In a sharp critique of the Centre’s decision of disinvestment in public sector undertakings (PSUs), former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar Saturday accused the BJP-led Central government for purportedly handing over the forte of defense and ordinance manufacturing into the hands of foreign private enterprises and said all ‘doors and windows’ of the country were opened in this regard.
Speaking at the All India Lawyers’ Union’s (AILU) West Tripura district conference here this afternoon, Sarkar accused the Centre of disinvestment in public sector undertakings to private hands at cheap rates.
“People are under twin attack from economic front and COVID front during the pandemic. Economic crises in their lives deepened due to COVID. We sought the government to adopt a host of steps to rectify the situation including Rs. 7,500 monthly allowance to families below tax slabs for 6-7 months along with free ration, develop healthcare apparatus among others. But while the corporate owners haven’t taken any steps on this front, government hasn’t done anything either…..instead, the centre is disinvesting public sector undertakings to private hands at cheap rates,” Sarkar said.
The former CM further said that the NDA government has recently adopted a series of poor economic decisions, including disinvestments in public sector undertakings (PSU).
“They are handing over PSUs, one after another, to domestic and foreign corporate houses at dirt cheap rates. Strategic sectors like defense and ordinance manufacturing, which would provide arms and ammunitions to safeguard the country and protect its sovereignty, in case war breaks out with other countries, are being handed over to foreign private enterprises. All doors and windows of India were opened ajar in this front,” Sarkar said, in an oblique reference to recent high-level defense procurements of Rafale fighters from France and ongoing defense procurement talks with USA, Russia among others.
On Covid-19 management across the country, the Communist veteran said factory workers, migrant workers were the worst hit during pandemic. He accused the Centre of not allowing adequate food, proper transportation facilities for them and said many of them died on their way back home.
Manik Sarkar, who is also a CPIM politburo member, said 85-90 per cent of healthcare services are handed over to private service providers nationwide amid the pandemic.
“The government needs to shoulder responsibility for safety and security for doctors, nurses, paramedics and healthy environment for patients. The centre instead announced Rs. 20 lakh crore package, of which experts have said would not take less than 1 percent to fulfill these mandates. Instead, it has paved way for cheap loans for large corporates,” Sarkar said.
The former CM appealed lawyers to stand up to safeguard rights of common people and not treat AILU as just any other trade union.