NEW DELHI: Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on Sunday made out a case for turning the global financial crisis into an opportunity.
Delivering the 16th Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Lecture here on the ‘Global Crisis and Indian Response,’ the Rajya Sabha member said huge public investment and not cheaper credit was the answer to the problem.
Referring to India’s population — often regarded a liability — Mr. Yechury said this could be turned into an asset with huge public investment; more so, because over 50 per cent of the country’s teeming millions were below 25. Public investment would create jobs and this would, in turn, provide the necessary stimulus to the economy.
As for cheaper credit, the CPI(M) member pointed out that even in the United Kingdom — where credit is being offered at very low rates of interest — there were few takers. Without strengthening the borrowers, cheaper credit was no answer to the problem. The bailout packages announced by the U.S. government were only strengthening the lenders, he said.
Package not enough
About the Rs. 20,000-crore ($ 4-billion) stimulus package announced by the government, Mr. Yechury said much more was needed to shore up the economy. He compared it to the $586-billion stimulus package announced by neighbouring China to underline how much more India needed to do; given the similarities in the size of the population of the two countries.
The party was not happy with the vindication of its warnings against unbridled capitalism as the brunt was being borne by the masses. The erstwhile Soviet Union would have been put to shame by the manner in which capitalist powers had taken to nationalisation in recent months.
The lecture was organised by the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Memorial Trust in collaboration with the National Museum to mark the 43rd death anniversary of the country’s second Prime Minister, who passed away this day in 1966 in Tashkent.