By Dr. Rahul Kumar
India like other countries of the world is in the grip of the pandemic of Coronavirus. Despite 4.0 lockdown in India, the number of Covid-19 patients rose to 151, 876 and more than 4,346 patients infected with Covid-19 died across India. Government hospitals and staff are under mental and physical pressure to avail of the best medical pieces of equipment to treat Covid-19 patients. Above mentioned data is not reliable since the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India has no electronic system to preserve the data of patients admitted in the government and private hospitals respectively.
This article reviews the social and economic failures of Mr. Modi government in tackling the pandemic in India and tries to examine the reasons behind it.
Social Failures in the Pandemic
Since the outbreak of the pandemic of Coronavirus in early Feburary2020 in India, Mr. Modi government has abandoned the migrant workers and betrayed all of them. These are the same marginalized migrant workers who voted the BJP and sent Mr. Modi to the Parliament of India and today because of their blessings he is the most loquacious Prime Minister of India. The sufferings being endured by migrant workers completely show that Mr. Modi’s government has nothing to do with the poor people. Pregnant women walking by foot a hundred miles without water and food from one state to another state having a child tied to their back did not even shake the cruel heart of Modi. It all shows that how much love Mr. Modi has girl child- Beti padhao, beti bachao.
Mr. Modi government is exposed when we observe that millions of migrants workers travel throughout the year in search of menial jobs in other Indian metropolitan cities because there is no sufficient number of jobs in the states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh or any such under-resourced state in India. It is unfortunate Mr. Modi’s government did not bother to survey the problems of labor migrants from 2014 to 2019. Modi 2.0 has already spent one year in the government and there is nothing to celebrate.
Indian society for centuries is cursed with social evils such as caste, corruption, and religious discrimination. All these issues are social issues and directly related to Indian society. People belonging to the marginalized sections of society are impacted adversely because the people who are practicing all such evils are trying hard to maintain the status quo for their own vested interests. These people are not ordinary people. They belong to the elite class of Indian society who have all the means and resources to maintain the status quo. The whole of the state machinery is behind them to support their lethal cause to keep the majority of the poor, marginalized people in enslavement and steep poverty. Because of them, Dalits, Muslims, Christians, and other poor people belonging to the backward classes are under existential threat. This section of the Indian society largely lives under fear of violence, murder, political persecution. There is hardly any tolerance towards them. A simple tweet can invite a plethora of social and political problems to them. There is no constitution under which all these were protected.
Government jobs are disappearing. Reservation meant for the welfare of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) has been destroyed by several legal and administrative changes particularly orchestrated by the BJP states. The BJP ruled states after diluting the constitutional provision of Reservation are bent upon destroying the existing government employment opportunities. Defence Ministry, Government of India, has abolished 9,304 posts in military engineering services- a big jolt to the SCs/STs/OBCs aspirants.
The way other caste people stigmatized and traumatized Muslims for spreading knowingly the virus in Delhi and other cities of India is unforgettable. During a television debate, BJP spokesperson openly said that it was a well-thought strategy by Muslims of India and foreign alike to spread the virus. It is unfortunate Mr. Modi is rewarding all such vindictive BJP spokespersons by giving party tickets. It shows Mr. Modi has given them a blank cheque to slander and traumatize people belonging to the marginalized sections of the society without any fear of law or law enforcement agencies.
It is the BJP ruled state Uttar Pradesh that has scrapped all labor laws for three years in the hope that foreign investment would come to India if the employer has no labor union issues. It clearly shows that the BJP as a political party and Mr. Modi as a Prime Minister of India are anti-labor. It also clearly shows that Mr. Modi is anti-poor government. The deteriorating socio-economic conditions of the Dalits, Muslims, Christians, and other poor people belonging to the backward classes also show that there is nothing for them under Mr. Modi’s rule. Their children would suffer more in the coming years in India in terms of government education, employment resulting in asphyxiating social and economic mobility.
Economic Failures in the Pandemic
During elections public rallies before 2014, Mr. Modi beat his chest like an old woman and announced Rs. 15,00,000 Lakh would come to the bank account of each every Indian if black money comes back to India. Not a single BJP leader including Mr. Modi talk about black money because several of the bank defaulters run away from the country after cheating the banks under Mr. Modi’s nose.
Innocent poor voters believed him and voted him to power but all in vain. No BJP leaders today are seen talking about this announcement made by Mr. Modi. Mr. Modi in his party election manifesto also promised that 2 crore jobs would be created every year but there is a drastic cut in the government jobs. The question is why innocent, expectant voters again voted Mr. Modi in 2019 despite he did not fulfill a single promise made during 2014 elections campaign? The answer to this question lies in the Indian BJP friendly media which started putting the words into the minds of innocent voters that a period of five years is too short to fulfill all promises hence Mr. Modi deserves another five years.
Several surveys indicated that the people of India were not at all interested to choose Mr. Modi for the second term but their mind was hypnotized by the BJP friendly television media and Whatsapp University. Paid writers shamefacedly also started writing articles in Hindi praising Mr. Modi’s contribution in announcing more than 46 flagship public schemes, the majority of them are died today because of a shortage of funds. Mr. Modi since the beginning is attacking Congress and Nehru for corruption. According to the Reserve Bank of India recent data( from 2014-2109) Non-performing Assets (NPAs) increased dramatically. Indian courts are flooded with cases of cheque bounce. Where is the law ministry? Why not a law is made to seize bank account and property of the family of a defaulter in case of a cheque bounce? Who stops Mr. Modi and his law Minister to legislate such stringent law to save individuals/ entrepreneurs/ businessmen?
In the pandemic Mr. Modi government announced Rs. 20 lakh Crore(approx. USD 265 billion) package. There is no clarity to whom this money will go. Earlier Mr. Modi government announced Rs. 45000 crore liquidity to be infused in NBFCs (Non-banking Finance companies). All industrial sectors are clamoring for liquid money. Where this money has gone? Who are the beneficiaries of this money? These questions are unanswered. The Finance Minister, Government of India, is so confused about all these financial packages that she is unable to clarify what is where and how to be spent.
Let me discuss the reasons behind the social and economic failures of Mr. Modi’s government. I argue that Mr. Modi is neither a sociologist nor an economist. Why a common man or woman in India should support my argument because Mr. Modi has not studied both the subjects which are essentials for a Prime Minister to run a country like India.
According to Wikipedia, “ A Sociologist study people`s social lives, activities, behaviors, interactions, processes, and organizations within the context of larger social, political and economic forces”. Mr. Modi is not a sociologist because he never studied sociology and cannot understand how his behavior or his party men or women’s behavior would impact cultural milieu of other countries with whom he passionately interacts with. That is the reason Mr. Modi’s government was criticized worldwide on the issue of Islamophobia particularly in Gulf Arab countries. That is the reason Mr. Modi government was criticized by liberal, secular people of the world when a Dalit man is beaten mercilessly in India. Mr. Modi’s government was criticized by all Christian countries in the world when they found that a house of a Christian family in the remote village of Kerala state, India, was burnt and the innocent people living in the house were brutally beaten up by goons.
According to Wikipedia, “An economist is a practitioner in the social science discipline of economics. The Individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy”. Mr. Modi has not studied economics. Mr. Modi had no knowledge of the budget by himself was misguided by Arun Jaitley, former Finance Minister of India, and a lawyer by profession on ‘Demonetization’.
Mr. Modi has no educational background to understand the tough glossary of economics. No Indian voters have listened to him ever using words like GDP, Liability, Assets, Insolvency, Arbitration, Amortization, Balance of payment, Bankruptcy, Consumer prices, capital market, Consumer surplus, open/closed market, Command economy, so & so on in his public speech or Mann Ki Baat. Mr. Modi is also not a convent school passed out like assassinated former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, or Mr. J.L. Nehru. In a globalized world no Prime Minister can think about domestic and international inclusive and friendly policies unless or until he or she understands the glossary of economics.
I hope the Indian voters will exercise their wisdom in 2024 and elect those politicians who would save their livelihood, save the honors of their daughters, give jobs to their educated children, save poor and hapless people from the goons, light the house of the poor, annihilate untouchability& religious discrimination so & so on.
Dr. Rahul Kumar is an independent researcher and senior media columnist.