New Delhi: India’s economy that had recovered from the damage caused by the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008, cruising at a growth rate of 7.5 per cent, has been derailed by the Modi government, says former Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram who feels that the damage done to the economy is as worrying as that done to the society. “Everyone who brought sensible ideas to the table to turn the economy around has left the government in disgust and despair,” he says, accusing the ruling dispensation of “manufacturing statistics and asking people to eat statistics”.
He makes these observations in “Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India”, which is scheduled to be launched by former Vice President Hamid Ansari on February 8 here. “An old civilization that has accommodated many religions, cultures, languages, communities and castes, and has tried during the last 71 years to become a modern nation, is so polarized and divided today that there is real cause to worry about its survival,” he asserts in the Introduction to the upcoming book.
He states that former Prime Minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, understood the fundamental rules of democracy and “gracefully gave up power after 13 days, again after 13 months, and once again after 5 years” but laments that “his example has been forgotten – and perhaps rubbished in private – by the swayamsevaks in power today”.
He says “every value of the Constitution is under attack” in contemporary India and fears that there is a “clear and present danger that the Constitution of India will be replaced by a document that will be inspired by an ideology called Hindutva”. That, Chidambaram says, will be the end of the ‘idea of India’, restoring which will require another freedom struggle and another Mahatma (Gandhi).
Adds Ansari in the Foreword: “If the budget is passed without scrutiny and debate by the Parliament; and if important pieces of legislation are endorsed without reference to Standing Committees, then it is evident that the Parliament as the designated legislative institution is not doing its duty and the government of the day is failing in its primary duty…” The book, a collection of Chidambaram’s published essays, published by Rupa, is set to be launched on Friday.