empower india conference (Empower)
Venue: Palace Ground
|Event Date/Time: Mar 05, 2007|
Hopefully India is on the threshold of unprecedented economic development and military might. The country is posting record economic growth and titans of Indian business are on a buying spree overseas gobbling traditional European industrial companies. India as the emerging super power is the theme of the innumerable summits, seminars, discussions and workshops. With a booming sensex and the GDP growth poised to reach 8 or 9% some hype is understandable. There is boom everywhere, in real estate, infrastructure, energy generation etc. Shopping malls, golf courses, luxury goods and overachieving entrepreneurs have become the new icons of India shining. We have a vibrant and self assured culture and Indians are seen every where right from the bastions of capitalism to the clubs of the superrich.
But stopping malls do not nation make. While India accounts for close to a third of the world’s IT professionals it also home to a quarter of world’s undernourished. Behind the festooned arch dark and extremely inauspicious shadows linger. The National Sample Survey Organization has estimated that poverty in the country has declined by a mere 0.74% during the 11 year period ended 2004-05. The number of people below the poverty line has remained unchanged while the GDP grow at unprecedented rates. This clearly shows that the income disparities in the country are widening. The rise in the number of millionaires and multi-millionaires is no way reflect the reality of Indian economic “growth” The Human Development Index published by UNDP reveals that while India ranked appreciably higher in percentage GDP it is doing relatively much less with its income to improve human development. When it comes to qualities of life Indians of the higher rung of the society are parsimonious and do not share the benefits of growth.recent employment figures suggest that absorption of the Indian youth into the labour force is low.
The economic aftermath of such policies are also reflected on the environment. Indian paddies and wheat fields are known to be highly poisoned due to the reckless use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides .Indian water ways are highly polluted. Great rivers like the Ganga are cesspools of contamination. Some of the most polluted cities in the world are in India
The sizzling growth figures also hide extreme marginalization of a large number of people including the Muslims, the Dalits, the tribals, the women and some sections of the backward communities. Sachar Committee report has brought to the centre stage some of the unpalatable truths about Indian Muslim situation. They are the new underdogs of the country. Denied access to the national kitty they are languishing on the margins of the urban and rural habitats. Since Independence they have faced well planned and well executed riots in which they have lost lives limbs and property. The anti–Muslim pogrom engineered in Mumbai by the Sivasainiks in Dec 2 1992-Jan 1993 was noted for its ferocity and horror while the Gujarat genocide in 2002 was marked for its official patronage and mob terror. Only very few people who participated in arson and ritualistic murders where brought to book or punished. In Gujarat, Narendra Modi is still in power though he has been indicted by many institutions and agencies for abetting violence and for subverting the administration and unleashing the Hindutwa killers. The media have spread lies about the Muslim community creating a deep sense of alienation and fear among them sapping their creativity and desire to participate in nation building. They are severely underrepresented in Govt employment including PSUs. They have a disproportionately high representation when it comes to being in prison. There are just 3.2 percent Muslims in police forces. Their number in the armed forces is considered to be so low that the defense authorities are afraid to divulge the real figures. Most of the Muslim majority villages have no primary schools. Their access to clean drinking water is very limited. India figures with three other countries (one is Pakistan) which significantly account for a large proportion of out- of- school children.
Dalits do not fare better. The National Human Rights Commission in its report on the prevention of atrocities on the Scheduled Castes (2002) said that there is virtually no monitoring of the implementation of the Acts to prevent atrocities on Dalits. Every two hours a Dalit is assaulted, every day three Dalit women raped, two Dalits murdered and two Dalit homes torched. Not a single Dalit is working as newsreader or anchor in the electronic media .Their representation in English and majorlanguage newspapers is abysmally low. Human rights violations have become very common. Extra legal executions by the police are glorified as efficient police work.
. The farmer suicides, the rise of militant groups in the various parts of the country and the increase in the oppressive measures adopted by the state are nothing but symptoms of the lopsided economic policies of the ruling class... Leftists, the so called the guardians of peoples rights, have turned right garnishing their neo-liberal policies with leftist terminology. West Bengal is a case in point. India usually comes to the top of the list of most corrupt countries.Fraud levels are considerably higher at 42 % against the global level of 27%
The upper castes control all the levers of political and socio-economic power including executive, legislature and judiciary. In the armed forces they are heavily represented in the officer class. In media they control everything .
The neo-liberal policies of the govt. have ruined the traditional industries and agriculture. Over two thirds of Indians live in villages and they are depending upon small scale agriculture. The no-liberal development models do not pay proper attention to the traditional arts and crafts. Also it is afraid of people and wants only to skim the cream off the milk. The IT metropolises in India do not really give employment to India’s teaming millions. The new maharajas do not represent India and the ruling upper caste elite with the help of the loyal subservient media do an excellent cover up job.
On the political front the situation is hardly encouraging. We have been able to develop a fairly supple political system and have enviable record of holding elections on time. But for the brief period of Emergency the country has retained a vibrant democratic system. However India democracy has also fallen victim to the wheeler dealers working at national and state capitals. People with no grass roots level support manipulate the system and the common man is left with no option but to cast his ballet in favor of the corrupt and the privileged. It is a common place now that all the political parties except the leftists send regularly to the legislatures people with criminal background.
The rise of Hindutwa fascism has also made deep inroads in to Indian polity. The social fissures created by industrialization and unbansation have helped the Hindutwa forces to spread the tentacles to all spheres of public life. The pan- Indian concept promoted by the Sangh Parivar is also attractive to the by business houses with vision of an all India market with no tax or movement constraints.
Still greater is the threat from neocolonial powers led by the United States. India’s withdrawal from anti-colonial international fora her rejection of ethical foreign policy positions shows the strength of the current nexus between India and the US. Israel, the out law state has already penetrated in to various departments of the Indian security administration and her covert interaction with the Hindutwa forces are known to be behind many ‘terrorist’ attacks. Our defence spending has increased manifold due to ill conceived security perceptions fuelled by pro -US lobby. Under NDA rule India became Israel’s prized defence buyer and the trend continues. In 2005 we purchased weapons worth USD 2.4 billion from the Zionist entity.
It is high time that the people of India come forward and reverse the broken socio-political and economic model that enriches the few, feeds corruption, devastates many and contributes to the general decline of the country. A balanced, ethically sound, equitable and sustainable model is to be developed.