‘Ghar Waapsi’ programmes a ploy to push anti-conversion bill and the second round of Privatisation
The Ghar Waapsi (Home-coming to Hindu fold) movement is in fact a well thought out and well-planned attempt at bringing a new law which would make conversion almost impossible, and through the expected nationwide raucous, to silently roll through the second round of privatisation, says Dr. Javed Jamil. Read more about the ‘Games people play’…
‘GharWaapsi’ programmes are being organized with fanfare all over the country. The impression is being disseminated that hundreds of Christian and Muslim families are returning back to their ancestors’ religion. Not only the reports of the conversions through offers of money and other rewards are appearing thick and fast, there is also a distinct possibility of inflated claims about the numbers. There are also no proofs that those paraded are really Muslims or Christians.
Are Hindutva organizations really interested in Ghar Waapsi? The dominant possibility is that they are not. They very well know that if such open methods of attracting people towards their religions are adopted by Muslims and Christians, the chances of Hindus converting in big numbers are even higher. The Ghar Waapsi movement is in fact a well thought out and well planned attempt at bringing a new law which would make conversion almost impossible, and through the expected nationwide raucous, to silently roll through the second round of privatisation. The anti-conversion law, they believe, would ensure that the ratio of Hindus and other communities will not change in favour of other communities. By making Ghar Waapsi movement a big issue, they seek to force Christian and Muslim leaders to accept the anti-conversion bill. Already some Muslim panellists appearing on TV debates can be seen favouring the idea of the new Act.
Muslim and Christian leaders need to recognize the hidden motive, and they need to oppose any such move because it will be against the very essence of the Constitution, which recognizes Freedom of Conscience as a fundamental right of every citizen, and an ant-conversion act will amount to snatching this right away from him. What is to be ensured is not that no conversion takes place at all, but that no conversion takes place through force or lure of any kind.
The larger motive however is bigger, and the chances are that even other ‘secular’ parties may be privy to it. With the ‘Ghar Waapsi’ movement gaining momentum, the communal bomb seems to be heading towards huge explosion. This is the kind of the trigger which can explode the bomb within no time with a devastating effect on the country. When privatisation was sought to be introduced in 1980s, the communal agenda was set into motion with the launching of Ayodhya Movement. The country forgot about what was boiling at the economic front; and the political and social parties including the leftists busied themselves in combating the monster of communalism. This continued till the privatisation got fully entrenched. The situation was then allowed to settle down. Now, the second round of corporatisation seems to have begun. Privatisation is again in full swing, and every government scheme ‘good as well as bad’, is being tuned in to suit the interests of the big business.
The forces of the economics including the corporate and the government supporting them know the likely effects of the move on the public mind. They fear that the forces that are more concerned about the common people can embark upon a nationwide campaign against the corporatisation. It is therefore necessary that the public mind is kept busy somewhere else. What else can be the best option other than using the time-tested card of communalism? With the hatred engulfing the nation, the social forces and the political parties like Congress, Janata Parivar and Communists will again be busy in countering the communalisation. The forces of economics can play their cards without attracting the public attention. Once the second round is finished, the situation will be eased again for some years in wait of a suitable time for the next round.
According to the following report, the key areas which are being described as ‘reforms’ by the industry – remembering that ‘reforms’ almost always means the ways by which the big industrial giants can monopolise the wealth of the country – are as under:
FDI IN INSURANCE
The government needed an approval during a parliamentary session ending on Dec. 23 to allow overseas investors to hold a 49 percent stake in insurance companies, up from the current 26 percent cap. The law would also raise the cap for the pension industry. The opposition has not yet promised support needed to pass the law in upper house. The industry expects that raising the cap would result in $2 billion of inflows into insurance.
LAND PURCHASE RULES
The government wants to make it easier to buy land for infrastructure and industrial projects, possibly by exempting public-private partnerships from an act passed last year. Opposition parties are expected to resist. Modi could seek to change the law in a joint session of both houses of parliament or by decree early next year. Road projects alone worth $10 billion face delays overland disputes and other clearances.
Modi has moved to amend archaic labour laws, reducing regulatory interference while coaxing employees with more benefits. Earlier this week, parliament approved a bill to simplify the process of complying with 16 labour laws for small companies employing up to 40 workers by placing the forms online. The government will have to overcome union resistance to move forward on relaxing restrictions on hiring and firing.
GOODS AND SERVICE TAX
The government wants to move a constitutional amendment in the ongoing session of parliament, then win the consent of state assemblies to implement India’s first nationwide service tax union by April 2016. If successful, economists say the measure could add 2 percentage points to GDP growth. Most state governments are on board, but the main opposition Congress has still not given its backing. Consensus is still missing on the final GST tax rates’ recommendations vary from 16percent to 27 percent.
The government plans to raise nearly $9.5 billion by selling stakes in state-run and private companies including oil explorer ONGC and Coal India by March. Analysts doubt whether the target will be achieved. Market valuations are high and Modi seems determined to overcome labour union opposition to the Coal India sale, but the government has started the sell-off late in the financial year. Separately, the government has reiterated its commitment to lowering its stake in public sector banks, while retaining a majority holding. It has not given a timeline.
The government plans to cut wasteful subsidies on fuel, fertiliser and food, estimated at over 21 percent of total estimated revenue receipts in 2014/15. It has ended diesel subsidies and is waiting for a panel’s report to announce next steps, possibly in the annual budget in February. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has suggested subsidies on cooking gas could be slashed for the well-off.
Coal fields are due to be auctioned by February, followed by plans to allow commercial coal-mining for the first time, and to invite in foreign miners. The government used an executive decree to bring about the changes. Now it needs parliamentary support.
MOBILE, RADIO SPECTRUM
The government is planning the sale of mobile telephone and FM radio spectrum in early 2015?
Except for the Left parties, the present Indian political set-up including the so-called ‘Samajwadis’ are all the agents of the corporate, the difference being in the degree. The BJP of course remains the extreme right group in India. The Leftist movement has become too weak to withstand the onslaught of privatization. They had made the historical blunder by forgetting the economic agenda in the Communal Strife of the late 1980s and the early 1990s. There is hardly any possibility that they will not repeat the blunder. They would not understand that the biggest anti-dote to communalism will be to counter the monopolization of wealth. Even if they want, they are hardly in a position to mobilize the masses. Congress suffered defeat in the last elections primarily because the Corporate world had lost faith in its leadership. It is likely that they may opt for the faith of the corporate rather than mobilizing the masses against the steps that will accentuate Economic Disparity to new heights. Power, after all, is what everyone is aiming for.