On 14th May 2022, Mr. P. Chidambaram, the former finance minister of India and one of the prominent leaders of the Congress, opined that the state of the Indian economy is a ‘‘cause of extreme concern’’ and called for a ‘‘re-set’’ of the country’s economic policies. He made these statements while addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the two-day ‘Chintan Shivir’ of the Congress held in Udaipur, Rajasthan. He said, inter alia, that ‘‘A Congress-led government ushered in a new era of liberalisation in 1991. The country has reaped enormous benefits in terms of wealth creation, new businesses and new entrepreneurs, a huge middle class, millions of jobs, exports and lifting 27 crore people out of poverty during a 10-year period. After 30 years, it is felt that, taking into account global and domestic developments, it may be necessary to contemplate a re-set of the economic policies… the Congress ‘‘certainly is not stepping back’’ from liberalisation but’’ is stepping ahead in the post-liberalisation era’’. (The Economic Times, 14 May 2022)
The contradiction in his statement is glaring. How could a country that ‘‘has reaped enormous benefits in terms of wealth creation’’ at the same time produce ‘‘rising inequalities’’ and ‘‘extreme poverty’’? How has a significant portion of the population pauperized so that the government had to ‘‘lift 27 crores of people’’ among them ‘‘out of poverty’’? Have those ‘‘lifted’’ been leading a human life? Have the factors leading to such maladies been eradicated from the social life? Unless these questions are answered, the ‘‘cause of extreme concern’’ will remain as it was before resulting in still greater ‘‘wealth creation’’ associated with further ‘‘rising inequalities and extreme poverty’’. Secondly, citing facts in regard to all-embracing economic crisis engulfing the country, he accused the BJP of being ‘‘clueless on the ways to deal with these developments’’. (The Indian Express, 14-05-2022).
Perhaps, he himself has no clue either because the policy of liberalization-globalization which the Congress ushered in 1991 and went on following during its tenures afterwards is only avidly pursued by the BJP and the burning problems tearing people apart are all bred by that policy. It does not require much intelligence to understand that more and more concentration of wealth in the hands of a few rich presupposes rapid pauperization of the people at large. Wealth creation and poverty are two sides of the same coin, an irreconcilable contradiction inherent in capitalist mode of production whose motive is to maximize profit of capitalist owners through ruthless exploitation of labour.
No bourgeois economist, scholar or political leader subservient to oppressive reactionary corrupt obsolete capitalist order ever dares to admit this reality. So, has not Mr Chidambaram as has not BJP Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman either.