Hate politics: Irreparable loss to economy 

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Certain Hindu religious leaders called for genocide of Muslims at a three day event held in Indian state of Uttarakhand

By Muslim Mirror Editorial Board

The latest edition of The Economist highlighted prospects of India’s promising economic growth might have given a tinge of hope to the policy makers but they must not ignore the concern the noted newsweekly flagged with regard to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country “could lead to stigma that impairs India’s access to Western markets.” It plainly put that the biggest threat to the expected economic growth is “India’s incendiary politics.”

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There are some indicators of revival and that India may emerge as the fastest growing economy in the current fiscal, but the hate atmosphere significantly undermined the prospect, according to the Economist.

Notably, increasing pressure from various stakeholders to ensure compliance with human right standards has forced Ministry of Corporate Affairs to formulate a “National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights” as part of India’s endorsement of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights adopted in the UN Human Rights Council.

Already various think tanks and trade bodies had underlined the impact of incendiary politics on the economy, but the government did little to contain it. In fact, it continued to play dog whistle politics. With the economy embedded in society, institutions and politics, the atmosphere of hate is likely to disturb the business activities. The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), an Australian think tank, found that violence (of all kinds) cost the Indian economy $1,190.51 billion in 2017, that is approximately 9% of the country’s GDP or $595.4 (over Rs 40,000) per person.

Most of the industrialists chose to keep mum on the increasing atmosphere of hate, with state pandering of mobs, some on several occasions raised concern on its impact on the economy. Kiran Majumdar Shaw Mazumdar-Shaw recently warned that the “growing religious divide” was hurting business and that India’s ‘global image’.  Earlier industrialist Rahul Bajaj also flagged the same concern.

There is no doubt that the divisive politics being pursued by the BJP has strengthened Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral base, but the danger is that over the next decade this dominance hardens into autocracy. Of late, bulldozer politics have further worsened the situation. This new pattern of communal tensions has triggered widespread concerns in the international markets with trade pundits fearing massive impacts in trade and investments. Notably, last month, Hindu religious processions were taken out across several states with right wing zealots raising abusive slogans outside mosques and Muslim neighbourhood triggering sporadic violence in many places. In the aftermath of the violence,  authorities in the BJP-ruled states ordered the use of bulldozers to raze the homes and shops of alleged rioters, mostly Muslims.

There is no doubt that the politics of hate not only is not only destroying our cherished-pluralistic values, but also cost heavily to our economy which has severely been affecting all weaker sections across the religious lines.

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