The Folly of Class Struggle
I subscribe to Marxist ideology & the class struggle is the cornerstone of Marxism, Lenin his debate with Mensheviks repeatedly pointed out that Marxism without the concept of class struggle is hollow. So, years ago, for want of a better alternative, like a mass revolutionary movement In India started waging a class war on all my near & dear ones including friends & neighbours.

I started segregating people into 'friends of the people' & 'enemies of the people'. Into good, bad & the ugly. If Indians are famous for asking your caste in their first meeting, I would start off by asking people: To which class do they belonged? Are they with me or against me?"

First to be consigned to the 'enemy camp' were majority of my family members followed by my relatives. All from the trading class. A couple of them were 'big bourgeoisie' for half a century while one member was still in the formative stage. They were followed by kulaks of whom, I had a bunch among my friends. Next to go were the liberals & the 'khaki chaddiwalas' (no offense meant!) who comprise the bulk in my neighbourhood.

Among my friends in the left circle the job was a little difficult. There was a lot of overlapping & confusion. Like Maoists are against Khrushchev but have a love & hate relationship with Stalin. Trotskyites swear by Lenin but are mortal enemies of Stalin & Mao. While Khrushchevites though Leninists in words but in deeds betray Lenin. The Titoites dislike Stalin but have a soft corner for Mao. Only Bhagat Singh & Che are universal favourites of everybody. Who to disregard then & on what basis? All were ultimately in the Marxist camp!

Fortunately, I had diligently read Lenin & Enver Hoxha. Both Lenin & Hoxha had characterised these Marxist trends—Trotskyism. Titoism & Maoism as 'petty bourgeois'. As per Lenin, they were the 'agents of the bourgeoisie' in the working class! So out they went from my friend list.

The most difficult was to part ways with my bureaucrat friend. Tall, dark & handsome. A follower of Plato. Suave, cultured & dignified. A great story teller with a phenomenal memory. & his English easily rivalled that of Bertrand Russell. In comparison to him I was more like Hindi medium types. A Sudama. & he—the king.

Ludwig Feuerbach said: "Man thinks differently in a palace and in a hut. Interacting with the creme de la creme while serving in the government had turned him into an aristocrat. The intimacy of friendship, Jacques Oerrida wrote, lies in the sensation of recognizing oneself in the eyes of another. We simply no longer viewed the world through the same lens. His worldview was elitist while mine was proletarian. In the end, I decided to make myself scarce.

Now, in my 53'" year of my life I finally realise the pitfalls of waging a class war.My folly was driven home to me when recently I found myself on the wrong side of the law. I was forced to seek help from the very 'liberate.' on whom I had cast a disapproving look till the other day. So much for my class struggle!
Manu Kant, Chandigarh

Privatisation of Healthcare
Privatisaton of healthcare is no solution. One may learn from Delhi's Mohalla Clinics. But Niti Aayog is going ahead with the idea of large-scale privatisation of health-care system.

Well-known social and political activist Dr Sanueep Pandey, taking strong exception to the Niti Aayog plan to hand over district government hospitals to private players, has said that it should remember that  "some of the best, most efficient and inclusive healthcare systems in the world are government-run".

Citing the examples of countries like Canada, Iran and Sri Lanka, which it says are "shining examples" of healthcare systems, Dr Pandey, in a statement as a senior office bearer of the Socialist Party (India), says, "In India, too, the current Delhi government has made remarkable strides in improving access to quality healthcare".

The statement, also signed by Surabhi Agarwal and Bobby Ramakant, says, the Delhi government's "significant investments in close to 200 primary healthcare centres around Delhi, called Mohalla Clinics, and ensuring they are well-staffed and properly equipped", suggests what Niti Aayog should actually be recommending.

Pointing out that "in 2019, the Delhi government allocated 14% of its budget to healthcare", the statement says, as against this "the Indian government's per capita expenditure on healthcare is among the lowest in the world and in the South Asian region".

Delhi government allocated 14% of its budget to healthcare as against Government of India's 2.5% of Central budget.

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that countries should spend at least 4-5% of their GDP on health to achieve optimal healthcare outcomes, the statement says, "In the current central budget, the percentage of funds allocated for healthcare is 2.25%. This comes to about 1.41 of the GDP".

Noting that this stands in sharp contrast to the spending about 10% of India's budget on defence, the statement continues, "In the absence of the political will to provide adequate healthcare, while placing the blame on the system's financial resources and bad governance" cannot Wash'?

The statement believes, "Privatisation can only lead to superficial improvement.*, while inevitably reducing access for most-in-need by driving up costs, taking us even further from the goal of universal healthcare", insisting, those who would suffer most are "people belonging to marginalised communities".
Lubra Sarwath, Hyderabad

One Nation, One Ration Card
The interstate portability facility under the One Nation One Ration Card initiative will be accessible only at a reasonable price shop with a completely online e-POS machine. Union Minister Ram Viias Paswan has said that the provision of 'one nation, one ration card' will be introduced in the country from 1st June 2020. This scheme will cover large scale migrant workers and especially needy people. Through this initiative, eligible receivers will be able to avail their food grains from any regular cost shop in the country using a ration card under the National Food Security Act.

Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Viias Paswan also announced in the Lok Sabha that the facility will be accessible only after biometric or Aadhaar verification on the e-POS ; device. The interstate portability department under the One Nation One Ration Card initiative will be available entirely at a fair price shop with a completely online e-POS machine.

Minister Ram Vilan Paswan has stated that the initiative will start from 1st June over the country. This information was given by the Union Minister in response to supplementary raised by Ganesh Singh and some other members during the question hour in the Lok Sabhagu. Paswan said that at present, a posh machine facility has been introduced in 14 states for ration cards. He also said that the facility would be begun soon in the other 20 states and union territories. He also stated in the Lok Sabha that the government's goal is to start the initiative of 'one nation, one ration card' by June one'. He said the target will be achieved by the government.

He said that the new system will ensure that if any person goes from one place to another, he should not have any difficulty in getting ration. The new system will also eliminate bogus ration cards. Paswan further said that in 11 states including Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh, it would be easier for ration cardholders to get cheaper ration in case of moving from one place to another within the state. Point of Sale (POS) machines are already engaged at ration shops in these states.

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Vol. 52, No. 42, April 19 - 25, 2020