A Quick Fix For Rebellion, Revival, Onion Woes And Other Challenges

Raman Swamy

Just because the Prime Minister is busy in Brazil and the Home Minister is busy holding crisis-management meetings with Haryana CM, Karnataka CM, Maharashtra ex-CM and Kashmir Lt-Governor, doesn’t mean the other central ministers should just sit back doing nothing to tackle the onion price rise.

Everyone knows that rising onion prices are a political hot potato in India, not just a mundane economic problem. When housewives in Jamshedpur are asked to pay 80 rupees for one kilo it is a serious matter of concern that could alter the election dynamics in Jharkhand.  

When 75 tonnes of onions are dumped by traders on the streets of Bangalore as waste every day because common people cannot afford the exorbitant prices, it is harmful to Yediyurappa’s image on the eve of by-elections and makes it even more difficult to give a positive spin to the Supreme Court’s hard-to-figure-out  verdict on disqualification of defector MLAs. 

What are the NDA allies doing to help with the onion crisis?  Ram Vilas Paswan who is the Consumer Affairs Minister has simply told MMTC to import onions from abroad and then gone away to Bihar to install his nephew Prince Raj as LJP president and to Jharkhand to instruct his son Chirag Paswan to field 50 LJP candidates in the assembly elections in direct violation of coalition dharma. 

After Thackeray’s mutiny in the West and Paswan’s treachery in the East, and also the ingratitude of Dushyant Chautala in the North and Rajnikanth’s needless outburst in the South, it is becoming very clear that NDA allies are not only unreliable but positively dangerous.  

There is no other option before the BJP but to stand alone and fight.  Even though the 1.25 crore people of the country have voted the Modi government back to power,  a small handful of the population - perhaps totalling no more than 0.10 crore --  are bent on creating problems.  

Unfortunately, this small fraction of anti-national elements happen to be powerful and vocal  --  they include Opposition leaders like Sonia, Sharad,  Sitaram and Stalin, Mamata,  Mehbooba and now Uddhav.   They also include ignorant farmers and factory workers who are incapable of understanding that a New India cannot be built without a few sacrifices. On the March to Progress a little blood must spill and it is the patriotic duty of peasants, workers and petty shopkeepers to suffer in silence even if their livelihood is lost and their sons are without jobs.  That’s what nationalism is all about. When will they ever learn?   

The same applies to industrialists. When will they ever learn that if India is to become a three-billion-dollar economy, it is up to them to pull up their socks and to stop whining?  How long can the government keep doling out sops and stimulus packages?  Is the government responsible for the 4.3 percent drop in industrial production?  No, it is the business community and the investor class. 

Why can’t entrepreneurs behave like entrepreneurs?  They should be willing to take risks. Banks are flush with funds.  They should take loans, start new factories and provide jobs to millions and thereby revive the economy in an instant.  Instead of doing that, what do they do?  They grumble about lack of consumer demand; they drastically scale down on production and announce massive lay-offs.  This only slows down the economy even more than it already has.  

Although it needs to be said that all this talk of economic slowdown is nothing but Opposition propaganda. As Howdy Modi said in Houston, all is well. India is still the fastest growing economy in the whole world.  All this pessimism about sharp fall in GDP, sharp fall in revenue collection, steep rise in fiscal deficit, steep rise in unemployment, etc.  are very misleading.  The calculations are based on erroneous data and deep flaws in the statistical methods put in place by corrupt governments of the past.  Even the latest official data showing that the annual economic growth rate has sharply slowed down to 5 percent in the June-July-August quarter from over 8 percent till a few years ago, means nothing at all.     

The government has thought of a solution to the problem of dismal data.  Early next year, the Central Statistics Office will make a big announcement.  The base year is going to be changed.   The entire GDP series of 2011-12 base year will be replaced by a new set of National Accounts using 2017-18 as the base-year.

The CSO chief statistician has already announced that the new era will be ushered in as soon as the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the Annual Survey of Industries are completed. 

The moment 2017-18 becomes the base year, numbers will be magically transformed.  India will be back on the fast growth trajectory.   Business confidence will revive dramatically.  Investment climate will improve like never before.  Hopefully, onion prices would have stabilized by the time.  Most important of all, Opposition parties will be forced to stop talking about slowdown, slowdown, slowdown all the time.  NDA allies will fall in line and become as meek as before.  And peasants and workers will join the national chant of ‘Modi Hai To Mumkin Hai’.

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Nov 15, 2019

Raman Swamy

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