Country witnessing complete rejection of core principles of democracy: Parakala Prabhakar

The political economist was speaking on ‘The State of Our Political Economy’ at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL ‘24)

February 09, 2024 07:41 pm | Updated 07:42 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Political economist Parakala Prabhakar in conversation with journalist T. K. Arun at MBIFL ‘24 in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Political economist Parakala Prabhakar in conversation with journalist T. K. Arun at MBIFL ‘24 in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Political economist Parakala Prabhakar on Friday urged caution against the growing tolerance for inequality and the creed of ‘past worshipping’ in the country, observing that economy and polity are drifting far away from their core values.

In conversation with journalist T.K. Arun on ‘The State of Our Political Economy’ at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL ‘24), Mr. Prabhakar opined that what we are seeing today is a “complete rejection” of the core principles of democracy. “If democracy is just us going to the polling booths once in five years and casting a vote and shutting up, I do not think that’s democracy,” he said.

The discourse on equality has shifted to a state where inequality is considered all right, where you cease to worry about it continuing and deepening. “We have come to a stage where we don’t have to address the question of inequality. That is the danger,” he said.

The tendency to depict the past 70 years of Indian history as an ‘aberration’ is scarcely the path of progress, he noted. The country should instead hold on to the advances it has made during that period to advance even further. “You don’t go back,” he said, adding that the “past-worshipping creed” should be understood and arrested.

Mr. Prabhakar painted a grim picture of the present state of the country’s economy. Youth unemployment in India is among the highest in the world. The country was confronted with a large national debt and contraction of domestic savings. Private investment has been falling and the rural market has failed to pick up, he said.

The incidence of direct taxation has been declining while that of indirect taxation rising. This in reality means that the incidence of taxation on the poorer section of the society has been increasing, he said.

Mr. Prabhakar urged civil society to wake up to the danger the country was facing today. “Communal values have an army. Do Constitutional values have an army? I will feel secure if the Constitutional values of pluralism, democracy, diversity, secularism also have an army of people who fight for them,” he said.

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