The face of truth

As the general elections get nearer by the day, the outgoing government is desperate to convince the electorate that it has done more for their vikas or development than any previous government since independence. Statistics are being bandied about freely, whatever their credibility. Parameters of employment generation, per capita income, etc., are being arbitrarily changed, making comparisons with the past impossible. Nobody ever talks about the ‘achievements’ made in fulfilling the pre-poll promises made by the ruling party, like generating two crore employment per year for five years, getting back  black money stashed in foreign banks or putting in Rs 15 lakhs in every bank account holder’s account.
But the ugly truth cannot be suppressed, no matter how much it is sought to be whitewashed. The latest Oxfam report has brought out several facts to uncover the ugly face of reality. Wealth of the richest Indians are equivalent to the bottom fifty per cent of the country. The top one per cent of the country’s richest got richer by 39 per cent as against just three per cent increase in wealth for the bottom half of the population. Thirteen crore Indians who make up the poorest ten per cent of the country have continued to remain in debt since 2004.
These are the harsh truths that reveal the real face of poverty and polarization of wealth between the rich and the poor. There are no official data for the last ten years of gross capital formation in agriculture., or the extent and impact of the entry of corporate capital in farming, or the number of poor and marginal farmers who have become landless labourers, or the total agricultural credit required by the farmers and what percentage of it is institutional finance and how much comes from professional money-lenders and at what rates. To talk of ‘rural indebtedness’ and ‘loan waivers’ has become the fashion. But nobody goes into the causes of rural indebtedness. Today, agriculture contributes about sixteen per cent to the GDP but bears the burden of about fifty-four per cent of the country’s total work force. Agriculture can never become profitable unless this huge burden of unproductive labour force is shifted. The only sector to which they can be shifted is industry and industry is just not increasing. Rather, the index of industrial production touched a new low of 0.5 per cent last month. Moreover, modern capitalist economy aims at jobless growth. These are the fundamental problems. The outgoing government did not address itself to these problems and there is little hope that the new government that will come to power will do it either. This is the hard truth staring us in the face.

Tuesday, 22 January, 2019