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What We Need Is A Roadmap For Sustainable And Inclusive Growth, Not Populist And Myopic Reforms

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By Prashant Kaushik:

The UPA government dolls out mouth watering schemes once in every 5 years. Last time it was in 2008, when loans of farmers worth Rs. 52,000 Crore were waived off. In 2013, they promised to sell wheat at 3 Rs per kg. Both schemes appear highly socialist and poor friendly in nature. Thus, it takes courage to oppose them as any opposition will instantly give you a tag of anti-poor and anti-farmer. However, this move is not at all poor friendly.


What’s the most defining difference between a poor and a rich? Moreover, talking in terms of theories of economies, what’s the difference between Capitalist and Socialist economies? The answer is capital. The most important thing that the rich have and poor don’t is ‘Capital’. Capital means money and resources which can be used to make new earnings.

If you give an extremely poor person a sum of 10000 Rs. for once, it gives him the freedom to spend it on his daily needs whatever way he wants. Does he cease to be poor? No. His new found richness may last only a few days or a month at most. Even if you give him one lakh or more, he can’t evade his poverty beyond a limited time frame. To raise his economic level, the only way is to use 10000 Rs. or 1 Lakh Rs., as a capital. To use it in such a way that a source of livelihood is created. In other words, this means the same rhetoric demand — create better job opportunities.

But, since Independence and specially in the last decade, so much have we been disappointed with the successive corrupt governments, that somewhere we have started thinking that as the government would never be able to create jobs, why not eat the free money and consume it as soon as possible. We are poor because we don’t have capital. And here you had — over 1 Lakh crore Rupees. You threw a party, made us rich for a day, and left us poor for eternity.

There is no dearth of ideas. We only need the vision and will to implement them. Take this example: around 40% of our money is spent in buying oil from other countries. We all know about the subsidy that the government has to painfully give on LPG and kerosene. This subsidy is one of the reason of the falling Rupee and indirectly of rising inflation or food prices.

Why not use a part of that capital money you had to create Biogas plants in 40 districts. If its cost of production is more, why not make good use of the subsidy here? At Least here the cost of production, with increasing use, will come down and one day you can easily stop subsidies.

Think about the people who would be involved in running the plant. Many poor will get new jobs. That too without migrating to cities, so lesser slums in cities. They will live with families; better family life means better state of mind, better security, less crimes, and eventually an egalitarian society.

This is just an example. There are thousands of projects across the country which we can’t kick start because we don’t have capital(money). And the precious capital which you had, you wasted it in freebies. You may get our votes, you may come to power again, but we will remain poor as always, at-least till the next time, till you come with another mouth watering scheme in 2017.

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  1. Raj

    I suggest you read up on capitalism and socialism. You have incorrectly answered ” What’s the difference between Capitalist and Socialist economies?” The difference is that in a socialist economy the Govt. decides how capital (land, natural resources, human resources etc.) should be used. Thus even here we have capitalism but it is State Capitalism
    Whereas in a capitalist (or to be clear , Free-Market capitalist) economies, the free market decides how capital will be used through the price mechanism. Of course there is no country that adheres to either of these two extremes.

    Now coming to your idea of biogas: If the energy output and ease of use of biogas was better than oil, then already people would be using it. But it is not. There would have been no need to subsidize it. Of course neither should oil be subsidized. Let the technologies compete in the free market.

    Yes some poor people may get new jobs in biogas-related industries but many others will lose jobs in oil-related industries and will end up paying higher prices for everything. After all, the subsidies to the biogas plants have to come from someone’s pocket. That means more taxes which means higher prices for all. So there is a net loss for everybody involved

    And why do you have a problem with India importing oil? Why don’t you extend that idea to everything else? This website runs on imported foreign technology. We import movies and video games from USA. Why are you against free trade?

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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