In his address to the nation on 21st September, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned the people not to “be misled by those who want to confuse you by spreading fear and false information.”
The PM says that the 5 rupees per litre hike in diesel price was absolutely essential as otherwise the petroleum subsidy, already Rupees 1,40,000 crore last year, will rise further, the government’s deficit will widen too much, this will fuel inflation and international money lenders will stop lending to us, as they did in 1991.
The total amount of taxes collected from the purchase and sale of petroleum products, in the form of customs duties, excise duty and state VAT was Rupees 1,70,000 crore last year, which is 30,000 crore more than the total petroleum subsidy figure quoted by the PM. These taxes raise the price paid by consumers, while subsidies lower them. The PM is quoting the subsidy his government pays without mentioning the taxes it collects. This is clearly a case of false information. It is similar to a shopkeeper who advertises a 15% Discount Sale while being silent about the fact that he has jacked all prices by 25% before applying the discount.
Referring to the decision to open the doors to Wal-Mart and other global giant companies to expand in multi-brand retail trade, the PM claimed that “in a growing economy, there is enough space for big and small to grow.” This is another piece of false information.
In the past 20 years, the Indian economy went through successive periods of growth acceleration and deceleration, in a cyclical pattern. In fact, capitalist growth always exhibits such cyclical motion. In the period of upswing, big and small firms both grow, though not at the same rate; and in periods of downturn, the big fish eat several small ones, leading to rapid concentration of capital. The story of the rise of Wal-Mart to the position of one of the world’s biggest corporations is a story of the demise of millions of smaller players, in the US and all over the world.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is asking for support to take “hard decisions”, by which he means that it will be hard on the working people. If his government does not take such decisions, he claims that the capitalists of the world will lose confidence in our economy. Foreign capital will not come in, and the Indian economy will be doomed. This is nothing but spreading fear among the people, in order to justify anti-people actions.
In simple language, he is telling workers and peasants that he has no choice except to attack their living standards further, for only then will the monopoly capitalists of the world put more money into the Indian economy, which will lead to “rapid growth”.
Why should the toiling majority of people accept hard decisions for the sake of enriching monopoly capitalists, Indian and foreign? Because, according to our PM, we need more growth to achieve inclusiveness. Translated into simple language, this means that only if the monopoly capitalists expand their wealth rapidly can some little bit of it get distributed to the “aam aadmi” through various government programs.
In his Independence Day speech, the PM warned us that those who oppose rapid growth are a threat to national security. Now he is accusing anyone who opposes his policies of spreading fear and false information. This is reminiscent of President George Bush of the United States, who declared that those who are not “with us” are “with the terrorists”.
People must beware not to be misled by the false information and fear being spread by our honourable Prime Minister.