The Sangh Parivar has warned the Narendra Modi government against “excessive liberalisation” and advocated a “third way” to achieve “ease of living” instead of solely focusing on the “ease of doing business.”
Virjesh Upadhyay, the general secretary of RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, has written to International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) director-general Gay Ryder and those associated with policy-making, such as Arvind Panagariya and Arvind Subramaniam, on why India needs to rethink its economic policies.
Citing the collapse of economic philosophies like the Russian model and the Free Market model and recent economic problems faced by Greece and China, he has advocated that the government must adopt an economic philosophy that focuses on increasing the purchasing power of the people.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Virjesh said: “Different ideologies have ruled this country since 1991. But no government has changed the key policies. Now that all economists are warning that the world economy is about to collapse, we must address it. But it should be a global movement and India has to take the lead in preparing an action plan.” His statements suggested that he, besides many others in RSS, were not happy with the NDA government following the economic direction adopted by the Congress government in 1991.
The Sangh Parivar believes that the government should moot an economic philosophy inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of ethics and universal well-being in business and RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay’s agro-based economic model.
Virjesh said the government’s policies should be in line with Upadhyay’s ideas regarding distribution of wealth, the awareness that we are mere trustees, and not owners, of natural resources and the thought that technology cannot replace humans. “Unless you increase the purchasing power of the people, the produced goods will get stuck. Many world leaders have realised this. Pope Francis, too, has spoken of ethics in business and the need to change the culture of worshipping money,” he said.
Pointing out that the World Bank and IMF had acknowledged that there is “little prospect” of a return to the growth levels that prevailed prior to the 2008 financial crash, Virjesh told Panagariya that the only way “for sustained growth is…to create a model that hinges on labour productivity and not on the market”. He argues that “it will clearly not be possible to achieve economic diversification without active measures to tackle low productivity in agriculture and small and medium-sized enterprises, poor working condition traps and high rates of informality.”
To Arvind Subramaniam, Virjesh has suggested that the government desist from excessive liberalisation and try to ensure quality employment and increase in the minimum wages in all sectors.