The push to the right in economic policies was so evident that some speakers in the group even complained that the word socialism doesn’t find any mention in the draft discussion paper. Other speakers countered that social sector schemes in recent years, which were funded by economic growth, have been much more useful for the poor than the slogan of socialism. Mani Shankar Aiyar was one voice of dissent in the group, warning against cutting subsidies.
Union minister K V Thomas, who is piloting the food security programme, also said that commodities must be prioritised before offering subsidies. “While a subsidy on foodgrain is essential, that cannot be said about petroleum products,” he said.
There was widespread approval for the government’s recent move towards effecting a Direct Benefits Transfer regime. Participants pointed out that the regional parties — allies and non-allies — were taking credit for central schemes.
The panels on Emerging Economic and Political Challenges, Women’s Empowerment, India and the World, Emerging Political Challenges and the Organisation dealt with issues identified as crucial by the party and forwarded suggestions to the CWC, for incorporation in Jaipur declaration.