| 15 August, 1947 to 15 August 2014 has been a long arduous journey for India. The masses struggle against British imperialism was guided by the spirit of patriotism and they looked forward to a free India where there would be no poverty. They adopted a Constitution that laid down a set of Directive Principles to be followed by the new republic. However, today none of these have been realised in practice.
The Directive Principles include: adequate means of livelihood for every citizen and the right to work; an economic system which would not result in the concentration of wealth; right to education and provision of free and compulsory education for children; living wage for workers and equal pay for equal work for men and women…
The root cause of the glaring gap between the Constitutional precepts and the practice of political formations, funded by big corporate houses remains out of sight of our people. In reality, the monopoly corporate houses are the real ruling class of our independent country.
This class was assured of its growth unhindered by all successive political leaderships from Nehru to Narendra Modi. Within a few months after independence, on 18th December 1947, Nehru assured his mentors, the big capitalists, at the first Industrial Conference about the sanctity of private enterprise and no discrimination against foreign enterprise. He stated: ‘just redistribution of existing property would be kept in the realm of idea’. So the interests of the big capitalists were servedby successive political superstructures.
It is no wonder that the richest class amassed big wealth. The official data on theof the top 22 big capitalists shows their wealth grew by leaps and bounds, while the vast majority of people remained as poor as they were during the British regime. The assets of these monopoly houses in 1951 were of Rs 312.63 crores, in 1965 these rose to Rs 1326.15, by 1975 to Rs 4234.61, in 1980 to Rs 7155.90 and by the end of 1990 they reached Rs 34538.14 crores. After 1975 some new monopoly houses such as Reliance, Sahara etc. also emerged on the scene.
However, the system of assessing their assets has been discontinued since 1991, so one can only see the manifold enormous growth of those monopoly houses. This huge wealth was apparently generated by all sorts of methods of capital accumulation. And this process is still on. All scams, coal blocks allocation, 2G spectrum, D6 gas basin contract and cases of illegal mining are a pointer.
After 1991, the big capitalists happily became the allies of the new regime of world capitalism, which took a new form of the internationalcapital that operates through the World Bank-IMF. Their policies are known as the neo-liberal policies that are directed to provide all facilities to the big capitalists so as to enable them to rob the common masses through various means, curtail subsidies, privatise the profit making public sector in the guise of ‘disinvestment’ and allow the international finance capital to earn profits in the form of the FDI in ‘safe’ sectors such as share market, retail, banking, defence, railways and insurance.
The Congress-led regimes followed these policies, and the BJP-led NDA regimes implemented them more effectively. All the bills brought before Parliament by the Modi government so swiftly during these two months bear testimony.
Unfortunately, these policies dictated by the WB and IMF repeatedly resulted in further pauperisation of our vast masses living in miserable conditions. Farmers were forced to commit suicides, rural indebtedness increased, children die of malnutrition, and even today safe drinking water is not available to majority of Indian populace. That is why they reject these policies and express their anger during elections. But the change in regime doesn’t change the course of policies. Hence misery, deprivation, deaths and devastation of all resources continues in independent India.
The country possesses enormous natural resources necessary for its all-round development, with sufficient areas of fertile agricultural land, irrigation potential, natural conditions in various regions for a variety of crops, rich mineral wealth, and all resources for power generation in a big way. The country has a reservoir of huge manpower and there is no dearth now of scientific, technical, managerial and intellectual skills.
Regrettably, this huge potential is not taken care of by the big monopoly corporate houses that rule us. Their lust for concentration of wealth forces them to impose a political superstructure that may serve only their own narrow interests. That is why theyhuge amount of money during elections on their choice of Parties, such as Congress and BJP. Their manifestoes and common minimum programmes promising better days are forgotten after they come to power and start serving their masters.
The rich indulge in large-scale evasion of taxes that has created huge amounts of black money deposited in foreign banks. There is a big hue and cry to bring it back, but it is not going to happen. Only commissions or committees will be constituted.
The common people, workers, peasants and the middle class were put to ruthless exploitation in the name of financing the plans in independent India. The huge external and internal borrowings were also used for the growth of the monopoly corporate houses. Although it was the Congress government in 1991 that accepted the IMF-World Bank conditionalities for getting a structural adjustmentand even accepting ‘their men’ such as Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Raghuram Rajan at key posts to run the government, the BJP-RSS formations did not lag behind in advocating those policies of liberalisation. They too pushed them further whenever in power.
Both Congress and BJP are hell bent upon implementing the policies of liquidating the public sector; its shares are disinvested and sold out cheaply to private monopolies. Through reduction of import duties, indigenous products are displaced by foreign goods resulting in large-scale closures and throwing out tens of thousands of workers from jobs. International finance capital has exerted relentless pressure for the privatisation process in the banking industry and the opening up of the insurance sector priority basis. All these developments have led to the erosion of economic sovereignty of our beloved country.
Reports appearing on the eve of Independence Day show that India’s retail inflation rose to 7.96% in July 2014 from 7.46 in June. The factory output growth slowed down to 3.4% in June 2014 from 5% in the previous month. Thus, the continuing rise in the prices of all essential commodities, particularly food items, has hit the poor the hardest especially in the background of the curtailment of the public distribution system.
The cutbacks in social sector expenditure in education, health,and welfare schemes have a disastrous effect on the vast majority of common people in general, and the peasantry in particular. To divert the simmering anger of common people against price rise and unemployment, the Hindutva forces, the best weapon in hands of finance capital since the British days, still engineer communal riots, and may create war hysteria for communal polarisation that could lead to dangerous threats to national unity and communal harmony. With Modi, the RSS pracharak in power at the Centre, all these divisive forces have become super-active so that none may pose the question: where are the ‘achchhe din’ (better days).