Policy Issues

War against People: Targeting People’s Hard Earned Savings

THE rhetoric of ‘crusade against corruption’ now stands exposed.  Prime Minister Modi’s lieutenant Amit Shah admitted it as much.  The Rs 15 lakh bonanza from the black money stashed in foreign bank accounts will never reach.  Shah accepted that this was unadulterated jumla. From demonetisation to digitalisation and the GST; these dramatic initiatives were pitched as grand narrative against corruption.  But this cleansing operation is empty hoax. All the extinguished currency has safely returned to the financial system.  Counterfeits are microscopically small.

Moody’s Upgrade: A Perverse Triumphalism

THE mandarins of the economic establishment in the capital have gone ballistic. Euphoria is in the air. From the SEBI chairman to the Niti Ayog chief, all were ecstatic. Even Shakti Pada Das, the former ministry of economic affairs secretary who had only last year, vociferously protested against the Moody’s rating methodology, accepted the upgrade by the same agency with a rider; this ought to have been done earlier!

The Great Indian ‘Crusade against Black Money’ Drama

FOR quite some time, corruption and black money has been agitating the public mind in this country. This was particularly more so, in the urban landscape.  This was elevated to an unprecedented height in the run-up to the last general elections in 2014. The background music was provided by the anti-corruption campaign under the banner of India against corruption led by the `Gandhian icon’ Anna Hazare.  

Agrarian Conditions and Recent Peasant Struggles in Sikar

SIKAR, situated in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, has a glorious history of peasant struggles. From 1920s through 1960s, peasants of Sikar fought successfully against the jagirdars. Sikar had an extremely oppressive jagirdari regime under the Raja of Sikar and peasants worked under a huge burden of taxes (lag) and obligation to provide unpaid labour and military services (bag).

For NITI Aayog, Government Services are Injurious!

NITI Aayog counterposes government’s role in production with that of provision of services. In its Three Year Action Agenda, in one section it states: “As the government contains its role in manufacturing, it must also expand its role in the promotion of public health and quality education”. Contradicting this statement, at another place, it states: “sectors like health and education also need to be opened up for viable PPP models to accelerate sustainable development”.

NITI Aayog – Promoting Privatisation

The Three Year Action Agenda of the NITI Aayog is full of tailored prescriptions for the government to virtually privatise all sectors, albeit in the name of PPPs. Niti Aayog, the champion ‘consultancy firm’, which enjoys government patronage, is parroting the World Bank line. Coming from World Bank, they are called ‘conditions’ attached to loans, while these very prescriptions coming from the Aayog are called ‘advice’.

‘Toilet Vigilantism’: Ridicule to the Core!

‘TOILET vigilantism’, being practised in different parts of the country, has made the already vulnerable social divide starker. The government under the Swachh Bharat Mission has set a goal of constructing toilets to make the country open defecation free (ODF). Recently, a Hindi film too dealt with the importance of construction of toilets in villages. There is nothing wrong in it and in fact there is a dire need to have toilets in all households. But the desperation shown and the draconian method of ‘toilet vigilantism’ has even widened the social gap in the countryside.

‘Kutil Niti’ of NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog was constituted by the BJP government immediately after it assumed power at the centre. This brought down the curtains on the Planning Commission. The intention behind the establishment of NITI Aayog has been very clear – deepening the neoliberal reforms. It has taken upon the task of international financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF to ensure the transfer of public assets to private players, reduce the role of government in welfare activities and confine the State to cater to the ruling class interests only.

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