Skip to main content

Modi to "adopt" Thatcherite agenda, will rollback UPA's welfare schemes, privatise public sector cos

By Our Representative
With analysts predicting that Narendra Modi will become the next Prime Minister of India in the Lok Sabha polls, economists close to him have begun to declare that he is sure to bring an end to the welfare programmes initiated by the UPA government. Bibek Debroy, a prominent Indian economist, has been quoted as saying that “the Hindu nationalist leader shared his market-driven policy platform and opposed handouts.” He adds, "It is essentially a belief that people don't need doles, and don't need subsidies". Instead, Modi would focus on “building infrastructure to ease poverty”.
In an article released by the world's most prominent Reuters news agency, titled “Advisers to India's Modi dream of a Thatcherite revolution”, authors Frank Jack Daniel and Rajesh Kumar Singh recall, “When Indian opposition leader Narendra Modi gave a speech on the virtues of smaller government and privatization on April 8 last year, supporters called him an ideological heir to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died that day.”
To prove its point, Reuters quotes Deepak Kanth, a London-based banker collecting funds for Modi, as saying, "If you define Thatcherism as less government, free enterprise, then there is no difference between Modi-nomics and Thatcherism." It adds, “Kanth, who says he is on the economic right, is one of several hundred volunteers with a similar philosophy working for Modi in campaign war-rooms across the country. Among them are alumni of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan trading floors”.
"What Thatcher did with financial market reforms, you can expect a similar thing with infrastructure in India under Modi," Kanth predicts, referring to Thatcher's trademark "Big Bang" of sudden financial deregulation in 1986. Reuters adds, “Modi's inner circle also includes prominent economists and industrialists who share a desire to see his BJP draw a line under India's socialist past, cut welfare and reduce the role of government in business.
Already, Reuters has witnessed, the mere the possibility that “India may move to the right has brought free-market champions flocking home from high-flying careers abroad to join Modi's campaign.” Two advisers involved in policy discussions within the BJP's top leadership have been quoted as saying that there might be “partial or total privatizations of Air India and other failing public sector enterprises.”
However, according to the Reuters, “Mammoth Coal India, the source of much of the country's electricity generation, is not seen as an easy privatization target. Possible opposition by allies in government and India's strong labour laws mean that some of these policies will take time. Debroy as been quoted as commenting, "If you say is it going to happen in 2014-15, is the finance minister going to stand up and announce privatization, I'm inclined to think no, but will it figure eventually? The answer is yes."
Reuters says, “The battle of ideas between Modi and the ruling Congress party was mirrored in a public spat between two well-known economists of Indian origin, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Columbia University's Jagdish Bhagwati. Sen's belief that public spending on food subsidies and health was needed to end poverty was adopted by Gandhi. The result was a proliferation of welfare schemes, most notably a rural work programme and a giant subsidized food plan.”
  • Panagariya next Modi advisor
It adds, “Modi's economic thinking is closer to Bhagwati, who strongly advocates poverty reduction through deregulation-led growth. Bhagwati's colleague and writing partner, Arvind Panagariya, a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, is tipped by some in the BJP for a role in any Modi government.” Panagariya believes “the jobs it created - such as maintaining irrigation ponds and village roads - were unproductive.”

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.