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India Collapsing Political System

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Collapsing political system

South Asia Post - January 31,2011

FOR the past six decades, it is not only that the gap between the rich and the poor has widened, but there is an increasing deficit between the rulers and the ruled. Increasingly since our republic was declared a sovereign, socialist and secular dispensation, this relationship has come to mean that an elite consisting of public men; prime ministers, chief ministers, ministers and other bigwig political leaders whom we daily see on the pages of newspapers and on television screen and along with the rich and the famous have different exalted status. The general public; farmers, workers and rest of the populace have none. India is a sovereign state, yet its people live subjugated lives. If you doubt consider this: Can an Indian , a common citizen get an ordinary thing called ration card made, a first information report registered with the police, get a birth certificate, a driving license, jama bandi from a patawari or a passport port made and worse even a death certificate made.

A question normally asked who you are. What is your identity? Go to an oath commissioner or notary public and an illiterate person signs an affidavit which he can neither read nor understand and cough up money to establish that he is so and so. To get ordinary things done, an Indian citizen who can elect political leaders into power and defeat them is made to run like pathetic persons. Those in power; from ordinary babus to the commanding bureaucrats and of course without any doubt the powerful political leaders call the shots. An ordinary citizen presents a merciful picture. Those who join politics, police [bureaucracy] and even the press are above the law. They call the shots. They decide how we have to live our lives. How we have to eat, dress and consume other things. They decide our culture and control pour thoughts and we the so called independent people follow as wag our tails, sometimes even happily.

We were promised an egalitarian socialist world not just government ownership of some companies or banks. But an India where the people could feel the glow of freedom and live satisfying lives. Please read Mahatma Gandhi or Jawaharlal Nehru and many others to understand the promises of g olden age free from fear and exploitation. Or understand your national song that sings about such rights and such heaven. What we have got is crony capitalism or worse a banana republic. The political parties like BJP are chasing symbols and forgetting substance. For them establishing Ram mandir, demolishing Babri Masgid or unfurling the national flag at Lal Chowk in trouble torn Srinagar are the most important objects. How about those twelve lakh farmers who suffering unbearable debt committed suicides or those tens of thousand who have abandoned farming and joined the despondent army of the unemployed. In this great republic of ours, we can not provide two ordinary meals to 40 crore people, safe drinking water to 50 crore people and toilets to 70 crore people. And, the corrupt have stalked back money worth Rs 2000 billions; tax evaders each year cheat the public exchequer to the tune of 100 billion rupees. And, the finance minister Parnab Mukherjee , the intelligent faced of this UPA government tells the Indian nation that he cannot disclose of the names of black money holders in foreign banks, tax evaders and those cheat the nation daily.

The Indian republic has a long tradition of failing to implement those of its own laws that guarantee social, economic and justice. Land reforms and legal ban on bonded labour, usury, manual scavenging, untouchability and domestic violence are laws that secure worker protections, are all flouted with impunity.

The Union government which has not made its own commitment to be a model employer and has also directions from the Supreme Court to grant minimum wages linked to inflation. Same is the case with the state governments. They take months sometimes years to revise minimum wages. But now the Union government of free India has resolved that it would not pay the minimum wage established by law to workers in public works. This decision to withhold minimum wages in government works falls into a different category, because the State flouts one of the most fundamental legal protections of the poor workers. In 2009, the Centre froze wages for workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to Rs 100 per day. As a result, with time, wages in many states have fallen below the minimum wages, aggravated further by rising food prices. The Centre had agreed to index this wage to inflation, but refuses to pay minimum wages. Jawaharlal had declared in his stirring presidential address to Congress in Lahore in 1929, “The least that every worker in field and factory is entitled to is a minimum wage which will enable him to live in modest comfort, and humane hours of labour which do not break his strength or spirit...” Eight decades later the government declares that it does not believe in that founding father of our republic. This rural job guarantee scheme was introduced by the previous UPA government under pressure from the Communists who were supporting the government. Now that pressure is off its back and hence a big no to workers.

We are told that the liberalisation of the country's economy has resulted in tremendous progress, sustained growth and increased wealth. Yet indices of development mask inequity and the human cost of progress. For millions of Indians, hunger is routine, malnutrition rife, employment insecure, social security non-existent, health care expensive and livelihoods are under threat. Capitalism's ability to improve economies is touted as panacea. It is argued that what is good for rich private corporations is good for national economies. Gross domestic product figures inflated by phenomenal successes of the rich are often very impressive. However, they conceal the poverty and suffering at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Markets live and thrive on greed that is more profit. Inequity in the capitalistic system is a given. Capitalism, driven as much by individual greed and aspiration as by individual capital always strives to break free of controls. Those who control capital, contend that minimal controls are required for free markets to flourish. They want minimal taxation, reject increased levies to meet public expenditure and oppose enhanced duties for social justice initiatives. They forget that actually libertarian beliefs thrive on taxes from the people. If there is no benefit to the tax payers whose money the capitalist use for profit then the governments have no right to tax people. Taxation is pure stealing of personal incomes or property.

Capitalists control governments, even hold them hostage. Since 1990s when liberalisation began we have heard about scams only. That means the capitalists have been stealing people’s money. The funding of elections by private capital mandates policies that favour the capitalists. Consequently, most governments do not allow for taxation policies required for social justice in our grossly unfair India. Nevertheless, the recent collapse of many international banks, the massive bailouts required by many reputed pillars of finance survival and the global economic recession exposed the capitalist system. Surely the wealth created should also highlight the resultant gross inequity. But when the policies are laid down and players decided by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund what can the poor expect? It is well established that the conditions imposed in exchange for credit have crippled many a developing economy by removing trade barriers and reducing subsidies, which are required to protect local and fledgling markets against international competition.

source: http://www.southasiapost.org/2011/20110131/edit.htm
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