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Elections 2014: India needs a government of the people, by the people and for the people
An article “UPA’s Failed Socialist Experiment” by Varun Gandhi, BJP National Secretary and MP ends with “it’s time to give markets a chance”. The article which has been published in Times of India, Chennai edition on February 5, 2014 bears scrutiny.

He adds, “Thanks to economic populism and subsidy raj, India is now the sick man of Asia”. I am a regular listener to foreign news channels like BBC, CNN and Al Zajeera. I have never heard any of their journalists or experts call India, the “sick man of Asia”.

I am not claiming for a moment that India has achieved the economic or human development growth that is commensurate with its potential. I would however like to submit that this failure is due to poor governance and not socialism. Let us take the issues raised by Varun Gandhi one by one.

Benefits of Subsidies are Captured by Upper Class and Large Farmers

Varun Gandhi writes, “In the last decade the central government has spent almost Rs 11 trillion in subsidies – mostly captured by the upper class (fuel subsidies) and large farmers (fertilizers)”. I totally agree with him. But the distortion and leakage has nothing to do with socialism. It simply confirms the truth that Indian democracy as practised by all national and regional parties is “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class”. This is where the Aam Admi Party needs to come in.

Fuel subsidies can be easily designed to reach the target segment of the society. Petrol used for two wheelers can be supplied after premixing it with engine oil and thereby making it unusable in cars. Only petrol used in two wheelers should be subsidised and petrol for cars should not be subsidized. To reduce the number of diesel cars and SUVs, the initial road tax should be made equal to the cost of the car. Subsidized LPG cylinders have been capped even if at 12 per year.

A “small farmer’s” card on line of BPL card could be used to ensure fertilizer subsidy reaches only the small farmers (holding up to 5 acres). Direct cash transfer of subsidies would ensure that subsidies reached only those targeted. However, the attempt to do the same by the government is being resisted by vested interest of the upper class through Supreme Court. The constitution should be amended to make “Aadhar” Card compulsory.

Leakages in the Public Distribution benefit the community of shopkeepers, bakers and hoteliers, most of them are the upper class and supporters of BJP. The leakage can be easily stopped by direct cash transfers. But direct cash transfer of subsidies based on “Aadhar” Cards into bank accounts are being resisted by vested interest.

There is a way of overcoming individual reluctance to “Aadhar” card based cash transfer. Just pay 20% extra subsidy to Aadhar Card holders for a few months and get them to enroll. Another option is to link direct cash transfers to banks linked through the voter ID card or Aadhar card.

Grain Procured by Government Rots due to Lack of Storage

The rotting of grains procured by the government in its stores or during transit is simply poor governance and has nothing to do with socialism. Just because some children die after polio vaccination or on the operation table does not mean polio vaccination or operations are bad. 

The real problem is lack of accountability in the government machinery. The other problem is that the upper class does not use grains supplied by Public Distribution system but grains from branded sources. So a government “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class” has no interest in the matter and just do not care. This is another reason why we need the Aam Admi Party.

Stopping Pilferage of Electricity and Dealing with Non Payment of Bills

Pilferage of electricity is a national practice. Only about 20% India does not. The staff of electricity boards and Discoms provide direct connections to houses, businesses and industries and in that process sometimes take bribe also. No effort has been made to punish the guilty by making the offence non bailable.

The poor cannot afford to pay their bills. Their connections will be immediately cut. It is the rich and the powerful that do not pay their bills and still remain connected. The list of defaulters if published every month in news papers will be led by politicians, bureaucrats, industries and government departments. 

Since the government is “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class” everyone is making merry at government expense. This is another reason why we need the Aam Admi Party. I hope Varun Gandhi cleared his electricity bill before writing the article.

Removing Stigma from Defaulting on Loans

I am not sure which loans Varun Gandhi has referred to in his article. If it is agricultural loans to small farmers he is talking about, it is understandable. Farmers usually do not vote for BJP. BJPs vote bank consists of traders, businessmen and industrialists. 

It is surprising that he has mentioned the Rs 6.5 lakh crore sticky loans with Indian banks. It must have been done inadvertently. Almost all the beneficiaries of the sticky loans are member or supporters of BJP and are rooting for Modi as PM.

UPA & Socialism

I am not inclined to agree with Varun Gandhi’s assertion that UPA practices socialism. UPA is a divided house. The Gandhi family and some of their young followers and most members of the National Advisory Council are left oriented and behind MGNREGA, Food Security Bill, Right to Forest Produce Bill, Right to Education Bill etc. But the government led by Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram and Montek Singh Ahluwalia are hard core neo-liberal economists who do their best to serve the interest of foreign countries like China, US, Europe, ASEAN; big business, foreign investors and multinational companies.

Liberation of imports, reduction of import duties, relaxing norms for identifying foreign investors to check money laundering, the entry of drug money and terrorist money into our economy, bringing in multi-brand retail without a care of growth of Indian industry and jobs is the work of these neo-liberals. 

This group has full support of BJP. In fact BJP supports neo-liberal economic model and is 100% pro business. After all, the core supporters of BJP are small and big businesses and traders. More the de-regulation, more the black money generation, less the taxation and tax compliance, the better it is for BJP supporters.

Conclusion

Varun Gandhi ends his article by appealing, “It is time to give markets a chance”. Markets have been ruling the Western World since the time of Regan and Thatcher in mid seventies. See the result. Inequalities have reached new peaks. Tax havens and the rich are flourishing and never had it better.

America and Europe have seen their manufacturing sectors destroyed and unemployment at record levels. Many European countries have 25% to 50% youth employment. Unions have been weakened and become impotent. Slavery has been reintroduced in the form of economic slavery. 

The message from the market is work long hours for a pittance or stave. Middle class jobs are reducing and being replaced by low paid jobs in retailing and hospitality industries. More and more people in the developed world are going hungry or surviving on community kitchens.

Markets are already flourishing. Corporate profits, the world over are at a record high. Profiteering and unethical activities like adultering food and medicines, multi level marketing and chit fund frauds, tax evasion, money laundering, hawala transactions, smuggling, flight of capital abroad is continuing unabated. What more chance do the market need and to do what?

What India needs is government of the people (Aam Admi), by the people (Aam Admi Party or the Gandhi family led Congress minus the neo-liberals and the corrupt) and for the people (Aam Admi) and not government of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class. We need a government that works. We need institutions, ministers, and government servants that work and are held accountable for their acts of omission and commission.

Socialism is the only system that ensures inclusive growth, human rights and social justice. Opponents of socialism like the BJP and the main stream national and regional parties who believe in democracy “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class” must be voted out in the coming elections.



Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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