With PM Modi selling India’s PSUs to private corporates, dal and roti could cost Rs. 800 per kg! At present, they are zooming up to Rs. 200 so those days don’t seem too far away. The Public Sector Enterprise Company set up in 1951, originally wholly owned by the Government of India is rapidly being sold off.
With the sale of airports, railways, highways, petrol pumps, seaports, banks, etc., to private companies, it is anticipated that the cost of living will soar high. Tax collections on fuel up to 459% will hike up the rates of all commodities at unaffordable prices.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, “With this, the government will be aiming to achieve Rs 2.5 trillion investment, we are going ahead with the mantra of monetize and modernize,” it may not work as PM Modi surmises and even allies of the BJP have disapprovingly called it a handover of state assets to “multinational corporations at throwaway prices.”
India is facing a financial crisis and with Indians facing the highest unemployment crisis in 45 years, the sale of PSUs would presumably destroy millions of livelihoods and pull apart establishments that have made India proud since Independence.
Indians too are dealing with skyrocketing taxes, the highest tax on fuel worldwide according to CARE ratings, and the cost of all commodities doubling in the last 7 years.
Subramanian Swamy, a lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party critical of the government’s economic policy said, “The difference is that Thatcher had a comprehensive plan that she backed with income tax, sales tax and so many other things.” He also said, “It was a package to move the country from left to right. Here, there is no comprehensive plan. It’s a horrendous mixture of state control and privatization.”
2019 Nobel Prize for Economics winner Abhijit Banerjee said at The Print’s Off The Cuff Monday, “Selling government stake in state-run public sector firms to check fiscal deficit may be a good idea in the short-run, but it is not a long-term solution.” He also said, “Selling the PSUs is just replacing one form of wealth with another. It won’t be a long-term solution. Today I can sell it, but tomorrow I don’t have it.”
Concisely, the selling of PSUs will impact India negatively and this is why:
Privates will overcharge: Favored private corporate groups will control prices to suit their gratifications. With government rates, accountability is due and prices are fixed at minimum rates. While a government looks for the welfare of the people, private giants will look to make their billions at the expense of the common citizen, ripping them apart. Corporates live luxary lives and to maintain that, they will never think too deep into the problems of the common citizen.
The private sector petrol pumps like Shell determine their own prices of fuel added to excise duty on petrol, making it terribly expensive for consumers.
Government hospitals and schools, railways, etc., are very cheap and affordable whereas private school costs are painfully high ripping parents of all income, and private hospitals so frightfully expensive that patients prefer to self-treat illnesses until they get seriously ill.
Basically, most private institutes’ costs start to escalate beyond control due to the whole system it runs.
Millions will lose their livelihood: One huge concern is the loss of jobs. Government jobs have been the greatest source of stability for millions of common citizens and this sudden shift will bring lopsided shifts that will destabilize millions. The BJP has disinvested over 23 public sector units ignoring the protesting multitudes with the recent bank strikes across the country involving a million bank employees.
LIC, (LIC Life Insurance Corporation of India) with 40 crore policyholders and assets worth Rs 30 lakh crore now being sold is governmental shortsightedness. Such major changes in such a short span of time will destabilize policyholders and investors.
The late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s disinvestment plan was unwelcome and perceived as one of the reasons for the BJP defeat in 2004.
India cannot survive in a capitalist structure with its population and demographics: India after China is the second-most populous country and the first most populous democracy in the world with over 1.38 billion people. While the Prime Minister aims to strike down India’s socialist free-market democratic structure, India cannot survive as a capitalist country run by remote control by mammoth companies.
Perhaps the Prime Minister wants to parrot the USA, but capitalism has actually not worked well with America with a vast chasm between the wealthy and the poorer Americans. Millions of Americans have lost work. On the other hand, while America through social security and other schemes provides for its jobless millions, takes care of the old, sick, and disabled, India cannot for her population is humongous. The jobless in India are fended for by their families, not the government.
Under the Congress, many national and regional political parties adopted democratic socialism. Under Nehru, the Indian National Congress, India’s largest political party, socialism was endorsed as an ideology for socio-economic policies in 1936.
The word socialist was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd amendment act of 1976, during the Emergency. It implies social and economic equality. Social equality in this context means the absence of discrimination on the grounds only of caste, color, creed, sex, religion, or language.
A socialistic free market structure is needed because of India’s vast population and multicolored deeply textured diversities to provide equal opportunities to all.
Draining money from common people to build rich empires: The poor will be forced to pay high taxes and high prices for everything at the prerogatives of the rich tycoons who only want to build their own empires and live their palatial lavish lives.
The chasm between the rich and poor will grow and discontent and resentment will grow. It may lead to a national crisis with internal anger burning against corporates leading to violence and hate.
We are already seeing rage spilling out to mountainous corporates such as Ambani and Adani, where the common citizens are feeling the walls of capitalism close all around them. There have been spates of outrage directed towards them, especially during the Farmers’ protests all over the country.
Structure of capitalism endorses nepotism: In the context of the population and diversities of India, it was important to enhance social democracy to imbibe equal opportunities for all people. The structure of capitalism will espouse nepotism because the doors of opportunities would only open to the filthy rich.
While free-market social capitalism such as in Germany makes it one of the wealthiest nations in the world, In India it is totally different right now. The endangerment lies because the king-size powerful corporates will soon run the country, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to inculcate.
Perhaps the Prime Minister must not forget that he, a simple chaiwalla on a railway platform could become the Prime Minister of India one day because the doors of opportunity were open to him in an equal society. These doors are now creakingly closing with the gap between the rich and the poor getting deeper and wider as India is being sold to giant capitalists.
Had the Congress government sold PSUs, the Prime Minister would have never become prime minister because the giants of capitalism and nepotism work hand in hand.