Fifty years ago a two-bed-room flat was available in Delhi for Rs 25,000. Today the same flat is going for Rs. 80 lakh! This is the measure of the growth of unearned income in India. The ?poor? have become millionaires. How has it happened? By allowing a permissive economy to play havoc with the life of the people.
This is how wealth has grown in this country by a sheer multiplication of price.
With what result? It is no more possible for an honest citizen to have a house of his own. To buy a house, one must save more than Rs one lakh yearly during the forty years of service of a man!
Is this possible? I do not think so. This explains the growth of corruption in this country. Without corruption, nothing is possible. If only 15 paise out of a rupee went into public investment (the rest went into the pockets of vested interests) one can understand the size of this corruption!
Income too has been soaring at an alarming rate. Fifty years ago, a flat with two bed rooms and a sitting room fetched for a landlord a rent of Rs 250 pm. Today he can get as much as Rs 10-12 thousand pm. If a man has two such flats, he is in easy street. Fifty years ago, a salesman got a salary of Rs. 350 pm. Today he can get anything between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000.
How can one explain such high prices and salaries in a poor country? There is a method in this apparent madness.
After the Partition of the country and the Holocaust that followed, Nehru was not sure whether he would get enough votes of the Hindus to put himself in power. The Hindus were so inflamed over the Partition and the Holocaust! So an effort was mounted to create vote banks to ensure Nehru'svictory. Not out of the treasury of the Congress, but from public funds. This has gone on during the more than fifty years Congress was in power.
The first such vote bank was made up of the millions of Congress workers spread over the whole country. The Congress went out of its way to put them in lucrative positions. The khadi industry, gram udyogs, cooperatives, rural banking and many other activities were placed under Congress workers. Similarly, the public sector become a major source of employment to the middle class. Bank nationalisation and loan melas allowed the creation of a vast number of young Congress entrepreneurs. In this way, the Congress created a middle class, about 300 million strong. They were supposed to vote for the Congress. And, remember, under the quota and licence raj, many things were not available to the public without the recommendation of a public man or official. By putting their signature for a consideration, Congressmen became millionaires. Today their children are being pampered with undreamt of salaries. But above all Congressmen exploited the name of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, to advance their interests.
Are these beneficiaries beholden to the Congress? Most of them are, because they are not sure whether the BJP would be equally generous to them. See how they have voted during the recent Delhi election.
The goal of the Congress was to ensure a 50 per cent share of the votes for itself. This was called ?the 50 per cent impasse? in Britain. The idea is to cross this impasse.
So, Nehru went out of his way to appease the Muslims during the 1952 general election. Power at any price became the policy of the Congress. To carry the millions of workers became a huge burden to the Congress.
Not this alone. Under the price support scheme for agro products the Congress was able to help millions of farmers by raising prices of agro products regularly. And it also helped the sugar barons. Which is why the sugar lobby is beholden to the Congress.
A permissive economy has helped the Congress to trade benefits for votes. However, the Congress is in decline today, largely because of the crippling corruption with which it is associated.
The BJP has always been out of power except for a few years. It has no vote bank. But it must learn from the experience of the Congress. Vote bank politics is bad. But there is no escape from it today.