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Prime Minister Modi may blame "Revdi culture" – but it still drives our political economy

Indian constitutional authorities recently talked about the major challenges facing the country.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) said there was room for “decrease” for the opposition, there was no longer mutual respect between the federal government and the opposition, and these developments threatened India’s democracy.

The Prime Minister of Rajasthan recently spoke of the country’s lack of “tolerance” and urged him to speak out against violence.

The Federal Justice Minister has flagged the issue of pending proceedings in court – nearly 500 million rupees.

Finally, the CJI blamed the government for the inadequacy of the judicial infrastructure, lamenting that 80% of the 61,000 rupee prisoners were pending and “the process was punished.” He labeled the prison as a “black box” and the prisoners were the most vulnerable.

CJI’s comment at lunch a few days later was justice when the media stated that it was “running a kangaroo court”, expressing a “biased view” and conducting a “congressional-led debate.” He points out the anguish of the upper management. He said many issues are difficult for judges to decide, but the media jumps into the fight too soon. He emphasized the threat to the judge after his retirement. He also responded to the argument that judges (not elected) should not enter the field of legislation and administration by pointing out the constitutional responsibilities imposed on the judiciary.

These comments are increasingly emphasized democracy, both for the seemingly lack of justice and for the fact that our politics are becoming more difficult due to the lack of respect for political opposition. Is shown.

The Prime Minister’s recent speech in Uttar Pradesh highlights this intolerance.

He ignored his party’s actions and blamed the opposition to promising prizes in exchange for voting, calling it “revdi culture.” Undoubtedly, this will affect the development of the country. But can the dominant pope exempt the “revdi” culture?

Delhi’s Prime Minister Arvind Keziwar quickly pointed out that education, health, water and energy are essential to civilized beings, and their provision to deprived people is not a “revdi”.

There is definitely a link between development and democracy, but it’s not that simple. Slow economic development affects democracy and ultimately creates a virtuous circle. But by itself, material prosperity does not necessarily mean stronger democracy, and China is one example. India is another example, as constitutional authorities have pointed out weakening democracy when the country is officially prospering and poverty is declining.

“Given the nature of India’s economic development since independence, the dynamics between development and democracy become clearer.” Photo: Reuters

Trickle down politics

Given the essence of India’s economic development since independence, the dynamics between development and democracy become clearer.

The country has adopted a “trickle-down” model of development. It was based on promoting the advanced sectors of the economy. As they grew, they were expected to absorb the rear sector, modernize them, and bring prosperity to all. It is now clear that trickle down is very slow, the lower trickle down brings little profit, and the upper trickle down is cornering most of the profit. Winners are made up of urban non-agricultural elites who also manage the policy-making process.

Winners justify their interests by pointing out the modernization of the economy and access to modern goods and services. They also point out the small benefits brought by the poor. Extreme poverty has diminished, education has expanded, and the literacy rate reached 77.7% in 2021. Health is improving and life expectancy will be about 70 years in 2022. Increased access to safe drinking water and electricity. All kinds of modern commodities, such as televisions, mobile phones and vehicles, are now available in the economy.

The rulers imply that poor people should appreciate the progress of the country and not complain about their own slow progress. They are told that in the long run they will also benefit.

How long is it in the long run?

75 years after independence, why do children still have to wait until they are well educated and have access to adequate medical facilities, clean drinking water and clean energy? Why are families less likely to climb the income ladder?

According to a recent PRICE survey, the bottom 60% of income ladders lost income between 2015-16 and 2020-21. During the pandemic, 90% of workers said they didn’t have enough savings to buy their weekly necessities. This led to the largest migration since the separation of Pakistan in 1947.

An e-shram portal registered by workers in an unorganized sector of Rs 2.77 billion shows that 94% earn less than Rs 10,000 per month. At least 74% of them are from deprived sections of the population – roster castes, rosters and other junior classes.

Promise here now

The experience of the majority of citizens is that election promises remain unfulfilled. Political parties in power continue their policies, benefiting the elite of the ruling class and leaving little to the bottom. The 2019-20 grant to the poor for food, fertilizer and fuel in the Union budget just before the pandemic was around Rs 3.02. In contrast, tax deductions for wealthy sectors and businesses have doubled, according to the receipt budget.

The former is characterized as “revdi” and the latter is justified as an incentive for production.

This underlies the growing income and wealth inequality in the country. According to Credit Suisse, in 2018, the wealthiest 1% of total wealth will own 51.5%, the wealthiest 10% will own 77.4%, and the bottom 60%, the majority of the population, will be 4.7. I only owned%. This does not count black income and wealth. This disparity is found in all towns and villages, with the majority remaining dissatisfied.

Representative image. Photo: PTI

It’s no wonder that most people don’t trust politicians. People vote for candidates from their caste, community, community, etc., rather than honest leaders. This destroyed our politics along the lines of denominations where each group wanted its own leader in power. Most people are indifferent to the criminal record of the voter. Power is the name of the game, not the expression or ideology. This is weakening India’s democracy.

Leaders don’t have to be accountable because the public doesn’t seem to care. They need to be elected by some means, and “revdi” is the easiest way to attract votes. The majority at the bottom have been waiting for their uplifting for 75 years, but now they don’t believe in long-term promises and seek immediate profit. Farmers rejected deceptive farming bills that the government claimed would lead to a better future. Workers also oppose the strict labor laws that the government is trying to enforce. Students are now upset at work.

Therefore, the major sections of the population are upset against the government’s promise for a better future. Therefore, party manifests are scanned (if read) for what is coming soon, not what is promised in the future. That is what is emphasized in the campaign speech.

Revdi to the leader

Finally, the “revdi culture” that our prime minister blames is also used to attract opposition leaders and switch sides to overthrow the government.

If that doesn’t work, we use public authorities to initiate the case, revive the case, or launch an assault. This is easy because the agency has little responsibility and the judiciary is slow. As the CJI flagged, the process has become a punishment in India and its democracy is under threat. But his various grief will not be dealt with until political economy changes.

Obviously, the “revdi” culture undermines both democracy and development in a virtuous cycle of mutual strengthening. Due to the slow pace of development, India costs far more than the “missed” development gained through “revdi”. However, in their experience, the birds they pick up are better than the birds in the bushes.

Arun Kumar is a former professor of economics, JNU.