A business is the economic activity of an entity to make organized and concerted efforts with objectives to earn profits and create more wealth. In ancient times business term involved mercantile, trade and agricultural production. Traders were spending a share of their wealth on social welfare. The principles were simple – ‘from the society’ and ‘for the society’. In modern times, the prime motive of Businesses is to make Profit only, with or without ethics, with the aim to extract maximum profit out of every business activity.
The journey of the Indian economy from Democratic Socialism to Market-based Economy was very crucial. The economic liberalization had seen many fluctuations and had some positive and some negative impacts. In the market-based economy, Businesses play a huge role by allowing people to make wealth. Service Sector provides employment to one-third of its large population and industrialization help the income of people to rise, which in turn helps in the growth of the country.
India has deregulated several industries to add more funds to the government’s coffers. ‘Disinvestment policy’, is the easiest way for the government, either by liquidating PSUs or by privatizing them through the PPP model. The disinvestment phase opened door to foreign direct investment. There are over 250 State-owned Public Sector Undertakings in India out of these 27 Public Sector Companies have so far been liquidated since 2010. The current government alone is responsible for over 58% of all disinvestment since 1991. In the last budget too, Finance Minister allocated INR 69,000 crore for expansion of Ayushman Bharat Health Scheme and invited private companies to set up new hospitals in the country under the PPP model.
Despite government’s focus on privatizing, Education and Health (Padhai and Dawai) are the top priority of the government. The government must keep them under its control to ensure good education and good health for every citizen instead of leaving in the hands of Businesses that are controlled by big corporate houses. A number of big corporate houses are prospering over the years, as with their money they are able to influence and manipulate legislative policies for their personal gains through lobbying firms and use of campaign funding etc.
The big question is, will the private players involved in the PPP model allow the selfless service and officials to serve the citizens of the country with dedication in any emergency period, as is being done by the government officials and government establishments during COVID19?
There were plenty of damaging signs when the first case of Novel Coronavirus reported in Wuhan, China on 17 November 2019. By December end, reports from China suggested that COVID19 was going to hit hard human civilization and would leave deep scars. Coronavirus has tightened its giant grip on cities after cities around the world at a frightening speed. The horrifying consequences of this pandemic are visible, though, at this stage, we are not aware of the extensive after-effects of the pandemic future has stored for us.
Those who favour Capitalism always believe that Businesses are the ‘Earners’ for the government and government officials are the ‘Spenders’. Businesses also believe that government hampers their business activities, which to some extent is true. Complex tax structure, time-consuming procedures including the issuance of necessary permits, licensing regulations, duties & taxes, lack of investment, insufficient liquidity, restrictive policies, etc hinder the growth of the Businesses.
The Government of India has announced an economic relief package of Rs.1.7 lakh crore for food security primarily for labourers on 17th March. Subsequently, some of the States have also announced a relief package for their respective State. RBI has also taken various measures like injecting Rs 3.74 lakh crore liquidity in the system to save the economy. The situation is as if a part of a city is shadowed with dark clouds, and the other part of the city has little sunshine of hope!
Additionally, for the revival of the economy, the Indian Industry has asked for a stimulus package, especially for the MSME sector, including relaxation in GST and other financial benefits for the industries. Predictions are that even if global economies bounce back sooner than expected, the worst hit Indian MSMEs are likely to pay a very high price. Challenges such as disintegrated demand & supply chains, lack of enough liquidity in the market, logistics, closer of industries in organized & unorganized sectors, harvesting season, etc. jolted the growth of the Indian economy, which was already very sluggish due to weak financial sector. More so to put a veil on their susceptibility and weaknesses, the Indian industry has sought imposition of duties on Chinese imports for their existence.
Contrary to the misconception, government officials work with deep commitment to delivering the valuable services to the citizens’ needs and expectations from the government. They have proved this very fact during COVID 19 pandemic. Those who have been criticizing government officials, at present are witnessing the highly impressive battle against the pandemic. People might not have ever thought that government officials will be their saviours in this tragic time.
The insensitivity shown by the Business and the governments, Centre and States, towards the workforce during the Pandemic has increased the difficulties of the people manifold. Although the governments wanted the people to stay at home, but they did not have any plan to take care of people’s day-to-day necessities. Severely hurt by the ill-treatment, thousands of determined people, including children of 1 month of age and pregnant women, walked through highways or along railway tracks towards their homes. Yet, the governments continued to ignore their sufferings and miserable conditions. This is one such example of the system where the Poor are treated worse than the animal. Report is that over 600 people have lost their lives on their way to home.
Approximately ten crores workers have become unemployed during the lockdown and this number may increase further. Many of them might have contributed immensely by working extremely hard with their blood and sweat for the expansion of the Businesses. Instead of sacking them, Business owners should have treated them with dignity, by assuring of job security and by providing little food for their families, if not their salaries. It would have been their great contribution to the nation and of course for their own advantages. Do such Businesses deserve the benefits of a stimulus package?
Instead, financial help should have be given to the unemployed workforce so that they would have some money in their hand to spend. If there are no buyers then whom the production is for?
I am afraid the business owners, even after benefiting from the stimulus package, will go out of business in 5-6 months giving irrational reasons for losses. The more startling fact is that in the coming days Business too will suffer by the shortage of skilled and semi-skilled workforce that will severely affect the production of big & small businesses, manufacturing units, processing plants, companies, etc. The end result business will shut; public money goes waste and the government will eventually write off their liabilities.