Millennium Post

Economic recipe for disaster

It is most surprising that the Congress-led UPA government has taken decisions which affect the insurance and pension sector in the mistaken belief that these are reforms. The cabinet decisions to increase the insurance cap to 49 per cent and to open pensions to foreign direct investment are ill-considered and hasty steps on which, moreover, there is no political consensus in the country. Political consensus has evaded the issue because these steps are controversial as they are in the interests of big business, multinational firms and foreign investors and are not likely to benefit the common Indian. These steps, which are based on dubious economic theory, or lack of one, do not serve the common good at all.  There are good arguments against these economic steps. These measures are likely to have an adverse affect not just on small and local businesses but also on the common Indian whose savings and funds are likely to be adversely affected. If fact, many of the insurance firms and other entities that are based in foreign countries have failed miserably, having collapsed and having ruined many of those who had relied upon them. Particularly with respect to pensions, it is not clear why the government wants to abdicate its social responsibility in favour of foreign private firms. Moreover, these kind of measures signify a large-scale shift in economic policy which should not take place without discussions that involves the entire specturm of opinion in the country on the issues. They cannot be thoughtlessly rammed down the throat of the people of this country without consulting them. Even more shocking is that fact that a government which has been reduced to a minority has attempted these steps. Its key allies have moved away from it precisely because they do not agree with its economic policy which is anti-poor.

The government’s intentions and the clientale that it intends to serve are revealed clearly by its efforts to draft corporate entities to persuade opposition parties to back these proposals. Such bare-faced and shameless collusion with corporate interests at the expense of the common man is most shocking. Political parties will be best advised to keep such corporate lobbyists at an arms length as this sort of reliance on corporates to push its dubious agenda is not expected of a responsible government. Political parties in the opposition must keep the higher interests of the people of this country in mind and not be influenced by such influence-mongering which has regrettably been initiated by the government. These economic steps, touted as reforms, in fact, destroy the fundamentals of the Indian economy, making it and the people of the country vulnerable to economic forces not under their control. Therefore, it is for all right-thinking Indians to oppose the misguided economic policies of this government.
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