The deteriorated Economy of India experiencing Low Growth and Unemployment

Declining Economy

 

 

These past recent months, there have been talks of weather India is staring at an Economic Crisis. The Indian Government, have tried to tone down this matter by saying that India is just going through a slowdown which is natural as a result of generalized Global Economic slowdown that is affecting even the developed economies of USA, UK,Japan and other countries around the world. However, latest data released for the 2nd quarter of 2019(July to Sept period) has given us clear data that indicate that the rate of growth of the Indian Economy has not just declined drastically but majority of the India’s population have got poorer, are consuming less and are unemployed.

Economic Crisis Situation

 

Wire news report on Indian Economic Performance 2019 Q2 Period
https://thewire.in/video/watch-the-wire-business-report-understanding-the-q2-gdp-slump

Overall growth of Indian Economy is poor reflected by Sub 5% GDP growth

GDP growth has been just 4.5% which is the lowest since 2013 Quarter 4 period. This means that the growth experienced by Indian Economy to provide jobs to it’s more than a billion population right now is just not enough!!!

Declining Economy

 Declining Growth Rates of the Major Sectors of the Indian Economy

In Q2 Manufacturing Sector has grown by 2.6%, Construction sector by 3.2% and Agricultural Sector has grown by a really dismal 2.1% , all these sectors are experiencing a decline in growth rates in comparison to Quarter 1 period of 2019.

 Industrial Production is at a low

Industrial and Manufacturing Activity have contracted as indicated by contraction of the core sectors of Indian Economy by 5.8% with a decline in production of crude oil, natural gas, cement, coal production, electricity, steel etc.

This indicates that there is less demand for these essential products required by Construction industries and manufacturing units for production and infrastructure building activities, due to them not doing much in their building and production activities.

 Investment in the Economy has grown by less than 1%

Investment in India by business entities was less than 1% in this period with the investment rate gone down to 28%, meaning no companies and business entities are confident to invest in India at present. This is despite the measures taken by the current Government to induce industries and companies to invest more with the Government having exercised its monetary policy of Repo rRate cuts so that industries and companies get cheap loans for investment purposes.

Besides cutting of interest rates, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaram also gave tax reductions to Corporate Entities amounting to 37,000 crore, even then investment has not picked up. Generally, if the above measures don’t work, it could only mean that there other issues ailing the Indian Economic Environment that needs to be fixed, for investment and growth to pick up.

 Unemployment, income inequalities and increase in Poverty

More worrying truths that are ugly emerge as well as rural distress has only increased, along with 7% increase in unemployment with their consumption having come down by 2% according to the 2018 leaked data of National Statistics Office (NSO).

Poverty has increased as well, with income inequalities having grown at vulgar proportions!! The majority of the section of India’s population who are in the bottom of the pyramid, are only getting poorer day by day.

 Retail inflation with low growth in economy and unemployment a worry!!

In the months of November and December, Retail inflation had risen to
5.54% and 7.35% with increase in prices of essential food items – milk, vegetables, egg, fish and meat. A majority of India’s population are low income population, along with low growth in job opportunities and unemployment, rise in prices of essential food products will have them not able to even afford food for basic nutrition!!

Outlook news on India’s retail inflation
https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/business-news-retail-inflation-jumps-to-735-in-december-2019-against-novembers-554/345659

The Structural issue in the current Indian Economic System

There have been discussions relating to whether this Economic slowdown is cyclical or structural, meaning are there inherent problems prevalent in the Indian Economic System that are the reasons for this economic low growth or is this just a natural economic cycle?. The answer to this is yes, there are structural issues crippling the Indian Economy. Since years the GDP growth of Indian Economy only grew because of profits made by the Corporate sector, but a large section of India remained poor and India’s rural economy has been destroyed.

Wire’s News article – 
India’s former chief statistician, Pronab Sen on India’s economic situation
https://thewire.in/video/watch-india-economy-karan-thapar-pronab-sen-interview

Farmer suicides since years because of Poverty

Agricultural Sector that comprises of farmers and labourers that provide food security to the entire Indian country have never procured a decent remuneration to make a living even though the goods that they produce have a permanent long standing demand as everyone of us are consumers of food materials for our survival, health and vitality!! Add to this they often are exploited and stressed due to the pressure of them needing to pay back loans, due to which many have been committing suicides.

The Workers and Labourers have always been paid very poorly

The workers and labourers in factories and industries are the real producers, but they never had job security even though their employers like big car companies, tyre companies, Construction companies and others make profits using their services, their wages also have been unfairly low when compared to the value they added to the Economic system. This was the case even when India experienced an economic boom, when Manufacturing and Construction companies were expanding and making profits.

https://www.networkideas.org/featured-articles/2018/08/factory-workers-in-india/

 India’s Rural Sector been destroyed

Traditionally, India’s rural Sector provided jobs to people in occupations like handicraft making, handloom cloth business, there were fishermen, farmers, small vendors, hawkers, khadhi weavers etc. These jobs were supporting giving livelihoods to lakhs of people in the area without the need for them to take that difficult step of migrating to urban areas and struggling to make a living there. However, that sector has been neglected by the Indian Government, as a result India’s poverty levels remain high.

SMEs are important as they provide employment to many

Small and Medium Enterprise segment (SMEs), that comprise of small and medium sized businesses do provide employment to a large population, but that segment has largely been ignored in the current Economic System which has favoured only capitalist entities in India!!

 India’s GDP could be more if the neglected sectors are developed and grown

India’s GDP would definitely have been better if all it’s sectors of Economy were nurtured and attended to by the Indian Economic System. So, farmers, weavers, textile workers, labourers, workers, fishermen, small and medium enterprise constituents would have earned enough to lead a dignified life. Then with enough money in their hands, their purchasing power would be constant enough to keep them demanding essential goods and services – food, electricity, healthcare, education services and other goods required by them which would have a positive and real increase in India’s GDP.

India’s prosperity only possible if the neglected sectors are revived

It is high time India becomes that country where poverty is eradicated and everybody has enough to lead a decent basic standard of living. India’s Economic system of production has been unjust to the majority of its population involved in occupations mentioned before (agriculture and farming, traditional textile industry comprising khadi and handloom garments, small scale industry constituents, fishermen, factory and industry workers and labourers, hawkers, handicraft artisans, weavers and more) .

Here is a write up on how the small sector players actually employ people – rural women and even disabled youth – 

https://gramsevasangh.org/2019/11/13/sacred-economy-in-the-real-world-and-its-positive-impacts/

India’s Banking Sector crippled with NPAs

Another, really troubling fact is that Big Corporates and individuals have cheated many Public Sector Banking institutions with non-repayment of loans and gotten away with it for a long time. This has affected the common man, as when there are bad debts and non-performing assets(NPAs), the hard earned money of the bank’s depositors are unsafe, with the bank not having liquidity to pay back it’s depositors with all that the amount lost as unrecovered loans.

Outlook Magazines story on Indians fear in having their saving in Public Sector Banks
https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/business-news-is-your-money-safe-why-indians-are-losing-their-trust-in-banks/302302

One of the latest cases is of Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank not able to recover Rs 4355 crore loan which it lent to Housing Development & Infrastructure Ltd. Due to this, there were concerns on PMC’s money liquidity availability and Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) intervened imposing restrictions on Depositors on withdrawing their own money from the bank. It has to be noted that mostly the common man with small earnings are affected here with their years of hard invested savings being insecure in a public sector bank.

Now figures show that Bank Credit lending has come down by 88%, banks are not comfortable to lend to companies like before in fear of NPAs increasing as these companies may not be able to pay the loan back in the prevailing economic climate which is not looking promising.

India’s Economic System favouring mostly the Big Corporate Entities been harmful

The above case is just one example of bad loans, owners of profit making companies like Kingfisher’s Vijay Mallaya and jewel company businessman Nirav Modi have gotten away from India earlier without paying back the loans and advances they secured amounting to crores of money. All this definitely shows that India’s Banking Sector is not healthy which is required for the good financial health of the Economy. This also reflects how big companies and businessmen get easy money from the system, that’s not the case for small sectors discussed before, even though the small sector has potential to employ a lot of population lifting them out of poverty and hardship.

India’s earlier GDP growth numbers due to economic boom benefiting only a small section

Now, all these problems existed for a long while, but India sustained some growing GDP numbers as IT companies and other constituents in the capitalist system employed a small section of people who earned degrees and worked hard. India’s GDP growth, was definitely one sided it never reflected the prosperity of the Nation as a whole.

Growth of Nation cannot happen just by encouraging sales of cars, aiding the automobile industry to grow, or sale of real estate that’s also a costly market, or being happy with earnings that come from air travel, or gold jewelry sales anymore. Government must cater to the requirements of small players rather than having India’s GDP grow by stimulating demand of the upper class segments on products and services of big companies, industries and economic powers. This is definitely a monster economy not giving a level playing field to small players!!

 Demonetisation worsened India’s Economy

Lately, India has further fallen deep into the economic crisis mess because of certain policies of the BJP Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, namely Demonetisation and GST tax regime.

Demonetisation in November 2016 had the Government declare old issues of 500 Rs and 2000 Rs notes to cease as acceptable legal tender to be replaced by new version of those currency notes.

Demonetisation, resulted in small entities in neglected sectors not have money liquidity to sustain business, overtime they were forced to shut down and lakhs of people lost jobs. Added to this, came the Goods and Services tax (GST), this magnified difficulties for the small, neglected sectors discussed before, as they could not pay tax and this increased their distress. Ideally, small and medium Industries and businesses should be exempted from tax until they mature with constant earnings and prosperity.

 Corruption eating away precious money…

Much more can be said on India’s Economy, especially how precious money is lost in corruption wastages. Even though India Metro Cities are saturated with unsustainable and unplanned development, more projects that are not required are introduced like the needless flyovers,skywalks, dam building on free flowing rivers and other things. Often, money gets allocated for those projects, and corruption has officials pocket money. Again, big companies that get tender for the project get fatter making money out of it. However, no development happens in rural areas which lacks basic roads, healthcare and educational facilities. There is no balanced all around development that would benefit the entire Nations with prosperity and peace.

 India needs to sort this situation else it’s going to be a prolonged suffering

A must mention is resulting deterioration in environmental conditions in India with Government having allowed big economic entities to pollute rivers, cut trees, reduce forest cover for business projects of big companies and industries.

India is definitely in a mist of a big economic and environmental crisis, hopefully, Government at least encourages all the sectors that became marginalized as they were neglected to develop now, so farmers, weavers, textile workers, artisans, labourers, small entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprise businesses workers get to earn a living and many millions of population get employed and skilled working in these sectors.

 

Preamble of Satyagraha for Sacred Economy

Our Demand

Zero tax, Refinance, Restructure, all Sacred sectors of Economy

Preamble

            Organizations of agricultural labor, crafts people, farmers, industrial labor, small vendors, small entrepreneurs, service providers and environmentalists have all come together under this Satyagraha for Sacred Economy. We believe in the ethical dictum, labor is sacred. Hence the name sacred economy. Broadly speaking this is a sector that uses less than forty percent automation and more than sixty percent human labor.

But the system of political economy that is ruling us today is the opposite of being sacred, a monster. The monster economy is monstrous both in its size and in its nature. It has no ethics, no morality. It has continued with the feudal policy of dividing work from worship, making the work demeaning and the worship exclusive. It is essentially an immoral system.

But then it delivered results and accrued wealth for a while. Not any more. The monster is now dying. With the fossil fuel crisis deepening it is likely to collapse completely. Unfortunately, instead of letting it die governments from all over the world are trying to revive the monster. We, on the contrary, believe that the collapse of the monster is a good development and that we should protect the humanity from getting crushed under the falling debris. Sacred Economy we believe can do this.

However, Sacred Economy is not a mere economic programme. For example, it cannot be introduced through government regulations alone. It is a holistic programme. It needs the participation of the people. It has three major dimensions to it. Individual commitment to simple living, societal commitment to cooperation and peaceful coexistence. And, a shift in government policy through a radical shift in the political economy.

This satyagraha, we are proud to say, has been conducted peacefully so far. The government has invited Gram Seva Sangh for talks. But we know we have a long way to go. When we succeed, remember, all of us shall be working under a better working condition with a sense of participation and joy. We can expect better wages for the working people.

What we are fighting for is essentially rural entrepreneurship. Why should only Ambanis and Adanis of the world be facilitated for entrepreneurship and leadership. Why cannot it be facilitated to the small sectors as well.

Let us tell the world that small people are not foolish and that the big people are not saintly either. Let us change the system of governance and make good people govern.

Gram Seva Sangh

+91 99800 43911 | gramsevasanghindia@gmail.com

Journey from the weavers Banashankari Padayatra to Scared Economy Satyagraha

A short report of important events of the Satyagraha in 2019

This Satyagraha is happening since Seven years. Seven years ago, a long march was initiated called Banashankari yatra in North Karnataka by weavers in support of their demands for a better livelihood. Later it became a Handmade Satyagraha When GST was imposed on the Hand-making sector. Today, it has taken the form of a Satyagraha for Sacred Economy.

https://thesustainablewayoflife.wordpress.com/

  1. Sep 2019, Satyagraha started in Bangalore following representations from various corners of Karnataka regarding the need for a public face to the struggles of handmade industry, small scale production facilities, agriculture, etc.
  2. From Sept 25 to 30th, the Satyagraha was introduced through several cultural events such as, a Khadi Fashion show, from the young, Rendering of Ramayana, a Mushaira, Road collection of funds while spreading awareness about the struggle of ordinary people etc. There was a Labour convention with Vandana Shiva, The environmental activist being present.
  3. October 1, workshop for the economist and students on Sacred Economy, at St. Joseph College Community Hall, Bengaluru.
  4. Oct 2nd a relay fast was began. And continued till the 5th.
  5. October 3, there was a big rally of industrial workers in support of the Satyagraha at Bengaluru
  6. Oct 6, Shri. Prasanna started an indefinite fast at the Vallabha Niketana, Bengaluru.
  7. 10th Oct, Shri. Deve Gowda, former PM of India, and Shri. Siddaramaiah, former CM of Karnataka, met Shri. Prasanna and assured him of their support for the demands of the Satyagraha.
  8. On the same day, Shri. Ashwathanarayana, Deputy CM of Karnataka, met Shri. Prasanna at the site of the Satyagraha and discussed the demands with him.
  9. Several protest meetings across Karnataka were held in support of the Satyagraha. Many groups fasted in support as well.
  10. October 11, Shri. Sadananda Gowda, Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, met Shri. Prasanna to discuss the demands of the Satyagraha. He assured that the central government is ready for discussions on the demands, and that he would use his good offices to arrange a meeting with the MSME and Finance ministries within a month. He also implored Shri. Prasanna to end his fast.
  11. After seven days of fasting, on the occasion of the Jayaprakash Narain Day, Shri. Prasanna ended his fast.
  12. Peaceful Satyagraha continued. From Oct 20 to Nov 25 15 District Conventions were held across Karnataka. Several of these meetings received huge response from people who urged that the sacred economy needs an urgent rejuvenation for the survival of livelihoods of poor people.
  13. On Dec 1 a huge joint convention of Rural and Urban workers and environmentalist was held at Bengaluru. Medha Patkar joined the convention.

Gram Seva Sangh

www.gramsevasangh.org | +91 9980043911 | gramsevasanghindia@gmail.com

The First Meeting between MSME GOI and delegation of Gram Seva Sangh

The First Meeting between MSME, Govt. of India, and delegation of Gram Seva Sangh

06.12.2019, #10, Pandit Pant Marg, New Delhi-01

Delegates

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

Preamble

  • 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

gramsevasanghindia@gmail.com | +91 99800 43911

Union Government had talks with Gram Sangh Seva Sacred Economy Satyagrahis

A delegation of Gram Seva Sangh representatives met  with the Union  Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Pratap Chandra Sarangi to discuss over Gram Seva Sangh’s demands and proposal to rejuvenate the Sacred Economy. 

Gram Seva Sangh mentioned that a separate Ministry for the Sacred Economy sector should be created that would be dedicated in developing all the Sectors that come under  the classification of the Sacred Economy – farm sector , handloom sector that comes under textile ministry, Khadi and village industries sector , handicraft sector, MSME etc . Currently there are 12 ministries in the current system that can be termed Sacred and they need to come under one Ministry.

The Sacred Economy Ministry would also look into the welfare of labour groups – garments workers,  pourakarmikas and anganwadi workers etc. The ministry should be given appropriate funding, restructuring of the Sacred Economy must be done and Zero tax should be imposed on all sectors of Sacred Economy.

The Minister told Gram Sangh Seva group that he would discuss the demands thus stated with the Government Authorities and revert back within a month. Overall the meeting went well with Gram Sangh Sava being well received and heard. 

For the preliminary report submitted by the delegation click Bulletin_131_The_First _Meeting_bw_MSME_GOI_delegation_of_GSS

Note: Only correction in below The Hindu report is, we are not demanding only for Handmade sector, we are demanding for Handmade plus the small sectors (less than forty percent automation) belonging to the automatic machine sector. That is what we defined as Sacred Sectors.

The Hindu Report:

thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/prasanna-meets-union-minister-demands-separate-ministry-for-sacred-economy/article30221702.ece

 

New Indian Express Report:

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2019/dec/07/create-separate-ministry-to-protect-sacred-economy-activists-2072623.html

Joint Convention of workers for Sacred Economy

On December 1st 2019, Sunday, Gram Seva Sangh organised a joint Convention at Kondajji Basappa Auditorium, Palace Road, Bengaluru, propelling forward the ‘Sacred Economy’ movement that is, ‘Satyagraha in support of the Sacred Economy’. 

The Convention opened with inauguration done by eminent societal change agents – freedom fighter and 94 year old weaver; Sangappa Mante, Narmada Bachao Activist; Medha Patkar, corruption crusader activist; S R Hiremath,  labour leader and KIEE Federation President; T.S.Anantaram, Gandhian theater artist, social activist and founder of Gram Seva Sangh; Prasanna, and Gram Seva Sangh President; Yatiraju.

The inauguration symbolised the value Gram Sangh Seva and their partners hold in conservation of environment as it was done by watering a sapling plant.

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The Joint Convention provided a forum for leaders representing various groups, unions and federations of unorganised sector- farmers, weavers, industrial labourers, rural labourers, Anganwadi workers, Povrakarmika workers, to gather and voice out their struggles, issues while also  join forces to strengthen the local people’s movement demanding the Government to revive the ‘Sacred Economy’.

‘Sacred Economy’ gives value, dignity and respect to these marginalised groups today recognising that their work which involves physical labour is ‘Sacred’.  This sector that exists in both urban and rural regions must be revived through Zero Tax, Refinance and Restructuring of all Sacred sectors of Economy. An economy that supports the livelihoods and businesses of small industries, rural entrepreneurs, small vendors, textile and garment workers, labourers, farmers and others is needed to save the Nation from the economic and environmental crisis that has resulted today.

Gram Seva Sangh, an NGO that has been actively involved in the promotion of goods made by rural artisans, weavers, khadhi and handloom workers, farmers etc by providing them a marketing platform through Ragi Khanna,  an enterprise they run in Bangalore , have also done prior campaigns urging the Government to remove GST tax from handloom garment products. 

Lately, in view of our Nation suffering an acute environmental and economic crisis, Gram Seva Sangh has championed the need to embrace an alternate economic system that’s just, sustainable and equitable;  The Sacred Economy, with the ‘Satyagraha in support of the Sacred Economy’ movement . Gram Seva Sangh has been reaching out to various  marginalised groups from all parts of Karnataka and society at large spreading awareness and garnering supporters for the cause to revive the Sacred Economy. 

Going further in the upcoming weeks till January 30th, Gram Seva Sangh would hold People’s Courts in various parts of Karnataka where the badly affected but voiceless class of people will be empowered to put forth their voice expressing their concerns and issues for a discussion to work out solutions for them.

People’s courts for  landless labourers and weavers would be organised in North Karnataka. Bengaluru will hold courts for industrial workers mainly in Jigani and Peenya areas. Chamarajanagar will hold people court sessions for Peasants, while environmental issues and complaints of those impacted by the Special Economic Zone would be heard out in Chamarajanagar.

Press release about the Joint Convention – 

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2019/dec/02/peoples-courts-will-be-held-across-karnataka-to-discuss-sacred-economy-2070030.html?fbclid=IwAR1lURxZ2ZBquhhzz1MDwQ9ruT-U1zdO5Nh0z4k_O-SO-TybDX1r1zaX_ak

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ನೇಕಾರರ ಬನಶಂಕರಿ ಪಾದಯಾತ್ರೆ ಯಿಂದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಪವಿತ್ರ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಗಳ ವರೆಗೆ ವಿಸ್ತರಿಸಿದ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ

Date: 1, Dec, 2019

Kaimagga Satyagraha in Jan 2014 (L-R, Prasanna, Uzramma, B Jayashri)

1. ಏಳು ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಬನಶಂಕರಿ ಯಾತ್ರೆ ಎಂಬ ಪಾದಯಾತ್ರೆ ಮೂಲಕ ಕೈಮಗ್ಗ ನೇಕಾರರು ಪ್ರಾರಂಭಿಸಿದ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹವು, ಎಲ್ಲ ಕೈಉತ್ಪಾದಕರ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹವಾಗಿ, ಇಂದು ನಗರದ ಕಾರ್ಮಿಕರನ್ನು ಒಳ್ಳಗೊಂಡತೆ ಎಲ್ಲ ಪವಿತ್ರ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಗಳ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹವಾಗಿ ವಿಸ್ತರಿಸಿದೆ.2. ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 15 ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ ಆರಂಭ

2. ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 15 ಪವಿತ್ರ ಆರ್ಥಿಕತೆಗಾಗಿ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ ಆರಂಭ

3. ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 26 ಯುವಕರಿಗಾಗಿ ಖಾದಿ ಫ್ಯಾಷನ್ ಶೋ. ಹೆಸರಾಂತ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸಕಾರ ಪ್ರಸಾದ್ ಬಿಡ್ಡಪ್ಪ ಅವರಿಂದ.

4. ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 27 ವಾಡಿಯಾ ಸಭಾಂಗಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂಲ ರಾಮಾಯಣ ರಂಗರೂಪಕದ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ. ಎಂ.ಡಿ.ಪಲ್ಲವಿ, ನಾದ ಮಣಿನಾಲ್ಕೂರು ಹಾಗೂ ಪ್ರಸನ್ನ ನಡೆಸಿಕೊಟ್ಟರು

5. ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 28 ಎಂ.ಜಿ ರಸ್ತೆ, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ದೇಣಿಗೆ ಸಂಗ್ರಹ. ನಟ ಕಿಶೋರ್ ಹಾಗೂ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ನಾಗರೀಕರು ಭಾಗವಹಿಸಿದ್ದರು.

6. ಸೆಪ್ಟೆಂಬರ್ 29 ಗಾಂಧೀ ಭವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಮುಶೈರಾ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮ.

7. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 1 ಪವಿತ್ರ ಆರ್ಥಿಕತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಾರ, ಸಂತ ಜೋಸೆಫ್ ಸಭಾಂಗಣ.

8. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 2 ಸರಣಿ ಉಪವಾಸ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ ಆರಂಭ. ವಲ್ಲಭ ನಿಕೇತನ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು. ಎಸ್.ಆರ್.ಹಿರೇಮಠ್, ಅಭಯ್ ಹಾಗೂ ಆಭಿಲಾಷ್ ಉಪವಾಸಮಾಡಿದರು.

9. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 3 ಕೈಗಾರಿಕಾ ಕಾರ್ಮಿಕರ ಭೃಹತ್ ಸಮಾವೇಶ. ಮಕ್ಕಳಕೂಟ ಸಭಾಂಗಣ. ಪರಿಸರ ಹೋರಾಟಗಾರ್ತಿ ವಂದನಾ ಶಿವ ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಂಡರು.

10. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 2 ರಿಂದ 5 ರವರೆಗೆ ಸರಣಿ ಉಪವಾಸದ ಮುಂದುವರಿಕೆ.

11. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 6 ಪ್ರಸನ್ನ ರಿಂದ ಅನಿರ್ದಿಷ್ಟ ಅವದಿಯ ಉಪವಾಸ ಆರಂಭ.

12. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 10 ಮಾಜಿ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ದೇವೆಗೌಡ ಹಾಗೂ ಮಾಜಿ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿ ಸಿದ್ಧರಾಮಯ್ಯ ಭೇಟಿ. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಉಪಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿ ಸಿ.ಎನ್.ಅಶ್ವತ್‍ನಾರಾಯಣ್ ಭೇಟಿ, ಹಾಗೂ ಮಾತುಕತೆ.

13. ಅನಿರ್ಧಿಷ್ಟ ಉಪವಾಸವನ್ನು ಬೆಂಬಲಿಸಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ವಿವಿದ ಭಾಗಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರತಿಭಟನಾ ಸಭೆಗಳು ಹಾಗೂ ಉಪವಾಸ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮ.

14. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 11, ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸಚಿವ ಡಿ.ವಿ.ಸದಾನಂದ ಗೌಡ ಭೇಟಿ. ಕೆಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಮಾತುಕತೆಗೆ ಸಿದ್ದ, ತಿಂಗಳ ಅವದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಎಮ್.ಎಸ್.ಎಮ್.ಇ ಹಾಗೂ ವಿತ್ತ ಮಂತ್ರಾಲಯಗಳ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಮಾತುಕತೆ ಎರ್ಪಡಿಸಲಾಗುವುದು ಎಂಬ ಆಶ್ವಾಸನೆ. ಉಪವಾಸ ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸುವಂತೆ ಮನವಿ.

15. ಏಳುದಿನಗಳ ಉಪವಾಸದ ನಂತರ, ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 12 ಸಂಜೆ 6 ಗಂಟೆಗೆ, ಉಪವಾಸ ಸ್ಥಳದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಜೆ.ಪಿ ದಿನಾಚರಣೆ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಉಪವಾಸ ಅಂತ್ಯಗೊಳಿಸಲಾಯಿತು

16. ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 20 ರಿಂದ ನವೆಂಬರ್ 25ರ ವರೆಗೆ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ವಿವಿದ ಜಿಲ್ಲಾ ಕೇಂದ್ರಗಳು ಹಾಗೂ ತಾಲೂಕು ಕೇಂದ್ರಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸತ್ಯಾಗ್ರಹ ಸಮಾವೇಶಗಳು ನಡೆದವು. ಸುರಪುರದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಭೃಹತ್ ನೇಕಾರರ ಸಮಾವೇಶ, ಹಾಸನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಸಮಾವೇಶ ಮಂಗಳೂರು ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗ ಹಾಗೂ ತುಮಕೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಸಮಾವೇಶಗಳು ಗಮನಾರ್ಹವಾದವು.

17. ಡಿಸೇಂಬೆರ್ 1, ಗ್ರಾಮೀಣ ಹಾಗೂ ಪಟ್ಟಣದ ಕಾರ್ಮಿಕರು ಹಾಗೂ ಪರಿಸರ ಹೋರಾಟಗಾರರು ಒಟ್ಟಾಗಿ ಭೃಹತ್ ಜಂಟಿ ಸಮಾವೇಶ.

ಮುಂದೆಯೂ ನಮ್ಮೊಂದಿಗೆ ರಚನಾತ್ಮಕ ಹೋರಾಟದಲ್ಲಿ ತಾವು ಸಕ್ರಿಯವಾಗಿ ಭಾಗಿಯಾಗಿರುವಿರೆಂದು ಆಹಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ

 

Gram Seva Sangh’s Sathyagraha in Support of Sacred Economy (Oct 2 to Oct 11)

Gram Seva Sangh, an Organisation working to revive livelihoods of the rural and marginalised communities of India and bridge the gap between the urban and rural communities, have been pressing the Government recently to focus on developing the Sacred Economy.

Campaigning for the revival of the Sacred Economy

In short, the Sacred economy are those jobs that have been neglected to be developed in the current economic system and therefore this section of the workforce have become marginalised groups struggling to make a living, as these jobs have been destroyed but still they hold relevance. 

Our farmers, labourers, small traders, vendors, khadhi designers, crafts men, garment factory workers, fishermen, etc , need to thrive and this is possible only when the Sacred Economy is revived through refinance, zero taxes and restructuring of the economy.

Gram Seva Sangh, started a Satyagraha campaign in support of the Sacred Economy to get the Government to hear the demands to revive the Sacred Economy and respond positively. 

The wisdom behind the Sacred Economy embodies the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, who embraced khadhi and chakra supporting them because he rightly believed they represent India’s strong, traditional, domestic economy that has given livelihoods to many people, making them self reliant to lead a life of dignity. Traditionally, the Indian economy has been giving jobs to weavers, farmers, khadhi designers and others who have unfortunately become marginalised groups today .

So, in tune with this philosophy inspired by Bapuji’s wisdom, Gram Seva Sangh adopted the non-violent yet powerful weapon of Satyagraha and launched a Hunger Sathyagraha campaign to have the Government officials hear the demands for Sacred Economy and take needed positive action.

Satyagraha began on Oct 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday

The Hunger Satyagraha in support of Sacred economy began on October 2, 2019 which was  Ganjayanthi, the day, the Nation celebrated the 150th  birth anniversary of Gandhiji. The venue the Satyagraha took place was at  Vallabh Niketan, Bangalore.

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Centenarian freedom fighter H. S. Doreswamy supporting the Satyagraha

https://www.news18.com/news/india/satyagraha-for-sacred-economy-activists-on-hunger-stir-in-bengaluru-seek-jobs-clean-environment-2336673.html

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/theatre-director-prasanna-set-to-sit-on-an-indefinite-satyagraha-for-the-economy?fbclid=IwAR2VYZrCZw5iOw7ceqwinbiVEFa7IeySITRPKJlcVM94W94-9M32pCd-Y_Q

Fasting Satyagrahis in support of the Sacred Economy

Environmentalist ,Vandana Shiva, voices support for the cause of Sacred Economy

From October 2 to October 5th, the Satyagraha had fasting done by many supporters of this cause for a day taking turns, but from October 6th, the Satyagraha led into an indefinite fast done by Gandhian, theater artist and founder of Gram Seva Sangh, 68 year old Prasanna who is also the founder of Chakra, an Organisation that has given livelihoods to hundreds of women since 1995 employing them in making garments using khadhi. 

Prasanna on Infinite fast demanding Govt. to take steps for the revival of Sacred Economy

From Oct 2th to 5th, whenGram Sangh Seva was in its relay fasting stage, we had the following supporters who fasted for a day or more taking turns in support of the Sacred economy – Abhilash, convenor of Gram Sangh Seva, Abhilash, convenor of Gram Sangh Seva, SR Hiremath, anti-corruption crusader, whistleblower and social activist, Abay , convenor of Grakoos (Gramina Cooli Karmikara Sangathi), Hanumath Yeswar, IAS aspirant, Kusuma Shanbhag, kannada journalist.

https://khabar.ndtv.com/video/show/prime-time/theater-artist-prasanna-on-hunger-strike-529447?fbclid=IwAR2y1AzzdT7gfT8T_sQDExHgMm_ktvO1JsYK7FnRHqwGqOz3UKOdlutbdd8

Satyagraha called off on assurances provided by Union Minister, Sadananda

The Satyagraha was called off on October 11th, as Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizer Minister, Sadananda gave assurance that he would arrange a meeting with Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaram and  the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises(MSME) where Gram Seva Sangh members can put forward their demands in person. 

Union Minister, Sadananda assures Prasanna a meeting with  Finance officials

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/karnataka-activist-calls-hunger-strike-after-union-min-sadananda-gowda-intervenes-110401?fbclid=IwAR3ilrkWk5O2zE6pMCq5hcfyII0bPDp21jROpDjwezHBIp7HhHP0cyxfqH8

Prasanna had broken his indefinite fast after 6 days of fasting on the 118th birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan.

Prasanna breaks fast on assurance  given by Union Minister, Sadananda

Prominent personalities who supported the Sathyagraha

Ramchandra Guha gave his voice in support of the Sacred Economy

There were many noted individuals who lent voice and support to strengthen the campaign with cenetarian freedom fighter, H. S. Doreswamy,  environmentalist, Vandana Shiva, famous Gandhian, EP Menon, historian, Ramchandra Guha, journalist Ravindra Tripathi and many more emitent social activists, environmentalists, journalists, artists, writers who supported the campaign speaking up for revival of Sacred Economy.

The Sathyagraha found support from well  known political figures as well – former Prime Minister Shree HD Devegowda , former CM Siddaramaiah , Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, S.Suresh Kumar, Karnatak Janata Dal United president,Mr Mahima J Patel ,  former speaker of Karnataka assembly, Mr Ramesh Kumar, had all visited the venue of Satyagraha and met Satyagrahi Prasanna, and expressed their solidarity for the cause.

 HD Devegowda and CM Siddaramaiah in the dias of Satyagraha supporters
Former speaker of Karnataka assembly, Mr Ramesh Kumar at the venue

Dr. Ashwathnarayan C. N., Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, Minister for Higher & Medical Education, IT & BT, Science & Technology also visited the venue to understand the demands of Gram Seva Sangh for revival of the Sacred Economy, and later Union Minister, Sadananda visited and took it upon himself to have Gram Sangh Seva’s expert committee get a meeting with Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaram and the  Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises(MSME) so they can discuss these wise Sacred Economy demands with the Government.

Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, Dr. Ashwathnarayan meeting the Sathyagrahis

Work to strengthen the campaign continues…

Gram Sangh Seva continues its campaign in support for Sacred Economy. This initial phase of Satyagraha had succeeded in getting the message across to the Government and getting assurance from  Union Minister, Sadananda in arranging a meeting with the Finance Ministry where Gram Sangh Seva’s expert committee can discuss the Sacred Economy demands. 

Please read about the release of the Sacred Economy demands that happened during the Satyagraha.

Concluding this with a poem composed highlighting Gram Sangh Seva’s demand for reviving the Sacred Economy -:

“Give jobs, give jobs, give us those jobs that keep the green,
Give jobs, give jobs, give us those jobs that keep civilisation civilised,
Give jobs, give jobs, give us those jobs that don’t kill jobs,
Give jobs, give jobs, give us those jobs that do not kill villages,
Give jobs, give jobs, give us those jobs that do not change the climate,
Give jobs, give job,  give us those jobs those jobs that keep nature natural,
Give us jobs, give us jobs”

Sacred Economy demands released and explained on October 6th

Below are the demands of Sacred Economy placed before Government with a letter sent to Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaram, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and CM of Karnataka, Shri BS Yediyurappa Reddy.

This demand was released during Gram Sangh Seva’s Hunger Satyagraha in support of Sacred Economy – Oct 6th 2019, Gram Sangh Seva founder and Gandhian  theatre artist, Prasanna had started his first day of indefinite fast that day. 

Gram Sangh Seva placed these demands represented by its expert committee chaired by Dr. Vinod Vyasulu.

  • Zero Tax, Refinance, Restructure All Sacred Sectors of Economy…

No tax on all segments of the Sacred Economy –  Farmers, labourers, small traders, vendors, khadhi designers, crafts men, garment factory workers, fishermen, small scale and retail industry players, handloom sector etc

  • Raw materials should be procured locally within a 100 km radius. Raw materials procured beyond this radius are considered imported raw materials.

 

  • Jobs that involve more of human labour and hands; that are labour intensive should be developed.

Sacred Economy is that economic system which produces jobs that involve more of human labour (60%) and aspires to utilise maximum amount of local raw materials (60%). There should not be more than 40% use of automation and 40% use of imported raw materials in this economy system.

On the basis of this, the Scale of Sacred Economy is gauged where at one end of the scale there is complete hand making and use of local raw materials and in the other opposite end, there is the scale for Monster Economy  with there being complete automation and complete use of imported raw materials.

 

Check out the attached document below for more details .

These demands support the principles of our Indian Constitution, supporting the Constitutional guidelines mentioned in Article 39 of our Indian Constitution which summarises that –  

Everybody has a right to an adequate means of livelihood and that wealth, material and natural resources should not be concentrated in the hands of a few.

 

The revival of Sacred Economy will create a just society with a fair economy giving livelihoods to all, while protecting the greenery and purity of our environment (air, water, soil, trees).

 Sacred Economy Advantages -:

  • The Sacred Economy causes least damage to the environment as compared to the current Monster Economy that has encouraged big Organisations/Corporations to develop at the cost of cutting down our country’s greenery, polluting our air,  river bodies, soil etc.

 

  • The Sacred Economy, is not capital intensive; it requires less capital investment from Government to kick start.

 

  • The Sacred Economy will employ the many unemployed now and give them livelihoods, so they live in dignity and become self-reliant.

  • The Sacred Economy, already contributes atleast 60% to India’s GDP. Reviving the Sacred Economy would revive India’s rural economy. Right now, rural people are forced to migrate to Cities for livelihoods leading to overpopulation and unsustainable growth in Cities. There is stress on Cities’ natural resources of land and water. The Sacred economy would develop the villages in a sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion, so people don’t need to migrate to Cities.

 

Satyagraha on Sacred Economy

Press release and Detailed Report:

Date: Sept 15, 2019

 Gram Seva Sangh at a discourse on Sacred Economy held on Sunday, September 15 at Gandhi Bhavan has taken a resolution to launch a satyagraha through fasting from Oct 2, 2019.

We have resolved that legitimate demands of all sectors that we term as sacred will be placed before the government through the satyagraha. We invite all organizations, political parties and all social and religious leaders to join us in fasting. The satyagraha in Bengaluru will be held at Vallabh Niketan, next to Gandhi Bhavan and at other places in the country simultaneously.

Speaking at the event noted Theatre activist and Gram Seva Sangh mentor Prasanna said, “Today, the economic crisis is looking large. We say it is a good thing because we are being told to shift to a sacred economy until now.  Today we have to talk about sacred economies and talk about labour and environment and its protection. We will have the largest peaceful movement India has ever had. Gandhi was killed by ignorance, we will revive him through action.”

Prathibha R from GATWU (Garments and Textile workers union) said that around 3 to 4 lakh women were toiling in the garment sector for measly wages for the last forty years “No government has ever bothered to address our wage issue in all these years. Now with the economic crisis looming we are in a more serious situation as we are unsure whether it is alright to seek a raise. So we go on once again adjusting poor wages to increasing cost of living. Nobody is going to bail us out.”

Mallesh of Grakoos (Grameena Kooli Karmikara Sanghatane) spoke about successive governments speak about empowerment of women, but none had ensured that they receive wages commensurate with their hardwork. Now children from villages are finally getting an education but there are no jobs. Even wages under MGNREGA are being held up and are not released for long periods of time, he said.

What is sacred economy?

All systems of production that give maximum number of jobs with minimum investment and minimum loss to the environment are sacred economies. This sataygraha is on behalf of handmade sectors and sectors such as garment making, anganwadi workers, municipal workers, small traders and vendors, small manufacturers and service sectors.

Sacred economies contribute 70 percent to the GDP.  The collapse in the present economy can be made positive only if we strengthen the sacred economies.

Gram Seva Sangh is an organisation working towards restoring sacred economy and also bridging the urban-village divide.

The organisation has previously worked towards highlighting the struggle of handloom weavers and also brought national attention on removal of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on handmade products.

Detailed Report of Discourse is mentioned below:

Prasanna, Activist, Mentor of Gram Seva Sangh

What is sacred economy? It is an economy of sustenance. In the present context, there is a fissure between sacred and economic. We have relegated sacred to the kitchen and we have put economy in the public sphere. Free from all restrictions and beyond any restraint in the economic sphere. The way we are buying and consuming more is unprecedented. Fifty per cent of women are at home and the men are going out to earn. This is the economy we are pushing. We are all responsible for what is happening today. We have to bring these two together began after 70 years and save our people.

Sacred economy is an economy that practices harmony. It protects the jobs of people whether they are working people, village people or factory workers. It is our responsibility as well as the responsibility of the government, irregardless of the political party to protect their jobs.

Today we are going to go a step ahead and talk about labour .Anything that supports labour and environment is sacred.

Today the economic crisis is looming. News papers, media, politicians and ministers  are all worried, but it is a good thing. God has sent this thing to tell us to shift to a sacred economy. Stop growing cities, manufacturing cars and bailing out banks. This is taxpayers money. It should be spent on the poor and those who need it. Today, the economic truth and the God’s truth say the same thing. Science and priests agree on the same thing.

This is going to be the largest peaceful sacred movement India has ever had. Gandhiji started this movement and was killed. Today we are going to take up where he left off finish it and then revive Gandhi through action.

……………………………………………………………………………………….

Ravi Kiran, Founder, Metaphor Racha

Lot of people have different ideas about what is sacred. I have been a khadi enthusiast for a while now. Both in terms of khadi as commodity and spirit. Sacred economy is what brings people together, has a healthy distribution of wealth and debunks the popular notion that endless production and reckless consumption can keep the economy moving and this is not true. The diversity of khadi is interdependency of the spinner, the weaver and others.

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Pavitra Muddaiah, Handloom activist

When you see success stories, that is what makes it sacred, because it is a holistic journey. Handloom offers us all the benefits, dignity, working at your own pace and at the same time not putting your hand out for a dole, but using your hands to empower yourself and have a respectable livelihood. That is something that is very important because today, dignity and pride is very important and that is the bedrock on which a craftsman or an artisan works for. Today I am training the second generation. They study engineering and MBA and when you show them the economic viability of our model and ask why they want to be an non entity in the city, they come back and it feels like a great achievement.

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Father Alwyn Serao, Principal, Padua College, Mangaluru

If our villages are self sufficient, then our nation will be self sufficient is what Gandhiji felt.. Even though Mangaluru has seen the entry of big companies in the recent years, people are unhappy as not everyone is able to get jobs. Instead, if you become self sufficient and like Gandhiji said you will have everything you need and not your greed. We are putting forward this thinking through theatre.  Those who are with us in the process of learning theatre change. And it’s a tremendous change. We cannot change all the audience, but we can change some of them. Theatre is very strong medium through which we can bring change.

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Leelavathi, Vice President, CITU and Anganwadi Workers Union

Anganwadi workers have been working for the last 35 years for very low wages. They are working for social upliftment by taking care of children from 3-6 years of age but are living under very difficult conditions. The governments speak of women empowerment in all sectors, but the decision to start kindergarten classes in government schools have placed our employment at risk,. Small scale industries have 60 percent women and anganwadis consist of only women . Women have contributed substantially to this nation, but there are no policies to help us eke out a decent living and government is busy bailing out corporations and banks.

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Venkatanathan, RBI Ex Employee and Gram Seva Sangh Mentor

The economy that we have pursued since Independence was initially good as it focussed on the needs of the country. But unfortunately, new liberal policies have been pushing us towards producing more and towards a market economy. All over the country, the focus is more towards mass production.

Today, there is need to prepare our future generations towards self sustainability. The economic crisis is so deep,  Akshaya Patra served a notice to the NGO I work with, saying their donations have come down and they will not be able to supply food. It is not just us, but several other organizations they were stopping their supply to. You can imagine the impact of this crisis, unfortunately the government refuses to recognize this and is shifting their focus to something else.

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S Babu President, Bengaluru District Street Vendors Association

I have been a street vendor for the last 20 years and we have contributed immensely to the economy, but the government does not want to recognize us. We have invested in our small business without taking any help from the government. We might not be contributing directly, but we do so indirectly and yet the government refuses to create any facilities for us. Whether it is our sector or any other small sector, if we want to borrow money,  then they dredge up hundreds of laws. This refusal to identify as contributors to the economy is hurting us and our businesses.

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Mallesh of Grakoos (Grameena Kooli Karmikara Sanghatane) spoke about successive governments speak about empowerment of women, but none had ensured that they receive wages commensurate with their hardwork. Now children from villages are finally getting an education but there are no jobs. Even wages under MGNREGA are being held up and are not released for long periods of time, he said.

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Gopi Krishna, Designer and Activist, working nomadic tribes and their craft

We must promote small scale cottage industries. In the social economic system that we had before, they were not focussed on how much tax should be levied on a product, but on the expenditure incurred in manufacturing it. The needs of a village, whatever products they required was manufactured in the village itself. There was no policy of wastage either. Raw material was used and any leftovers was passed on to someone else in the village who might use it. This system would also provided pride and dignity.

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Gayathri, Leading the Rainfed Farmers Organization ICRA

Today, there are two types of farming. One type depends on use of excess water, excess investment and over exploitation of soil. Another type protects the soil, relies on materials available at home to cultivate and vary their crops. Small farmers have stronger traditions in practicing sustainable agriculture. Their long standing practices allows them to live close to nature. The government is discouraging small farmers saying that their practices are not good and are best left to large land holding farmers who use machines to cultivate their land. Unlike large farmers who are dependent on machines, small farmers form groups and take care of all activities on the land themselves. The equipment they use are made by them. Their knowledge is so vast, they know how to protect seeds, how to protect their crops if rain fails and they are prepared for many contingencies.

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T B Dinesh, Founder of Crafter Space and Janastu

Sacred is the act of what is good for the community and how the community contributes. The  creativity in all of us through education is a form of enslaving through textual education and we all become rakshasas and slaves of corporate industry. In the form of democratization of knowledge, we send our kids enthusiastically and emphatically, for an education which is all about distancing themselves from their neighbourhood. At a tribal conference I recently attended, the vigour in the communities was so high and they spoke in one voice that this was not the sort of education they wanted and what this education does to the whole tribal space. At Crafter Space, we are looking at what education technology and communication technology where we are now and what decentralization means in this context. Our education is important, but if this creates a wall between ‘us’ and ‘them,’  then we have to think about how to make this technology available to all. We are looking at how technology can be accessed by someone without being educated. After 500 years of textual education, we have distanced more people. So we are looking at available technology, what decentralization means and how can machines become smaller and available to all.

Gram Seva Sangh

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