The First Meeting between MSME, Govt. of India, and delegation of Gram Seva Sangh
06.12.2019, #10, Pandit Pant Marg, New Delhi-01
Prasanna, Theatre Director, Social Activist, Karnataka
Medha Patkar, Social Activist, Bhopal
Sunil Sahasrabudhey, Founder President, Vidya Ashram, Sarnath
Chitra. S, National Convener, Lokavidya Jan Andolan, Banaras
Manjari Nirula, Past President, Delhi Craft Council, New Delhi
K V Biju, National Organization Secretary, Swadeshi Andolan, Kerala
Abhilash C A, Convener, Gram Seva Sangh, Bengaluru
The demand put forward by Gram Seva Sangh
Zero tax, Refinance, Restructure, all sacred sectors of economy on a war footing
- Economic systems all over the world have always been like a pyramid, with the concentration of wealth at the tip of it. This tendency became even more pronounced with the industrialization and subsequent increase in automation. The pyramid started becoming bigger and bigger with more and more wealth concentrating at the tip. Indian economy is no exception.
- Handmaking sector, and the vast population attached to it, has always remained at the bottom of this pyramid. But today, with the structure becoming so huge, they have almost been crushed to death.
- When we say Sacred sector, we mean the Hand-making sector plus the small sectors (less than forty percent automation) belonging to the automatic machine sector.
- When we say hand-making sector we mean, Khadi and village industries sector as defined by J.C. Kumarappa and Gandhiji, farm sector as defined by the Swaminanthan Committee, handloom and handicraft sector, under the Ministry of Textiles.
- Hand-making has also been called Informal Economy (IE). We believe it is an insult to call it that. Our farmer’s weavers and crafts people were not only a skilled lot but a highly organized lot. They, for example, exported their products, after doing elaborate value addition, all through history. They earned large amounts of wealth, till the British came and forcibly took over our economy.
- Be that as it may, Informal Economy (IE) represents 90 to 93 percent of Indian population. If we exclude the tip of the IE pyramid, consisting of professionals such as lawyers, doctors and other consultants, and include the under belly of the so called organized sector, (such as small vendors, small traders, small service providers, small manufacturers, machine shops that use less than forty percent automation) we get what we have called the sacred sector of economy. The sacred sector covers a staggering ninety percent of the Indian population. This large productive force has, unfortunately, been neglected by successive Indian Governments.
- Nothing seems to reach the sacred sector. Job reservations do not reach them. Economic reform, introduced during the last two and half decade, does not reach them. Entrepreneurship is almost completely and quite deliberately extinguished from it. Cooperative as a system of production was destroyed systematically. Probably the only exception to this sad plight of the sector is the introduction of MGNREGA.
- Doles are given to this sector. Free provisions, free education, free health care, etc. But doles either do not reach them or are being withdrawn systematically through reduction in budgetary allocation. No wonder Indian economy is collapsing.
- We agree that freebies are not an answer to our economic ills. Structural reforms need to be undertaken on a war footing in the sacred sector. But instead successive governments have adopted a policy of appeasement of, what we call, the monster economy. We are trying to revive the dying monster. Monster economy is monstrous both in its size and nature. It kills jobs. Now, it is killing itself. We should let the monster dye its natural death.
- Sacred sector does not mean merely the village economy. We do realize we have moved a long distance away from the village and village industry. We do realize that humanity has become addicted to automation and that de-addiction process has to be a gradual process. That is why we have suggested formula, as the ratio of human labor to automation. Sacred sector is village sector plus small urban sector, hand-making sector plus a limited use of automation.
- We want the implementation of sacred economy not as a top down exercise but as a genuine exercise leading towards complete sacredness in the economy. Let us not forget that labor is sacred according to the tenets of the saintly traditions of India.
- Sacred Economy, we do not need to tell you, can solve all the three gigantic problems facing humanity today; Economic collapse, Environmental degradation and Social strife.
Attachment – 1: Definitions of various terms used by Gram Seva Sangh
- Sacred Economy means a system of production that utilizes a minimum of, sixty percent human labor and sixty percent local raw material. It also means less than forty percent use of automation and less than forty percent use of imported raw material.
- Local Raw material broadly means material that is available in a radius of hundred kilometers from the site of production. Imported Raw Material broadly means material that is brought from outside of this radius.
- Monster economy is the opposite of the sacred economy. The current global system of industrial production is in-fact a monster. It utilizes heavy automation, heavily imported raw material and is capital intensive.
- Scale: The scale has complete hand-making and local raw material at one end. The other end of the scale has complete automation and complete imported raw material. According to this scale, for example, Handmade products are hundred percent sacred, while products made of small industries, with small automation, etc are relatively less sacred, but still eligible, as long as they remain within the sixty percent limit.
- Products made out of more than forty percent automation and more than forty percent imported raw materials are, of course, monstrous.
- We are asking for a Policy of Positive Discrimination towards the sacred economy. As we move forward with this program we should gradually and systematically also move away from the monster economy without creating major disturbances in the overall economy.
- An Example of the Sacred Sector. Consider the example of Khadi. According to the scale, if Khadi is hundred percent sacred, handloom is eighty percent sacred and power-loom sixty percent sacred. Yet, power-loom is eligible for the benefit we have demanded. In this sense the demand is inclusive. It includes, for positive discrimination, small industry, machine shop, small traders, service sector and such, along with the village industry and agriculture.
Attachment – 2: Advantages of Sacred Economy
- Sacred Economy creates jobs. And, not kill jobs.
- Sacred Economy is environment friendly. It helps control climate change.
- Sacred Economy creates a better social environment, without strife and without violence.
- Sacred Economy is built on restraint and hence Dharmic.
- The Monster economy, on the contrary, is built on excessive competition and greed.
- Monster Economy, Hence, is irreligious.
- Sacred Economy reduces the pressure on big cities.
- Sacred Economy reduces the migration of village poor. Helps revive the village.
- Sacred economy helps the revive nature.
- India is still largely a domestic economy. Hence Sacred Economy is a system of production that is better suited to India. The working hands and the skill base are even now our strengths.
- Excessive automation is, most certainly, not India’s strength.
Attachment – 3: Satyagraha Demand letter sent to Prime Minister Office on 6, Oct, 2019
Attachment – 4: An Open Letter to PM signed by eminent people in support of Satyagraha
Attachment – 5: Letter from Central Minister, D.V. Sadananda Gowda to Sri Nirmala Sitaraman Ji
Attachment – 6: A reminder letter we wrote to Central Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda Ji
Attachment – 7: A short report of important events of the Satyagraha in 2019
Gram Seva Sangh
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