Achchhe Din for the wealthy

The Oxfam Report published on the eve of the World Economic Forum at Davos brings out the stark reality of extreme polarization of wealth in India. Some facts are startling like 73 per cent of India’s wealth being concentrated in the hands of just one per cent rich people. Or that in the last one year the wealth of the rich has gone up by Rs. 4.89 lakh crore  Or that the wealth of just one per cent of the super-rich has gone up by Rs. 20.9 lakh crore. This is taking place in a country where a farmer is crushed under the wheels of his tractor for not being able to repay his one monthly installment in time. Where farmers are daily committing suicide for being unable to repay their loans. Where thousands of workers are thrown out on the streets for some government decision or the other like demonetization or introduction of GST.
Impressive figures about the growth of the GDP or the inflow of FDI cannot hide the stark reality of India’s appalling poverty at one end and the disproportionate concentration of wealth at the other. Tagore once wrote that if the entire amount of blood in the body concentrates on the face, the face will no doubt look very ruddy but that will not denote the health of the person. The rulers should be thankful to the Indian people for their patience and forbearance, for their ability to take extreme discomfort and discrimination in their stride. Various theories have been propounded at different times and people were told that even if the rich became very rich, some money they spend would ultimately ‘trickle down’ even to the poorest of the poor and improve their condition. The condition of the poor belies that statement.
The Directive Principles of State Policy as spelled out in the Constitution of India (Art. 39©) says: “that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.” What is happening – has been happening ever since Independence – is just the reverse of what should be and what the founding fathers of the Constitution desired to be. No ruling party since independence has every explained to the people why concentration of wealth has gone on and why nothing has been done by any ruling party for reversing the trend of concentration and for taking steps for equitable distribution of wealth. That the people have silently endured poverty is no guarantee that they will continue to do so indefinitely.

Sunday, 28 January, 2018