அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்

Lord 'Lux' Lashes All (2)
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"Fleece all" to Feed the Plan

Mr. Surendra Mohanty, M.P. from Orissa was pungent but not far from truth, when he said, "the tax proposals are a warrant of penalty on the people for the failure of the First Plan for no fault of their own".

While we show with pride and pleasure, Bhakra or Sindri to foreign V.I.P's we think that they do not note, our deficit financing, inflation, heavy borrowing, and such other ugly features! The emaciated peasant, the deserted villages, the discontented white collar, all these do not escape the vigilant eyes of the foreigner, and though he throws bouquets here and there he chuckles within himself, and says that we are planning for a crash!

Some of those, who do not care much for our smiles, do warn us, and ask us to go slow-or carry out our plans, carefully, but Pandit Nehru has neither the time not the patience to pay heed to such words of caution—for hurry he must towards the appointed goal, gales do not terrorise him and this Mariner, is prepared to sail the stormy sea, with a half-torn mast!

When the entire press and the public are infuriated over this 'fleece-all' budget, Pandit Nehru, silences all his colleagues, by an edict, "Let us bear the burden today—for tomorrow is going to be bright. Sacrifice! Austerity! Tighten the belt" These are charming words indeed but as Mr.Thakur Das Bhargava , of the Congress fold says, "the Government's call for sacrifice and austerity was justified but they should come forward with CLEAN HANDS. On the one hand, the Government were asking people to tighten their belts and on the other they were spending crores of rupees on luxury hotels!"

When with a view to infuse some hope and solace in the minds of the people, some of the Congress members themselves, bring in a resolution for a cut in the salary of the Ministers. Pandit Nehru comes forward, with a frown, to play the critic and protect the fatter calves!! And this when in Kerala, the Communists have reduced the salaries of ministers to the barest minimum.

Nothing large can be served by such 'Cuts' but it would go a long way to prove that the powers-that-be are themselves prepared to tighten their belts!!

The public are asked to pay the pound of flesh and asked also to witness the pomp and extravagance of ministers and their sycophants!

One hears about the luxury hotels, artificial tanks and the like, while the finance minister takes the big stick to beat the poor and middle class, by taxing all consumer goods, Hence it is that despite the fact that many in the Congress fold prepared to idolize Mr. Nehru, are yet forced to murmur at least that the present taxation proposal, is nothing but a method of harassing the poor to humour the rich!

"The impact of the taxes proposed by Mr . Krishnamachari comes, at least apparently heaviest upon the common people the most vocal section of the urban middle classes who have till now got little benefit in return for the sacrifices they have made so long for the sake of the planned economic development of the country."

Prudently enough, Mr. C.Rajagopalachariar suggests to levy new taxes in regions wherein the First Five Year Plan has bestowed tangible benefits! C.R. is not my friend is all the reply that Mr T.T.K. is able to hurl at!!

And what is the record of achievement of the Congress regime as for as bridging the gulf between the rich and poor is concerned? Has the lot of the have-nots improved? What is the contribution of the Congress regime, in this respect barring of course sweet shibboleths about Socialistic pattern, Socialism by consent and the like!

What is given below is not an irresponsible outburst of the opposition but the sober findings of Mr. Shriman Narayan, the General Secretary of the Congress Writing in the 'Economic Review' a journal of the All India Congress Committee, Mr. Narayan says "that all available statistics tended to show that the difference between the living standards of the richer and the poorer sections instead or being narrowed down had increased further during the last nine or ten years. This was a matter which requires very serious study and thought before the finance minister can expect the common people to become enthusiastic about his taxation proposals"
And to tax the poor, after this is to say the least, merciless; but Pandit Nehru, is not bound to respect these dictums; he is wedded to the plan and should feed it, even if that compels him to fleece all!

Pandit Nehru, refutes not the accusation levelled at his administration, the charges of extravagance, corruption, irregularities; but brushes these aside by saying, "We have not so far succeeded in curbing these evils altogether". Probably he is thinking that much money can not be saved, by these methods. The great Pandit, should permit men of lesser importance also to have a say in such matters, for, it is not a question of managing the Allahabad Estate but the handling of the destinies of crores of human beings!
The CINCINATI post has this to say—it is captioned PENCE AND POUNDS

The passport division of the State Department found it didn't need 32 pages in a passport. It cut the pages to 20—net saving 48,000 dollars a year. Half a million passports per year were being sent by registered mail. It was found that on an average, fewer than 3 a year were being lost. So registering was discontinued—net saving to the post office department, 1,50,000 dollars a year.

There is a tendency to think of budget cuts in large, round sums only. Common sense business tests applied to a multitude of relatively small operations, can save a dollar here, and a dollar there, adding up to large round sums. Congressional committees hunting for the big ways to save, should not scorn the little ones.

This in a country, which 'lends and leases' money and materials to all countries that are not Red.

How much anguish will the public get, when it compares this with the Jeep Scandal, Fertiliser Scandal, Ready Made House Scandal, the Ammunition Depot Scandal and a host of other scandals!!

Extravagance, waste and corruption in public services, especially in the big development projects have assumed proportions that can hardly be ignored.

But the Pandit ignores these for he is fully engrossed in the mighty task of implementing the Second Five Year Plan with a view to start on the third in due course!

Many of his colleagues, and some at least of his well-wishers, have pointed out, with due deference to his eminence and emotion that instead of fleecing all to feed the plan, the plan can be pruned in such a way as to minimise the crushing effect of the taxation proposals!

Once started, always on the march—says this Crusader unmindful of the fact that the country is loaded with discontent, squalor, and poverty.

This says Hitavada "is to impress foreign nations."

"If the object of the Finance Minister in imposing the highest taxation ever proposed in single budget was to impress foreign nations, that India was doing her best and that they should step in with their financial aid to cover the gap of about Rs. 275 crores and thus enable India to implement the current part of the Second Five Year Plan, the object hardly seems to have been realised", and the Nagpur daily points out that the impressions created in New York, is that these levies are but symptoms of the desperate economic position into which India has been dragged by the weight of the plan!

The Government is trying to raise a billion dollar loan from the World Bank.

'Hitavada' says, Pandit Nehru, who has ignored the friendly advice given by his well-wishers, will be forced to eat the humble pie, at the hands of this World Bank, for, before conceding this Billion dollar loan, the presiding officer there, will have some harsh things to say about the plan.

Already, quarters akin to the World Bank, consider, that the Indian Plan is not only over-ambitious but it is badly phased!

A billion dollar loan can not be given for the mere asking of it, though it be that it is the Great Nehru who asks this loan. Many will come forward to present Nehru with a Lyric in praise of his sentiment—but a billion dollar bill will have to be backed by, realism, not sentiment.

"Revise the plan!" will be the bitter pill that will have to be taken, before the billion dollar loan comes forth.

To amend the plan to satisfy the experts overseas, is to damage the self-respect of this country—and it would be prudent on the part of Nehru, to heed to the suggestions of his friends—though they be but in humbler stations.

"The Second Plan" concludes the Hitavada "as it stands, has not enthused the people; it has also failed to inspire foreign capital flow into India. Neither has it helped capital formation within the country. Is it too much to hope that the government will retrace their steps before it is too late?"

We are afraid, these sober suggestions will but infuriate the Pandit, for he refuses to believe that he is leading this country towards the dangers of economic chaos—for the good great man is almost blinded by the very dazzle of the plan.

Probably the Pandit thinks that men of his eminence should not consume the 'home mades'!

There is yet another view! That after all, it is John Bull who is going to put a break on the path, during the forthcoming Commonwealth Conference.

The bitter pill, they say, is to be administered by the London clinic.

Mr. Nehru feels it an honour and pleasure to be in the Commonwealth and in the Sterling area. Pakistan is also a member—a sort of favoured member too!

Pakistan says that it is afraid of the armament race in Bharat! Huge sums are spent for building up armaments over there just to scare us into submission over the Kashmir issue and the Canal water issue, laments this big brother of the Baghdad Pact.

Let us not analyse its logic—suffice to note, that having a place alongside India at the Commonwealth Conference, Pakistan is bound to make a big noise against this—and the British nations are also bound to side and support its kinsmen in spirit from Karachi.

"Dawn" beats the Big Drum already.

"When he goes to London later this month Mr. Suhrawardy will doubtless have in mind the imperative urgency of calling a halt to Bharat's desperate bid to swell her armed strength at the expense of other members of the Commonwealth"

Dawn is almost sure of mustering the support of the other members in the Commonwealth, in this mission! Says the daily, that the course of Mr. Nehru ought to be checked because, if allowed to take its own course, it would.

"imperil the stability and strength of the Sterling area as a whole"

And critics, who are conversant with the mental make up of Pandit Nehru, point out, that while he dictatorially brushed aside the words of his well-wishers, he would be forced to act up to what the foreign dignitaries ask him to do Either the World Bank, or the Commonwealth Conference at London, the critics point out, will put a break to the onward rush of Pandit Nehru.

Till then the state of affairs here is bound to be 'fleece-all to feed the plan' and nothing more.