Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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Critics of BJS Manifesto Replied

-Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya
[Organiser, Diwali, 1961]
The Jana Sangh’s Election Platform

The election manifesto of the Jana Sangh this time has received greater attention of the people and the press than that of the last election. Obviously it is an indication both of the growth of the party as well as increasing realisation of their democratic duty by the people. In 1957 there were very few who paid any serious thought to the views of the Jana Sangh? They were under an impression that with the passing away of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee the party would gradually wither away. They failed to understand that the martyrdom of that worthy son of Bharat would urge his followers to greater endeavour and sacrifice and that no party ever died in these circumstances, much less a Bharatiya one. Bharatiya Jana Sangh has been singularly fortunate in having a great leader like Dr. Mookerjee to guide the organisation during his lifetime, and to serve thereafter as perpetual source of inspiration. Its policies and programmes have their roots in the soil and culture of Bharat. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh would have feted away if the lord almighty desired the end of Bharatiya tradition and life-values. Anyway the Jana Sangh has survived wishful thinking of all its opponents and a few well-wishers and today it poses a challenge to both the congress and the communists. It is in recognition of this fact that some of the leader-writers have tried to search some inconsistencies in the Jana Sangh manifesto. Whatever their motives are, it is our duty either to resolve them or remove them. Misgivings about our plank of unitary government, there are people who feel a bit puzzled at the Jana Sangh’s proposal of unitary from of government, along with a greater decentralisation of power. They feel that the two do not go together. In fact decentralisation is possible only when there is a single fountain-head of authority. If the power in theory or in practice is already multicentral, there would be need for centralisation rather than decentralisation. Today we have a federal constitution based on the assumption of a semi-sovereign status for the states. The states are primary units which have constituted themselves into the Indian union. It is, however, true that the constitution gives greater and even residuary powers to the union. but in whatsoever manner the powers be shared, the fact remains that the first article of the constitution, first visualises and recognises the states, and the union only thereafter. It is not coparcenaries, Hindu undivided joint family, but a corporation of states with limited liability. In a registered society members come together and form the society. The family has an existence of its own. Bharat to us is one indivisible and indestructible unit. The prime minister recognised this fact at Madura and even went to the length of talking about ‘a civil war’ if some people demanded secession. His determination is laudable, but it would be reinforced if we have a unitary state. In that case a demand for secession will be not only anti-constitution but also anti-national. One can demand an amendment of the constitution but cannot work for the dismemberment of the nation. This requires that our constitution should recognise that fact of one nationhood. The talk of one nation and one culture may seem to some as ‘wooly-headed nonsense’ but it is a fact. Those who have borrowed all their ideas and theories from the west may find it difficult to understand and appreciate the inherent unity of our nation. Some divisive political demands might be misconstrued to represent a lack of nationality. But the facts of our culture tradition, customs, history, philosophy, art and literature are so abounding and powerful that none but the obstinately purblind can refuse to recognise the existence of a single indivisible nation. Assemblies need not be abolished.

Some people think that with the establishment of a Unitary State all the provincial legislative assemblies shall be abolished. It is not necessary. In fact if power is decentralised to the lower levels, there will continue the need of popularly elected bodies to direct the executive. There were in existence provincial assembles before we formed ourselves into a federal union. The Government of India before independence was a unitary Government. Having inserted the old machinery in practice, today we are functioning as a unitary Government. But this hiatus between theory and practice should be removed. The ides of a federal Government was mooted only to accommodate the separatist view-point of the Muslim League and to introduce the former ruling princes into the all-India system. But things have undergone a change. Today separatism is neither to be accommodated nor appeased.

As Jana Sangh stands for decentralisation, it has demanded greater devolution of financial resources to the provinces and local bodies. They need not depend on grants from the Centre or the provincial Governments. Responsibility should always be equipped with adequate resources so that it might be properly discharged.

If a unitary State is to be established all that we need to do is to amend Article one of the Constitution, with Consequential changes in other articles. The word ‘State’ should be replaced by ‘Pradesh’ and the powers for transferring any subject from the State list to the Union list should not be confined to the Rajya Sabha to the exclusion of the Lok Sabha. These are minor changes, but psychologically they would go a long way towards national integration.

No Airy Promise, these

Another objection that has been raised relates to the financial viability of the Jana Sangh’s proposal. The manifesto has suggested a number of conceptions in taxes as well as provision of many welfare activities. Where shall all the necessary money come from? If the basic minimum is to be raised, education even upto the secondary state is to be free, commodity taxes on the necessities of life are to be reduced and the defence potential of the country is to be augmented, finally it will require huge financial resources to implement all these plans. Has the Jana Sangh given thought to that aspect of the question? Some feel that, it being an election manifesto, it is necessary to make tall promises even if they may not be redeemed later. There are others who have accused Jana Sangh of ‘squander mania’ or charged it with leading the country, towards ‘insolvency’. But there is nothing like that in the BJS programme. The Jana Sangh manifesto does not contain a single proposal which cannot be implemented.

In the first place it is necessary that we take on integrated view of all the programmes of the Jana Sangh. The manifesto proposes to change the whole structure of India economy and it is only in that background that many of its proposals could be translated into action. If the praised megalomaniac plans continue and the Government machinery remains as corrupt as it is today, it may not be possible to make any progress. However, that can be changed. However, that can be changed. The Jana Sangh, inspite of Tax Relief’s does not visualise any reduction in the over-all revenues of the Government. On the contrary they will increase. Today the tax-system is such that it encourages evasion. The estimates of income tax evasion very from Rs. 200 crores to Rs. 700 crores. Even if we take the lowest estimate and see that there is no evasion, it will mean a hundred percent increase in income-tax revenues. As Jana Sangh has proposed an upper limit of Rs. 2,000 p.m. as expendable income and intends to help individual entrepreneurs for greater investment and production there will definitely be more profits and more revenue for the State. Today there is no lack of funds with the entrepreneurs. The bank deposits have touched an all-time high and there too the greatest increase is in time liabilities. Time funds indicate that the depositors cannot invest them in any other productive channel. Whenever new issues are floated they are oversubscribed. The banking system of the country is patterned to cater to the needs of commerce and trade rather than to that of industry. A few financing corporations have recently been established but they do not though the fringe of the problem. If idle money could be divested into the hands of the small-scale entrepreneur, the rate of economic growth will increase very fast. It will not only provide employment to the job-seekers but will generate new incomes part of which can be and shall be nipped up by the State. The taxes today have become unbearable because while on the one hand they imbed and discourage investment, on the other, they impinge upon the consumption of the common man. Like a bad businessmen the Government is trying to eke out greater amounts per unit rather than increasing profits by greater turn over. If the plans are modified to lay greater emphasis on small-scale consumer-goods industries, it will increase production, and saving which can be reinvested in other bigger industries. The import content of that plan shall not be in any case more than that of the present plans. It will be in fact less because most of the machinery can be improvised and raw materials locally procured. If we can increase the purchasing power of the common man, it will mean a wider market at home and thus greater revenues for the government. The priorities of the plan having been changed to give to the wage goods their pride of place, the whole thing will not lead to any inflation.

Colossal Wastage can be Checked

The third plan assumes that even at the present trends of revenue and the government expenditure there will be surplus of Rs. 350 crores. If economy measures are strictly enforced and all ostentatious expenditure curtailed there can be a saving of at least a hundred crores of rupees at the centre and the States. The cost of tax collection can be further reduced if the Jana Sangh plan of single machinery is enforced. There is a colossal waste of funds because of the strange practice of allocations lapsing if not exhausted by 31st of March. The stress is on spending and not on achieving. The Jana Sangh proposes to abolish the upper chambers in the provinces and have government on zonal basis. The number of Minister also needs to be reduced and their emoluments curtailed. All this can save at least Rs. 50 crores over the five-year period.

Congress Misgovernance has caused cynicism

It is difficult to go into all the details. The doubting Thomases may still continue to shake their heads sceptically the fact is that the continued mis-governance by the Congress has created a sense of cynicism in the nation. The Congress leaders being creatures of a period of agitation were painted in the public mind as men of versatile capacities and altruistic disposition. But they turned out to be tin-gods. The fall has been so great that the people have lost confidence and trust in human beings. However, Jana Sangh has demonstrated its capacity to augment revenues, reduce irksome and burdensome taxes, and provide more facilities on a smaller scale though, in the local bodies that it could capture. In our management of organisational affairs and public functions we know that we can do with one rupee what others cannot with twenty. Even granting the fact that we shall have to implement our plans and proposals through machinery presently corrupt and inefficient, we feel confident. There is no lack of honesty in the existing personnel if we can touch the right chord and look at things from a human angle. We do not intend to drive a wedge between the Government servants and the people. Both working together can definitely lead the nation to greater heights.

Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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