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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 22, May 23, 2015

Unmasking Modi Government’s Real Intentions

Friday 22 May 2015, by SC


PM Narendra Modi has returned from his sojourn to China, Mongolia and South Korea, and is now busy preparing himself to celebrate the first anniversary of his advent to power at the Centre. Laudatory articles are being published in leading newspapers, mouthpieces of the corporate-driven media, in the run-up to the anniversary next week. These speak of the achievements of the Modi Government in the past one year both at home and abroad while mildly criticising the BJP-led NDA dispensation for not having accelerated the pace of reforms. The corporate honchos are, meanwhile, taking a broad view of whatever the government is doing. Thus the CMD of Biocon Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw conveys the opinions of most members of her fraternity when she says: “The pace of reforms may have disappointed India Inc, but one must factor bureaucratic challenges and political opposition.” At the same time she underscores that the Modi set-up is “attempting to make land acquisition easier”. And Chairman of the Godrej Group Adi Godrej goes out of his way to praise the authorities at the Centre by pointing out that they have “done well” in Modi’s first year in office, adding that the government “is free enterprise-oriented and reform-oriented”; he also brings into focus “one big expectation”: that is, the “improved ease of doing business” and maintains that the government “should work on delivering it”.

All these clearly show where the government stands and who is backing it. The Congress Vice-President’s spirited attack on the Modi Government for being pro-corporate and against the bulk of the toiling people, notably farmers and labourers, is drawing support from even those elements who are either in the Narendra Modi camp or part of the Modi Ministry in New Delhi. Hence Baba Ramdev, while noting that Rahul Gandhi has given a “lifeline to the virtually dead Congress”, admitted that the Congress, as a result of Rahul’s assertion, has cornered the government on development and farmers’ issues, observing that “it’s for the government to win back the confidence of farmers. They will have to formulate a new farm policy.” As for the Shiv Sena, it has slammed the Centre in the following words in its mouthpiece thereby bringing out the fissures within the ruling alliance:

The Union Minister for Agriculture has said Maharashtra farmers cannot be given a package as the Centre hasn’t received a formal proposal... However, people of Mongolia are fortunate. The PM has shown India’s fiscal strength by declaring a loan of $ 1 billion to Mongolia.

Congress leaders and noted social activists have brought into focus another feature of the present situation: the Centre has slashed the social sector budget by almost Rs 1.70 lakh crore that would affect education, health and agriculture. Noted economist Prabhat Patnaik explained that the devolution of Central taxes to the States from 32 per cent to 42 per cent was misleading as the total transfer of the Central Budget to States had been reduced from 6.1 per cent to 5.8 per cent—something that would affect the poorer States in particular whereas the introduction of the GST would further erode the States’ autonomy.

Besides the incessant attacks on the minorities by the so-called fringe elements of the Sangh Parivar, the aforementioned slashing of social sector funds actually expose the ugly face of the Modi Government; and that is precisely why the BJP President is feverishly trying to conceal that face to the best of his ability.

In the meantime the Centre is playing a dirty game in the face-off between the Delhi CM and LG and, instead of taking a neutral stand on the issue, backing the latter to the hilt just to settle petty scores with Arvind Kejriwal at a time when all Opposition parties—from the Congress, JD(U) to CPI-M—have, regardless of their attitude to the AAP, come out in defence of the head of the elected government in the Capital with the objective of upholding the true spirit of the constitutional mandate the BJP is all set to destroy. This too unmasks the real intentions of the ruling party at the Centre.

May 21 S.C.