‘Economy has undergone a sea change’

MLC K.S. Lakshman Rao deplored the economic policies of United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which has thrown all caution to the winds in its blind pursuit of the prescriptions of corporate behemoths like Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

Companies like RIL have benefited a lot from privatisation of some core sectors, which were in the exclusive domain of the Government till 1991 when the economy was opened up for foreign capital.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Increase in price of natural gas -- Reliance consequences’ organised by Employees & Teachers Study Circle here on Sunday, Mr. Lakshman Rao said the economy has undergone a sea change with the private sector playing a dominant role at the cost of the exchequer. If one were to judge the extent of damage done by some big private companies, the kind of unfettered access to natural resources which companies like RIL has to be studied. Taking the RIL case itself, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has recently approved pricing of the natural gas at $ 8.40 per Million Metric British thermal units (MMBtu) in blatant disregard of advice by experts to not tinker with the previous rate ($ 4.20 MMBtu).

This is going to have a cascading effect on the economy as gas is not just confined to LPG cylinders but powers the nation in many other ways like in the generation of electricity and production of fertilizers. A new breed of businesses that has of late emerged – called crony caitalism – is bound to cause further damage to the economy as the Government did not mind the consequences of rolling out the red carpet, under the public woes are apparently brushed.

All India Insurance Employees’ Association leader V.V.K. Suresh stressed the need for people to raise the banner of revolt failing which the consequences would be horrific in the near future.

The Central Government’s unilateral decision to increase the FDI limit in sensitive sectors such as Defence would do a great deal of harm to the country in the foreseeable future, he added. NGO Colony Development Committee President B. Sambi Reddy and others were present.

The government does not mind rolling out the red carpet to ‘crony’ capitalists

Lakshman Rao