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On PM’s Atmanirbhar Mission, critics are critics

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Ex-Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer

 

The 200- lakh crore stimulus package announced by the PM on 12th May would stimulate the economy and put it on the rails (although, still a dream to come true). This package is indeed much needed in this hour of crisis, that is: Covid-19 pandemic impact on various sections of people and Micro-Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The package and the 3-5 tranches of Finance Ministry’s distribution announcements should serve the purpose of the derailed economy. India’s package is no less compared to the other rich – advanced western nations like America, Germany in its size. India’s package is 10% of its GDP! That shows that the government is cognizant of situation and gravity of the problem.

As far as, Covid-19 is concerned many public health officials inside and outside India said, so far, India has done a good job. Though partially lockdown is lifted, masks and social distancing are in place for safety. People now are aware that Corona is part of their lives for a long period. So, India is probably going to have a Sweden model of herd-immunity. Till date, Covid-19 in India is not alarming or looming large, as is in the case many western countries.

Now coming to Critics, when the prime minister announced a big stimulus push to the economy, immediately critics said: where can he get the money from? Until the package was announced, it was all about: ‘when he would announce, the poor are starving, migrant laborers plights are pathetic etc’. It’s indeed those issues had to be addressed and are now eloquently addressed. India has no money crunch. The country could borrow money from overseas, or the Reserve Bank can spend or Bond-issuance is there because the country is not indebted heavily internationally. 

Opponents always wait for a chance to criticize. The prime minister in his speech emphasized India to be Atmanirbhar i.e.  self-reliant. They started saying: ‘Oh! we have seen this Atmanirirbharata thing even in the past during Indira Gandhi’s time, a call for the Swabhiman kind and it didn’t work’. Their equation is strange. Indira Gandhi had not opened- up the economy and free-market forces. She worked in a closed system. People’s awareness about the outside world and about their own wellbeing was scant. Now India as a country is the biggest beneficiary of the globalization that happened in the 1990s. In fact, the developed western world is hard-hit by us. The Atmanirbharata which the prime minister is yearning for, is not to isolate India in trading with other countries, instead he would like to make it reliant upon itself. Assume, if all the countries in the world turn inward Post-Covid-19, this Atmanirbharata would only be the solution. So, we cannot rely on the world all the while. For instance: as cited by our PM, making our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) like masks etc in huge numbers in our country in the hour of crisis,  shows how our self- reliance that helps us.  So, the PM is giving a call for: Be Vocal about Local. However, the government is in no mood to follow isolationism. It has stated to that effect explicitly. One can say: the government is running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.

Our prime minister is keen on improving the skills of laborers. It’s his endeavor to see skilled labor. Innovative young labor is an asset to the country. They sometimes get out of the box solutions also. We have seen in the history of the world such instances. For example: James Watt who invented the steam engine in 1764 was an instrument-maker to the University of Glasgow in England. Similarly, in the same country, in 1801, George Stephenson, a poor boy, son of a fire-man in coal-mine, joined his father to work to add something to the small wages of his father. As a small boy his job in the mine was to look after a fixed engine which pulled trucks of coal up a hill by means of a rope. George was not content just to do that. By his own thinking he invented a travelling engine (instead of a rope-one) which would pull trucks up the hill on rails. Thus he made the first steam-locomotive! So, our prime minister is stressing on skill-development. India has no dearth for talent. We would like our work-force to be skilled and innovative and for the government to tap such talent in New India. 

Next, the moratorium on labour- laws for three years or so in some of the BJP-ruled states and others have become contentious. The proposed land and labour reforms by the government are commented upon by the Communist leaders saying that the government is pursuing its own policies, during the time of the crisis by seizing this as opportunistic moment. Again, this is an argument for argument’s sake. The party in governance is duty-bound to protect its workers and the established companies that give the livelihoods to them. The ILO (International Labour Organization) that never criticizes countries like China for their exploitation of Labour, now, came into picture to warn India for its Labour Reform! Be that as it may, the government should not compromise on the safety, security, minimum wage guarantee of labor in both the organized and unorganized sectors in the country.  Their own Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh is at the forefront in the protest means, it has to understand the gravity of the problem. 

The government’s rebooting of MSMEs with 45 lakh crores, 1000- crore for migrant workers who faced so many ordeals, proposal of one nation one ration card (so that they can lift ration anywhere in the country), Minimum wage to all workers – National Floor wage, Annual Health Check-up and Housing to workers, Kisan Credit Cards, loan moratorium to farmers and fishermen, giving Mudra loans to them are some the steps in the right direction, taken by the government. So, the government is taking care of both the wealth-creators and the labor. Again wealth is nothing but value.  Value is created by workers.  So, they must be respected, as much as, or more than wealth-creators.

The government, of late, has made many critical structural reforms for the businessmen to have ease of doing business. Equally, it has the interest of the labor also at heart. Hence, it has taken care of protecting their salaries (to be decent), their health insurance, working conditions etc. Karl Marx in his time divided the working class of the world as proletariat and the rich to be bourgeoisie. Now, the times have changed. Unlike Marx stated all the working class in the world is not ‘one’. They are divided by their national and creedal loyalties. Let Bharat’s work-force, elevate Bharat in this hour of crisis and prove the dream of our prime minister: Atmanirbhar Bharat to be true.

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Ex-Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer
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