Thursday, July 18, 2024

It is a cakewalk for Modi to put the Indian economy on the top If…

V Subrahmanyam

Put me in Delhi third time, I will take the Indian Economy to the third position,  Modi famously said a few months back. He said: “India will be among the top three economies in the world during my third term. On the basis of (our) track record, in the third term of our government, India will become the world’s third-largest economy. Yeh Modi ki guarantee hai, the PM said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) complex, renamed as Bharat Mandapam on June 25th. Modi exuded confidence in his winning for the third time. Whether he wins or not, we all can wait to see his optimism till June 2024. However, one thing is sure: India can reach one of the top-notch countries. And if Modi is willing, even before the Elections.

How? Let us see from the prism of a nonprofessional.

India is no. 5 in current GDP ratings. And will reach no 3. in 2030, surpassing Japan. Standard and Poor said so a couple of days ago. According to it, the economy is expected to leap from $ 3.5 trillion in 2022 to $ 7.3 trillion in 2030.

Also read: G 20 Summit and  the War in Ukraine

GOI accepts only one rating by the international bodies. Such as above. And no others. Human Rights Index, Democracy Index, World Hunger Index…nope… It did not accept the unemployment rates concluded by the Statistical bodies in 2019, just on the eve of the General Elections. The top scientists had resigned later when they could not be manipulated according to the wishes of the Government. There are severe criticisms that our GDP calculations are based on nominal GDP figures. Be that as it may, we always encourage  Positive thinking. Only + vibes are accepted. Negative thinking is reserved for Muslims alone.

I am not an economist. Just a layperson. Here is one humble suggestion from me. Sitaraman, can you hear me? Your EDs will yield political results. This suggestion will benefit India economically and fetch glory for Modi, too. This is a two-in-one operation.

Our society is so ridden with corruption that white and black economies compete feverishly to get onto the top. Compared to many countries, the volume of the Black economy in India is in Himalayan proportions—one example. Take elections. The expenditures presented to the EC and the real expenses are so wide, like the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Also read: New Parliament Bhavan – Questions Beyond The Inauguration Conundr

CMS’ account

BJP filed the total expenditure bill on 19 Nov 2019. EC accepted without batting an eyelid: 

The total expenditure shown (in Rs.) is  12,64,33,57,790. That is 1,264 crores. Reality is different. The Bharatiya Janata Party spent close to Rs 27,000 crore in 2019 Elections, according to the Centre for Media report.  The amount was 45% of the total expenditure of total Rs 60,000 crore expenses spent by all the political parties. Of course, thanks to the efficiency of the BJP fund collection prowess, 2019 is the “most expensive election ever, anywhere”. At this rate, expenditure in the coming Elections could cross Rs 1 trillion, said CMS chairperson N Bhaskara Rao, to Business Standard. “Mother of all corruption lies in the spiralling election expenditure,’’ said Rao. “If we are not able to address this, we can’t check corruption in India. The scale of the expenditure should scare us and compel us to think of taking corrective steps to build a stronger democracy.” []

A simpleton might think that if there are no elections, we can add  Rs. 1 trillion to our economy! Why cannot all the opposition agree to Modi’s wish for his third term and save $ 1 trillion? If RSS has its way of Dream Constitution and the establishment of Hindu Rashtra, General Elections might become a dream for Indian people. One Nation, one election might turn into one nation and good riddance elections. Of course, the Government can concentrate all its energies to disperse and distribute our resources cheaply to Adani, Ambani, etc. But for now, the Grandmother of all democracies has to save democracy by conducting elections, even if it involves using the black economy in a big way.  BJP files its election expenditure as 1264 crores. However, the reputed organisation CMS, calculates that BJP alone spent a massive 27,000 crores. The gap is Rs. 25, 736 crores in pure black. So, to perpetuate our holier Parliamentary Democracy, nourishing the black economy is a sine qua non. 

Black money is the most delicious dish to all the dark deals, palatable dainty to the shady transactions, and intricately intertwined with underworld crimes. And, after all, ours is a “mixed economy (White and Black) “. According to the various writ petitions filed in the SC, the average amount in Swiss and other tax havens is around $ 4 trillion. Who said we are poor? Had Modi brought these $ 4 trillion in 2022, even eight years after he promised, we could have jumped to no.3 position in 2022 itself. Not to be waiting until 2030.

Black money in India

Offshore dark money is a poor cousin to inland Black finances. Arun Kumar, an Economist and a retired professor from JNU wrote a book, Black Economy in India. Prof Arun Kumar wrote in 2017: 

” India’s black economy is estimated to be 62% of GDP – generating about Rs 93 lakh crore of revenue (or USD 14 trillion). It is larger than the income generated by agriculture and industry put together, which is about 39% of GDP. It is larger than the size of the government (Centre plus states) spending, which is about 27% of GDP. Because of its existence, the country’s economy has been losing on average 5% growth (when compared to official figures) since the mid-1970s when the black economy became significant. If we add 5% to the rate of growth over the past four decades or so, the size of our economy would be Rs 1,050 lakh crore (or about USD 15 trillion at the current rate of exchange) instead of Rs 150 lakh crore (or USD 2.2 trillion) as it is now. We would have become the world’s second-largest, behind the US and a middle-income nation. The country’s per capita income would have been Rs 7.4 lakh (or USD 11,000) instead of Rs 1 lakh (or USD 1,500) as it is at present. In other words, every one of us would have been seven times richer on average. [The Wire].

So, it is not only a wild idea for laypeople like me. Even Arun Kumar, one of the experts in India who understands the depth and gravity of this hush economy, argues that we could have reached no. 2. had Modi fixed up this black economy in the early years of his Delhi stint, at least. It is easy to shout from Red Fort: “Neither I will eat, nor will I allow others to eat”. Demonitisation, touted as to counter corruption, was a proven hoax.  Coining slogans is an art developed by Modi. But rendering them into action is the real task that is missing.

Indian Parliamentary Democracy and the Black Economy are inseparable twins, it seems!

Also read: Had BJP won in Karnataka there would have been….

Subrahmanyam Varanasi
Subrahmanyam Varanasi
Subrahmanyam Varanasi, Social activist and advocate from Guntur.



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