A few weeks ago honorable prime minister announced a special economic and comprehensive package of 20 lakh crores, equivalent to 10% of the GDP. Following his address to the nation, honorable finance minister gave out the details of the package in the next five days. Ever since, there has been a lot of noise regarding the fine print of the package. How big the package is in reality; it’s a loan; it doesn’t help poor; it is pro corporate; etc. You must have seen news headlines like these:
Have they ever approved of/praised anything that Modi has done in the past 6-7 years? Even the schemes like GST that were conceptualized over decades were targeted, let alone the ones conceptualized by BJP. I don’t expect Mr/Mrs Gandhi or Mr. Akhilesh Yadav to say “Oh Modi did a brilliant job” That would end their political carrier. Won’t it?
In fact I do agree that this package is a cruel joke.
But for who?
It is for the first time in the history of independent India that politicians are losing money rather than making money during a crisis or a calamity or lets say an act of god. At first, the government cut their salaries by 30% and then suspended MPLADS which is 5 crore per year per MP. You could read more about it here: MPLADS and Corruption!. And now when there was one last chance left for some politicians to get rich by siphoning off from the relief funds and the cash payments in the name of poor, the government instead of sending the cash introduced loans. As far as the poor is concerned, the government has allowed the states to borrow extra 2% of their GDPs over and above the existing 3%; who is stopping the states to put cash in the hands of poor? What a pity!!! Corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and middle men can not use the same old formula of using the relief funds for their individual benefit. There are millions of people who relocate every year because of some or the other calamity, be it floods, famine or anything else, but someone always makes money out of that. This is not the first time I am pointing this out. I have pointed out this before, have a look at Floods and Democracy. I am quite content that there is little cash in play.
I am not bothered about these news articles or politicians saying these things. They are trying to build a narrative that suits them. There is something else bothering me, which is why I decided to write this article in the first place. There are two screenshots shown below. Have a closer look at them and see if you can find out something unusual. Hint: you don’t need to worry about the content of the videos, just look at the snapshots.
As you would have rightly observed, the people in first screenshot are neither the finance minister nor the economists, however on the other hand, the person in the second screenshot is the finance minister herself. The thing that bothers me is the number of views. The original content/facts presented by the finance minister have way-way less number of views as compared to other videos. I am not even going in the debate if their opinion is biased or not, I am only saying that the original content was not even viewed. 58k, 78k, 86k, 98k and 161k only!!
Why form your opinion based on someone else’s opinion? And not even verify it.
This is one the biggest reasons why self proclaimed journalists, so-called journalists easily get away with their manipulated versions. And the saddest part is that the two youtube videos shown in screenshot 1 are not based on the original presentation presented by the FM. One of the videos clearly uses already manipulated articles. They are simply promoters of a narrative and they don’t care if some one who follows them loses on an opportunity.
Every person is different and has different requirements. To elaborate this I can only give one of my own examples. Last year I had an opportunity to attend an expo, where I met a few Indians who had studied the similar course but from different universities. During the conversation the guy from the US commented that with the same GRE score, I could have chosen an American University. Why didn’t I do that? It was simple for me, US is 8 to 10 times costlier than Germany, and here the tuition fee was negligible. Since, I didn’t want to spend or let’s say didn’t have that kind of money, one of my requirements was low cost. The next question that followed was, why did I choose Bremerhaven instead of Frieburg? It was also simple, one of the electives that I would have likely chosen and later did choose, was entirely taught in German. My German skills are limited to “Guten Morgen, Ich heiße Anant. Wie geht’s dir? ” i.e. another requirement for me was a 100% English course.
My point being, if I have specific requirements that are different from others who studied the exact same course and exact same subjects, how can one youtuber tell millions that there is nothing good in the package for them? You and only you should be deciding if it has something meaningful for you or not. There are lot of things in the package that I don’t relate to, but there is someone who does. You might be one of them who could be benefited. I could highlight at least a few that I can remember (these are just a few that I remember, in all there are around 50 points spread across 5 tranches, please go and visit the presentations, I have added the links are at the end):
- Are you a farmer or do you know someone who is? (Also read Farmers’ woes Part 1: Irrigation and Transportation)
- Farmers can sell their produce to anyone and anywhere at whatever price they like. So far, as per the Essential Commodities Act 1955, a lot of commodities were prohibited from being exported.
- Farmers were asked to sell their produce to only certain numbers of licensees but now its open for all.
- Farmers don’t have to pay unreasonable interest rates to private lenders, they can use the PM kisan credit scheme.
- Do you own livestock or do you know someone who does? The government is providing with vaccinations to eradicate disease like foot and mouth, common in cattle.
- Are you a street vendor or do you know someone who does? They can get a working capital of upto INR 10,000/- to kick-start their work.
- Do you have a micro, small or medium enterprise or do you know someone who has?
- You can get a collateral free loan.
- You should definitely look at the new definition of MSME, it helps you reduce liabilities.
- Global competition reduced
- Fund of funds corpus
- Do you work in Real Estate or do you know someone who does? You can use the clause “act of god” or “Force Majeure” to keep your contracts intact and avoid penalties or losses.
- Are you interested in startups or do you know someone who is? The five tranches gave at least a dozen opportunities which will be explored by different people in the near future
- For example – funding for bee-keeping, cold-chains and post harvest management opportunities and some more.
I can go on and on, but I would never be able to decide for you if there is something for you or not. You and only you would be the best judge for that. And of course, the schemes would be effective only when people who need the schemes know about them. My goals here is just that I want everyone to at least watch the presentations at(Press Information Bureau, Government of India).
If someone is wondering that the videos are too long and he/she doesn’t have enough time, they actually aren’t:
- In every video, Mr. Anurag Thakur conveys the same information in Hindi that the FM conveys in English. So, it actually turns out to be around 4 hours (all combined). I listened to the English version only and moved ahead.
- Every video has around 15 minutes for question answers at the end, which I personally did not find very useful. So, you could skip that if you like, and reduce the time to around two and a half hours.
- You could increase the playback speed to 1.5x, its better that way. It helps.
- The FM gives a brief introduction in the first 5-10 mins, that is very important, it will help you to decide which tranches you would need to pay more attention to. You would be done in around 2 hours.
- Keep a piece of a paper and a pen handy, I had to, there are a lot of things that I didn’t know.
See, the thing is, one of the biggest differences between our generation and the generations before is that we have the easiest and the fastest means to access information. We don’t have to go to big messy public libraries to search for content, books, journals. We have them on our finger tips. In fact we even have access to landmark court judgments to read, we have the Indian constitution on line, each act, each clause everything.
I understand, political biases exists, but you don’t have to lose on anything because of the bias. In fact a lot of problems would be solved if only we started following the original content. The direction of the debates would change altogether. The debate won’t be why Uniform Civil Code, the debate would be how to implement Uniform Civil Code. Why? Because the article 44 of the Indian constitution already asks the state to implement it. The debates on “my right to food” will cease to exist as soon as we say “cow slaughter is prohibited under article 48”. Either you follow the constitution or you don’t. End of discussion!
So, I urge every person to seriously go back and listen to what exactly are the things mentioned in the five tranches by the FM and of course share this article as much as possible because other people also need to know that they will have to decide on their own to know if the package has something or nothing to offer them. You can access the videos here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5. Once you know what is being said, you would be in a better position to create an opinion, be it for the government or against.
Just a thought, who will win if (hypothetically) the lok sabha elections were going to happen tomorrow? Post your views in the comment section and stay tuned for my answer to this hypothetical question, I have some numbers to show.
Thanks for reading!!