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Top (Indian) economists, intellectuals propose an all-powerful communist regime to tackle corona


Mar 3, 2019
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Top economists, intellectuals propose an all-powerful communist regime to tackle corona crisis
An economic action plan endorsed by top intellectuals seems to suggest the government should treat private property as a public resource during the coronavirus crisis. Here's a rundown of the brewing controversy.

India Today Web Desk
New Delhi
May 23, 2020
UPDATED: May 23, 2020 16:06 IST

Migrant workers and their families standing in queues on Delhi's outskirts as they wait to board buses to eastern Bihar, on May 18, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
  • Furore over line on 'national resources', revised statement issued
  • Ram Guha says didn't endorse controversial line, approves revision
  • Top academic says plan not against property rights
An economic action plan endorsed by leading public intellectuals suggests India must do "whatever it takes" to raise resources during the coronavirus pandemic, even treating private property as a national resource.

But for many, that idea is outrageous.

Mission Jai Hind, a seven-point plan of action made public on Friday, says the government's stimulus package "virtually ignores the urgent need for economic support to ordinary citizens whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown".

It urges the government to provide travel services for migrant workers hoping to return to home, free healthcare for coronavirus patients, compensation for job and wage losses and universal access to expanded rations. Other recommendations for economic relief include three months of loan deferment and interest waiver for farmers, small business and for first-time house loans.


But the source of consternation is a line saying all resources "with the citizens or within the nation", including cash, property and bonds, "must be treated as national resources available during this crisis".

Here's how the authors of the plan break down the "whatever it takes" clause.

"7.1. All the resources (cash, real estate, property, bonds etc.) with the citizens or within the nation must be treated as national resources available during this crisis."
"7.2. Central government to share at least 50% of the additional revenue raised for this purpose with the state governments."
"7.3. Expenses under this mission to be the first charge on the exchequer, everything else follows; complete ban on all wasteful and non-essential public expenditure and subsidies."
Several Twitter users made their displeasure plain. Here's one.

But an revised version of the mission plan, created to address the controversy, replaces the original 7.1. provision with this one:

"The government must explore emergency ways of raising resources going beyond the usual set of taxes and levies to cope with the problem of funding large relief packages."
Yogendra Yadav, president of the Swaraj Abhiyan, said the original line had "attracted undue attention and [was] interpreted to mean a call for nationalisation/expropriation of private property. This was far from our intention."

"Hope the debate will focus on the plan outlined to address the health, economic and humanitarian crisis," he tweeted.


On Saturday, the historian Ramachandra Guha, named as one of the intellectuals endorsing the plan, said on Twitter that the statement sent to him contained a different version of the controversial line on national resources:

“All resources within the nation are national resources, available for this mission."
Guha said the line in the version made public "has become deeply tendentious with...major changes made without the consent of some signatories", diverting attention from the "many sensible suggestions" in the document.

"I have not and do not endorse this," he said, referring to the amended line.

When Yogendra Yadav put out the revised statement, Ramachandra Guha deleted his tweets and said the new one was "extremely appropriate and all controversy should now be set at rest".

Meanwhile, Ashutosh Varshney, an international studies professor at Brown University (and another prominent intellectual endorsing the action plan), said the initial public statement wasn't against the right to property.

“'Nationalisation' is equal to public ownership of private resources. I have never been for that. 'National resources', perhaps awkwardly phrased, only means that these resources can be taxed to generate revenue at a higher rate, if needed for emergency needs," he wrote in a serious of tweets.

Besides Ramachandra Guha, Yogendra Yadav and Ashutosh Varshney, other leading intellectuals who endorsed the document include:

  • Deepak Nayyar, Former Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India
  • Rajmohan Gandhi, Research Professor, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Harsh Mander, Director, Center for Equity Studies and Founder, Karwan-e-Mohabbat
  • Abhijit Sen, Former Member, Planning Commission, CESP, JNU
India is currently in the fourth phase of an extended lockdown imposed in March; it has reported over 1.25 lakh coronavirus cases, including more than 3,700 deaths, according to central government data.



Aug 2, 2017
As long as it works, why not?

It's like practical vs idealistic.

Of course, if you want to get the job done, you need to be practical. (even children know)

But this kind of thing is not so controversial.

There's the situation so-called national emergency.

When the government can take control over everything in the country for the sake of everyone, but only just under emergency situation.

And all the bills and losses of private hospitals will be paid by the government.

Once it's over, everything will return to normal.

The problem is if after it's over, the government still wants to possess all the private sector assets, and don't want to pay all the losses.

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