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Reforms Will Not Do India Any Good—Only A Revolution Will

The answers to our problems lie outside the system…

06/04/2017 11:37 AM IST | Updated 06/04/2017 12:47 PM IST
Adnan Abidi / Reuters

India is inevitably heading for a revolution. Why do I say so? Let me explain.

India could potentially be a highly developed country, but is actually a poor and backward country.

It is potentially a highly developed country because it has two of the basic requirements to be a highly developed country—a huge pool of technical talent, and immense natural resources.

This was not the position in 1947 when India became independent. The British policy was broadly to keep India backward, feudal and largely unindustrialised, so that Indian industry may not emerge as a big rival to British industry. So we were not permitted by our British rulers to set up a heavy industrial base, but were permitted only some light industries like textiles, plantations, etc which, too, for a long time were mainly under British ownership. So till 1947 we had very few industries and very few engineers

What has happened to the slogan "sab ka saath, sab ka vikas?" It seems it was only a "jumla."

The position today in 2017 is very different. Today we have a heavy industrial base, and a huge pool of competent engineers, technicians, scientists, managers, etc. Our IT engineers are manning Silicon Valley in California, and American universities are full of our mathematics and science professors.

In addition, we have immense natural wealth. India is not a small country like England or Japan. It is almost a continent.

So we have all that is required to be a first-rate, modern, highly developed country, like North America or Europe.

And yet the reality is that we are an underdeveloped, poor country, with massive unemployment, malnourishment, lack of healthcare, good education, etc for our masses.

We can consider some facts:

1. The level of unemployment can be gathered from two facts (a) 1 crore youth are entering the Indian job market every year, but only 1.4 lakh jobs are being created annually in the organised sector. So where do the remaining 9.86 million youth go? They become hawkers, street vendors, bouncers, criminals, the girls often become prostitutes, and many end up as suicides.

(b) In 2015 the UP govt. advertised 358 jobs of peons (i.e. class 4 employees) for which there were 23 lakh applications; 250 of the applicants had Ph.D. degrees, 2500 were M.Sc., M.B.A. engineers, etc and all were begging for a peon's job. Something similar happened when vacancies police constables were advertised in Madhya Pradesh, and peon's jobs in West Bengal.

2. Fifty percent of Indian children are malnourished, which is a situation far worse than in sub-Saharan countries of Africa like Somalia.
A UNICEF report says that one out every three malnourished child in the world is an Indian child.

3. Poor people in India have hardly any access to healthcare. There are no doubt some excellent hospitals in the big cities, but they are exorbitantly expensive. Poor patients simply cannot afford good doctors. AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi) looks like a railway station, with thousands of people sitting there, and no one caring for them, unless they happen to be rich or powerful. So where do the poor people go when they fall sick? They go to quacks. Quackery is rampant in India.

The test of every government is one, and only one: is the standard of living of the masses rising under it? From this standpoint the Modi government, like the previous Manmohan Singh government, is a total failure...

4. The government spends a huge amount of money on IITs and elite institutions like JNU, but hardly anything for primary schools in villages, where the foundation of knowledge is laid.

5. Just 57 individuals in India control 70% of India's wealth.

6. Far from there being any 'vikas', the Indian economy is lying stagnant, with chances of genuine growth remote. Whatever "growth" there has been has only benefited a handful of crony capitalists, but not the Indian masses.

According to Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Statistics is such a wonderful thing that with its help one can manufacture any figure one wants, like a conjuror pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

The latest figures given by the government of India authorities claiming 7.9% growth in GDP in the last quarter is an excellent example, and reminds one of Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce), or the Nazi propaganda minister, Dr Goebbels, who kept proclaiming on radio to the German people right till the very end that Germany was winning the Second World War, when in fact it was losing.

According to this claim, the Indian economy is the fastest growing economy of the world, outstripping the growth in GDP of the Chinese economy, which grew by only 6.9% in the same period. Evidently, according to this figure, we are heading for an El Dorado sometime in the future, and as Dr Pangloss would say (see Voltaire's Candide), quoting the German philosopher Leibniz, this is the best of all possible worlds.

But a scrutiny of these figures throws up several doubts. Are the figures true or dressed up, like a Potemkin village? Also, assuming they are true, is this GDP growth benefiting the Indian masses, or only a handful of big businessmen?

Exports have fallen from $187.29 billion in the period April -October 2014, to $156.29 billion in the period April-October 2015—that's a drop of 17.6%. So if exports have fallen, and manufacturing has grown by 9%, as claimed by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, where have the increased quantity of goods manufactured been sold? In the home market?

Apart from a huge pool of technical talent and huge natural resources, there is a third requirement to become a developed country... and that is a modern minded, patriotic political leadership.


But India is a poor country, with 80% people holding little purchasing power. And with the sharp escalation in food prices, real incomes have really gone down.

According to a statement of Raghuram Rajan, the RBI governor, most factories are running at 70% of their capacity, while in 2011-2012 they were running at 80%. This apparently shows manufacturing decline, rather than growth. According to a Business Standard report, corporate profitability is below 1% on an average.

Bad loans by banks continue to mount. According to CARE, non-performing assets during July-September 2015 stood at about ₹3.37 lakh crore, an increase of ₹71,000 crore. According to a report by Morgan Stanley, the number of stalled projects—the bulk of them in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors—went up. Small and medium enterprises are having a difficult time trying to survive. The real-estate sector, which provides a lot of jobs, is down in the dumps, with construction of new buildings going down, and the number of unsold homes going up.

An article by Andy Mukherjee published by Reuters states that the GDP growth of the Indian economy is one-third a statistical mirage, and real GDP growth is more likely to be about 5 percent rather than 7.4 percent as claimed by the Indian authorities. Mukherjee says:

"The illusion comes from a recent supposed improvement in the way India calculates its Gross Domestic Product. In theory, Indian authorities claim that Indian GDP is close to international standards. In practice it has become utterly unreliable."

But just how sluggish is the economy really? Breakingviews tried to answer that question by looking at three indicators: corporate earnings, auto sales and imports of computer software. The logic is straightforward: retained earnings finance new investment projects; auto sales are a proxy for consumer demand; while software imports reflect productivity gains. Mixing the three in a simple index suggests that growth in the most recent quarter was closer to 5 percent."

But let us assume that the 7.9% figure is correct. The further question that still remains is: is this GDP growth benefiting the Indian masses, or just a handful of big businessmen? Is the rich-poor divide growing? Dilip Shanghvi, Gautam Adani, Mukesh Ambani, Aziz Premji, Pallonji Mistry, etc are worth billions of dollars, while the majority of Indians are struggling to make both ends meet, as prices of food soar.

What has happened to the slogan "sab ka saath, sab ka vikas?" It seems it was only a "jumla." The communal fire is being stoked again in UP and elsewhere. When there is an economic crisis which the government cannot resolve, it resorts to fascist methods, as happened in Germany and Italy with the rise to power of Hitler and Mussolini.

India stands at the 131st rank in human development out of the approximately 200 countries in the world.

To solve all this, and raise the standard of living of our people—that is what must be the goal of all patriotic modern minded people. We have to create a modern, highly industrialised country in which all our citizens are getting decent lives.

But what has this government done in this direction? The answer is: a big zero, and only jumlas and dramas.

The test of every government or system is one, and only one: is the standard of living of the masses rising under it or not? If not, the government or system is a failure. From this standpoint (and it is the only correct standpoint), the Modi government, like the previous Manmohan Singh government, is a total failure on all fronts.

The interest of our country, and the interest of our politicians are diametrically opposite to each other. How, then, can our country progress?

The question once again naturally arises that when we have all that is required to be a first-rate highly developed country, why is India still poor and backward?

The answer is that apart from a huge pool of technical talent and huge natural resources, there is also a third requirement to become a developed country, which unfortunately we do not have, and that is a modern minded, patriotic political leadership. Let me explain this in some detail.

India borrowed the parliamentary system of democracy from England, and incorporated it into our Constitution. Now parliamentary democracy is based on majority vote, but the truth is that the vast majority of people in India are intellectually very backward, their minds full of casteism, communalism and superstitions. So when most Indians go to vote they do not see the merit of the candidate (whether they are good people, whether they are educated) but only see their caste or religion (or the party representing a caste or religion). That is why there are so many people with criminal antecedents in our legislatures.

Our cunning politicians take advantage of this, and have learnt the skill of manipulating caste and religious vote banks.

The interest of the nation is to rapidly modernise, for which it is necessary to destroy feudal forces like casteism and communalism. On the other hand, the interest of our politicians is to win the next elections, and for that they have to appeal to, and therefore perpetuate, casteism and communalism, which are feudal forces. Therefore the interest of our country, and the interest of our politicians are diametrically opposite to each other. How, then, can our country progress?

What form this revolution will take, and how much time, cannot be predicted, but what certainly can be predicted is that it is coming.

Most of the Indian politicians are rogues, rascals, goondas, criminals, scoundrels, looters and gangsters. They have no genuine love for the country, but only seek power and pelf. They are shameless and incorrigible, and cannot be reformed. They are experts in manipulating caste and communal vote banks, and they polarise society by spreading caste and communal hatred. Don't such people deserve to be treated like the aristocrats in the French Revolution?

It is thus obvious that parliamentary democracy is not suited to India. Our Constitution has exhausted itself, our "democracy" has been hijacked by feudal-minded people, and all our state institutions have become hollow and empty shells.

On the other hand, the socio-economic distress of our people keeps mounting.

I submit that the solutions to the massive problems of India lie outside the system, not within it. No amount of reforms will do, what is now required is a revolution. What form this revolution will take, and how much time, cannot be predicted, but what certainly can be predicted is that it is coming.

It is only after such a revolution, which will be led by some genuinely patriotic, modern-minded persons, that a just social order will be created in India, in which our masses get decent lives, and a high standard of living.

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