Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why the Budget has Come as a Surprise to the Corporate Sharks?

IT WAS amusing to watch the free fall of sensex on the budget day even as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was going ahead reading out his pro-poor, pro-welfare proposals. It was amusing the corporate sharks were so disappointed with the budget, as they were expecting the earth and heavens this time.

I think there was another reason too for the disappointment with the Government and the sensex reaction on the budget day. From the day the Manmohan Singh Government was known to have won the poll, there was a concerted effort on the part of the corporate media and its in-house intellectuals and opinion-makers to present the victory as the vindication of the neo-liberal, pro globalization policies of the Government.

In fact, there was an effort to run down the pro-poor policies that the Government had undertaken as of no consequence. In fact some of these policies, mainly the National Rural Employment Generation programme, were written off as a concession to the left parties who were supporting the Government. Since the Government had received sufficient numbers this time, they had no reason to seek left support and so it was time to go for a an all out, no holds barred free run for the capital, it was argued. They had even set an agenda for the Government and I remember some of the national channels spent a lot of prime time promoting this special agenda of their choice.

But the budget proposals give out the clear message that the Congress has a leadership which is more sensible and more down to earth than some of our corporate media chaps could ever imagine. In fact, the Government has proved two things:

First, that the Congress would actually claim the goodwill that the past pro-poor actions has generated and would continue to keep on this line because it is a sure vote winner at least for the time being.

Secondly, it would not allow the left to arrogate the pro-poor image that they had enjoyed so long and claim credit for all the pro-poor actions that the past government had undertaken. It is evident that Pranab Mukherjee has gone further in this budget even without the much hyped prodding from the left this time.

And the consequence of this is very serious: The left on the one hand, is losing the constituency they had among the poor with their actions like land grab and violence on the poor in places like Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh, while, on the other, the Congress generally has been able to steer clear of such violent confrontations. They are emerging better managers of political and economic crises while the comrades seem to have lost themselves with no clear policy framework.

No comments: