Ever wondered why Bollywood couple, residents of some obscure village in India sing and dance in the streets of London and New York along with some “gori” girls swaying wildly in the background? I too wondered but never quite figured it why. Somethings are just to be seen, but never meant to be understood.
The latest outburst of Yashwant Sinha on the current situation of Indian Economy is also similar to skimpily Clad “desi” couple shaking a leg in Mediterranean beach. It is not the first time Yashwant Sinha spoke against the way current union government functions. Ever since he was left out from the ‘core team’ he vented his frustration time and again. Perhaps more than an average salaried employee working in private sector, who sulks for one month immediately after annual appraisals are announced.
It is not that all the badmouthing he laboriously expressed in his column was wrong. Several farmers received cheques for compensation of their loan waiver were for some ridiculous amounts ranging few paise to few rupees. Though this has not happened for the first time, it is expected that a government that talks of digitisation would know how to establish the minimum amount of any compensation. It also shows how our government employees do not apply their minds to the task they are responsible. It is really a cruel joke to award a cheque of such ridiculously low amounts to already distressed farmers, as the cost of cheque preparation itself would be more than the amount mentioned in the cheque.
But, apart from this one sentence wherein Yashwant Sinha flayed the government, the rest of his column reeks of contempt at the leaders in the government only because he could not make it there. It lack the most basic thing – facts.
He indirectly questioned why Arun Jaitley was made the most critical minister in the present establishment, despite his losing elections. If only Yashwant Sinha refrained from opening his column by criticising this particular decision, he could have concentrated much more on the core topic of his subject. Rather, with only accusations, his column turned into a compilation of tweets by Digvijay Singh. As he conceded that it was not the ‘capability’ of Arun Jaitley but his being overloaded with many ministries the reason behind the economy falling, He made it sound like a request to PM Modi to entrust Mr Sinha with one or the other ministries.
Well, what should a person like Yashwant Sinha who has been there, seen it all, have written in his column? He should have picked up an issue and suggested how it should have been dealt with; or how he would have dealt with such a situation. When anyone in India talks of job losses, I wonder from where they get these figures. Because it was the same set of people who claim that 80% of Indian economy is in informal sector. Employments in agriculture sector are always seasonal. It was for this precise reason why MNREGA was brought. And, it was the very set of the people who wanted Indian Economy to remain in informal sector wherein non-taxpayers enjoy benefits at the cost of taxpayers.
Then, the question of private investment. It is true private investment is more during Congress regimes and public spending is more during BJP ruling period. It was only during Vajpayee’s era when public spending on infrastructure was more, which was virtually nil when the learned economist ruled. Despite the criticism of Modi by Rahul Gandhi favouring Corporates, it was only during Congress rule most of the NPAs were created burdening the banks.
Moreover, the reason for the slump in the private investment is an open secret. With the ruling to auction coal, Supreme Court opened doors to market driven economy. And, who was responsible for allocating coal mines to their cronies? It is for Rahul Gandhi and Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh to answer this question. With the coal prices and so the power cost rising steep, the input cost of each and every establishment has risen effectively preventing the growth. Well, now we talk of the economic growth when the growth was reported higher during Congress time. Were there any new manufacturing units established? Hardly any. It was only power plants owned by those with links to Congress establishment. Why today Tata Power has offered 51% controlling stake in its power plant for ₹1/-? When the Supreme Court was burdened with investigating more than two hundred coal allocations, the overburdened judiciary took the easy way out – cancel allocations & enforce auctioning. The result is the genuine industrialists did suffer.
Even today, all Modi & his cabinet can do is to provide a transmission line to villages and then to houses. Can they supply electricity to the poor at affordable cost? They cannot, unless the government resorts to subsidising electricity.
The GDP growth percentages remain only statistics as long as the growth is not inclusive. And, were there any plans to have inclusive growth earlier? No. The first step towards inclusiveness was creating zero balance accounts to the poor. Even Yashwant Sinha criticised demonetisation followed by GST. But, he fails to provide an alternative to demonetisation that achieved more than a few things.
Demonetisation has brought large cash that was out of banking system into banking system forcing the banks to reduce loan rates that even many ‘inspirations’ by Rajan could not. Now, will Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee explain how this much cash had gone out of banking system and became BLACK? Oh! One is retired and the other is trying to blame Modi.
Now, if the unaccounted money deposited in banks is investigated, it is seen as an intimidating.
Demonetisation reduced the growth of real estate making homes affordable, after a long gap. Now, consider a flat costing ₹1 Lac in 2004 being sold at ₹20 Lacs in 2016 but priced at ₹10 Lacs in 2017. The growth that Chidambaram and Yashwant Sinha projected is this inflated price of the flat that still houses same number of persons it used to house in 2004.
Whether it is the prices of pulses or onions, we have seen these peaks even six years ago. In fact, current NDA government managed prices of food items better than UPA, where in the famous agriculture minister Sharad Pawar manipulated everything that he can and I know he will take it as a compliment to his manipulative abilities.
The only black point in Modi’s policy was keeping fuel prices under check irrespective of daily revisions. Though Modi could successfully renegotiate and reduce import burden on the government, he did not pass on the benefit but accumulated cash reserves. Considering the accumulated cash reserves, Modi and Jaitley can part with a part of it by revisiting the duties on petrol/diesel.
Still, I feel Modi & Jaitley are waiting to see how much revenue would be generated through GST and what would be the centre’s share of it before deciding to include petrol/diesel in GST. If the overall taxes collected in the current fiscal are close to last year’s revenue, in all probability, GST may be extended to petrol and diesel too.
Coming back to Yashwant Sinha and his ilk, if the job losses are really so drastic, there would have been an uprising by the poor. To be frank, the average Indian is more concerned with his salary/income and not on GDP figures. Like those who gamble at Stock Exchange are concerned about the sentiment factor instead of actual performance, the political elite is the only set of people who are crying about lost jobs. Maybe they were crying about the loss of their own jobs.