The economic development of the country was subjected to change its direction and mode of travel in 1991. That trend has been prevailing, of course with varied velocities for the past 25 years. From the state of mixed economy, the nation is moving towards privatisation which is one of the agendas of new economic reform policy. Whether it is pre-economic reform or post economic reform period, whatever be the nature of development policy, the gap between the haves and have-nots has been widened consistently. When privatisation was enforced in the form of disinvestment of public sector undertakings, wholly owned by the Government of India and the State Governments, it was convinced in public parlance that it was targeted only at the loss incurring sectors. Slowly, significant profit earning public sector undertakings (PSUs) were also allowed acquisition by private individuals/ corporates. Then the process of privatisation was geared up in the banking sector, quoting the reason as poor performance and mounting non-performing credit assets. Apart from that, international accounting standards were quoted for the maintenance of the additional capital, which the government both at the Centre and the States are unable to provide adequately. From the level of 100 per cent ownership of the PSUs/PSBs, the equity stake of the government was reduced not less than 50 per cent stating that the major equity stake is vested with the State.
Now, after the NDA Government headed by BJP assumed power at the Centre, in order to provide momentum to bring vast changes in the furtherance of economic reforms, the body of Planning Commission was abolished. Planning Commission played a vital role in the equitable development of the States. A new body, NITI Ayog was formed which has suggested recently on the lowering the equity stake of the government in PSUs even below 50 per cent with the result the public sector character of the undertakings would be lost. NITI Ayog has recommended the closure of certain PSUs. What is the alternate employment for the workforce, served so far? Privatisation of public sector is on the fast move by the elected government who have been elected by the majority mandate of the public. But the detriments are caused enormously only to the public. The main development objective of the nation has shifted its stand from wealth creation and equitable distribution to the present level of accumulation of wealth in the hands of few private individuals / institutions, making the equitable distribution meaningless. Such move on the economic development by the State is ultravires to the preamble of Indian Constitution which resolves in the formation of socialist pattern of the State polity.
In addition to economic injustice inflicted on the citizens, the dispensation of social justice is also weakened systematically. Reservation in Government employment for the socially oppressed sections provided so far ensured economic uplift to some extent. More than that, their due participation in the State Governance made the democratic polity of the nation somewhat meaningful. Due to the privatisation of Government Undertakings, the dispensation of social justice is barred automatically, eliminating reservation in recruitment.
Welfare State becomes very weak due to the lack of equitable distribution of its economic prosperity. The divide between the rich and the poor is widened further. Physically toiling population are not compensated with their due share. Democracy is the form of the government of the people, by the people and for the people. India, a democratic country must prove its worthiness true to the above popular dictum. The country must become a developed nation only through the real development of its citizens and not by the enumeration of GDP at high magnitude. Some sort of organised move must be started effectively to go slow though not arrest the retrograde move of the Government, detrimental to the welfare of the citizens. This is the need of the hour.