Skip to main content

Method in Modi’s 'directionless' economic governance: Manipulating public mind

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The world is heading towards worst economic recession in its history. The governments are worried about their citizenry and future of their country. But Narendra Modi cares little as long as his popularity and electoral victory remains intact. Modi fiddles with the future of India and Indians by manipulating the public mind with the help of mass media.
The Modi government spent over Rs 3,800 crore on publicity in print and audio-visual media, according to Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Modi government. According to the Centre for Media Studies, Modi led BJP spent nearly Rs. 27000 crores in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which is about 45% of the total electoral expenditure in India.
This is the cost of maintaining Modi’s image in public with the help of propaganda when the Indian economy is going down in drains. Economists in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are projecting a gloomy economic scenario for India. It is worst economic growth since the 1991 economic crisis and liberalisation.
In December 2019, Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman in the Center for International Development at Harvard University published a working paper called “India's Great Slowdown: What Happened? What's the Way Out?". The paper outlined the causes behind the slowdown of Indian economy.
It argued that adverse impact of demonetization and GST shocks, unsustainable credit boom in real estate market, fall in consumption expenditure and demand shortages are some of the causes behind the collapse of economic growth in India. The alternatives offered in this paper follow the same old neoliberal paradigm that led to economic chaos in the first place.
All major economic indicators in India look extremely miserable now. Indian industrial and agricultural growth was in a downward spiral well before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The manufacturing and service sector is contracting. Unemployment is at forty-five years high last year.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the employment rate fell to an all-time low of 38.2% and unemployment rate rises to nearly 9% in March 2020 which is highest in last 43 months. There is also sharp fall of the labour participation rate which is a very worrisome sign for Indian economy. The formal and informal sectors are both sputtering in Indian economy.
It is political arrogance and economic ignorance that define the everyday economic policies pursued by Narendra Modi-led Government in India. The Indian economy and its development processes are at a crossroads. 
The centralisation of power and directionless of governance undermines well established constitutionally mandated institutions of policy, planning and economy development that firefights crisis in India. The net outcome of such a process is loss of credibility and public trust on the abilities of state and its institutions. This is the dangerous outcome of populist promises and politics of Hindutva in India.
It is myopic to expect that the Modi government will follow revolutionary economic policies and political economy of development which can permanently emancipate people from hunger, homelessness, poverty and unemployment. The modest liberal and Keynesian approach to Indian economic growth depends on stimulation of growth of internal markets and business competitiveness in the world markets.
This twin project of economics depends on the political abilities of state and government in creating favourable internal economic environment by empowering labour forces both as producers and consumers. But Narendra Modi led Hindutva government pursues every economic policy that disempowers producers and consumers in both formal and informal economy. 
Indian industrial and agricultural growth was in a downward spiral well before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic
The asymmetry of economic growth is pursued to empower both Indian and foreign capitalist classes. Hindutva forces and their myopic economist clans have little understanding that capitalist economic growth does not depend on concentration of capital accumulation in the hands of few. Such a process establishes a rent-based economy that destroys economic growth and development.
So, Keynesians argue that economic growth depends on expanding demand, investment spending and enabling employment for higher consumption. This is not possible in a stagnant economic environment of jobless growth that defines Indian economy led by Modi government.
The Modi government has failed to mobilise India’s internal resources to face and overcome the economic crisis. It is possible to overcome the economic crisis by mobilising human, technological and natural resources in India. State intervention in the interests of many and not few is the way forward to revive Indian economy.
But the Modi government has already abandoned its responsibilities for the recovery of Indian economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not taking any initiative towards the economic recovery. It is madness when a government abandons its citizenry.
It looks like there is a method in Modi’s directionless economic governance in India. The Modi regime is accelerating economic, political and social disasters in India. It is a method of shock doctrine that inflicts extreme violence and pain on majority of population in pursuit of power.
The economic policies pursued by the Modi government is a shock therapy that helps Modi’s crony capitalist classes whereas majority of Indian population suffers under hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, unemployment, ill health, deaths and destitution. Drunk with power, the cocktail of ignorance and arrogance keeps Hindutva ideologues in RSS and BJP in a state of bliss when the entire country cries for help.
Hindutva can never offer any alternative to the people of the country because Hindutva is neither politics nor economics. It is a constructed cultural logic of perverted upper caste capitalists in India. Their political and economic demise is the only way forward.
Resistance is the final and only alternative for the survival of India’s democratic and secular traditions of economic growth and development. The defeat of the ruling classes represented by Modi is written in history. Indians must fight this government to write history and reclaim their republic for social harmony, peace and economic prosperity.
There is always time for songs and poetry in dark times. It is important to remember and recite the last paragraph of the prophetic poem called ‘The Masque of Anarchy’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley:
“Rise, like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many—they are few!”

---
Senior Lecturer in Business Strategy, Coventry University, UK

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen