Economic goals cannot disavow Constitutional vision: Anand Teltumbde writes from prison

10 March 2021
Security personnel stand guard at the International Airport in Calcutta, in February 2006, amid a nationwide strike by airport employees against the privatisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports.
Bikas Das/AP Photo
Security personnel stand guard at the International Airport in Calcutta, in February 2006, amid a nationwide strike by airport employees against the privatisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports.
Bikas Das/AP Photo

Anand Teltumbde, a professor and writer, is currently incarcerated in the Taloja prison in Maharashtra, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He is awaiting trial in what is broadly termed the Bhima Koregaon case. 

The ongoing debate on the Narendra Modi government’s programme to privatise public sector enterprises, or PSEs, has a certain ring of déjà vu. The proponents of privatisation argue, in support of the government, that private sector has always been more efficient than the public sector. Unbeknownst to them, this argument in its logical extension might lead to a preposterous but valid question: Why not privatise the government itself?

Exemplifying their point, they often say that the United States, which strongly favoured the private sector, grew into a global economic power, whereas the United Kingdom, which favoured the public sector, was driven to bankruptcy by the late 1980s. They conveniently forget that capitalism (read: private capitalism), pushed to its death bed by the great depression of 1929, was rescued by the Keynesian prescription of public investment. This prescription has been largely instrumental for the genesis and spread of public sector across the world. This was brought into disrepute by neoliberal economists only beginning in the 1980s.

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    Anand Teltumbde is a writer and activist. He is a senior professor and chair of Big Data Analytics at Goa Institute of Management, and was earlier a professor at IIT Kharagpur. He is currently lodged in Taloja Jail, awaiting trial.

    Keywords: Indian economy Constitution BR Ambedkar GDP Anand Teltumbde Bhima Koregaon
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