CRONY CAPITALISM: If you are friend of Modi you can get away with anything including blackening the face of Goa. If you fall out of favour you will be hounded by the CBI, ED and the Income Tax Department
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
The overwhelming feeling in the country is fear. At least in the US big business opposed to President Trump can talk and criticise. In India we are becoming like Putin’s Russia, where you may not see any evil, hear any evil or talk any evil against the government!
Throughout the Modi regime and particularly in the run up to the elections, all those who raise the slightest doubt over the BJP government’s performance live in fear. When Ruchir Sharma, a leading author and journalist, asked industrialists in India why they did not tell the PM that his policies were wrong, the response was “Marwana hai kya?”
This is in sharp contrast to what is happening in the US where some of the biggest companies in the world, ranging from Microsoft to Google to Facebook, are openly challenging the Donald Trump government. Unlike India where Opposition parties are labeled anti-national for even questioning the decisions of the PM, in the US dozens of Opposition representatives have questioned the need for a wall between Mexico and the US. The logic for the ‘Great Wall of China’-type wall — to be built for over $67 billion — is to have a concrete wall to prevent Mexicans from illegally entering the US.
Immigration has long been a hot topic in the US. The Development, Relief, & Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) bill was introduced in 2001 with the goal to provide a means for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children to gain a pathway to permanent legal status, provided those individuals fulfil certain conditions including: Attending or graduating from an institution of higher learning, having good moral character and not violating other immigration laws. Individuals who would have qualified under the DREAM Act are often referred to as “DREAMers.”
While the bill and subsequent versions have never managed to pass both Houses, Barack Obama passed an executive order allowing the Department of Homeland Security to implement the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, effective August 15, 2012, in hopes of providing some form of temporary relief to the DREAMers in the U.S.
With Trump trying to scrap DACA, the matter is before the Supreme Court. Trump also gave immigration practices a cruel twist when he separated illegal immigrant parents from children as young as five and put them in separate camps. Yet through this all, one thing that remains protected in the US is the right of ordinary citizens and big businesses alike to protest vocally against the government and its policies.
This is sharp contrast with India where students get arrested for Facebook posts and government contracts are awarded to those who toe the line.
India or Bharat or Hindustan as the RSS bhakts call it, has never been as divided as on the eve of the coming elections. The Citizenship Bill in Assam has provoked a major revolt. Taking advantage of the Citizenship Bill, Muslims in Assam and the North East, whether they are migrants or not, are being pushed back into Bangladesh. The Muslim community is bitterly divided not only over the holy cow which affected their main source of income, but also the triple talaq bill.
There are agitations among the dominant castes in every part of the country. The Marathas, who are descendants of Shivaji and are the most powerful socially and economically advanced group in Maharashtra, want reservations primarily for admission to government professional colleges. This is because generation next is not interesting in farming and with mechanization of farming the need for man power has dropped sharply. So literally there are no jobs for them and they have to work as coolies in the big cities. Similarly all over the North the Jats, who consider themselves the highest class next to the Brahmins, are demanding immediate reservations, threatening to abandon the BJP. The BJP is afraid of even losing their traditional Brahmin vote as they have reserved 10% of the seats for the economically backward classes. Unfortunately for the BJP, the Supreme Court has refused to permit either the Centre or the state to increase the reservation quota over 50%.
The main issue in the coming Lok Sabha elections is not the Ram Janmabhoomi or Swachh Bharat or Jan Dhan Yojana, but jobs. The main issues are roti, kapda and makan. Among the worst affected states when it comes to jobs is Goa. Ironically, Goa is setting up more and more education institutions. The IITAN CM has started an IIT in Goa. There is also a NIIT which has been functioning for more than five years without a regular campus of its own. There was only the Government Engineering College until about two decades ago. Now you have the Pilar Society College in Verna and the Don Bosco College of Engineering Technology in Assagao. There is also BITS Pilani in Goa which was set up so that the Birlas could keep the excess land that was given to them called Zuari Agro.
However, although colleges are multiplying, industry is at a standstill. There are no jobs for any of those who pass out of the super speciality IITs, NIITs and BITS. Because there are no reservations for Goan students, so even if they successfully get admission and successfully graduate, there are no jobs locally and they have to go to Bangalore or Pune in search of jobs. If Goa had one Infosys or Wipro it could have provided jobs for a majority of the engineers who passed out of Goa. But when Asim Premji, Chairman of WIPRO, came to visit Parrikar on his invitation, the latter kept him waiting for three days — a man who had other states offering land for setting up units, even without meeting him.
The only achievement of the successive Goa government is to supply computers, laptops and tablets to students of various levels. Most of them as admitted by the CM are sold on OLX. It is the poor families which retain the computers or laptops. The laptop and computers are given to the students not to promote computer literacy. It is done so that the Infotech Corporation and the minister in charge can make money.
Dr Sameer Kelekar, an international expert of cyber technology based in Bangalore, was offered the job of managing director of Infotech Corporation, ironically by Digambar Kamat’s son in law, Govindraj Dempo. The condition was that he would not interfere in the purchase of any computer equipment though he was very generously offered a share of the commission.
But why talk about colleges, when the majority of students are forcibly prevented from taking the 10th standard exam. Both private and government schools are very keen that they should get 100% results in the SSC. So weak students, who comprise almost 50%, get held back in the 9th standard exams. So what jobs can we offered to 9th standard pass or failed students? For that matter what jobs can we offer to 10th or 12th standard pass or fail students?
At least those who pass the 12th standard or get diplomas of the IITS can join the armed forces. Right now recruitment is going on for airmen, which is the lowest rank in the air force, at Bambolim. But Goans are busier celebrating the Carnival than fighting for the country. They will scrub the deck and cut onions in the merchant navy ships but they will not work for the Navy. They will not even join institutions like MICE which provides training at various levels at very reasonable price. There is of course no question of Goans working as mazdoors or helpers or unskilled labourers in Goa even though they can earn a minimum salary of
In Goa the situation is further complicated by the lack of faith in any party. The Congress is fighting among itself. The BJP is bitterly divided between the Parsekar group supported by Subhash Velingkar and the Tendulkar group. The Goa Forward does not know whether it is going forward or backward but bribed voters to extent of `27 lakhs by way of prizes for the free 4-day Carnival organised by Vijai Sardesai. The MGP is divided into two camps. PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar wants to join the BJP and become the CM, but the president of the MGP, his brother Deepak Dhavalikar, is against his deserting the Sanatan Sanstha. So the confusion is worse confounded and we do not know whether Goa will have a stable government even without Parrikar.