“God chooses certain people to do the difficult work. I believe god has chosen me for this work. Now I only need your blessings. Give BJP 60 months to change India’s future”: Modi demagogued in 2014. But eight years of BJP rule was over. What has changed in India?
Modi, who came to power by unleashing jumlas such as abolishing black money, $ 5 trillion economy, 2 crore jobs and doubling farmers’ income, has left the working people of this country without any means to survive. Today, the country understands the true meaning of his statement ‘I will change India’.
Every family in the country struggles to make their ends meet. The price of petrol, which was Rs. 66 in 2014, is now approaching Rs. 110; the price of LPG cylinder, which was Rs. 400, is now nearing Rs. 1,100. The prices of essential commodities are rising exorbitantly due to increase in petrol-diesel prices and increase in GST.
The Modi government has hiked the taxes on packaged food items, including milk, curd and rice, to 5%. The prices of oils and pulses are already bad. After increase in GST, tea which was sold at Rs. 10 had now increased to Rs. 12. Even idlis and dosas which are sold at push carts for Rs. 5 & Rs. 10 have increased by a rupee or two. The BJP has made us strive hard even to half fill our stomachs.
Modi said that he would eradicate poverty. But, it is in the Modi-led BJP regime that poverty is thriving. According to a 2019 report published by the World Poverty Clock, India ranks third in the list of countries with extreme poverty. India is also ranked second among the countries with the highest number of poor people. 68.8% of India’s population lives on an income of less than Rs. 160 a day.
According to a study by the Hindrise Foundation, more than 20 crore Indians go to bed hungry every night. More than 7,000 people die of hunger every day, the report said.
In the last eight years, 12.5 crore people lost their jobs. According to a report by the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy and the Azim Premji University, 57% of the workers have lost their jobs in rural areas and 80% in urban areas. In the last May-June, within a one-month span, 1.6 crore people lost their jobs. This did not happen just because of corona. This is the result of Modi’s anti-people policies.
An example for this is demonetization in the name of curbing black money. Soon after the announcement of demonetization, the wholesale market was closed for about 20 days and the sales had stopped. This forced the factories to stop production. Many micro-small scale industries which incurred losses were closed down. 35 lakh people lost their jobs. There was a loss of Rs. 2.25 lakh crore in the value of GDP.
Moreover, after this move, 99.3% of the demonetized money had returned to the banks. But, as many as 140 people died while standing in queues to exchange the demonetized money.
Introduction of GST taxation was the next attack. According to a survey conducted by the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in July 2018, one-fifth of the 6.3 crore micro-small scale enterprises saw a decline in their profits by 20% after the implementation of GST. It is to be noted that thousands of workers had to be laid off.
Similarly, according to an estimate by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, 50 lakh workers had lost their jobs in the year of implementation of GST. As a result, India’s unemployment rate rose from 4.1% in July 2017 to 6.4% in August, i.e. within a single month.
These micro-small scale industries account for 32% of the Indian economy. While agriculture is being destroyed, the organized industrial sector provides less than 10% employment. This is how the micro-small scale industries, which provided job to about 40% of the population, were systematically eliminated under the Modi regime.
Unemployment is rampant. It has risen to 7.83%. The rate of unemployment among the younger generation between the ages 15 and 19 is over 50%.
In the two years between 2018 and 2020, 25,000 people committed suicide due to debt crisis, unemployment and business crisis. Instead of calling it as suicide, we can call it as genocide perpetrated by Modi’s pro-corporate policies.
The magnitude of labourers migrating within the country from their home states without adequate employment and the failure of agriculture is increasing day by day. Without any rights, these workers who work as wage labourers live like refugees within their country. In March, the Modi government itself told in the Parliament that there were 10 crore inter-state migrant workers.
During the CoViD-19 pandemic, migrant labourers were the worst sufferers of the lockdown announced by Modi without any prior notice. Hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers walked hundreds of miles across the country with no food and money. Many died on the way, because of starvation. The news of the unjust death of starved workers lying on the rails shook our hearts. In 2020 alone, 8,733 people died.
As a result of privatization policies, all the public sector undertakings are being handed over to the private sector. Even those who work in the government jobs also live in fear of their jobs being taken away. Moreover, in the name of amendments to the Labour laws, the entire rights, including the rights of the workers to join unions, are being taken away. Contractualisation takes place even in the army in the name of ‘Agnipath’. This is a prelude to the fact that from now on, all the government jobs will be turned into contracted bonded labour.
The Modi government is pursuing the task of destroying the farmers in many ways. Funds for agriculture are being cut off in the budget every year. Food, fertilizer and petroleum subsidies continue to be cut. Lakhs of farmers have committed suicide in the last eight years due to continuous deception by the Modi government. In 2014-2020 alone, 9.5 lakh farmers committed suicide.
The Modi government, which had said it would double farmers’ income, amended the farm laws to eliminate the minimum support price (MSP) and allow corporates to take over agricultural land and agriculture. The farmers laid siege to Delhi and protested for nearly two years and made Modi bow down. More than 500 farmers lost their lives in this struggle.
The Modi government gave a written assurance while repealing the farm laws that they would fulfill the farmers’ demand for a legal guarantee of minimum support price. But following the months of no action, the Modi government has now set up a committee consisting of those who supported the farm laws.
The fascist devilish rule is attacking the country and the working people with innumerable anti-people and corporate welfare policies including the farm laws, labour law amendments, NEEM-FTE schemes, Marine Fisheries Bill, allowing 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, GST, Environment Impact Assessment Act, tariff for groundwater, Electricity Amendment Act, New Education Policy, NEET and many more.
BJP is waging a proxy war against farmers, labourers, fishermen, small and marginal traders, students and youth from all walks of life during every moment of its rule. Working people cannot live in peace without putting an end to this fascist regime.