Govindacharya’s suggestion to govt: Tweak, tear up or leave WTO

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BY NAVNEET MISHRA
New Delhi, May 14 (IANS)
Well-known RSS ideologue and a leading swadeshi proponent K.N. Govindacharya has supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘self-reliant India’ campaign.
In an exclusive interview with IANS, he has offered various suggestions, a key point of which is that since the World Trade Organization (WTO) hints at ‘neo-colonialism’, India should either “tweak it in line with its interests or break it.” And if India was unable to do it, then it should leave the WTO, he said. Otherwise, India would always remain a ‘bazaar’ for the world in a situation where Indian products would suffer.
Once a part of BJP’s think tank, Govindacharya said India would first have to recognize its true potential and then accordingly firm up its economic policies to achieve its objectives. Govindacharya, who held a key post in BJP’s national organizational structure during Vajpayee-Advani era, told IANS that he is preparing notes on ‘swadeshi model’ which he would share with the government. “To agree or disagree would depend on the government,” he said.
To a question on the possibility of India taking on the WTO, Govindacharya said a needless scare is raised in India over the world trade body. “Population-wise, we are number two in the world, and we can be even number one in the coming years given the rate at which our population is rising. The world cannot afford to isolate India. The country is capable of framing its own policies. But that is possible if we awaken self-confidence and self-pride”.
The RSS ideologue said the WTO’s functioning process is beset with various deficiencies. The trade body works in accordance with the interests of the US and other developed and powerful nations, he said.
“The WTO has one nation, one vote policy. A country with a population of, say, one crore, has one vote whose worth is equal to a country with a population of 100 crore. Is it logical? I am of the opinion that there should be a system of one vote for one crore population, that way India’s vote-worth would be much more and India’s voice would be heard at all forums of the WTO. And then only, ‘global village’ would be a reality,” he said.
He said he has urged the government that for the interest of the nation, it should prevail on the WTO. “Else, it should break the WTO or leave it. Only then could there be some positive impact as well as justice to the idea of ‘vocal for local’, including the MSME sector”.
Govindacharya said India would have to prepare and develop its own economic model instead of copying America or China. He listed out five-point formula: Satvabodh (self-realisation), then comes self-pride, followed by self-confidence and self-dependence, which would lead to larger self-reliance.
He said India, despite various crises of globalization, has been able to protect itself against collapse amid its peculiar socio-economic structure. “The foundation of asset-building in India stands on savings. Indian families’ savings lead to self-dependence. Therefore, Indian systems have to be honoured and not mocked at”.
He said it was a matter of worry and concern that India’s strength in the last 200 years has been taken as its weakness. “The western system lays stress on individualism. In this model, there is no link between the State and the individual. On the contrary, there are various links in India which provide a social security net. Therefore, instead of acting as an obstruction, the government should offer adequate encouragement”.
Govindacharya offered an example of the forest department, saying it should make the forest-dwellers a part of the policies, and not throw them out to contractors. “Doing this will add to our forest wealth.” He raised concern over the neglect of the MSME sector, saying despite so many problems, the sector is playing its part in good measure. “That also means that our local products are strong enough and these need government encouragement”.
On ‘swadeshi model’ not generating as much employment as foreign companies do, he said: “First we have to decide where the employment is. There is a marked reduction in government jobs. The pre-eminence of technology is leading to fewer jobs even in the corporate sector. This is despite the fact that agriculture that contributes only 17 per cent to the GDP has given maximum jobs to the extent of 56 per cent. “One can also imagine the financial status of this 56 per cent population. This gives us enough hints as to how much attention should be given to agriculture.