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Mainstream, VOL LX No 32, New Delhi, July 30, 2022

Contemporary Face of Capitalism in India | Arup Kumar Sen

Friday 29 July 2022, by Arup Kumar Sen


The fundamental logic of capitalist mode of production is to establish control over the labour process. How capitalism works in a social formation is a larger question. In fact, capitalism took different shapes in different geographical spaces during different periods of time. The contemporary moment of capitalism is organically linked with neoliberal paradigm of governance, which makes workers footloose to serve the interests of Capital.

The neoliberal paradigm of governance in contemporary India is marked by State Surveillance and promotion of digital technology in the service of Capital. The Aadhaar Project of the government is primarily aimed at strengthening the arms of the ‘Surveillance State’. On the other hand, Digital India campaign of the government is planned to promote ‘platform capitalism’ in India. A recent report of NITI Aayog titled India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy: Perspectives and Recommendations on the Future of Work (June 2022) bears testimony to it: “As most platform businesses rely on mobile-based apps, accessed on affordable mobile devices and low-cost data plans, they have thrived in India, with a much needed impetus provided by the Government’s Digital India campaign that aims to build a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy...Indeed, the ubiquity of smartphones and availability of affordable data are transforming how we work, move, and live. As the digital permeates all aspects of our lives, digitalization of work is inevitable. Invariably, central to this metamorphosis is talent or labour, representing the most critical factor of production in the 21st century. Even as consumer needs and aspirations evolve, and business models change, how well a nation’s labour force adjusts to the transitions, and powers this transformation is important for any economy. This is particularly relevant for India which is home to over half a billion individuals in the working-age”.

The twin pillars of surveillance and digitalization represent the dynamics of neoliberal paradigm of capitalist governance in contemporary India.

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