‘Come, manufacture in India’. “Sell in any country of the world but manufacture here. We have got skill, talent, discipline, and determination to do something. “Come, Make in India" from electrical to electronics, "Come, Make in India", from automobiles to agro value addition, "Come, Make in India", paper or plastic, "Come, Make in India", satellite or submarine, "Come, Make in India". Our country is powerful. Come, I am giving you an invitation.” was the call reiterated by the Prime Minister Modi in his speech on Independence Day.
What is behind the call of PM Modi - “Make in India”? What are its implications for the people of India, for its working class? At the other end of the spectrum, what is its implication for the bourgeoisie of India, international finance capitalists, for India Inc?
Our Party agrees that Indian workers have the skill, the talent, the discipline and determination to work, just like the working class of any country. However, Modi's call is an invitation to international finance capital to use the sweat and skills of the Indian working class to fulfill the greed of capital. It is not with the aim to satisfy the claims of the workers, or to fulfill the demand of the broad masses of people. The bourgeoisie will direct capital to produce goods not based on the demands of Indian people but by what will yield maximum profits for the monopolies. The Indian bourgeoisie wants to further opportunities for its expansion. Indian capitalists want to become big players on the world scale by increasing the production base of the country and be counted as an economic and military power on a global scale.
It is a fact that finance capital would invest further in India only if its investments are going to fetch big returns. Finance capital moves into those countries or sectors of the economy where it can secure maximum capitalist profit through the exploitation, ruin and impoverishment of the majority of the population, through the enslavement and systematic robbery of the peoples and, lastly, through wars and militarization. It would invest in India if its calculations show that by investing in India, it could earn higher profits than if it invested elsewhere. This would be its motivation, not the well-being of the Indian people.
The Prime Minister talked about “ending the isolation of the Indian economy and said India cannot develop “by sitting alone in a corner” - what he is prescribing is further integration with the imperialist system. This has begun with further liberalisation of FDI limits, starting with the recent announcements with respect to defence and insurance. What this means is to further offer the country's resources for unrestrained exploitation by capital, both Indian and foreign, and to make the economy more vulnerable to fierce competition and the anarchy of imperialism. Production of sophisticated weapons and defense systems will increase. This is a dangerous course for the economy, as it will lead to militarization of the economy, because investment in war preparations is best adapted to the extraction of maximum profits. Precious resources will be diverted to a military-industry complex at the expense of production of goods and services necessary to raise the material conditions of the people. This will lead to the destruction of the Indian economy. This has been the experience of the working class and people in all countries across the world, who have fully integrated with the imperialist system.
Modi's call attempts to hide the fact that the economy would have to provide conditions even more favourable than what exists today for the capitalists to lure finance capital, both Indian and foreign to first invest in India. Existing regulations that to a smaller or greater extent pose some limitations on capitalist profits will have to be removed. It is in this direction that “labour reforms” have been mooted by the Central government and are being implemented by various state governments.
Through these labour reforms, rights that have been won by workers over years of struggle are systematically being sought to be negated with the capitalist logic that they are preventing foreign and Indian capitalists from investing in our country. The model of Maruti Suzuki and such other multinationals is being legalized. This is the model by which capitalists openly hire two thirds of the workers on contract basis or as apprentices, block workers attempts to form their own fighting union in collaboration with the state labour department, cut wages of workers on any pretext, and use the official "law and order machinery" including police and courts to crush workers resistance. It is a model by which capitalists can maximize their profits by intensifying the degree of exploitation of workers. It is a model by which Maruti Suzuki and such other companies not only have expanded in the Indian market, but also the foreign market.
The ruling class is moving in the direction of establishing "hire and fire" as the basic "right" of capitalists. The scope for contract labour in public and private sector enterprises is being greatly increased. The limit of working hours per day is being increased. Payment of overtime is being cut down even where such norms existed. Night shift work for women is being legalized in more and more sectors, without adequate provision for their security, transport, etc. The Factories Act has been amended to deprive millions of workers of their right to approach labour courts to implement labour laws. Safety norms in factories are being relaxed. In this way the exploitation of the workers is being intensified and their real wages are being pushed down, in order to attract Indian and foreign private capital by offering better conditions for making super profits.
Likewise, there is a move to ease taxes on profits that are repatriated to the home country of the foreign capitalists. India Inc is repeatedly calling on the government to amend the Land Acquisition Act 2013 (called the The Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill, 2013) that became law in January 2014, so that the condition that consent has to be acquired could be done away with, and further allow the government to acquire land on behalf of the capitalists under the guise of “public purpose” and the “urgency” clause. The big capitalists want, amongst other things, immediate clearing of all roadblocks due to delay in land acquisition, in developing highways as well as other infrastructure projects.
Various other regulations that came into being under pressure of people's demands to protect the natural environment will also be removed or diluted. In short, the aim is to make India a most favoured destination for capitalists from all over the world and for the Indian capitalists, as well. The intention behind Modi's call is to throw open all the land, labour and resources of India to be fully exploited in the interests of the foreign and Indian capitalists.
It is reported that the Prime Minister's team in the PMO, as well as officers across ministries, have been engaging with members of India Inc for the past several weeks to identify issues that need to be addressed in order to remove all obstacles to an “investor-friendly” economic climate. In the name of “reviving the economy”, the PMO is acting on behalf of the biggest capitalists and financiers. The plan is not for reviving the economy in the interest of the vast majority of people but in the interest of finance capital.
The Prime Minister was also playing on the psyche of the Indian people; he was trying to give a very “nationalist” sounding slogan that will appeal to all Indians. He is trying to make it appear that “make in India” is the same as making what is needed for the majority of Indians. Our country is rich in natural resources which can be worked on by our people to establish the necessary production base for the continued and expanding production of essential goods and services. But this is possible only if the economy is oriented to produce goods and services to fulfill the needs of the working men and women and their families.
The economy can be either oriented to raising the material conditions of the people or it can be oriented to fulfilling the claims of finance capitalists. The present orientation of the Indian economy is a capitalist orientation, that exploits the natural resources of the country and its labour to return maximum profits for the capitalists, Indian and foreign. It is to further this course that foreign investors are being urged to invest their capital and “make in India.” It is only the working class, in alliance with the oppressed, which is interested in and capable of reorienting the economy to serve the interests of the majority of people. The working class must take political power in its hands and take over the reins of the economy to steer it away from the dangerous present course of the bourgeoisie.