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NEW DELHI-Deepening Reliance on Foreign Capital

The finance minister has provided nothing in the budget for 1993-94 to build up internal strength to pursue a strategy of self-reliant economic and social development. On the contrary, the already fragile internal support structure for investment and erowih will suffer further erosion.

NEW DELHI-1993-94 Budget Opportunity for the Opposition

NEW DELHI 1993-94 Budget: Opportunity for the Opposition BM The implementation of the structural adjustment programme has run into serious snags and the budget for 1993-94, to be presented in a few weeks, should be expected to bring matters to a head.

NEW DELHI-Closing in for the Killz

NEW DELHI Closing in for the Kill BM Any front of secular and democratic forces must make it a paramount condition for any arrangement for defusing the political crisis that the government desist from negotiating with the IMF, in particular for a loan under the EFE IT cannot be fortuitous that in the midst of the political turmoil and widespread civil disturbances following the demolition of the Babri masjid, the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank have rushed to release more credits for India and to initiate negotiations on still further loans, especially under the medium-term extended fund facility (EFF) of the IMF for completing what is euphemistically called a three-year programme for the structural adjustment of the Indian economy. The mainstream political par- tics engrossed in hectic moves to rearrange their alignments in the name of combating what is perceived by them to be the grave threat not only to political stability but to the very unity and integrity of the republic, have let pass what are clearly interventionist moves by foreign agencies in an uncertain situation without much notice. It appears that the international financial institutions and their political overlords actually consider the prevailing conditions opportune for them to redouble their efforts in India. The other problems and challenges it is facing notwithstanding, the government headed by P V Narasimha Rao is extending full cooperation to them to push ahead with the IMF/World Bank reform programme The international financial institutions are making a show of their willingness to enlarge financial support to India in a difficult phase for the implementation of the reform programme. Both they and the government of India must be greatly relieved that the attention of the critics of the reform programme has been diverted by the Ayodhya happenings and their aftermath so that the government will enjoy greater elbow room in a crucial phase of the implementation of the programme. The IMF/World Bank combine finds it to be a copy-book situation for advancing its interests, going by the dictum laid down by the World Bank that "governments do well to capitalise on the broad, politically short-lived mandate for reform that crisis confers by front loading the reform programme" and that "erring on the side of speed appears to be best... if political opportunity for reform is unlikely to last". Hence the decision to start negotiations for a massive loan under the EFF, even as two tranches of the ongoing stand-by credit amounting to $ 640 million have been released. Side by side, as earnest of the co-ordinated effort in support of the government, the ADB and the World Bank have released S 150 million and $ 200 million respectively of structural adjustment loans.

NEW DELHI-A Trap for the Left

NEW DELHI A Trap for the Left BM The left parties, it is being suggested, must subordinate their opposition to the government's economic policies to the task of fighting the threat to the country's secular ideals. Unfortunately, these parties, and the CPI(M) in particular, have given the impression that once again they may be lured into the Congress(I)'s parlour even as a mock drama of fighting communal forces is staged by Congress(I) Ieaders, including Narasimha Rao.

NEW DELHI-Bumbling Along on Neo-Colonial Road

Bumbling Along on Neo-Colonial Road BM The two-steps-forward-one-step-back implementation of structural adjustment, such as had been carried out in 1969, 1983 and again in 1987, being attempted by the present government is likely to produce farcical results. All the same, the country will not be able to throw off the shackles of IMF/World Bank conditionalities unless there is mass mobilisation against the neo-colonial dependency situation to which it is being reduced.

NEW DELHI-Aid Mainly for Debt-Servicing

NEW DELHI Aid Mainly for Debt-Servicing BM The Aid India Consortium meeting this year was an inquisition on the part of India's creditors and a cynical exercise in disinformation by the Indian officials at Paris to mislead the country.

NEW DELHI-EFF Arrangement in Jeopardy

NEW DELHI EFF Arrangement in Jeopardy BM Within a week of the prime minister's public affirmation that the government would seek an EFF arrangement with the IMF has come the quiet decision to put off negotiations on it. Evidently the government failed to get a good chit from the IMF's inspection team for its performance in implementing the structural adjustment programme.

NEW DELHI-Structural Adjustment-Second Thoughts within Government

There was said to be, to begin with, general agreement, in the face of the acute balance of payments crisis, on the need to go to the IMF and make adjustments in economic policy. But many ministers, particularly those who are Lok Sabha members, have now become fearful of the political price they will be called upon to pay for the suffering inflicted by the structural adjustment programme on all but a thin upper crust of the population.

NEW DELHI-Eroding Political Support for Structural Adjustment

NEW DELHI Eroding Political Support for 'Structural Adjustment' BM Time seems to be running out for the 'structural adjustment' programme much faster than its advocates had bargained for. The broad-based opposition to the Dunkel proposals, including within the ruling party and even the government, which has compelled the prime minister to constitute a special cabinet committee headed by the minister for human resource development is a significant straw in the wind.

NEW DELHI-Planning Is Dead, Long Live the Plan

The charade or the formulation or the Eighth plan and the National Development Council meeting to solemnly endorse its impressive investment and growth targets are a piece of grand deception against the reality of the IMF-World Bank supervised structural adjustment programme which the government is committed to implementing faithfully THE latest session of the National Development Council failed to impart the much-needed clarity to the issue of the role of planning under the economic liberalisation and globalisation policies being pursued by the government with zeal. The prime minister talked rather casually about reorienting planning and the role of the Planning Commission. He talked about enlarging the area of indicative planning and building a long- term strategic view of the future. But this was an exercise in creating illusions among the people when the economic reality for them is tending to be starkly painful.

NEW DELHI-Delusions of Mass Support

Delusions of Mass Support BM If before the by-elections, Narasimha Rao himself and other government leaders, among them the finance minister in particular, often went gaga over praise by foreign creditors for their performance, they are now being persuaded to beguile themselves that they have popular support for their economic policy within the country as well.

NEW DELHI-Message from Bangkok

NEW DELHI Message from Bangkok BM The dismantling of the phased manufacturing programme and the proposal for replacing cost-plus by what are called internationally competitive prices are the perfect scenario for undermining domestic production of capital and intermediate goods. So what is in the offing is not even substitution of the public sector by Indian private enterprise, but take-over by foreign capital.

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