As the Budget Session began in the Parliament, the government finds itself beset with numerous troubles. If initial signs are to be believed, the government may find the going tough. After going on an ordinance spree after the failed Winter Session, the government is in a tight spot as if the ordinances are not ratified, they will soon lapse. While the government may reissue them once they lapse, it will draw flak from all corners of the political spectrum for doing so, and rightly so. Although the Congress is quite weak and has left no stone unturned to appear dumb after Rahul Gandhi’s unannounced sabbatical, it is working towards uniting other opposition parties to oppose all the ordinances of the government.
The most important of all the government’s ordinances is the one on bringing amendments to the draconian Land Acquisition Act passed by the previous UPA regime. This bill has been one of the chief reasons for India’s dismal Ease of Doing Business Ranking. The act has made it almost impossible to purchase land for industries stalling infrastructure projects worth millions. Credit must go to the present-day government for showing the political will to eliminate the clause which mandates that 70% of the farmers must give their assent for land acquisition to take place. By going the extra mile to show that it means business, the government has drawn criticism from all kinds of people and organizations.
Not only are the opposition parties united on this front, the RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) is opposing the government as well. Who would’ve guessed that the government would find its own people objecting its decisions? To make matters worse, Anna Hazare is planning to lead an agitation against the Modi government’s anti-farmer stand and Kejriwal is trying his best to score brownie points with his long-lost mentor by supporting this agitation. Kejriwal may not realize the position he is putting himself in by alienating the Central Government. So Delhi must gear up for dharna democracy again! Unsurprising is the stand taken by Shiv Sena who has desperately been trying to embarrass the government ever since its disgraceful snub by the BJP during the Maharashtra elections.
The government is finally on the right track as far as growth and development is concerned. It must not give in to these pressures now and instead try to deftly pass the legislation which will be a boon for India’s manufacturing sector. The government isn’t being anti-farmer by promoting this legislation as it is still limited only to projects approved under public-private partnership and the fair compensation clause has been upheld. If the rest of the nation wants to maintain status quo on this draconian act then we can safely conclude that we cannot change. If the government backs down at this stage, all the hopes it has generated since its election will be lost and it will lose support of the manufacturing sector. It is highly imperative for the government to somehow pass this legislation or else it is setting the wrong precedent. Any ground-breaking initiative it may lead tomorrow may fall through because the nation will have seen that the government gives in to arm-twisting.
Everything aside, the government is not helping itself by letting the RSS chief make highly controversial statements right before the start of the Budget Session. Mohan Bhagwat, who is no stranger to controversy, recently accused Mother Teresa of helping the poor solely for converting them to Christianity. He needs to stop getting his panties in a bunch over every idea of conversion. The RSS needs to realize that by doing this, it is causing headaches to the government. If the RSS is too stupid to realize this, the government must rein in these Hindu hardliners before they cause irreparable damage to its reputation. The government needs to distance itself from the RSS and make sure that every comment by Bhagwat is not seen as the official stance of the BJP. While it may be true that RSS is the BJP’s ideological mentor, BJP has come to power on the growth and development plank and not on its hardline Hindutva agenda. The government is in a fix now as it cannot alienate the RSS, whose grassroots network is unmatchable.
Modi must now show why the nation has placed his faith in him and must use all his political skill to drive the government out of this mess. Finally we have a government that is not hanging on to the deep-dish socialist ideology but the opposition is forcing it to adopt this attitude. Socialism has not ended wide-scale poverty anywhere, economic growth and development has. Unless manufacturing picks up and employment generation can match the population growth, we are going to be trapped by our subsidy-regime. The people want to be self-reliant and the government must know this.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”