Sunday, 1 September 2013

Gandhi to rescue our rupee

  • Why should we depend on MNCs to eat potato chips and gulp soft drinks?
  • Gandhian economics is not bullock cart economics 

Pramila Krishnan
Chennai, September1:  Mahatma Gandhi gave solutions to enhance the economic development of India, but we have failed to implement his models in a big way, says Gandhian, A. Annamalai, director of the Gandhian study centre in Chennai. Annamalai spoke to me about how economic policies framed without following Gandhian values have failed, and what are the immediate measures that can save us from this abysmal situation.

Question:  How can Gandhian economics shake us out of the present economic slowdown?

Annamalai: Gandhian economics is the best policy to develop India in a sustainable manner. For example, we celebrate allopathy and call our native medicine as alternative medicine; the same thing has happened with our economics now. Instead of strengthening our foothold in agriculture as Gandhi asked us, we invited multinational companies (MNC) to invest in every field in India. A foreign firm sets up a company only to earn more or use the cheap labour available here. If his profits plummet, he simply shuts up without bothering about the workers and consumers. So we have to understand that foreign investment happens because MNCs want to flourish and are not bothered about the welfare of Indians. As far as possible, we should have decentralised production and distribution for all goods.

MNCs recruit scores of educated youth every year. Isn’t this progress?

Annamalai: We have to understand that MNCs take a fresh load of workers every year. But do they expand their units? They get rid of workers and take new people every year. This creates an illusion that MNCs give employment to the masses. If the recruitment had really benefited us, why should the unemployment index soar in the country? Employment by MNCs has really benefited only the creamy layer of society.

Are Gandhian economics suitable for this era of consumerism?

Annamalai: Most people relate Gandhian economics with bullock cart economics and think it suitable only for villages. Gandhi also preached distribution of wealth. If you think a car is an essential need, it should be made available for the last citizen of this country. Ours is an agro-based economy. Unless we invest and improve agriculture, we won’t be able to see growth and empowerment of the common man. Privatisation and globalisation are not the roadmaps for Vallarasu India (superpower India). Why should we depend on MNCs to eat potato chips and gulp soft drinks? Can’t we produce and sell them locally? Localisation and swadeshi consumerism should be encouraged to free us from MNCs and fight economic slowdown.