When you would be reading this article I don’t know what would be the exchange rate of rupee against the dollar in the international market, as the exchange rate of rupee is progressively plummeting. International rating agencies have not just downgraded major banks, but nearly all the big economic institutions of any repute worth the name. Some agencies have downgraded even our country. Some eminent businessmen of India believe that the country is running without a leader and perhaps, this rudderlessness is the reason behind the country’s downgrading.
The question as to who or what has caused this dilapidation of our economy is a political issue but political parties are evading rather than facing this question. Either they do not perceive the impending danger or they too are the apologists of the same economic policies that have reduced this country to rack and ruin. A prominent leader of the Opposition recently opined that irrespective of Finance Ministers, India would be in a bad shape today. Why? He did not elaborate upon that. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this response is that all the political outfits have the same economic vision and roadmap which they want to follow.
The question is whether economists have made a mockery of this country in the name of planning and policy making. Has India fallen a victim to the whims and fancies of mainstream economists? Have the poor, peasants, youth, dalits, minorities and workers of this country been denied avenues of employment and livelihood as a result of misplaced policies of such economists?
When in 1992 the erstwhile Finance Minister Manmohan Singh presented the proposal for the economic development of the country in Parliament, he had confidently announced that the country would scale a number of long-standing and recurrently nagging problems in the coming 20 years – the nation would become self-sufficient in electricity production, inflation would be kept under control, production would increase manifold and the country would be on its way to becoming an economic powerhouse amongst the comity of nations. His proposals were opposed tooth and nail by some sections in Parliament and one of the vociferous criticisms came from late Chandrashekhar Singh. He had questioned the very wisdom of the proposed path to development and had with certitude declared that none of the problems of the country would be alleviated. He had declared that given the nature of Indian villages and the plight of Indian farmers, the forwarded policies would wreak havoc rather than do anything good. Chandrashekhar had also suspected that the policies would heighten inequalities, crime and poverty. Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister, had interjected and rejected the arguments and apprehensions.
Today our economy is in a shambles, growth and development have got stunted, GDP has plummeted and the bubble of share market has burst. In the time that has elapsed between Manmohan Singh’s finance ministership and his prime ministership till date, around 200 districts have got affected by Naxalism. These are the very districts which are the most backward and have not experienced development worth the name. These are also those kinds of districts where people exercise their vote and uphold democracy in India. In these districts, either people are supporters of the discourse of violence in the name of injustice or have taken to the gun.
Doesn’t this state of affairs warrant that the political leaders of India and those business houses who have faith in this country, who cherish the heritage and culture of this nation, come together and ponder over it collectively?