After two years of immense fanfare supported by a Global cheer-leading, India has been unanimously declared as a Unified Market
“You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come”, this oft quoted statement somehow defines the state of affairs on the Indian soil which is undergoing a series of new-age reforms across the spectrum. They are being, but obviously, claimed transformational by the official propaganda machinery. The die-hard supporters of the ruling disposition are bound by the accord of obedient cheer leading without much ado. The Chroniclers & Commentators on various pay rolls have to tom-tom the official line in the inherent spirit of allegiance. The detractors & opponent s are bound to question and reject the propositions or to claim credit of any tangible success. A few tend to dissect, analyse and advocate for re-evaluations, add-ons and modifications of the current deck. It’s this objective criticism which is getting dearer and endangered.
The wide variegated set of reforms which are dotting India's Economy, affecting the Indian Society in turn, need to be observed carefully with poise. The indomitable power which Economics wield in the modern era surpasses the midas touch of the institution of Politics by a great margin. This dominant reality shapes the outcomes of the election results which have got not just dependent but almost subservient to the agents of Economics. Society thereby has assumed the third seat of precedence and has rightfully assumed the epithets of being a market for Economists and electorate for the Politicians who control the agents of State to govern & regulate the society.
The sovereign self-sustaining character of society is no more except for the modern day respite of
technology enabled social media which connects the vigilant constituents to share ideas & ideals for a more decentralised community based discourse. How long this liberty would be in the hands of the citizens or in the modern parlance, the consumers remains to be seen?
The traditional belief systems which have lasted for ages have to fall in line with the modern day laws and the subsequent way of life for want of linearity of action on part of the all powerful state. Instead of instituting internal reforms to nurture the societal base, even the most saner of the traditions having a presumable scientific basis are being frowned upon as regressive. The institutions of modernity abhor diversity & decentralisation as it scuttles the principle of efficiency & productivity. The saner voices are rather discredited or buried deep down under the deluge of information overload from the organised clamor if not a state sponsored crackdown.
The election of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India was seen as a turning point whereby it was expected that he shall desist the advancement of this modern day imperialism shrouded in ennobling precepts of free market enterprise, economic reforms and democratic liberalisation and shall nurture a policy deck closer to the civilisational roots of India which has a unique intermix of individual liberties safeguarded at the level of interspersing semi-sovereign communities leading upto a state duly guided & controlled by a spread out institutional base of intellectuals and interpreters of human life. Ironically, this ideal somewhere eludes reality and what all is happening is not fitting the contours of interpretation even.
Deceptions do take time to settle down as the charms and chasms of integrity are multi-layered. After 2 years of immense fanfare supported by a Global cheer-leading, India has been unanimously declared as a Unified Market, a terminology which was probably conceived by the masters of Thomas Roe almost half a millennium back. No Prime Minister ever in the history of independent India has used the term Market for a nation of such antiquity. Polity is to serve the society and not the reckless market forces which change their stands with a shift in the phases of the moon. Even the Constituent Assembly which laid the foundations of a modern republic had disagreements and contesting viewpoints over a vast range of subjects. From sheer blockading to the spectacular unanimity with which the Constitutional Amendment for GST has been passed somewhere signals the advent of extraneous agents of influence hidden from the public gaze but orchestrating their grand designs continuously. Whether they are or would prove to be, certainly remains in the closet of time. No Oracle of whatsoever repute of foreseeing the future can narrate it all.
Before elections 2014, corruption driven black money was the talk of the town. Commissions & kick-backs to public representatives and officials aimed at devising public policy to benefit select private interests, was the key narrative which was promised to be unearthed, exposed and decimated. More than the money raised through these dubious means in stark conflict of public faith, it was the entire bouquet of structural fault lines which was expected to be frozen. Interestingly, what came out was an official deflection of the entire narrative making black money a subject matter of sheer tax evasion, expanding the quest to the entire nation to small time traders & businessmen who saved an extra bit from the hawkish eye of the state. The honesty and integrity of the citizenry at large should be the subject matter of immense concern of the government of the day, but leaving the bigger fish unpunished and chasing the small time offenders doesn't create a public ecosystem of trust & integrity.
On the frontier of social welfare, it was somewhere expected that State shall initiate its retreat from the domain by nurturing and promoting self-help groups and the vast array of social organisations & institutions which are best suited to take charge of such sensitive micro interventions. The State shall simply remain an arbiter of probity and integrity on part of these community led initiatives. On the contrary, the repealing of the 1000 odd laws has been supplanted by yet another repository of legal statutes; a significant set of it comes in the domain of social concerns. Whether it's due to lack of imagination, vaporisation of ideological committment or a sheer compulsion of the market forces which need a linearised society adhering to a singular belief and faith in the doctrine of consumption. The spate of legal interventions taken has further weakened the institution of family & community as the State is all out to become the one size fit all nanny for all its citizens.
The thinkers & tinkerers of Indian Policy have given up on the conventional notions of joint-families, families and communities and have simply given in to the concept of start individualism living at the mercy of the all powerful state and its support market oriented agencies. If not, the concept of Jan Dhan and the subsequent financial products & services could have been easily encapsulated to the levels of family and community.
It's not that they are oblivious of the power of the family, or else they won't have utilised the same precept for opening up the Jan Dhan accounts which eventually led to an overdrive. It's somehow a crisis of integrity in the wake of immense pressure from Global Machinations which is letting them acquiesce and making the vast Indian society subservient to the structural motifs of a modern nation state. The vote hungry Indian Polity is all set to decimate the powers of the community at large. A major opportunity has certainly been missed out at this eventual hour to integrate back the time tested structures of Indian Society.
(The writer writes on public policy and governance related issues)