From India News Network (INN)
New Delhi, June 25, 2008
PRICE RISE OF THE AMERICAN-BONDAGE
B. S. Rao
MARKET FOR AMERICAN GOODS
We, in India, are almost totally dependent on goods and services produced by American or British companies from blades, biscuits, cool drinks, potato chips, soaps, tooth pastes, cosmetics, confectioneries, computer hardware, software, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, armaments, ammunition, helicopters, aeroplanes, warships, fighter bombers, American technology to spare parts, even after 60 years of our independence.
Our Congress or BJP leaders have not allowed the country to develop on the path of self-reliance in any field, as in China. The public sector has almost been dismantled and handed over to private corporate houses. For example, the pseudo-nationalist BJP leaders while in government during 1998-2004, handed over the profit-making Maruti to the Japanese. The pseudo-nationalist BJP also handed over the poor man’s bread-making government company Modern Foods to Hindustan Lever (owner of Britannia – a British company) almost free of cost, after which the price of poor man’s bread has more than doubled. To give another example, the Congress or BJP leaders have not allowed the development and research of our own Ayurveda, in order to hold the pharmaceutical sector, a monopoly of American or British medicines, over the last 60 years of our independence.
This dependence of our Indian market on American or British goods and services is described by our media pundits as “market economy.” If the market is not dependent on American goods and services, like in China, it is not a market economy. Our media politicians propagate that market economy (i.e. total dependence on American goods and services) is a big boon for the people and India.
DOLLAR IN DOLDRUMS
Now, as the American economy is in downturn due to America’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan costing hundreds of billions of dollars, huge national debt of over $ 9 trillion (Rs. 3,60,00,000 crores), large budget deficits, declining incomes for the people and very high price rise, huge trade deficit, falling stock markets, housing loan crises, huge unemployment (jobless rate) estimated at over 13 percent for men and over 27 percent for women, and so on, the American dollar is losing its value and facing huge devaluation.
As the domination of world by the American empire has been continuing, the currency for trading most of the items including crude oil, the world over, has been the American dollar. Because of devaluation of the dollar, the suppliers of crude oil all over the world, are now increasing the prices in order to compensate for the loss in exchange value of dollar. This, in turn, is leading to unprecedented increase in cost of living for people all over the world.
The Americans, at the same time, are trying to shift their economic burden to the pliant regimes all around the world. Consequently, we find that in India, the Rupee is being devalued against the dollar, in order to subsidize the American economy, which our economists disguisedly refer to as ‘importing inflation’. As of now, India is the only major economy in the world where the currency (Rupee) is being devalued against American dollar. This devaluation is going to make all the above mentioned American and British goods and services costlier in India. The Times of India, June 18, 2008, confirmed the price rise in its front-page headline: “Items of daily use costlier by 10-30% - Further 10% Increase Likely.” The items identified by TOI in its report include soaps, shampoos, biscuits, detergents and other “fast-moving consumer goods.”
Now, an effort is being made to import even American electricity in the form of Indo-US nuclear deal. The American lobbyists and the media politicians of Indian origin, working for the nuclear deal, are not informing the people as to what is the estimated total cost of the nuclear deal, what are the costs of spare parts, what will be the per unit cost of the electricity that will be generated etc., and several other questions. They are using terminology, which will not be understood by the ordinary people, like “safeguards” for “international inspections”. They are hiding the fact that the American Hyde Act, in fact, is the “remote control” for the 123 Agreement with India. Above all, they are not answering the criticism that proceeding with the deal would amount to giving a blank cheque to Bush government, who would have the final say on the agreement in the course of approval by US Congress.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh assured the parliament that India can carry out nuclear tests, but the facts are different as ‘international inspections’ (safeguards) would not allow the same. External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said that Hyde Act is an American Act and it has nothing to do with 123 Agreement, whereas the American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice contradicted him.
Railway minister Lalu Yadav said that the deal can be terminated at any time by saying “tata-tata-bye-bye”, but it is not so easy to terminate the deal at any point of time, after spending thousands of crores if not lakhs of crores of rupees of loans/tax payer’s money, that will go down the drain. The media politicians and the American lobbyists splashed news that over 90 percent of Indian people are in favour of the nuclear deal. If over 90 percent people are in favour of the nuclear deal, why did the Congress party lose in Gujarat, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh , Karnataka and Tripura?
The most important aspect of the proposed Indo-US nuclear deal is that it derails India totally from the path of even limited self-reliance in the energy sector. Our engineers and scientists would become clerks for the American technology.
The nuclear deal, as is being pushed through, is estimated to cost over Rs. 2,00,000 crores in the first two years, for which a provision of US $ 50 billion has been made in the US budget. It is estimated to cost over Rs. 11 per unit including generation costs, interest burden, transmission and distribution losses, transmission and distribution costs, billing costs etc., on a conservative calculation. It will certainly be more.
A case in point is the Dabhol (Ratnagiri) power plant implemented by American company Enron, where the generation cost works out from Rs. 7 to Rs. 25 per unit depending upon the quantum of electricity generated. The Dabhol project cost more than double for the Indian investors/tax-payers in comparison to similar projects implemented by Indian public sector companies. Over and above, the Ratnagiri (Dabhol) project, implemented by Americans, also suffers from fuel supply and other technical problems.
Another case of grave concern for Indian people, is the American company Union Carbide, which perpetrated “chemical mass destruction” at Bhopal where at least 16,000 people have been killed and lakhs of people are afflicted with deformities and other diseases.
All our American fans, lobbyists, human rights activists, independent journalists etc., do not utter a single word about the gruesome human and environmental disaster in Bhopal or uneconomical Dabhol project, implemented by American companies.
CAPTURE OF OIL RESOURCES
Over the centuries, the successive American governments – whether Democratic or Republican – have been endeavouring to capture world’s resources and markets to subserve the interests of American companies. In these efforts, the American governments are known to have used false pretexts like in the invasion of Iraq, coups, bribes, military interventions, political assassinations and so on. But, of late, the efforts of American governments are facing stiff resistance at various levels.
When America invaded Iraq in March 2003, after telling lies to the international community and the UN General Assembly that Saddam Hussein was possessing weapons of mass destruction, the real idea was to control Iraq’s oil resources. This gets proved because the American establishment is not ending its military occupation even after five years, in spite of the facts that: the war on Iraq remains illegal, there are no WMDs, Saddam Hussein and his two sons were killed, more than 4,000 Americans were killed in the war, more than 40,000 Americans were wounded including thousands who got mental disorders, and most importantly more than 81 percent of Americans want immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Still, Emperor Bush and his allies are in pursuit of oil resources in Iraq and are trying to divide Iraqis into Shiites, Sunnis and Khurds.
The American establishment wants to keep Afghanistan under its control, so that the American companies can lay the pipelines and capture the oil and natural gas market. In Somalia, Nigeria and other countries, Bush establishment is trying to capture oil fields, to which the locals are resisting. In Sudan, where in the southern region Darfur, abundant oil resources are found, suddenly, rebels are getting arms to fight the government there. The American establishment including media are trying to drive a wedge between people as ‘Arab” and ‘Non-Arab’. Further, Bush is, almost daily, threatening to attack Iran, another country of vast oil and gas resources, on one pretext or the other.
It can be seen from the above, as the oil resources at several places all over the world are under attack by the American empire and its allies, naturally the production is coming down. This factor is leading to increase in oil prices even as the American dollar is losing its value very rapidly, which in turn are leading to huge increases in cost of living for peoples all over the world. The tragedy is that even 81% Americans could not change the war-mongering policy of their “great democracy”.
Coming back to price rise of American-bondage in India and America’s business interests in nuclear deal, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government is not answering as to why it has decided in favour of costlier American technology without vetting the Russian or French alternatives, especially when American companies have not implemented any nuclear plants during the last 30 years. The government is also not answering several other questions enumerated earlier. Thus, some of the cabinet ministers of Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led government including himself are behaving as if they are American Salesmen or have great obligation to Emperor Bush.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINSTER OF INDIA TO SCRAP THE INDO US NUCLEAR DEAL
Shri Manmohan Singh
Dear Prime Minister,
We the undersigned demand scrapping of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal with immediate effect. The content of the Deal which is currently being negotiated between India and the US was the first laid out in the joint statement issued by the Prime Minister and the US President on July 18, 2005 from Washington DC and further reiterated on March 2, 2006 in another joint statement by them issued from New Delhi. The signing of the Henry Hyde Act on December 18, 2006 is logical interference of the content of the Act legally making India a junior ally of the US Imperialism confiscating and trunacating our hard earned sovereignty.
We therefore demand that the Indo-US Nuclear Deal be scrapped given up with immediate effect and the ongoing talks between IAEA should be called off immediately.
The Indo-US Nuclear Deal is patently anti-people, will make India a strategic ally of American Imperialism in South Asia to impose its hegemony over Asia. The Deal also negates the concrete achievements gained by the International and national peace movements for disarmament and Nuclear-free World. After the example of the ruthless genocide, devastation and occupation of Iraq before us, we feel that the Indo-US Nuclear Deal will become an instrument for ruthlessly imposing the neo-liberal economic agenda and pliant regimes over the impoverished people of the Third World and further tightening the hold through the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, US Imperialism will have a firm grip over the governments of the independent nation-states of India and Asia. This makes a mockery of the cherished values of equal and democratic world order and the aspirations of the national liberation struggles including the whole spirit of decolonization.
The Indo-US Nuclear Deal is an outrageous instrument of recolonization of India and Third World. The Deal, as and when comes through will, grievously undermine the current global; regime of nuclear non-proliferation, as it is meant to make an unique exception in case of India, in gross violation of underlying principles of the International peace, workers, environment and women's movements.
The fact that Pakistan has been brusquely refused a similar deal by the US in spite of persistent clamouring, and Iran is being demonstratively coerced to desist from developing its own nuclear power production allowed and encouraged under article IV of the NPT which further brings out graphically the abominable discriminatory nature of the Deal. The deal is likely to trigger a stepped up vertical and horizontal proliferations all over Asia. This goes against our commitment of Nuclear-free Asia and World. by enabling India to import fuel natural or enriched Uranium, from abroad the 'Deal' would make it possible for India to use the indigenously produced Uranium exclusively for bomb making. This possible escalation in its fissile material production capacity, in all likelihood, it will push Pakistan further to nuclearise even at great cost, and thereby aggravate tensions and accelerate the arms race in the region with horrifying consequences. The arms race will divert resources of the country away from development so desperately required by the toiling masses to overcome their current poverty.
We totally reject the proposition that it will enhance India's energy security and, we categorically assert that nuclear power is prohibitively costly., therefore the Deal will distort India's energy options by diverting resource guzzling, and the intrinsically hazardous and potentially catastrophic, nuclear power at the cost of eco-friendly and many times financially cheaper renewable sources of energy.
With the human development index of India and the Third World miserably low, we demand that instead of spending irrationally on nuclear power, expenditures on in health, education, food security, rural and urban employment be enhanced.
We want to remind you that India as the leader of the Non- Aligned Movement and as vocal participant in various international forums including the UN, has always committed itself for a Nuclear-free World and abolition of the existing nuclear weapons. In the spirit of the above we want the Government of India to ban the entry of nuclear powered sub marines of the US and other major NATO countries. After six decades after of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear tragedies, we demand that immediate steps to be taken for a Nuclear-free Asia and the world.
The above Indo-US Nuclear Deal will further reinforce the unequal strategic relationship between the US and thereby would add momentum to the US imperialistic project for unfettered global dominance .We reject any ambitions of the Indian ruling classes to act as the a Big Brother in South Asia or to emerge as a global power basking in the reflected glory of global headman and goon. This will not only undermine India's position as a founding and leading member of the Non- Aligned Movement but will seriously undermine prestige of NAM as a whole;
of meekly surrendering to the US Imperialism defying the democratic aspirations of the toiling masses of the Third World for a Nuclear-free, just and livable world.
Vijay Pratap(Convener Lokayan)
Babu Lal Sharma (Convenor, Global Gandhi Forum)
Rakesh Bhatt (Coordinator, SADED/CSDS)
Kiran Shaheen(Media and Social Activist)
Chandrika(Editor-Dakhal Duniya web magazine)
Prakash Kumar Ray (Film maker and Research Scholar/Film Studies/School of art & Aesthetic JNU)
Jeet Bhattacharya (Research Scholar, Film Studies, School of art & Aesthetic JNU)
Rishika Mehershi (Research Scholar, Performing Arts, School of art & Aesthetic JNU)
Asit (Researcher and Social Activist)
Kumar Sameer(Social Activist)
Peeyush Pant(Editor-Lok Samvad)
Parimal Maya Sudhakar (Ex- Vice President, JNUSU)