitable tool to fulfill corporates ambitions. The BJP with the Left which made a big hue and cry against the entry of FDI now seems to be following the erstwhile UPA route thereby serving the interests of foreign monopolies.


Significantly, the entry of FDI in insurance and banking is aimed to allow them to earn profits by investing nominal risk-free money to maintain an office given that these sectors do not require any raw material, big machinery and processing units which require a large work force. Also, these sectors are not going to generate any employment, just keep some skeleton staff and the rest agents will do all.


There is no gainsaying, the banking and insurance sectors pocket a huge amount of unclaimed deposits thereby increasing their wealth manifold. Nonetheless, FDI might be beneficial if big factories are set up and some useful wares are produced. This would generate jobs and become a tool of development.


However, foreign private capital is cunning not to take the risk of entering production activities as this is already stagnating world-over. They might enter the stock market, raise stocks prices, sell them and take their investment back with huge profits. Certainly, such investments do not benefit a developing country like India where job-seekers are increasing every day.


Clearly, the country needs schemes which generate more employment in rural and urban areas. Any investment, private or public should aim at production which involves human resources. Sadly, this is not happening as the public sector is still the largest employer of the work force. Think. If this sector is weakened in the name of PPP or disinvestment, joblessness would increase.


As all sectors now employ workers on a contract basis and pay poor wages insufficient to survive. These employees have no bargaining power as they are barred from forming any union, in total disregard of the Constitution and labour laws. Resulting in undue pressure to ‘reform’ labour laws so as to allow corporate houses in the process of entering PPP to exploit hired workforce akin to the slavery system. Should we still believe that PPP is really the cure-all for peoples’ perpetual problems? ----- INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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