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Jul 6th, 2019 10:37 pm | By | Category: Uncategorized

(By Bhagyashree Pande)
PM Modi has envisioned creating a New India in Modi.2. His slogan is development for all communities by serving them by being in power. Coincidentally this thinking resembles that of Nehru’s in 1950s who had ideated on development of all with growth .PM Modi says economic reforms are high on his govts’ agenda and for this many reforms will be taken to ensure growth. It sounds like a a laudable objective something that the first PM of this country too had set. But the point to be asked as was also asked of Nehru – who is growing ? And is India’s poor benefiting from this growth? Today as also in Nehru’s times growth was being chased but by late 60s it was realised that the growth did not make dent on the poverty as was intended to. This was followed by Indira Gandhi who went in for even deeper Socialism ideas to fight poverty with growth. It was Indira’s idea to redistribute spoils of growth by giving doles to the poor. PDS, Subsidies, intervention of state in agriculture pricing and state procurement of foodgrains were Indira’s ideas of expanding Socialism. Today Modi’s autarchy is seen in expanding doles under DBT, expanding work under MNREGA, various payouts etc.

Jawaharlal Nehru who was a student of Fabian Communism believed in gradualist and reformist approach. Today Modi too is moving in the same gradualist approach to bringing back state control over men ,material and trade .It would not be too far fetched to say that the same reformist and gradualist approach to controlling society the way it ‘thinks’ on various issues is also taking place.

Socialists under Nehru and later during Indira, regime when it took more serious shape ,justified the idea as India pursuing growth for its own sake and using redistribution(doles) as a strategy to combat poverty . Today Modi comes with a similar thinking when he says let’s look at growth! So the question is has growth along with redistribution really able to mitigate poverty ? It has certainly not made a dent since Nehru- Indira days how can it give Modi success today ? This idea of redistribution fails because there are too many poor living on doles. The govt despite growth does not have sufficient money to satisfy all as has been seen in the past. Socialist ideas of the past that are being revisited presently does not teach a man to fish but gives him a fish thereby keeping him lazy and in perpetual poverty .

BJP’s Vision Document is the best place to find the socialist thinking of the party. It tries to draw connection between growth and redistribution for poverty alleviation but it never talks of how beyond this can through improving education and facilitating better business models can it catalyse employment thereby improving standards of living and mitigating poverty. Much can be seen in BJP lead programs like rural electrification, rural roads etc that were launched during Vajpayee regime failed to make a dent in the unemployment problem. Why? Partly because these reforms were intended for social upliftement but not to generate employment. Similarly in Modi .1 govt Ujjwala yojna, Kisan Saman yojna (Rs 6000 p.a), DBT of various schemes are mere doles these are not concrete ideas to combat poverty .

Nehru despite the good performance of the economy in initial years was confronted with the question where were growing incomes going? Sooner or later if growth takes place as Modi claims then the same question will be asked of him. Who is benefiting from this growth? In other words has BJP been able to make a dent in poverty at all ?

Modi knows that he has to find ways to generate employment but he has chosen a model like that of Nehru’s inward looking. Make in India is yet another name for creating state blessed private behemoth. It is assumed that production will create jobs and thus improve the standard of living and pull people out of poverty. But with unskilled and uneducated labour can such a project succeed ? Will Robots not be more cost effective, faster, efficient and well trained ? It needs to be mentioned here that the brain drain that started in Nehru’s times because of lack of technical opportunities has only intensified with reservation and quota system of the 1990s.

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