In a bold move, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Rakesh Sinha has moved a private member’s Resolution seeking the removal of the word ‘Socialism’ from the Preamble to the Constitution of India. He has requested the government to bring an Amendment dropping the word from the Preamble.
Sinha argued compellingly that the word ‘Socialism’ was inserted in the Preamble by virtue of the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution, when the Emergency was in force and Fundamental Rights stood suspended.
The Rajya Sabha MP has further argued that the Constitution has egalitarian provisions and describing the word ‘Socialism’ in the Preamble as a “political gimmick”, he has also said that it was just a ploy to divert the attention of the people of the country during the Emergency era.
Sinha has also rightly stated that the term ‘Socialism’ itself is redundant now, especially in view of the reforms like Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code unveiled by the Modi government.
It must be noted that the insertion of the word ‘Socialism’ in the Constitution was essentially a manifestation of Nehruvian socialism- an ideology that was redundant and obsolete even during the days of Nehru himself.
In fact, the Indian government under Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi oversaw land reform and nationalization of major industries and the banking sector. All these measures resulted in India growing at a snail’s pace compared to countries like Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan. License Raj was rampant. This left the general public disillusioned, especially after the global recession of the late 1970s.
In the post-1991 era however there was a shift from Nehruvian socialism that was forced upon India by Nehru and given a Constitutional basis by his daughter, Indira Gandhi. The Narasimha Rao government initiated the first wave of economic reforms- dismantling controls, lowering duties and taxes, breaking State monopoly, etc. The Vajpayee goverment continued these reforms even as India continued to draw away from Nehruvian socialism.
In the present context, socialism has failed all across the world. Take the South American nation of Venezuela, for instance. The country has been going through a major political turmoil for quite some time now.
The roots of unrest in the country, which was once the richest in Latin America with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, can be traced in the overzealousness to implement the failed ideals of socialism. Overspending by the Venezuelan government during the oil boom was the reason behind its eventual downfall in the form of budgetary issues, deficit financing and a huge spike in inflation.
While Venezuela is an example of what socialism can cause and why India must always abhor the Nehruvian socialism era that had triggered a Balance of Payment crisis during 1991, India has a living example in Bihar- probably the only state left in India which still follows the imaginative concept of a Welfare State.
The sitting Bihar CM has been in power in the state for the past 13 years, except a brief interregnum when Jitan Ram Manjhi was rhe Bihar CM. During his lengthy tenure in office, Nitish Kumar implemented the policies of the Socialist ideologue, Jayprakash Narayan and ‘socialism’ remains evident in his economic policies.
Throughout his reign, Nitish Kumar has focussed his energies upon distribution of wealth and delivery of public services, rather than ‘encouraging’ creation of wealth. It is because of such policies that recently the state of Bihar was ranked lowest in the NITI Aayog’s ‘SDG India Index 2019′.
Bihar was among the worst performers on socio-economic indicators almost one and a half-decade ago, when Nitish Kumar became chief minister and remains at the same place at the end of 2019, despite Nitish Kumar’s well crafed ‘Shushashan Babu’ image. While Bihar continues to struggle in the backdrop of socialist policies, other states that were essentially seen in the same dubious league as Bihar at one time- Uttar Pradesh and Odisha have improved markedly.
Across the world, socialism has been rejected and socialist propagators are being rejected emphatically- Bernie Sanders in the United States might not be able to secure even a Presidential bid and dieheart socialist, Jeremy Corbyn also suffered a humiliating defeat in the United Kingdom last year.
It is clear that socialism has no relevance in India or beyond. Wealth creation and free markets, leaving full scope of individual liberty and progress is the order of the day- something that India must realise and implement in totality. The term ‘Socialism’, a remnant of the Nehruvian era has therefore no real place in the Preamble to the Constitution. This misnomer must be removed immediately.