Being forced to recognise a slump in GDP growth rate to 5.8 percent in the last quarter of last financial year, the Pre-Budget Economic Survey tabled by FM Nirmala Sitharaman today has predicted a GDP growth rate of 7 percent for the fiscal year 2019-20. The Survey that calls for a further deregulation of the labour market by curtailing workers’ rights and speeding up of ongoing labour law amendments for laying red carpet for FDI at more liberalised terms, is only a prelude for the far-right Budget that is going to be tabled in parliament tomorrow.
The ultra-neoliberal suggestions highlighted in the Economic Survey which will find their concrete manifestations in the coming Budget, in brief outline, is a blueprint for taking off India to achieve Modi’s vision of $ 5 trillion economy by 2024 and a 10 trillion economy by 2032.This is to be achieved through profound changes in the Indian economy by opening up the floodgates of private corporate foreign capital. It is for this that the Survey calls for a “departure from traditional economic thinking”, though obscurantist psychological remedies for shoring up tax collections give a Sanghi touch to the whole analysis. At a time, when the world economy is experiencing a downturn and Indian economy is stagnating with negative growth rate in agriculture and allied sectors and other employment-generating sectors and inequality is all-time high, call for an emulation of the Chinese export-driven model for achieving 5 trillion economy by 2024 is only wishful thinking.And the Economic Survey’s appeal for unleashing and “pushing up the animal spirits” of corporate capital including removal of all restrictions to FDI is going to be the biggest challenge before the workers, peasants and all toiling and oppressed people of India.
K N Ramachandran
CPI (ML) Red Star
4th July 2019