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Mainstream, VOL LV No 41 New Delhi September 30, 2017

Bure Din is Staring Us in the Face

Friday 29 September 2017, by SC


The worsening political and economic situation within the country is having its inevitable impact on the ruling dispensation at the Centre.

The BJP’s official position of forcing the Rohingyas in India to go back to Myanmar has been opposed by many including those in the Opposition. Significantly, among them falls BJP MP Varun Gandhi who has called upon the government to grant them refugee status “while vetting each applicant for national security concerns”. This view has been attacked by all BJP leaders including the Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir, who has retorted: “If Myanmar has rejected them, why should we accept them?”

Meanwhile, the students of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), primarily the female students, are on the warpath following an incident of alleged molestation of a student resulting in unrest in the campus heightened by police action leaving a large number of students hurt and angry. Varanasi’s Divisional Commissioner has admitted that if the university officials had proper communication with the girls when their agitation started, the violent incidents that occured later could have been avoided. At the same time, the National Human Rights Commision has described the police action on the agitating students as “harsh” and “inhuman”.

In the meantime, a bombshell has come in the form of a scathing critique of the Modi regime’s economic policies by BJP leader and former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha in a national daily (The Indian Express). One paragraph of the article brings out the essence of his criticism:

. . . what is the picture of the Indian economy today? Private investment has shrunk as never before in two decades, industrial production has all but collapsed, agriculture is in distress, construction industry, a big employer of the work force, is in the doldrums, the rest of the service sector is also in the slow lane, exports have dwindled, sector after sector of the economy is in distress, demonetisation has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster, a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market. For quarter after quarter, the growth rate of the economy has been declining until it reached the low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal, the lowest in three years. The spokespersons of the government say that demoneti-sation is not responsible for this deceleration. They are right. The deceleration had started much earlier. Demonetisation only added fuel to fire.

This has emboldened the Opposition to go on the offensive. Sinha has received kudos from Rahul Gandhi and P. Chidambaram whereas the BJP leadership is non-plussed. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tried to counter him in a half-hearted manner but that did not carry any conviction.

What Yashwant Sinha wrote was not only caustic but acerbic as well:

Nobody has a magic wand to revive the economy overnight. Steps taken now will take their own time to produce results. So, a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha election appears highly unlikely. A hard landing appears inevitable. Bluff and bluster is fine for the hustings, it evaporates in the face of reality.

Unless Narendra Modi pays immediate heed to this warning, the entire country will suffer in the near future. Bure din is staring us in the face.

September 27 S.C.   

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