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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

India needs alternative policies, not leaders: CPM

IANS  New Delhi, August 22, 2013
First Published: 20:04 IST(22/8/2013) | Last Updated: 20:07 IST(22/8/2013)

India does not need alternative political leaders but "alternative pro-people policies" to overcome its economic woes, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said on Thursday.

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"What the country needs is not alternative political leaders. What the country needs is alternative pro-people policies," the CPI-M's mouthpiece People's Democracy said in an editorial.

Without naming Narendra Modi, the CPI-M editorial titled Back to Square One, said that India Inc had thrown its weight behind the Gujarat chief minister's attempt to become the prime minister.

Corporate India, it said, wanted a "strong leader" who could be decisive to take actions that can facilitate their interests even at the expense of forsaking democracy, human rights and civil liberties. 

"Given the BJP's commitment to international finance capital-led globalisation and its neo-liberal economic reforms, sections of corporate India seem to be hoping that their fortunes will improve under the BJP's current poster boy."

The editorial said it had warned two years ago that the slowing down of the Indian economy could well lead up to a situation similar to that India found itself in 1991.

"Today, two years later, indeed, the Indian economy appears to have come back to square one."

The CPI-M demanded to know if the government was preparing the ground for seeking a bailout package again from the International Monetary Fund, with the accompanying conditionalities.

It pointed out that there was a contraction of domestic demand in the economy. 

"This is not surprising given the relentless rate of inflation and the substantial cuts in subsidies meant for the poor in the name of fiscal consolidation."

Domestically, it said, the purchasing power in the hands of the people was drastically declining, shrinking the domestic demand as a consequence.

"By merely making available funds or opening up further avenues for foreign investment without increasing domestic demand will only channel these funds into speculative activities rather than productive investments.

"This is evident from the recent experience of astronomically high prices of real estate and gold in our country. 

"The rich are parking their money in such avenues that are called valuables. Additionally, they expend their monies in obnoxious conspicuous consumption like lavish wedding celebrations.

"Such a tendency of parking surpluses in unproductive valuables is also responsible for the surge in the demand for the US dollar and foreign currencies. 

"The rich have begun to save in foreign currencies rather than the Indian rupee given the current economic slowdown, uncertainties and sharply diminishing avenues for profit maximisation.

"The current high rates of inflation and relatively lower rates of interest makes little sense for the rich to save in Indian rupees.

"This surge in the demand for the US dollar is a major factor in driving up the price of foreign currencies and making the rupee value tumble."


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