It is a matter of common sense that when a country’s economy is damaged, the country itself is damaged. That’s one of the prime reasons why India’s adversaries indulge in economic terrorism—to bleed us by impeding our economic prospects. Financial stability is the bed rock of a country’s stability—which is why the Indian Constitution specifically provides for measures under article 360 stay clear of financial crises.
In this context, how safe is India under the BJP? The financial meltdown precedes the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the BJP came to power in 2014, the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) have been piling up and have seen a very clear spike. Wary of the BJP’s crony capitalism being exposed, the government has shied away from answering questions on the list of defaulters.
When the list of the top willful defaulters was sought by opposition leader Rahul Gandhi in a starred question in the parliament, both the Finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur brazenly refused to answer it. Concerned over this, prominent RTI activist Saket Gokhle filed a query with the RBI seeking the list of the top 50 willful defaulters.
The response from the RBI revealed that a massive Rs. 68,607 crores have been written off by the banks to the top 50 willful defaulters. A willful defaulter is a person or an entity who does not repay a bank loan despite having the ability to do so. It is no surprise therefore that list includes those who are very close to the BJP, including Mehul Choksi, who tops the list. And since the BJP came to power in 2014, the banks wrote off a whopping ₹6,60,000 crores.
With such a deep financial mess, created by the BJP in a bid to please its crony capitalist friends, the government has resorted to taxing the poor to keep the national coffers from running completely dry. It is ironic that BJP leaders want the term ‘socialism’ removed from the Indian constitution, (despite the term being present in the BJP’s party constitution). By fleecing the middle classes and the poor, the BJP is practicing socialism for the rich and leaving the vulnerable sections to the vagaries of the free (falling) markets. No wonder that despite the global crude oil prices plummeting, the government hasn’t reduced the prices of fuel.
The Modi government’s policies have weakened India’s economy so severely that we have had a demand slump for a long time now. Our savings and investment rates as a percentage have come down sharply and people are unable to purchase goods and services like they could in earlier years. In the bargain, millions of livelihoods are at stake.
For all its talk about nationalism, the BJP must know that at the root of national integration lies a robust economy. And for all its talk about subka saath subka vikaas, the BJP cannot abandon the middle classes and the poor. The fundamentals of our economy are decaying and the BJP is recklessly riding a tiger. If the BJP accepts that it is bereft of ideas, it can still reach out to the opposition. The BJP, particularly PM Modi in the past mocked the MNREGS, but realized its importance and meekly adopted it. And to bring India out of the demand slump, it can take a cue from Rahul Gandhi’s idea of NYAY scheme. It can do so in the best interests of India, which it claims to be defending and upholding.