It is wholesale loot under UPA—Dr MM Joshi
No food in food security, it is only money security
Former Union HRD Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi attributes the crash of GDP growth to the lowest level in 10 years to the wholesale loot of natural resources under Congress-led UPA government. In an exclusive interview to Organiser representative Pramod Kumar, Dr Joshi terms the ‘Bharat Nirman’ campaign of the UPA government as ‘Bharat Vinash’ (destruction of Bharat) campaign aimed at only misusing the public money. He says unless the purchasing power of the people engaged in agriculture, retail and services sector is increased, the Indian economy will remain in a mess. Excerpts:
The economy is crawling at 5 per cent rate, lowest in 10 years, but the UPA is wasting crores of rupees on unproductive campaigns like ‘Bharat Nirman’. What do you think?
They are only misusing the public money in election year to propagate their ‘achievements’. Through this campaign, they are only misguiding the people. It is a cruel attempt on their part. It is not ‘Bharat Nirman’ rather ‘Bharat Vinash’ (destruction of India). They have destructed every sector. A number of farmers have committed suicides. They have destructed industry. Manufacturing is on a standstill. There is no substantial improvement in power generation. The development of roads and many other programmes executed during the NDA government are also on a standstill. There is total chaos in education. Nothing is happening for quality or job-oriented education. The industries are in dire need of professionally qualified people, but they are not getting them.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Right to Education and Mid Day Meal are all in a mess. The chaos in National Rural Health Mission is also no more a secret. They have literally allowed loot of the country in natural resources—somebody is looting the coal, somebody is looting the iron ore and aluminum ore, somebody is looting the waves in the sky, while somebody is looting the gas underground. They have allowed a wholesale loot of natural resources. That is why I say it is not ‘Bharat Nirman’, but ‘Bharat Vinash’.
The biggest damage that the UPA has done is to the democratic institutions in the country. The Parliament has been rendered functionless. They tried to blame the opposition, but they are entirely responsible for it. They have made the CBI, CVC their handmade and also denigrated the CAG and PAC. Every institution, which acts as a watch dog for accountability, has been hit. And finally they have destroyed the fine image of this country. Never before in the history such damage to India’s bright image has happened as it is now. The Vajpayee government had made India as one of the most dignified and honoured nations. But they have destroyed it. They also destroyed the confidence of investors and the industry. So, where is ‘Nirman’, only destruction?
In your opinion, why the growth rate has come so much down?
It is only because of the wrong policies. The entire world was saying right from the beginning that the IMF model is not suitable for developing countries. But the Congress government imposed it on the nation. During the NDA rule, we tried to improve upon it and only the best part was administered. But these people do not know the damage they have done to the nation. They never cared for farmers, agriculture or the un-organised sector. The growth in all these vital sectors has been hampered. They mostly depended upon foreign investment and focused on export. Now if there is recession in America and Europe, and export comes down, who will suffer? On the other hand because of the meltdown in America and Europe there is a mismatch in currency and since you didn’t care about it our currency is falling. Fact is that we did not try to develop our own market. The best policy would have been to create a strong Indian market promoting agriculture, retail and services sector. Unless the purchasing power of the people in these sectors is increased, the Indian market will remain in a mess.
Indian retail market is the history of several thousand years. Our retailer is expert. He creates money out of nothing. Even if there is no profit, no loss, he gets something. Instead of using his expertise, you are now trying to tell him this is the way how you should run your business. Without understanding the Indian ethos, Indian market system and people’s requirements, you are trying to sell them costly Adidas and Reebok shoes at Rs 5000. Why can’t you set up the industries, which cater to such needs of the people? Slowly-slowly if the capacity of people goes up, the Indian market will also go up. If Indian market is strong, then you can also think of export. Because then you will always have a backup. If there is no export, we at least have our own market to absorb the goods. It will not completely bankrupt the people. Jobs will still be with us and the country will keep on moving.
There is solar power, but you never cared for it. In 65 years, you could have provided solar energy to all of your neighbours. The nature has blessed us with these things. Biogas or bio-energy is also there. The basic thing is that why this growth has gone down and will continue to go down if you follow the foolish track. The most important factor one should remember is that the GDP is only a small fraction of measuring development. Growth in GDP does not mean a growth in one's personal income, purchasing power or happiness. One could be happy with 2 per cent growth and may not be happy with 20 per cent growth.
Do you feel the social security schemes like the MGNREGA has provided permanent employment to rural people?
The scheme itself not meant for providing permanent employment. But whatever employment they claimed, is not found on the ground. 100 days not there at all. It is only 43 days. It has rather created a distortion in agriculture and small scale industries.
The UPA is planning to bring Food Security Bill. Do you think it will eradicate hunger from the country?
There is no food in the security Bill, only money is there. I do not find availability of food—how the people will have access to food or from where it will come. What they have said, this is the money by which you can purchase so much of food at subsidised rate. But there is no guarantee to have food. It is only a money security there is no food security in that.
The 2008 world recession failed to impact the Indian economy. What has been the reason?
People like me have been saying right from the beginning to go slow towards globalisation. We did not allow the amount of consumerism, which is in European, American or western countries, to come into our country. Second is the Indian household or the Indian family system where savings has been an important factor. The habit of savings created a lot of cushion. The Indian marketing system has two-three layers. Every impact of the recession was absorbed by any of the layer. All these were the brakes which we applied. But since the day brake was removed, the mess started surfacing. You are not able to even stop the fall of the rupee.
Do you think the UPA government is serious for employment generation and poverty eradication?
It is only serious about corruption, scandals and destroying the democratic and constitutional institutions. It is serious about no programme, which affects the quality of life, whether it is employment, education or health.
Do you think something substantial will come out from the JPC, PAC, etc.
The PAC has done substantial work. We have exposed all of them. I do not know what is happening in JPC. The JPC has been aggressive on some points. Hope something substantial will come out from there also.
Will the unity of opposition seen now continue in general elections too?
That all depend upon what sort of issues crop up. There can be some agenda on which all the parties agree. But I don’t think all parties will agree on everything.
What do you say on the CIC order bringing political parties under RTI net?
It is a debatable issue. I have not seen the judgement in full. I don’t think the political parties are like the government departments. It is the investment of public in democracy. The parties are accountable to the people. It is also not the question of transparency. Transparency is already there. The political parties should place their accounts to income tax office, where they can be examined by any. They also give accounts to the Election Commission.
If this decision is implemented, what will be its implications?
There will be some impact on the donors, not on the parties.