Who Stands Up For the Poor? – Justice Rajindar Sachar


A man holds a sign as Indian farmers protested against the government's land acquisition policy in New Delhi. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
A man holds a sign as Indian farmers protested against the government’s land acquisition policy in New Delhi. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

When will the secular and progressive forces in India come together to confront the combined onslaught on the poor by the Indian and global corporates and the Modi government?


[dropcap]A[/dropcap] deep somnolence, lack of direction and absence of commitment to the constitutionally directed philosophy of social justice seems to be enveloping the major existing political parties enhancing the danger of the BJP policy of divisiveness and pro-capitalist policies spreading in the country. This is shown by lack of any response and consistent policy and program from the leftist and secular parties. That may explain the gushing congratulations and compliments they have showered on Aam Admi Party (AAP).

No doubt AAP is entitled to all praise over its massive win in Delhi. But for any political parties and individuals to so believe and act that AAP can be an instrument of change in political and social life of the country is like wanting to see a rainbow in the sky during afternoon when the sun is blazing.

I say this because AAP believes in private economy being the solution to the country’s ills and poverty. It so specifically said in its Manifesto that; “Government should not be in the business of running business”. “AAP is not against capitalism as such but only crony capitalism” – this is a wrong thinking. By just emphasizing crony capitalism the evil and the unsuitability of capitalism for the development of our country is deliberately papered over – evil of the capitalism itself is the real danger.

farmers pti

The urgency and danger of open onslaught by Big Business on the sanctum of Indian State has exploded in our face by the recent widespread corporate sector spying including the highest, in the innermost offices of the Union of India, in Oil, Coal, Power ministries and in security related nuclear arsenals. Secret papers of the yet to be announced Budget have also been leaked.

This action is more disturbing than mere spying. The Modi government is all praise for the corporate sector. It publically professes that the country can only progress through the instrumentality of private sector. If with all the favours from Modi Government, the highest in the corporate sector are on a path to destroy the inner sanctity of the corridors and policy making State, the BJP needs to scrutinize more closely its open alliance with corporate sector.

It is still more worrisome when it is known that another complaint against the same corporate company has been pending enquiry notwithstanding the complaint by Enforcement Directorate (ED) made in 2013 to Reserve Bank of India, about the legality of a loan of over Rs. 6000 Crores given to the dummy of this very corporate giant. And still ironically the Union Minister of Finance has announced that it plans to do disinvestment to the extent of Rs. 45000 Crore in Financial Year 2016 by selling a part of holding of family silver of public sectors like ONGC and even of State Bank of India …….and other public sector corporations to amongst others to these very private companies. It has also announced that its tax policies will be corporate friendly.

The Government has unashamedly announced that it will not appeal against Bombay High Court judgment or amend the law retrospectively to nullify the effect of Vodafone judgment by Supreme Court (which many eminent jurists say requires reconsideration even ignoring Solicitor General’s advice to file appeal) which shows the close links with the corporate lobby. The loss from change of law will continue to deprive Union Government of tax receipts from future transactions also, and will be a big drain on our economy.

Recently, during parliamentary recess, the Government slyly issued ordinances, especially on land acquisition, to almost pulverize the provisions of new Land Acquisition Act. The Supreme Court had said that in spite of the ordinance the Acquisition would lapse, if compensation has not been paid within the stipulated time as, the ordinance does not have specific retrospective effect. But as the government is committed to bring in the amendments to help the Big Business; it has no blushes to give assurance to big Business that it will change the law retrospectively, to help them rather than the farmers.

This apprehension of landholders arises from the much publicized scheme of the Modi Government expediting its scheme of Delhi – Mumbai corridor which will result in displacement of thousands of farmers and other residents. This is one of the cruelest of ventures by the corporate friendly Modi Government and is already being opposed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan and Socialist Party (India) and other human rights organizations.

Another urgent matter calling for attention is the inhumanity against the poor in Delhi who though on paper have the right to free treatment in some of the Private hospitals that had been allotted land at concessional rates, (as directed by the Courts in a Petition filed by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties).  Right now, 40% of hospital beds remain vacant.

Another scandal continuing from the UPA government in 2005 is of Special Economic Zone – 50% of allotted land remains unused.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee in 2007 had estimated a revenue loss of Rs. 1.75 lakh Crores from tax holiday granted between 2005 and 2010. The Special Economic Zones were touted to lead to export boom and earn foreign exchange. The reality is that less than 48% of the existing SEZ are engaged in export activity – but only 3.8% of exports came form these Zones in 2013 – 14. How deceitful can you get!

Any party that seeks to speak for the poor in the country should be ashamed of the gross deprivation and inequality persisting in our country. According to 59th round of NSSO report estimates, the average net worth of the top 10% of the population in India was 380 times that of the bottom 10%.

The net worth could support consumption for 23 years for the top bracket and less than three months for the bottom one. The report said that the total billionaire wealth represented about 10% of India’s GDP in 2012. Can this vulgar inequality be allowed to continue?

If Modi’s economic pattern is allowed to continue the situation will become even worse in times ahead. Only socialist oriented policies can checkmate it. Can the secular, progressive forces in the country come together to form a common front along with trade unions and farmers to meet this challenge by the combined onslaught of the global and Indian corporate giants?


All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs and comments by readers are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan




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