The educated class must take serious exception to the culture of baseless allegations related to government-industry deals
Demonstrations held at Jantar Mantar and other places, with the activists insinuating that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is up to some mischief of selling the country’s interest to multinational telecommunication company Vodafone, betray the agitationists’ utter ignorance of law and economics as well as their peculiar genus of nationalism that suffers perpetually from a persecution complex. At a time when the National Democratic Alliance Government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party believed by its supporters to be a pro-market political force, appears reluctant to upset its policy-paralysed predecessor’s applecart, its job becomes all the more difficult when an assortment of communist and swadeshi activists — the latter being increasingly indistinguishable from the former with whom it often has no qualms to share public platforms — pressure the state to turn even more hostile to businesses, which ultimately affects the people. In all likelihood, the BJP is apprehensive of fighting the notion created over the last 67 years of independent India by successive leftist governments that the state ought to be anti-enterprise; or that it’s the government whose business it is to run businesses! In reality, faced with such regimes, companies retreat, leading to massive job losses and drastic reduction in state revenue. This, in turn, makes welfare schemes unviable. Finally, the coffers run empty and a new government is forced to take a knee-jerk decision of suddenly opening up certain sectors of the market without regulating policies and safeguards in place.
Habitual socialism of governments and misplaced activism of street protesters pose this cyclical danger. The nation observed it in 1991 following the Balance of Payment crisis. Between 1998 and 2004, every time the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government tried to further the good work of the PV Narasimha Rao Government of 1991-96, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders pressured the then prime minister to rollback its decisions and its activists unleashed propaganda verging on xenophobia across the country. How doles spell disaster was witnessed again towards the end of the second term of the United Progressive Alliance Government when the welfare schemes of communist-driven UPA I had drained the exchequer dry, but no investor was ready to trust the government even as it was ready to embrace all. To doubly ensure foreign direct investment eluded the country, activists kept harping on the allegation that the then government was selling the country off to MNCs, much as its corrupt practices involving indigenous corporate houses were of a much larger proportion observed even by the courts of the country.
The dogmatic lot, fed on news that are decades old, have emerged as a menace for the Indian economy as well as public nuisance, thanks to the disruptive activities they have been indulging in particularly since 2011. It’s their pet theory, for example, that India has been conceding the demands of the World Trade Organisation, when the fact is that both Congress- and BJP-led governments have consistently thwarted international efforts to globalise India since the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade transformed into the WTO in the early 1990s. India does not give in to the carbon curbs developed countries try to impose on it either, and yet its statesmen have to live with the accusation of being sell-outs. As explains the सिर्फ़ News report on the statement of Bharat Revolutionaries, Academics and Industrious people’s Network, a newly formed right-of-centre thinkers’ group, the naysayers have got the logic, legality and ethics of retrospective laws all wrong, too. A company can’t be penalised for abiding by the law that prevails at the time when it makes the deal with the government. But given the RSS roots of the Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan, the miscalculation comes as no surprise. It’s time the educated middle class, especially the stratum that surfaced due to India liberalising in the 1990s, rose to call the bluff of paranoid left and right wingers alike to encourage governments to push the Indian economy towards much needed, long awaited vibrancy.