I’ve been saying this for a long time now.
After years of experimenting with different types of planning from 1949 to 1979, the Chinese Communists finally settled down for Market Socialism-based Planning. Yes sir, p-l-a-n-n-i-n-g.
They reclassified their economy as being in the primary stage of Socialism, and then went on to chalk out a 50-year plan. Yes sir, p-l-a-n. Under this fifty-year plan, they have taken up the all round development of one region every ten years. Right now it is Tibet and the South-western provinces.
The result is announced on 15-08-2014 : Chinese Railways has reached the border of Sikkim, will very soon reach the border of Arunachal Pradesh, and will also eventually connect with the Pakistani Railways through Aksai Chin and POK.
That is “communism” for those who care. All about careful, methodical planning which implies two basic things: selection of goals and mobilization of resources for achieving those goals.
Now let us see India. We had a sham Planning Commission at least after 1991, when Manmohan Singh as the then Finance Minister started talking of “Economic Reforms”. Vajpayee started talking of “Shining India” even as he too continued with a sham Planning Commission. Manmohan Singh, after becoming PM, actually appointed Montek Singh Ahluwalia (a self-confessed neoliberal, ergo: anti-planning) as the Chairman of the Planning Commission, and practically destroyed the idea of planning.
And now comes along Narendra Modi, who declares from the ramparts of the Red Fort that planning commission is no longer necessary (because as per the neoliberal economic ideology, planning itself is not necessary). In order to mute his critics, he declares that he will set up a new institution for generating new ideas. His government’s recent budget for railways talks of “FDI in Railways” as the panacea for railways development. The Foreign Direct Investment in Railways is and will always be about high-speed trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, or about air-conditioned double-decker trains between Mumbai and Goa, or about Palaces on Wheels. Never about Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh or Ladakh.
Today, when from Kashmir, Telangana, Chattisgarh, or any other part of India for that matter, when we hear complaints about Government of India, the main burden of the song is about lack of development, leading to frustration, despondency, and militancy.
During his election campaign, Modi precisely cashed in on this lack of development. But the neoliberal that he is, he thinks that deliverance lies through the path of inviting FDI in every field : “Come, Make in India”.
Simultaneously, he announces the jettisoning of the concept of Planning.
Our corporate press hails it as a burial of Nehruvian Anachronisms.
Our “secular-liberal” thinkers also start by sighing as to how Planning had practically ceased in India long ago, and as to how we have to start looking out for “new”, “latest” ideas in development economics.
Those who blindly support Modi, do not wish to tolerate any critic of Modi’s ideas.
The million-rupee fact is that by Planning, the Chinese Railways have reached Sikkim and will soon reach Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. The Indian Railways with 67 years of sham planning are nowhere near Sikkim, Arunachal and Ladakh.
And with the jettisoning of the very concept of planning coupled with the wholehearted embrace of FDI, the Indian Railways will never reach there. And perchance, if some Foreign Direct Investor does construct railways in those places, then he would do it to build up his pockets – not to build up India. And more likely than not, the very presence of such FDI predators in those areas would only lead to further alienation, further disaffection, and further militancy.
The concept of Planning was not invented by Nehru. It was invented by the Soviet Socialists. Hence rejection of the concept of planning is hardly an act of anti-Nehruvianism. It is an act of anti-Socialism. And, considering that Socialism is a Basic Feature of India’s Constitution, it is a serious violation of the Constitution and repudiation of the oath to defend the Constitution.