Over-reliance on corporates may rob India of ‘self-reliance’

On the call of Mahatma Gandhi, a strong wave of enthusiasm swept across the nation which, subsequently, witnessed scores of people celebrating Holi by consigning foreign clothes to flames. A youth with British looks came and flared the flames by throwing his expensive suit. This youth was none other than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who was […]

On the call of Mahatma Gandhi, a strong wave of enthusiasm swept across the nation which, subsequently, witnessed scores of people celebrating Holi by consigning foreign clothes to flames. A youth with British looks came and flared the flames by throwing his expensive suit. This youth was none other than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who was the first to unfurl the tricolour on ramparts of Red Fort.

This widely-talked-about incident registered in the history of India’s freedom struggle as ‘Swadeshi Movement’ happened in August 1921 when there were spectacles of ‘Holi of foreign clothes’ everywhere in the country. While promoting charkha, Mahatma Gandhi delivered the message that every farmer can weave cloth from his cotton. British traders used to collect cotton from India and weave cloth in Manchester and sold us the cloth at very high rates.

Mahatma Gandhi started this agitation when he saw that our crop is used to exploit us. As a result, he appealed to countrymen to boycott foreign clothes. Mahatma’s appeal drove home the message and crores of Indians adopted Khadi forsaking foreign cloth right away. Pandit Nehru, who was used to princely comforts, suffered skin abrasions when he wore Khadi for the first time after leaving the soft clothes. Despite that, he not only wore Khadi but also went to prison.  

This was the first step towards self-reliance which became our strength. In 1872, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay started the first swadeshi agitation. Poet Mahavir Prasad Dviwedi stirred the conscience of people by his poetry. Gandhi made this a national agitation. A century later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is stressing the need for self-reliance but we are scouting profits.

On Thursday when the Prime Minister started the platform “Transparent Taxation: Honouring the Honest”, while he was praising the honest taxpayer, his government presented a charter for more vigil on taxpayers’ expenditure. The Prime Minister may be thinking of making the country self-reliant and implementing Transparent Taxation policy but his bureaucrats do not want to leave any opportunity to rein in the common man. They may not be helpful to make the common man self-reliant but would spare no efforts to find every means to profiteer.

It is the result of such a policy system that there has been a huge fall in the income of more than 65% of citizens of the country in the last few months. Jobs of nearly 20 crore people have been snatched away. Bureaucracy, to hide its failures, is framing policies for privatisation, vide which the PSUs, which were created from the taxpayer’s hard earned money, could be handed over to the ‘corrupt’ Corporate and they become the Owners of our properties and we would be forced to struggle to beg them for jobs.

Now, 73 years after Independence we would be forced to bow to the new British Corporate Rule even Gandhi could not have imagined in his dreams. Gandhi pioneered various agitations but whenever the agitations strayed and caused distress to the public, he stopped them midway. For him the public interest was a priority to an agitation.

On Friday Reserve Bank of India decided to give the surplus of Rs 57,128 crore as dividend in the last fiscal year. Sometime back the Government availed a sum of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. The fiscal deficit of the Government is Rs 6.62 lakh crore in the first quarter of this Financial Year (April-June). It is the first time in the country’s history that the fiscal deficit has reached such a level. Government revenues have been hit hard by the corona pandemic and the decisions on the falling economy have increased the fiscal deficit.

 The founder of IT company Infosys, N.R. Narayana Murthy, commented on the conditions created by Covid-19 and the government’s response that the economic condition of the country is worsening and if necessary steps are not taken in proper directions then it would be the worst conditions post-Independence. What Narayana Murthy said has been reiterated by financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF, ADB, Nomura, IKRA and Goldmine. Former prime minister and economist Dr Manmohan Singh has given a threepoint solution plan to revive the economy. But in response to it, the solutions suggested by bureaucracy are such that the situation may worsen in the future.  They are busy drafting plans for the corporate families.

The financial structure of our country is socialist capitalism which we had adopted while gaining Independence so that the poor and the middle class of the country can also have the means to survive. We gave importance to Institutional structure which led to the founding of huge public sector units on the basis of which we controlled our quality and production.

Last year’s statistics disclose that we have spent only 30% on domestic production which is meagre in comparison to our neighbours. Economists believe that we should invest more on this because we can become the third largest economy in the world but our bureaucracy is bent upon not only disposing of the PSUs and urban and industrial properties but also water, land and forest. Everything from railways to airlines is planned to be handed over to the Corporate. The Nation’s brand BSNL and nationalised banks instead of becoming tech savvy are being prepared to be handed over to Corporate. The reason for bad loans has been the bureaucracy and political dispensation which had not stressed improving the banking sector for making it client friendly but pressed for unviable loans because of which the economy has failed.

 It was believed that the government does not work for profiteering and hoarding but works for public welfare and prepares policies and plans to reduce the burden on the common man. But contrary to this the government, in the last few years, has adopted the policy of handing over all the commercial business to corporates and confining itself as a regulator of the policies. In this process, the government lost sight of the fact that when the capital would be in the hands of corporate then not only they would be in a position to exert pressure on the government but would also force the government to draft policies in their favour which would render the public as servants and the call for self-reliance (swadeshi) would remain as a slogan only.

The need of the hour today is to emerge as a leader and stop the corporate from going berserk and to financially strengthen the common man and our capable and competent youth should be job-givers and not only jobseekers; they need patronage for a level-playing field and chances to compete. In a country like India adoption of socialist-capitalism is the path towards prosperity and this path can make people self-reliant and is also successful at global level otherwise our youth is bound to go astray.