Monday, September 3, 2018

Tyranny and Treachery

BJP Government has miserably failed on each account and the Indian electorate is feeling the punch now.

Disclaimer: This essay may look like a myriad mix of issues put together to make a larger point. Yes it is, because if we look through the dirty dingy kaleidoscope of Modi Govt’s failures; where each failure reflects on the other ; we come across the real tyranny and treachery of the Modi regime. 

We are seeing at multiple issues boxed into one fascist regime- A regime where a fringe party has become mainstream but has not shed its core divisive emotive agendas.

At the cost of being long, this essay reflects that deep-seated treachery which every Indian is feeling at the hands of Narendra Modi and sometimes is unable to articulate.

A deep sense of betrayal has engulfed the people of India. A million mutinies are taking place in the hearts and minds of the people. Everyday a new socio-political issue bothers them and for a moment and enrages a feeling of utter disappointment. That is the moment of truth. Some try to brush that aside by imagining the alternative, which they feel would be inferior. Some try to find silver linings of religion in the dark clouds of despair and want to cling to that line to justify their choice. Some have just learnt to take all this in stride and have given up altogether. Some have manifested their mutinies by active political and societal participation and have borne the brunt of the backlash from the state. Some have just remained silent for the quinquennial ritual of democracy to arrive and shall only react through the ballot to reply in kind to the tyranny of the present dispensation. Yes, we all are feeling a churning within; but we all are guided by our very own paths to reciprocate to this deep sense of betrayal which the Narendra Modi Government has forced India to.

The world’s largest democracy’s present fascist regime is jailing people in public life on concocted charges of building an ‘anti-fascist front’ and justifying it by linking a Dalit-Maratha self-engineered tension to a Naxal plot. On top of it, it uses the perceived excesses of the previous regime as a convenient alibi to justify its sins. Fighting Naxalism is not a sin. But targeting individuals in the name of fighting Naxalism is a sin. Naxalism is the biggest internal security threat which India is facing since the last couple of decades. It is a roadblock to development in one third of our districts. It can be prevented by various methods. Force is only one of them. Engagement is always a better option. Inducements and leverages are a third. Development and confidence building is the best option. Sometimes all of them have to work together in tandem to wipe it out. Congress has done it in the past in many states- Andhra Pradesh & Maharashtra. Also, No other party has borne the brunt of Naxalism, as does the Congress. Its entire Chhattisgarh top brass was wiped out few years ago.  If you a have political will and support of the locals, you can wipe it off. Targeting NGO’s, activists, writers et al, only reveals a mindset of a fascist impotent regime that lacks the statecraft, the democratic principles and the roadmap to tackle this serious and sensitive issue.

Moreover, Dalits and Marathas have been peacefully living together in Maharashtra since ages and Dalits have been observing the Bhima Koregaon anniversary peacefully since decades. The cheapest form of appeasement politics laced with religious fundamentalism has been employed by the BJP to ‘divide and conquer’ these castes in Maharashtra. They are employing the same tactic in Haryana (Jats vs Non-Jats) and Uttar Pradesh (Brahmins vs Rajputs).

Emotive issues are the flavour of the political climate in India. In faraway Assam, an exercise which was supposed to accomplish a solemn accord- ‘Assam Accord’ was surreptitiously used by the BJP for ulterior political motives. Thanks to the people of Assam, the state by itself did not slip into communal chaos, even as the BJP used its full media might in Delhi to whip up passions. What was supposed to be a Citizen vs Illegal migrant issue was turned into a Hindu vs Muslim issue and was used by the ruling Govt to target the minorities of Assam. It is an undeniable fact that even though Assam there are fissures between Assamese people and Bengali (or Hindi) speaking people, those tensions have been limited to a language/cultural issues. People of Assam did not have a Hindu-Muslim issue, to put it bluntly. But exploiting societal fissures to win votes lies at the core of BJP’s ideology.

So, BJP- the double headed snake was precisely vying for that blood. ‘Double headed’ because contrary to the tall claims of BJP President maliciously pinning the blame on the Congress for ‘encouraging the stay of illegal Bangladeshis’ (sic); Facts show that between 2005 to 2013, Congress-UPA deported 49 times more illegal Bangladeshis to Bangladesh, than Modi Govt. For the record, Congress-UPA deported 88,792 illegal Bangladeshi migrants, while Modi Govt (till 2017) deported only 1822 of them. Moreover, Indian citizenship, according to India’s Constitution is provided by the ‘birth’ and not merely by ‘ancestral lineage’ as is being espoused by the BJP- so the question of having an NRC to weed out Indian citizens by birth with foreign lineage, across the country does not arise. Execution of NRC was shoddy and the blame for its mal-implementation lies squarely with the BJP.

Talking about nonperformance, two large of constituencies of the Indian electorate are particularly displeased and distressed by the present regime – Youth and Farmers. Lofty promises of creating 2 Cr jobs every year made by Narendra Modi has yielded no results. In the age of the millennials, the PM is telling us we don’t have data to measure how many jobs India created. It is not as if that the data was not collected in the previous regimes. Labour Bureau Survey is the most authentic government data on jobs. But Modi Govt. has failed to release the same for Oct-Dec 2017. Modi’s tall jargon and unscientific methods to somehow count and claim the number of jobs infact act a rubbing salts on the wounds of an already disappointed youth. EPFO, MUDRA loans and even anecdotal evidence is being sighted by the BJP to fool the people of India.

EPFO data cannot be a measure of job creation because according to statutory requirements, when an organization has 20 or more employees it comes under EPFO’s ambit. So, if a firm has 19 employees and it adds one more to its payroll, then all 20 will have to be registered under EPFO. This gives a false picture that 20 jobs were created instead of just one. As explained by many economists – one MUDRA loan cannot be counted as one Job, because the average size of MUDRA loans disbursed just Rs 47,268. In this paltry amount, no sustainable job can be created. Not even a proper Pakora stall or a Paan shop can be opened in this amount of money!

Millennials are also being continuously monitored by this regime. The Orwellian maxim of ‘Big Brother is Watching You’ is ubiquitously on display under this government. In the garb of AADHAAR leakages, ‘Social Media Communication Hub’ and accessing sensitive data through NaMo App- the Modi Govt is truly working like the ‘Ministry of Truth’ that violates and curbs our Right to Privacy. Additionally, youth are being told ‘what to wear’, what to eat’, what to watch’ and ‘what to do’. Banning of Art and Censorship has reached monstrous proportions. Couple all this with numerous agitations and conspiratorial campus unrest that have taken place in virtually every University of India, has further vitiated the space for dissent and has led to suppression and oppression of India’s youth. ‘Beti Bachao’ has only been relegated to sloganeering and advertisements. Only 5 paisa is being spend on a girl child- Yes- That is the budget of Modi Govt, this year, on ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. We have seen how many horrific and gruesome incidents have taken place in home shelters in BJP ruled states and how BJP men were involved in Naliya, Kathua and Unnao.

Farmers are definitely very angry. They were promised ‘Cost +50%’ as MSP. They are still being promised smooth supply chain from ‘beej’ to ‘bazaar’- But nothing has been delivered to them. On top of that, for the first time in history, Agriculture is being taxed through the GST. Modi Govt attempted to disguise the MSP announcement of 4th July, 2018 as an ‘Electoral Lollipop’ for credit seeking and duping the farmers. But that also was too little too late. For example- MSP of Paddy according to Cost +50% should be Rs 2340 per quintal, but Modi Govt has only provided Rs 1750 per quintal i.e Rs 590 per quintal less than Modi Govt's promise. Similarly, the MSP of Jowar according to Cost +50% should be Rs 3275 per quintal, but Modi Govt has only provided Rs 2430 per quintal i.e Rs 845 per quintal less than Modi Govt's promise and the MSP of Moong according to Cost +50% should be Rs 9241 per quintal, but Modi Govt has only provided Rs 6975 per quintal i.e Rs 2266 per quintal less than Modi Govt's promise.

The biggest disservice that the BJP could have done to this country is to completely decimate its economic foundations. There is no exaggeration in this assertion. The foundations of India’s economy were embedded in its thousands of small and medium businesses and the unorganized sector. Both received a severe blow because of the mindless decision of Demonetisation. No matter how many idiotic reasons the Modi Govt presents and no matter how many goalposts it change- fact is that Demonetisation virtually demolished the structures of a thriving economy and couldn’t achieve any of its stated purposes. Even this freshly propped goalpost of increasing the tax base is a white lie. There are two important facts that cut through this fog.  First, the direct taxes grew by 151% over UPA I tenure and by 68% during UPA II tenure, but have only grown by 43% so far during the Modi Government's tenure. Second, had the BJP matched the UPA II growth rates in direct tax collections for last four years, direct tax collection would have crossed more than 10.5 lakh crore. But they failed at it miserably and still take pride in achieving net collection of around 9.5 lakh crore. All the other goalposts to enact Demonetisation have been successfully demolished in the past.

A flawed implementation of the GST, unending midnight knocking at the doors of small-medium businesses which is called ‘Tax Terrorism’ in economic parlance further assaulted the economy. Bank Loot Scams have become a norm and NPA’s are soaring by the day. The escape of Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Jatin Mehta and many others could not have happened without the active connivance of the Modi Government. Banking sector is in peril and people have lost faith in Banks. Investment is low and exports are plunging. Rupee is trading at its historic worse and Modi Govt has earned 11 Lakh Cr in taxes in the past four years alone due to central taxes on Petrol and Diesel. There is no respite from Price Rise and Current Account Deficit is rising. Forget 100 SMART Cities, no tangible investment in infrastructure is taking place and Stalled Projects are rising by the month. This is how the BJP is banishing our economy.

Economy might be dead. But emotive issues are left. That is the opium for BJP’s survival. If those people who look at the previously stated ‘silver lining’ of ‘religion’ in this dark cloud- open their eyes and minds. India would be a better place in 2019.