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Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 42, October 9, 2010

Is ‘Inclusive Growth’ a New Stage before Socialism?

Thursday 14 October 2010, by Chaturanan Mishra

This article is for requesting the readers of Mainstream, particularly those of the Left and Communists, to send their comments on my suggestion that history has created a new stage of ‘inclusive growth’ before socialism. I am of the opinion that China and Vietnam are also going through ‘inclusive growth’ and not socialism because they are allowing capitalists, including foreign capital, to help in their growth. Simul-taneously they are fighting poverty in their countries in a big way. They have recorded major achievements in educating the mass of people and carrying out some measures of social reform.

With the end in view, I have written an article in Mainstream (August 28, 2010) to make the Directive Principles of State Policy in our Constitution enforceable by Court. In my opinion, the Directive Principles are a better way for ensuring ‘inclusive growth’ as this involves directing the state to provide citizens, both men and women, adequate means of livelihood, right to work, to education and public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness etc. and an important item like ‘the ownership and control of material resources are so distributed to serve the common good’. The most significant development in the present situation of our country is that whereas poverty is increasing, crorepatis (millionaires) are becoming arabpatis (billionaires); at the same time the Directive Principles of State Policy enjoin upon the ‘state in particular’ to ‘strive to minimise the inequalities in income and endeavour to eliminate the inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities not only amongst individuals but also among groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations’. It is because of these items in the Directive Principles that I want those Principles to be enforceable by Court, because in the absence of such a guarantee both the Central and State governments are going against those, and Parliament and the Vidhan Sabhas are unable to check the process. Perhaps the MPs and MLAs do not even raise this matter nor are our people aware of this phenomenon.

In the aforementioned article “Make the Directive Principles of State Policy Enforceable by Court” in Mainstream (August 28, 2010), there is also a reference to Joseph Stiglitz’s suggestions for reforming the IMF, World Bank and a new global reserve system instead of the dollar and assistance to small farms etc. In my opinion, for socialism the one fundamental imperative is the political maturity of the working class to run the state. This has not happened anywhere including our country. We were interess to the fact that when factories in the erstwhile Soviet Union were captured by individuals or goonda elements the employees were silent onlookers to this development. Such was the political immaturity of the working class in former USSR even after seventy years under communist rule.

ALL this does not mean that we have to go by the definition of ‘inclusive growth, as is given by our government or the Planning Commission. We will have to chart out our own details of it and before finalisation of that charter countrywide discussion not only in the media but with the mass of people will have to be conducted and their suggestions included. This means the raising of the consciousness of the people to a higher level to force the government to accept this proposition.

I have in a preceding paragraph mentioned the views of Joseph Stiglitz about the changes required in the international economic system. Now even the Government of India, faced with the onslaught of US imperialist power, “has requested the G-20 nations to coordinate policies to work together to support a well-functioning international economy by coordinating their actions in a manner that can ensure strong, sustainable and balanced growth”. (The Hindu, September 18) We have to be more specific.

Another point we must take into consideration. The government’s handling of the Kashmir situation may cause intervention by the UNO and we might lose Kashmir. Once something like that takes place in one part of the country this would encourage other separatists in other regions leading to the vivisection of India. That is why we must advance concrete solutions before it becomes too late. This should also be contained in our charter of ‘Inclusive Growth’. At the same time we should put forward practical suggestions to solve the Scheduled Tribes’ problem that has resulted in the Maoist upsurge in Central India, instead of relying on just police actions or paramilitary operations.

The London Economist has characterised our government as a bad government. Lakhs of farmers have committed suicide and the governments are not ashamed of such a development. This never happened even during British rule. Quite frequently train dacoities take place. For one police firing Pattom Thanu Pillai had to resign from the post of the Chief Minister in Kerala. Police firings have become common occurrence now. Does this happen in any other democracy in the world? Moreover what is shocking is that the sati system is being revived, khap killings in the name of ‘honour’ have become quite rampant while killing of the girl child in the mother’s womb is now taking place very often; there are also reports of the sale of young girls. Corruption prevails everywhere—from the level of Ministers to that of blocks. Our charter of ‘Inclusive Growth’ has to suggest solutions for all these adominable happenings.

There is also the problem of Dalit killings and untouchability. The UN may declare India a country like the apartheid South African regime of the olden days. That will be a real national shame. Our charter of ‘Inclusive Growth’ must also propose how we can remove this scourge.

Thus our charter of Inclusive Growth will be distinctly different from any similar document of the past.

The author, a veteran Communist leader, was the Union Agriculture Minister in the United Front Governmentat at the Centre (1996-98). He was also the President of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) for sometime.

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