OPEN MAIL TO SRI KEJRIWAL C/O TIHAR JAIL

by K Vijayachandran

Open mail to Sri Kejriwal, C/o Tihar Jail, Delhi
Dated 27-05-2014

Dear Sri Kejriwal,

Corporate planners and their bosom friends in the media are celebrating Modi victory through TV shows, editorials, cartoons, news reports and news analyses. The Hindu published a cartoon lamenting on the helplessness of APP with you in Tihar Jail as Modi swears in as PM, and wrote an editorial commenting on your lack of ideology: ” AAP has its task cut out in proving to the country that it represents certain idea that will continue to remain relevant…”

It is for you and those who have flocked around you to explain this “certain idea” unambiguously. And, who are leading AAP, and who have helped it to win the four Loksabha seats and register the two percent vote share?

They, for sure, are not the aam admi, the real victims of corruption in our country: They are senior bureaucrats, retired bureaucrats, ex-servicemen, lawyers, auditors, financial experts, engineers, doctors and other high income professionals, men of letters, poets, artists, journalists, philosophers and other free wheeling intellectuals of India, noted for their selfishness and opportunist positions on every policy issue that affect the life and welfare of the aam admi. Often, even their perceptions on development are unpatriotic.

Mushrooming of super specialty hospitals in private corporate sector and simultaneous decline of primary health care units and other public health care institutions, and marginalization of indigenous systems of health care are the order of the day. This is seen as development by our elite classes, whereas developed nations, including USA, are moving away from market based solutions for health care. AAP and its intellectuals have hardly debated this issue in public.

All  sorts of specialty schools in private as well as public sector are mushrooming in our country, whereas in developed countries community managed neighborhood schools deliver compulsory primary education in languages spoken by lay people. AAP intellectuals are hardly heard debating on the basic policies on education and human resources development in our country.

Our elite classes, driven by narrow self interests, promote all sorts of educational institutions, private universities and teaching shops in the name of development. These are primarily addressed to job opportunities abroad. Best of our brains and talents are exported. Even the good old phrase of Brain Drain stand expunged from our development dictionary. Centers of higher learning in our country operate under the pulls and pressures of foreign job markets: How do you intend to correct this distortion?

Centers of higher learning, universities and research institutions in USA and other developed countries are, as a rule, owned and managed by governments and they mostly take up directed research in public interest. That is an example for us to emulate. But our own universities and research centers are getting increasingly funded by foreign institutions, public as well as private. Do you have a plan to regulate and restrict this wrong trend in national interest?

In our earlier development regime, there was an emphasis on self-reliance: restrictions on import of goods as well as technology were common. With liberalization, volume of imports of white goods, directly or via screw driver technology with very little value addition, has increased several fold. This has virtually killed our manufacturing base as well as industrial R&D. What sort of policy change, AAP has in mind for reversing this destructive trend?

On agriculture and agrobased industries, as well, reforms have brought in destruction. Despite the recent rapid growth of GDP, farmer suicides was on the increase. Indian farmers look helpless on the face of a massive technological revolution that is sweeping the world. What solutions or ideas you have for salvaging our farming communities?

Even after seven decades of national independence more than ninety percent of our work-force is engaged in the informal sector: Those who enjoy the benefits of formal employee-employer relationship or enjoy a minimum of social security support is less than ten percent of our workforce, compared to around 90 percent in the developed world. Despite the reportedly faster economic development during the last two decades this ratio has only deteriorated. What are your proposals for overcoming this fundamental backwardness?

Our constitution makers had seen the development and upkeep of basic infrastructure like transport, communication, energy, environment, technology, national security, and even culture as the joint responsibility of Central and State Governments. However, the role of state governments as well as those of Inter State Council, National Development Council, Planning Commission and other policy making bodies at the national level, has been drastically eroded thanks to the economic reforms. Central Government has virtually taken over the sole responsibility for infrastructure with the help of foreign and Indian monopoly capital, leading to the numerous scams of national shame. Capabilities of key public sector organizations have eroded in this process and governing capacities of state and local governments have further deteriorated. People are losing faith in our system of governance due to poor quality and shortages of infrastructure: Do you have a perspective for reversing the trend?

I have no ready solution for any of these issues and have raised them as a practicing engineering and management consultant and as a person in close touch with the TU movement in the country. As the Hindu editorial and cartoon pointed out “AAP has its task cut out in proving to the country that it represents certain idea”.

You have the courage and the tenacity to fight for public causes and that is why you traveled from Delhi to Varanasi and then back to Delhi for the Tihar jail. Wish you well; I send this mail for offering my cooperation in defining your ideas a little more closely.

K Vijyachandran
Columnist and Author of Perestroika Glasnost and Socialism: ISBN 9781482813531

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