about 2 years ago
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By Ruma Dubey

As though it were not enough for us to hang our heads in shame, looking at the mockery of democracy in Karnataka; it becomes worse when the newly sworn in CM, Yeddyurappa, who is yet to prove the majority, announcing that his Govt will give loan waivers to farmers with loans of upto Rs.1 lakh.

Why?????? Maybe that’s the reason why the market too tanked even though its BJP which has been sworn in.

That too when Syndicate Bank and PNB just reported record losses, with their balance sheet left in tatters by the uncle-nephew duo of Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi. Both are probably ensconced comfortably abroad in a plush home, leaving the country and tax payer to clear the mess they have left behind.

And while that fury is yet to die down, there comes this news of a loan waiver.

So it’s like this – if you are super rich, you can get anyway with anything – murder is a small thing but even tax evasions and loan defaults. And if you are at the other end of the spectrum – the very poor farmer, you could have taken loans to get your daughter married or repair your home or buy a new tractor but today all that debt could get waived off. Thus the middle class is left with the bill – we pay for the largesse enjoyed by the bigwigs and also for the debt waiver enjoyed by the farmers. Except for the FMCG and vehicle companies, no one is even interested in wooing us anymore. But yes, the teeming multitude of people going to work and earning a living sincerely are made to pay for all the fallacies, be it the Govt or banks. We pick up the tab for everything.

It is not wrong to say that the middle class at this juncture feels punished – we pay our EMIs on the home, car, education and other loans on time. At the end, whatever is left out of the salary, most do manage to run a decent household. And what scares most of us is humiliation – it’s a nightmare to think that we could miss one EMI and have the bank knocking at our doors and inundating the household with calls. So we do everything possible to eke out a simple, meek life of dignity, not knowing that we are actually toiling hard to pay for the impunities of others.

Farm loan waiver has actually become a state policy now – it should be made official. Every state should mark out a portion of their budget for this and every bank should also be prepared with a “reserve” for this contingency. Arun Jaitley did say that the state govts will have to fund these loan waivers but ultimately won’t they borrow from PSU banks which in turn comes under the gambit of RBI? Or we could see various “surcharges” in many states to raise funds for the farmers loan waiver – it is like the toll taken; even when the cost of the road is recovered, toll remains a permanent fixture.

Unfortunately, these politicians have given rise to a crop of farmers who take debt, knowing fully well that it will be waived off – a culture of default is on the rise. The Govt dare not say this aloud because it will then hurt its biggest rural vote bank. Isn’t there something seriously wrong here? Economics be damned while we want to shout from roof tops that we are the fastest growing economy in the world? We want to call ourselves a mature economy but are we really?

People like you and me, the mass middle class living in cities are indeed being taken for a ride. We are all just one big homogenous mass of people and within us there is no unity – we are so busy working and earning that we have time to only listen to debates on TV and snooze off into la la land. Also, the middle class simply wants to live; why get into anything, fight for any right and topple its boat which is on seemingly clam waters – so what if we have to pay from our salary for keeping the country clean, clear debts of farmers, fund sick PSUs and foot the bill for pay hikes to employees who do not deserve it.

Nothing will change for us the middle class; we will remain that faceless mass, funding every wrong with our righteous life.

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