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Union Government Destroying PSUs, Fudging Data: Economist Parakala Prabhakar

Neelambaran A |
The economist spoke at a convention that discussed the status of the economy, the policies driving different sectors into crisis, and increasing unemployment.
Parakala Prabhakar, economist delivered the keynote address in the convention organised by the Save Public Sector Forum, Kannur.

Parakala Prabhakar, economist delivered the keynote address in the convention organised by the Save Public Sector Forum, Kannur.

Kannur: The ‘Save Public Sector Forum’ in Kannur organised a convention, ‘Present Day  India: Repeating Lies and Untold Truths,’ on December 9, which discussed moves against Public Sector Undertakings (PSU), the dismantling of PSUs and the sale of profit-making entities.

Delivering the keynote address, Parakala Prabhakar, a renowned economist, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government of destroying the PSUs in favour of “a couple of corporate friends” of the ruling dispensation. Accusing the government of creating an atmosphere of fear among those who speak up against the policies, he referred to the struggle against the government as not only economical but also political.

The convention deliberated on the status of the Indian economy, the policies driving different sectors into crisis and increasing unemployment directly affecting the common people. 

The Forum is a coordination committee of BSNL, LIC, banks, postal, and central government employees and pensioners.

Citing growing unemployment, inflation, reduction in domestic savings, decrease in corporate tax, increase in indirect taxations and people relinquishing Indian citizenship, Prabhakar claimed that the characteristics of ‘New India’ are easy to identify. 


The PSUs in the country, including the BSNL, banks, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), postal and defence manufacturing sectors are facing the threat of privatisation or corporatisations. The Maha Ratna and Mini Ratna companies, started soon after India’s independence, continue to play a crucial role in providing employment and self-reliance and contribute to the public exchequer, which is under threat now. 

The Central Trade Unions (CTUs) and federations from various sectors have been opposing the pro-privatisation policies of the BJP-led Union government, and they say they are trying to expose the threats of such measures. 

“From Startup India and Khelo India, now it is shut up India; nobody can talk,” Prabhakar said, addressing the convention. He said that a systematic approach of the Union government in depriving funds for PSUs is leading to privatisation. “The value of friendship in New India is very high. There has been a write-off of about Rs 25 lakh crores (for corporates), but providing minimum relief to girl children, women or farmers are called freebies,” he said. 

Prabhakar accused a certain section of people of carrying out campaigns against the PSUs, accusing these of being inefficient and wasting public money. “If there are issues in a PSU, the solution is not to sell it off. A government should think about the reasons behind the problems and address the issues of management and policies. After Start Up India, Digital India and Atma Nirbhar India, the new one is Shut Up India, to threaten those speaking against the government's policies,” he said.


Though the successive Union governments claimed to privatise only the loss-making organisations, the speakers said at the convention that recent years have seen profit-making PSUs being sold under different names.

P K Biju, former Member of Parliament (MP), accused the previous BJP-led regime under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee of creating a separate ministry to sell the national assets. 

“The five-year plans played a crucial role in launching the PSUs, particularly during the second five-year plan. These organisations contribute lakhs of crores to the government of India. The second United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government started the attacks on PSUs, which the BJP government has intensified. With the debt of the nation increasing to Rs 150 lakh crores, the economy is not healthy either,” he said. 

Prabhakar echoed similar views on the economy being affected by the government's loan waivers and regressive measures. “The government is trying to sell the Vizag Steel Plant, whose value should be more than Rs 60,000 crores for around Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 crores, to the friends. The economy is facing a crisis,” he added. 


Detailing various challenges faced by the country, Prabhakar said, “The government tried to hide the data on unemployment when it increased to a 40-year high. The education, health and transport inflation rates remain high. Domestic savings have contracted, while people settling in other countries have increased. All these factors are some of the characteristics of New India.”

Prabhakar claimed that several projects and schemes launched by the government of India failed to meet the goals and were reduced to meager events. 

“Around 80% of the funds allocated to the much discussed ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ was spent for publicity alone. When the women wrestlers were protesting against the president of federation, he was safe in the parliament,” he said.

Tweaking of data has been another factor much talked about since the BJP assumed power in 2014. In 2019, 108 economists and social activists wrote to the central government regarding the delay in the release of “uncomfortable” data. 

“In New India, we do not have data on the number of migrant workers, number of ventilators, oxygen cylinders, inflation and unemployment. But our Prime Minister, during the Karnataka Assembly election campaign, claimed that he was precisely abused 91 times by the opposition. The data of the National Statistical Commission is being suppressed,” Prabhakara added. 

Leaders of the member organisations of the Save Public Sector Forum called for a joint fight against the policies of the BJP-led Union government that they see as regressive.

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