‘Disinvesting’ Dalit-Bahujans

If the Government is corrupt, can anyone expect disinvestment of public sector units to be fair enough?

Take any case of disinvestments done by the government, each and every disinvestment move has genrated controversy or it would be better if I say a fraud happened in each & every disinvestment move. Here are few examples -

BALCO, a profitable public sector aluminum company was sold out at throwaway/peanuts price. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)’s report has shown that fair valuation was not done before the commencement of the disinvestment process. The Sterlite Company that acquired BALCO earned almost the same amount in profit at which they purchased it in just few years!

Mostinteresting fact is that Sterlite Company sold scrap/waste material at much higher price which was not at all a matter of deal for them. 2000 workers were laid off claiming that their contracts had expired. Disinvestment of BALCO has completely failed!

Another failed example of disinvestment is Hotel Corporation of India (HCI). The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)’s report has again pointed towards massive corruption that took place while disinvesting HCI. Centaur Hotel Mumbai was sold at Rs 83 Crore to Batra Hospitality Private Ltd (BHPL) and within 6 months BHPL resold the Hotel at Rs 115 Crore, making net profit of Rs. 32 Crore in just 6 months. Valuation of Centaur Hotel was done wrongly, or huge bribe was paid during process of disinvestment.

Many people suspect that companies which were shown in loss and hence sold off/dis-invested were not actually making loss! Or if they were making any loss that was just because of government’s wrong decisions and faulty management policies.

Government at centre is disinvesting PSUs with the aim of depriving the Dalit-Bahujans from the benefits of reservation. After privatization/disinvestment Dalits have to depend on market driven economy, which will/have deny/denied the access to education, employment & hence livelihood. The sole aim of private companies is to make profit, more and more profit, which will increase the exploitation of employees/workers. Privatization/disinvestment will lead to concentration of wealth.

Govt. should not go disinvestment for its own petty political reasons/benefits.

About 75,000 crore rupees of farmers unpaid loan was waived off so as to gain votes in Lok Sabha elections 2009. And now the government is claiming that we are in fiscal deficit, recession is there all that blah- blah stuff!

Populist budget of govt. is the main villain behind this fiscal deficit. How many poor farmers from Dalit-Bahujan community got the benefit of this loan waiving process? Their numbers will be negligible. Landlords having 1000s acres land were only benefited. Families like Prakash Singh Badal (Punjab CM) or Captain Amrinder Singh were only benefited.

Recently published report (in Business Line 5thAug. 2009) of “Top 100 tax defaulters owe Rs. 1.4 lakh Crore” is an eye opener. Why don’t the government try to hit these defaulters? This money is much more than what government is expecting to raise through disinvestment of profit earning PSUs.

PSUs like HPCL & BPCL have already repaid many a times of government’s investment. NALCO, which is the world’s lowest cost aluminum producer, earns good profit. Disinvestment of such companies will lead to monopoly of private players.

The government is trying to cover their deficit through disinvestment of the profitable PSUs to private companies. Even after raising the money through disinvestment what is the surety that money raised would be used for reducing the fiscal deficit and not for filling the bellies of mean/corrupt politicians, bureaucrats?

The role of government should be to ensure the economic freedom and social justice to the Dalits and other marginalised. The apparent shift towards privatization and lack of alternative social reforms against caste-based market discrimination has increased fears of Dalits. Fear of being jobless!

Public sectors have provided Dalits employment, helped them to earn livelihood and have played important role in raising literacy rate among Dalits.

I don’t see any reason to go for disinvestment of PSUs, these are safe in the hands of government. Analyze the frauds & corruption happening in private companies, government companies are much better. Everyone has seen the case of “Satyam Computers” which has played the pivotal role in deepening the recession in India. PSUs are powerful in terms of knowledge and much better than their counterparts in private companies. PSUshave played a special role in India’s planned economy and in raising many lives. If government is going for disinvestment of PSUs, it should make sure Dalit-Bahujans are not exploited and they get benefits of reservation.


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