NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer and a senior bureaucrat Amitabh Kant had stirred the harnest net last week when he observed that due to “too much of democracy” tough economic reforms are difficult in India. He appreciated the Modi government for showing courage and determination in pushing such reforms across sectors including mining coal labour and now agriculture. Obviously Mr. Kant was referring to the farmers stir against new farming laws . He repeated what the government side has been saying since opposition to these farm laws started that the new law provided alternatives to farmers to sell their produce without doing away with the system of MSP and Mandis. He said that these reforms needs to be implemented and more are needed in logistic and power sector to make India a manufacturing power house competing with China.
First of all anti democracy remark made by any constitutional authority including bureaucrats needs to be condemned in strongest possible term because a vast and diverse country like India could not be governed and kept united without giving breathing space to every stake holder be it religious ethnic regional or cultural group and it is only possible in democracy not in any other system of governance. Secondly economic reforms do not necessarily means corporatization and privatization of every sector and leaving people at the mercy of these “Dhanna Seths’ whose sole motive is always to earn maximum profit and occupy all natural resources including man power. Yes private players must be given every possible opportunity and facility to play a role in country’s progress development and economic upliftment but not at the cost of public interest and welfare. They must not be allowed unchecked profiteering hoarding of farm and industrial produces and exploitation of natural resources. A fine balanced has to be maintained between the interests of all stake holders including corporate houses traders and public. But here is a warning being a welfare state the government has to stand with poors and have nots of the nation even if it becomes a burden on state exchequer.If we review the privatization and sale of government shares in PSUs we will find that interest of the corporate houses has been super in the minds of authorities and precious assets including land has been sold on throw away prices at the name of disinvestment. In agriculture sector if the economy of crop insurance is analysed we will find that farmers have got very little in comparision to the premium they have paid to insurance companies. In so far the matter of farmers stir against new farming laws is concerned the government is trying to convince the farmers that these reforms are in their interest but has failed to break the ice means they are not convinced with government pleas. It is something very strange and interesting that government formulates laws and tries to convince the stake holders that they are in their interest but they are not convinced. GST could not convince the traders inspite of so many amendments labours laws reform could not convinced the labourers CAA could not convince the people of Assam and other NE states Muslims and a big section of society who trust in letters and spirit of our constitution. How it is that only government understands all that is not convincing to any of the stake holder. Yes India needs economic reforms but with human face as was visualised by Dr. Manmohan Singh the former Prime Minister.
Coming back to democracy, after independence when our constituent assembly consisting of best brains of its time was considering the form of government for India west minister of democracy was considered best suited for the nation because only it could give space to all sections of our diverse society. At that time many countries have got independence but most of them could not muster the courage to be democratic but our forefathers have visualised that road to democracy may be tough but it is the only way out and they adopted the constitutional democracy. This system has brought India from a country where even a needle was not manufactured where the agriculture was not able to feed its populace even for a month and now pre demonetisation India was the fifth or sixth biggest economy of the world. We have food grains sufficient to feed our such a big population for many years to come even without producing a quintal of grain. This all has been achieved in democracy not in dictatorship. Comparing India with China is not only nonsense but to the insult of spirit of our constitution. Not only democracy there is nothing like human rights in China man power is badly exploited it doesn’t have any right to demand suitable return of their labour and hard work only government decide what they should get and how they should live. China is a closed society ours is open and aspiring society. This difference must be understood and honoured.
Our problem is not too much democracy as Mr. Amitabh Kant has said our concern is that the scope of democracy is shrinking since last few years. Majority in the lower houses (Lok Sabha and Vidhan sabha) has become only source of governance and authority, all constitutional and democratic institutions have been rendered spineless and became show piece this is the real threat to our democracy. We have not only to save but strengthened our democracy and its institutions.