Freebies for Tatas and Mittals


Corporates Tata (Rs 558 cr from Gujarat government for Nano plant) & Laxmi Mittal (Rs 1200 cr from Punjab government for a refinery) had received mega government loans at 0.1 percent rate of interest & 20 years repayment period. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Super efficient corporates and their super meritorious pundits will collapse like pack of cards if the state freebies are withdrawn. The naked truth is that farmers are subsidising the entire nation for decades because people don't pay the real price for the farm produce. The poor subsidise the rich!

Most of the farmers and farm labourers get credit from Microfinance Institutions and private moneylenders at interest rates ranging from 25 to 60 percent and much more with fortnightly cycle of repayment. Contrast this with the free credits enjoyed by the Tatas and Mittals.

Whenever a farm loan waiver is demanded, pundits say it will not solve the farm crisis. Many thanks for admitting there is a farm crisis after killing 4 lakh farmers. Pundits further argue that it will only help the big farmers because most of the small and marginal farmers are not given loans by the banks. If they are so much concerned with the small farmers, why didn't they tell this injustice/anomaly earlier?

Then they lecture that this money should be invested productively to improve rural infrastructure like roads, irrigation, cold storage, market facility, modern technology to step up productivity etc. That, according to them, is the real help needed by the farmers. 'It is disincentive to those honest farmers who repaid the loans' is one more dharmic discourse.

Yet another sagacious advice from pundits : Farming sector is burdened with too many people. That is why it became non-viable (Not because they deliberately made it non-viable). So 50 percent of them must be taken out of agriculture and employed elsewhere. World Bank also gave the same directive to Manmohan Singh 25 years ago. Who will employ the people taken out from agriculture? Should the government dump them in Bay of Bengal or Arabian Sea? If you ask these questions, the pundits will sidetrack the issue putting the blame on politicians, non-governance, corruption etc.

When massive corporate loans are written off regularly, selfish classes call that an incentive and imperative. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian justifies those waivers in fashionable language. Industrialists had failed not deliberately. In spite of their best efforts, they lost money due to reasons beyond their control, international economic crisis, recession, lack of demand in the market and so on and so forth. But farm loan waiver is cursed as leaky train/drain of tax payers money, because farmers are lazy & drunkards. And they have no problems like the ones faced by the industrialists. You need really an iron-like heart to forget the droughts, floods, price crash etc faced by the hapless farmers. No Arundhati Battacharya will grumble about damage to credit discipline; nor any dharmic lecture as a slap for those industrialists who repaid loans.

From 2004-05 to 2016-17, more than 55 lakh crore rupees worth tax concessions (Revenue Foregone) were given to corporates in a free market economy for nothing. Pure crony capitalism. No Pundit lectures the nation on using this mega freebie instead on infrastructure development. Nor any discourse that there can never be a Free Lunch. Sagacious advices like banks will fail, credit discipline will suffer, infrastructure can be built with this money etc. are not applicable to corporate freebies or loan waivers. So much for the neutrality of the so-called pundits.

As regards the building of rural infrastructure for helping the farmers: Punjab has the best roads and mundis. 98 percent of the land is getting assured irrigation. It is a world record. Punjabi farmers' productivity is comparable with their counterparts in the USA and China. Yet Punjabi farmers are in severe debt crisis. Will the classes respond why Punjabi farmers commit suicide despite the best infrastructure and productivity?

If you compare these pundits with pigs, it is real disgrace to the pigs. The anti-farmer pundits will shut their mouths only if the farmers greet them suitably.

Vol. 50, No.20, Nov 19 - 25, 2017