Niti Ayog vs SJM?

B. Sivaraman

Incidentally, Modi's desperation for raising funds by a fire sale of PSUs becomes easier to understand if you read this honest paper by Arvind Subramaniam. Arvind argues that the actual growth during 2011-12 to 2016--17 was just 4% and not 7% as claimed. At best it could be within the range of 3.5% to 5.5%. This means a secular stagnation--meaning long-term stagnation--had already set in Modi's in the first three years of first term and last two years for which revised CSO figures are not yet available could not have been different going by other indicators like exports, annual IIP figures and so on.

They want to pump prime the economy by raising funds through PSU sales but further inflating the already shrinking bubble economy would lead to other complications like inflation and renewed glut due to illusory growth. With RBI becoming an outpost of the Finance Ministry and an angry RSS Czarina loyal to Modi at the helm of the ministry the pliable Modi vassals in the central bank would only be too "liberal" in rate cuts and monetary expansion leading to an economic disaster. Imagine a Modi in a car without brakes pressing on accelerator!

The conventional understanding that deeper the economic crisis severe would be the electoral crisis of the ruling forces might have been proved wrong under fascistic conditions. Many in this generation of Indians have not witnessed a crash as in late 1960s which precipitated a revolutionary crisis what with a 3-year Plan Holiday, bank nationalisation, acute food crisis and the desperate launch of Green Revolution, MRTP & FERA, 26% inflation and so on leading to vertical split in the Congress, Congress defeat in 9 states and opposition coming to power with drastic alteration in federal balance of forces, a strike wave in all industrial centres like Mumbai, Chennai and Cacluttta, rural revolts like Naxalbari, and ultimately a war-based economy after the India-China war of 1962 and India-Pak war of 1965 pushing towards the war of 1971, an upsurge in jingoism and then dramatic victory of Indira Gandhi in 1972 polls followed by intensification of the crisis, unemployment, JP movement, Nav Nirman movement in Gujarat and the 1974 Railways strike and finally Emergency and 1977 and Indira back again in power in 1980 to bid farewell in 1984. Only difference is pro-Soviet "progressive" nationalism of Indira Gandhi has given place to right-wing Hindu nationalism.

The early dissident voice by a section of RSS bourgeoisie in SJM reflecting the Saffron petty-bourgeois sentiments might not be of any significance. For one thing, it doesn't have a very viable domestic or "nationalistic" bourgeois class base. The main growth engine today is the private equity flows by overseas investors and they totalled $29 billion in 2018 out of which venture capital investments in 748 deal in tech firms and start-ups totalled $11 billion. The main market is abroad. After Colgate, our Infosys is now dependent of Loreal, the global cosmetic firm, to keep itself going! What nationalism! But SJM might also be reflecting intensifying internal conflicts within the ruling establishment purely for "domestic" reason.

For instance, the debt of oil companies has run upto 1.62 lakh crores, the Air India debt alone is above Rs.55,000 crore and BSNL debt has crossed Rs.90,000 crore. I have compiled a huge list and the NPAs crisis is child's play compared to this corporate debt bomb. Total runs into lakhs of crores. What would be left for the corporates to loot from the public funds? It would be interesting to see what Superman Modi can do about it. Despite the 1972 victory, Indira Gandhi could only go for Emergency. Indira at least tried very substantial policy changes and even a whole regime change in the economy but what Modi can do except offering rhetoric? Modi might have rigged the poll results but he would have been aware of the actual anti-Modi sentiments as well. I think he might be on the defensive initially. If the bourgeoisie can dump Manmohan so thanklessly, they would do the same to Modi in months, if not days. See the media reaction to the arrest of journalists and the poll euphoria is already fading.

Who knows, intensification of the internal conflicts within the ruling establishment and even the politics of political assassinations would be back! Hopefully, within our lifetime, we can witness more eventful days. Fascism calls for out-of-the-box thinking!

The GDP figures for the latest quarter are out and they are really alarming. Just watch CNBC prime-time shows and you can see that it has sent shock waves through the economy. Investment decisions are all on hold. No matter whether there is another oil shock or not, no hope for recovery in the next two-three years. Modi's minions however are out to please the emperor by revising the GDP figures of the demonetisation year from 7.1% to 8.2%! Perhaps, 8% GDP figure is like some 8-inch fixation for the Indian elite!

How come such a large bunch in the ruling establishment turn into jokers suddenly? I am reminded of what I had read about the Weimar Republic and about the last years of Czarist empire or Mao Tse-tung's last days.

Manmohan was right when he predicted that demonetisation would bring down GDP by 2%. Just read the paper by Arvind Subramaniam and the former Chief Economic Advisor of Modi not just exonerates Manmohan but his report has much more than exposure of fiddling of GDP numbers by Modi's satraps.

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Aug 1, 2019

B.Sivaraman [email protected]

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