In a joint convention organised in the national capital on Friday, September 20, the left parties lambasted the central government on its failure to take measures in combating the economic slowdown. The parties emphasised that the slowdown has engulfed all major sectors including manufacturing, construction and textile, but the government is still oblivious about the mounting unemployment caused by the crisis.
The joint convention was held at a time when the automobile sector has been recording a continuous dip in demand for 10 consecutive months. The crisis was reflected further when major automobile companies Maruti and Ashok Leyland announced no production days this month. Conservative estimates suggest that at least 2 lakh automobile workers have lost jobs in the recent months. A similar situation was highlighted by the Northern India Textile Mills Association (NITMA) which had said that the slowdown has forced spinning companies to cut down their production and shut down their mills, resulting in huge job losses.
Addressing the convention, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that the economic slowdown has also exposed another ignored aspect of wealth and income inequality. He said, "It is a matter of shame...The condition of common people has worsened under the Narendra Modi regime. But the total assets of big corporate houses such as that of the Ambanis and Adanis have increased manifold in the last five years."
Increasing Purchasing Power is Key
The leaders of left parties said that the economic slowdown widened only after misadventures in form of demonetisation, and Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Narendra Modi regime. The resolution of the convention read, "From being in a state of virtual denial, the Modi government is now grudgingly acknowledging that there is an economic slowdown. The Modi government, however, refuses to admit that it’s own policies like demonetisation and the ill-conceived, ill-prepared introduction of the GST have cost irreversible damage to the economy which was already beleaguered by growing unemployment, price rise and crisis of livelihoods."
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The convention also noted that the impact of the economic slowdown can be reversed by public investment which, in turn, will boost the purchasing power of the people. The parties made it clear that the surplus reserve of Rs 1.76 lakh crore that the government took from Reserve Bank should be used for public investment programmes to generate jobs and domestic demand. Similarly, the government must ensure the provision of monthly living wages for the large number of workers who have been terminated.
It added, “The Indian economy is clearly suffering from a drastic shrinkage of domestic demand because of the lack of purchasing power amongst the vast majority of the people. Unless people’s purchasing power increases, domestic demand cannot grow. In turn, the stagnation and decline in the manufacturing and industrial sector will further exacerbate. This can only be done by massive public investments in infrastructure, generating new jobs in a big way and thus, increasing people’s purchasing power and domestic demand.”