Expert Opinion

‘What was required was a course correction’

Print edition : September 19, 2014

Rajagopal P.V. Photo: A.M. Faruqui

This is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The Ekta Parishad has been critical of the manner in which the Planning Commission has been addressing core issues of the underprivileged in this country, especially in its functioning, over the past two decades. On key issues like land reforms and empowerment of Dalits, the Planning Commission has failed to fulfil its original commitments. In fact, commenting on the 12th Five-Year Plan document, the Ekta Parishad had pointed out that the Commission’s negative policy orientation was evident from the use of key words and their frequency in the document, which was as follows: Dignity 0, hunger 0, equality 0, human rights 0, Dalits/Scheduled Caste 2, tribal/Adivasi 8, farmers 38, PPP (public-private partnership) 45, market 67, growth 279.

Now, what was required was a course correction of this deviation and a reassertion of the original tenets of the planning process and the role of the Planning Commission, which emphasised essential initiatives like land reforms and empowerment of the underprivileged. But the present move does not point towards any such course correction. In fact, the approach of the Narendra Modi government has been confirmed as one that would continue to pursue economic growth by strengthening market economy, and the present move, by all indications, will add greater momentum to this process. I would request the government to reconsider this ill-planned move.

As told to Venkitesh Ramakrishnan

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