Thursday, October 12, 2006

`A trigger for social unrest'

Former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh's interview in Frontline.
Even accepting that for the sake of argument, why is it that this subsidising is confined only to land? Building infrastructure requires cement too, but why is the government not acquiring cement from the Birlas at subsidised rates and handing it over to the SEZ developers? And why not impose similar subsidy parameters on developers of hi-tech cities? But all that we are seeing is the systematic and merciless grabbing of farmers' land rights in the name of development.

Development is, of course, required. But if you say that to promote development the basic rights of lakhs and lakhs of people have to be denied, if you say that the interests of corporates have to be advanced at the cost of farmers, that is not acceptable. And all this is being done in the name of market economy. The essence of market economy is freedom of choice for the buyer and the seller; to sell or not to sell or to buy or not to buy, everything depends on individual choice. That choice is being denied to one party in the way the SEZs are currently being pushed.

1 comment:

gaddeswarup said...

From http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8031219
"The minimum area for a “multi-product” SEZ is 1,000 hectares (3.9 square miles), for a “product-specific” zone, it is 100 hectares, and for information technology, biotechnology and jewellery, just ten hectares. By comparison, Shenzhen, biggest and most famous of China's original SEZs, covers 126 square miles. That scale was a huge factor in its initial success— along with the presence, just over the border in Hong Kong, of labour-intensive manufacturers wanting to lower their costs. Enjoying neither of these advantages, India's smaller SEZs may do more for their promoters than for India."
I do not know much about this but even Economist seems to have doubts. But then it also feels that the Nobel Peace prize should not have been given to an economist. Apparently helping the poor does not contribute to peace.