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While Everyone is Free to Complain, FM’s Measures May Still be Wise and all That a Government with Responsibilities Could do in COVID Time

Carrying on with the discussion on the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements last week on the government’s move to uplift the economy, with the onus on government servants to spend during the festive season to boost demand, all is not yet said. There are many concomitant factors one may have to consider, and in the final analysis maybe have to swallow the bitter pill of reality, and not economic theory, that Indian poverty is when seen on a broader spectrum. Firstly, it’s a Covid situation. No one asked for it; it came by itself, and if anyone is to be blamed it would be China, where a Chinese woman virologist, working at the Wuhan lab in 2019, has even claimed it was a deliberate act of mischief involving the Chinese higher echelons. Again even if we assume the government did not spend much on the path of economic recovery, we must also know that the poor, even without the virus, have very little to spend. So the majority of the people do not have buying power. GST also has seen a shortfall as no one is willing to spend as they are not earning. Under the circumstances the government has run out of revenue.

Also, as being argued, the government employees are the only section which has assured income and if the government is trying to boost economic demand by making this section spend, it’s not a very bad idea either. Though everyone would wish the infusion would have been quick and give fast results, borrowing from the market also implies future debts. Money doesn’t come for the asking and spending on the Indian masses is no small task, though any government would certainly wish to, during these times. Things have to be taken optimistically and one would expect that the government sector fulfils its responsibility of providing a boost to the economy. Already there are indications that the state governments and the private sector may also be successfully roped in to the LTC and festival advance schemes.

One big plus point that goes in the favour of the ruling government is that there has been no pretence on its part, though the bye-elections in a few states, including Manipur, and Assembly elections in Bihar are nearing. The government has not tried to play to the gallery, and has restricted its ambitions to remain within its means which shows that it is not altogether not thinking about the issues that are currently on it’s, and other parties’, agenda. It’s a Hindu based, but majority elected, proletarian government, and maybe it has in mind that the people would put faith in it and bear out the situation till a time, hopefully soon, when the economy would scale up again. Hence, it may not be that they have given up on the poor, but circumstances are quite providential and maybe beyond response to human machinations. And India’s a poor country, after all, we must remember. For the present extent of the pandemic – deaths and all, one could not blame the government so much without being unjust to them for no crime of theirs’.

The second plus point is that the government is not known to be associated with any corrupt dealings, in a way the previous Congress regime, if one may say so, was indebted to corruption as a tool for remaining a populist government, till it crashed, and the party arrived at the present status of being an almost political non-entity. The opposition is non-enlightened today and whatever visibility it has is only by virtue of, not rededication, but because of some loose-ends that inevitably accompany even the best of governments in everyday work. That would be the depreciation if any, but it seems to be nothing that would amount to any noticeable figure that may cause depletion of the ruling government’s electoral strengths, even if the opposition may see a flicker of hope there. But again this would be against the backdrop of completeness of moral repercussions that the country was exposed to when even religion, or the misleading representation of it, was peddled blatantly, and which the present government was entrusted to repair in its preceding landslide first term win. And the urgency with which that moral dilemma needed to be addressed still remains a lingering and brazenly convoluted economic legacy most businesses are trying to be freed of till today to regain their moral credibility. That fact can’t escape perusal from any parameters while we judge policy at any future moment, and especially in Corona times. And then there can be no premeditated steps that could help the country recover from the present situation. We could only be thankful it wasn’t as bad as it could still be. Nobody knows how the medical research one is banking on could be playing out in the coming year.

Also, overall and intellectually, we cannot consider matters only from the viewpoint of a socialist benediction which seems all too nice to think about but was never in tune with times, or still further, with the freedom which currency allows in today’s global trade and employment. One can’t stymie the instinct to earn and grow, and socialist tendencies could only defeat individuality and enterprise which are the hallmark of any profile now in this age. Socialism tends to become coarse and tyrannical, even violent, and tries to conform in matters of labour and returns and doesn’t meet the aspirations of a liberal market and free enterprise. No business is going to rely on socialist ideology and the biggest failing would be that it would have to depend on politicians. Socialism is only a political device for only campaigning. We can have requisite and growth orientated taxes but can’t ask business to be egalitarian – that would go against the grain of the money making instinct present in every human being.

Here, we can mention, there is requisite delineation of politics and business in this government, and that factor appeals to both active fronts. Well, there’s more announcements on economic measures supposed to be coming soon from the finance minister and one would only hope and pray the pandemic subsides, and life resumes normalcy. We have seen very less of the ruling government and it’s not the end of it. The economy is expected to bounce back after the virus and no one is largely starving in Manipur at least. Also, it’s a good time to be having some of the important bye-elections in the state.

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