“India does not need dollars; it needs ideas, knowledge and expertise rather than dollars as there is a need to focus on developing a base of skilled people keeping the future in mind,” Prime Minister Modi told World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim when he met him late last month. Even as Kim said the World Bank would the provide USD 15-18 billion credit to India over the next 3 years and would review quota reform next year.
Concurring with Modi, Kim averred the WB would increase its financial assistance to support job-oriented skills and infrastructure development in India. The Group President also hinted that the Prime Minister had set-up some goals for the bank which it would make efforts to achieve.
Alongside, Kim applauded the Government’s growth rates targets. The Bank President welcomed the $100 b Development Bank founded by BRICS nations and hoped it would fund infrastructure projects in developing nations, a reflection of BRICS growing importance in the world economy. Adding, the WB was ready to provide technical assistance.
So far so good. But the moot point: Was this visit a courtesy call? Did it have a deeper meaning? Why did the WB President come calling post Modi’s return from the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil? Did it have something to do with the BRICS Development Bank?
Importantly, it is no secret that Washington where the WB is headquartered is the world’s international finance capital and maintains its hegemony over developed and developing nations. Indeed, Group President Kim represents interests of forces which dictate all our policy decisions under the slogan of liberalisation and globalisation.
Until Modi, these forces had their “own men”, Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan to implement its neo-liberal economic policies in India which resulted in wide-spread miseries and pauperisation of masses. Presently, only Rajan is left following the Congress-led UPA defeat in the general elections.
True, the NDA-II regime too is implementing the same neo-liberal policies dictated by Washington more faithfully than its predecessor, yet the World Bank cannot rely on a raw Prime Minister and Finance Minister for economic affairs as it did on its erstwhile team of men. In fact, the Bank is forcing the NDA-II leadership to appoint its economists in all banks on the pattern of the RBI headed by “its man” Rajan.
Notably, Modi appears inclined to follow the world’s economic masters and in the near future in all likelihood the WB’s faithful would be appointed in all banks to serve the international finance capital’s interests. Notwithstanding, these new appointments on a high salary would result in heavy financial burden which ultimately would be borne by the poor masses.
Besides, the new bosses might facilitate the disinvestment process in nationalised banks to allow national and international private capital to reap huge profits at the cost of millions of small investors’.
Undoubtedly, Modi’s assertion that India needs “ideas, knowledge and expertise rather than dollars” seems to communicate the World Bank hidden agenda whereby the Prime Minister perhaps has committed to implement as a good servant of the international finance capital. Otherwise, what is the need of asking the World Bank to supply personnel? As there is no dearth of Indian economists at various universities who are better equipped with pro-people economic ideas, knowledge and expertise than those who would be imported from the World Bank as the UPA did in the past?
Another aspect of the Modi-Kim meeting and why the WB Group President rushed to New Delhi might have disturbed international finance capital’s hegemonic forces and created fear that the BRICS Bank could eat into the World Bank and IMF’s hegemony. Given India’s vulnerability it could be pressurised to invest indirectly World Bank finance in the BRICS Bank to neutralise China’s bigger investment plan.
Consequently, the Development Bank through India could accept the World Bank’s finance capital as India’s share, thereby indirectly keeping its hegemony in the BRICS Bank. Undeniably, the international finance capital is like an omnipresent force which can reach any corner of the globe for profits. India will obsequiously like to be used by these forces to checkmate China’s dominance over the new Bank.
Alas, it would be unfortunate, if the move of BRICS partners to thwart manoeuvres of imperialist nations fails at the hands of India by allowing entry of international finance capital into the new Bank by proxy.
Strangely, the print and electronic media observed silence on this crucial issue. Recall, monopolies have flourished on international debt since Independence which have forced political vanguards to go with a begging bowl to Uncle Sam along-with the-then Soviet block and reaped huge profits. Hence, the foreign debt created wealth for big monopoly houses which was paid with interest by the aam aadmi.
Earlier, the imperialist block under America’s leadership exercised not only controlled our economy but post the World Bank and IMF’s creation, these twin centres of international finance capital spread their wings over world economy. Further, our monopoly houses also aligned themselves with these new forces and now rule the country through their obedient political bosses over the common people.
In sum, the neo-liberal policies of internal finance capital are forcing the Prime Minister and Finance Minister to allow FDI in insurance and banking sectors along-with reforming labour laws thereby weakening organised workers bargaining power. It remains to be seen if the NDAII sells valuable assets to national and international private monopolies. As it might play havoc with India’s economic well-being. Arguably, isn’t our intellectual community duty-bound to expose this game of privatisation and globalisation? INFA