More trouble for the BJP? Sangh affiliates deride Modi policies, say it's UPA 3
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which has been expressing concern over the economic slowdown and rising unemployment, is now steadily deriding the economic policies of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. They are blaming its “misguided” reforms for burdening the poor and subsidising all things for the rich.
The RSS-affiliated labour union, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) said that the Modi government’s economic and labour policies are nothing but an extension of the previous Congress-led UPA government's and blamed the “NRI” advisors, holding important places in policy making, for the current economic mess.
“Policy-making is dominated by those advocating globalisation, the result is the government going on with misguided reforms in the economic and labour fronts, which is damaging our economy,” said BMS President CK Saji Narayanan.
“Crony capitalism has been the default system of our economy and this hasn’t changed. The reforms being undertaken, the government initiatives, they are resulting in taxing of the poor and rich are getting subsidised,” Narayanan added.
NITI Aayog and “NRI” advisors
Narayanan held government think-tank Niti Aayog and the Bibek Debroy-headed Economic Advisory Council (EAC) responsible for the ills plaguing the Indian economy.
“We are not just importing foreign investment but also foreign and NRI experts and advisors who have hardly any idea of India. The person who had recommended taxing farmers is heading the economic advisory council, so what will be the result? This is the same fellow who had prescribed liberalisation, corporatisation and privatisation of the railways and even recommended taxing railway taps,” he said without naming Debroy.
“With such people as advisors holding important places in policy making, the government is continuing with the UPA policies with some mere cosmetic changes. The effect is creating a jobless India, serious impact on wages and rising contractualisation. Thanks to such advisors in policy making, social security is now an orphan. So on the economic and labour front, it is nothing but UPA III,” Narayanan pointed out.
According to Narayanan, the root cause of the policy-making is the “highly defective” mechanism of identifying issues faced by the economy and their remedial measures that are based on the “failed western capitalist model”.
He said that the BMS, which had recently passed a resolution seeking reorganisation of the Niti Aayog, will continue to press for its demand until they are met.
While poverty continues to be India’s primary crisis, Narayanan pointed out that agrarian distress, stunted manufacturing growth and unemployment as other major issues.
“The craze for FDI, an onslaught of MNCs and the liberalisation and privatisation reforms, all have virtually wiped out MSME from many traditional hubs and labour intensive sectors like textiles etc., were all in crisis,” he said.
With India’s labour sector in a “tragic state”, the BMS will take out a protest rally in the national capital on 17 November against the policies of the government.
“Those sitting in the government want to create a labour force in India devoid of even human rights,” Narayanan said.
The BMS demands, which will be brought to the forefront in the upcoming rally, include –
– Shifting to people-centric economic reforms
– Implementation of minimum wages
– Countrywide implementation of equal pay for equal work for contract labour
– Stopping of disinvestment and privatization among others.
Narayanan also said that the rally intends to address the “gross disconnect” of governance with aspirations of the masses.
“It is time is to stop these misguided and failed reforms as well as replace all failed advisors. The government has to create a permanent mechanism for constant participation of social sector representatives including trade unions in the policy-making process,” he said.
During its annual coordination committee meeting in Vrindavan in September, RSS and its affiliates had raised concern over the economic slowdown, rising unemployment, and agrarian distress.
And during his annual Vijaya Dashmi address, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had called for a rethinking of policies and standards
“Our Niti Ayog and economic advisers of the states will have to come out of the same old economic ‘isms’, and will have to integrate the most up-to-date economic experiences with the ground reality of our nation,” Bhagwat had said.
Rising agrarian crisis
The RSS’ farmer's wing – Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) – also voiced concerns over the Modi government’s policies admitting that the agrarian crisis was deepening.
“There no denying the fact that there is agrarian distress. The government is working to address the issues, but then a lot more needs to be done if the crisis is to be addressed,” said BKS organisational secretary Dinesh Kulkarni.
“When it comes to the policies of the government, they are the continuation of what earlier existed with mere cosmetic changes. The need is to bring policy changes and not look agriculture in isolation. Unless agriculture is integrated with the processing industry, unless there is a holistic change in the approach, the crisis will continue,” Kulkarni added.
Pointing to the steady rise of imports compounding the miseries of the agriculture sector, Kulkarni said that the government needs to come out with a long-term import-export policy with major emphasis on agriculture.
The BKS has also written to over 350 MPs across political parties seeking a special three-day session of Parliament to discuss the agrarian crisis.
The Sangh economic wing Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) too found faults in the government’s policies saying there were not benefiting the masses.
“Notwithstanding the efforts of the prime minister, the benefits of the policies, the reforms being undertaken have not reached to the masses. Thanks to the persistent efforts of globalisation by the economic advisors, our policies benefit the rich instead of the poor,” said SJM convener Ashwani Mahajan.
“While there are attempts at changing it, but unfortunately our policies are guided by the principles that we have been pursuing since the opening up of the Indian economy,” Mahajan added.
The SJM, which has been campaigning for a boycott of Chinese products in India, harped on the need for policy changes towards import to boost the country’s manufacturing sector.
The SJM, joined by the BKS, will take out a rally in the national capital on 29 October to highlight the economic ramifications of Chinese imports and demand change in the policies of the government to prevent imports from China which is ruining the MSME sector and leading to rising unemployment.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen