Activists question displacement and dispossession of marginalised communities

Capitalism has widened economic disparity, say social and political activists, academicians and civil society members

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | June 22, 2018


#Medha Patkar   #Development   #Civil Society  


Questioning the development model pushed ahead for profit oriented growth, social and political activists, academicians, financial analysts and civil society organisations are holding a three day confluence of Peoples’ Convention on Infrastructure Financing in Mumbai.       

The meet was organised ahead of the annual meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), to hold AIIB and other international financial institutions accountable for causing displacement, dispossession, loss of livelihood, causing inequality and social unrest due to development.

Economist and Professor Dr Arun Kumar said that contrary to the government’s claims of 7% economic growth, the actual growth is only 1%. “The unorganised sector has been hit badly by demonetisation and GST. About 93% people work in unorganised sector where the output is 45%. As against this, there is 55% output from organised sector. With the negative impact of 45% output from unorganised sector it implies that today the rate of growth is less than 1% against the government claims of 6.5% to 7%,” he said. He also said that contrary to the government claims that digitalization is formalising the economy, digitization has hit the unorganised sector even further. “What good is the formalisation if jobs remain in unorganised sector,” he asked.

“There would not be an upsurge of a large population of farmers, traders, unemployed youth, Dalits and minorities if the economy was growing. Even the business community is suffering,” he said .

“Capitalism has widened economic disparities dramatically. Marketization is changing things rapidly and marginalizing democratic institutions. Consumerism is the new opium of masses. Technology has become the big disruptor and displacing a large no of jobs. Self- driven cars and vehicles and artificial intelligence on anvil in the next five to ten years will displace a large number of jobs. We are being led by that,” he said.

Journalist Sucheta Dalal said that irrespective of the government in power all have been pro capitalism, anti-people and done damage in the name of economic liberalism. She said that since 2008 money was indiscriminately given by nationalised banks to industrialists as loans. These industries faced manifold problems, the projects did not start and cases landed in courts. She added that the government writes off rupees 2.4 lakh crore of big corporate loans but any proposal to write off farmers loans creates a hue and cry in the country.” It is not correct to blame banks as when demonetisation was announced 10 public sector banks did not even have a managing director or a CEO.          

She also added that from the very beginning the entire focus of Aadhaar was to bring it to the stock market and banks. “When Aadhaar is fully implemented there will be a fee for every authentication. Despite the government pushing digital transaction it levies a charge’ she said.

Social Activist Ulka Mahajan said the government has no money for setting up health centres, school buildings, pucca roads and canals in villages. “The social sector spending is going down in Maharashtra. We made a request for making available Rs 26,000 crores for social sector but the request was turned down by the finance secretary. The government will rather spend Rs 42000 crores for Mumbai Nagpur Expressway which only saves 24 km as compared to existing highway,” she said.

She questioned if various industrial corridors that will occupy 40% of the nation’s space will provide as much employment to people who will be rendered jobless due to such development. Mahajan criticised the government for doing away with the PESA (The Provisions of the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1960, for land acquisition and said it was violating the constitution. “Laws related to labour, environment protection, are being manipulated and it is being ensured that local self- government institutions and democratically elected institutions do not interfere with the government’s model of development. The govt for denying data under RTI in the name of protecting business interests but making available the same to international companies,” she said.

“AIIB has created a superstructure, an ecosystem which acts as a complex web of shining terminologies and projects to attract investments  which actually is a smoke screen to hide the fact that there’s no human development happening. Most of the infrastructural projects like highways and expressways are being proposed to benefit car manufacturing companies,” said social activist Medha Patkar.

Speaking on the crackdown of activists by the government, Patkar said, "Show us one state where the people opposing the projects have not been jailed to raise their concerns about the environment and right to life and livelihood. Recently, people were fired upon in Thutthokodi, Tamil Nadu, when they demanded a pollution free environment to live.”

               

Comments

 

Other News

Cast your vote, not vote for caste

Once the schedule for the next assembly elections has been announced, there is a flurry of activity around building caste coalitions. This is more intense in the most populous state,  Uttar Pradesh, which is the most important state in India in any election, in view of its large population estimated a

Maharashtra cities dominate Smart Cities Mission #Streets4People Challenge

In a competition organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur and Aurangabad from Maharashtra are among the 11 cities selected for scaling up their pilot projects and creating permanent public infrastructure. #Streets4People Challenge was org

CNC, Admiral R Hari Kumar condoles deaths of three navy personnel

The three Navy personnel who succumbed to injuries caused by an explosion on board Indian Navy`s destroyer ship INS Ranvir have been identified as Krishan Kumar MCPO (master petty chief officer)I, Surinder Kumar MCPO II & AK Singh MCPO II. In a condolence message, Admiral R Hari Kumar s

Two Indias: One for the billionaires, one struggling for minimum wages

Oxfam India has this week released ‘India Supplement 2022’ with deserving caption ‘inequality kills’. The supplement discusses India’s governance structures that promote the accumulation of wealth by a few, while failing to provide safety netsto the rest of the population. The

Aditya Thackeray launches 2 Oxygen cylinder recharge points

After the oxygen crisis faced during the second wave of Covid-19, the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has now set up its own medical oxygen cylinder recharge projects.   On Tuesday, guardian minister Aditya Thackeray launched two of the BMC’s new medical oxygen cylinders r

How inequality keeps rising amid pandemic – and is killing people

The world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion (at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day) during the first two years of a pandemic while the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty. A new

Visionary Talk: Farmer`s Agitation, Rakesh Tikait with Kailashnath Adhikari


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter