SEZs not an answer to India’s economy needs – Scholars

Shimla: Thrashing bare policies about special economic zones, scholars at a national seminar here on Thursday said that collapse of Nehruvian model of socialism has wrongly put the economy onto free market course and setting up SEZs as a incentive driven production mode was not delivering results that benefit common people.

Octogenarian scholar Randhir Singh in the inaugural address at the three day national seminar on ‘special economic zones: economic and social perspective said that the India’s freedom struggle was basically a process to decouple its economy from what was globalization and labeled as imperialism in that period. “The emphasis of the freedom struggle movement was on self-reliance,” he said.

Arguing against globalization of today, he said that collapse of large US financial institutions like Lehman bank and Merill Lynch was a crisis that will continue to confront capitalist structures now and in the future and setting up special economic zones was an attempt to create tax havens that could continue to feed such economies.

Pointing out the value that some public sector enterprises have gained over time, Singh said failing of some state sector enterprises was actually a failure of democracy.

He said economic reforms was mainly being used to debunk welfare concepts and open up to market forces. “Capitalism cannot afford welfare and by unleashing intense competition was pitching one section of society against another,” he said.

Collapse of the Nehruvian project in 1991 put the country on a free market course and though the economy has grown under globalization, the benefits have not reached the people, differed Singh. Advocating a peoples alternative mode, Singh said, “Our economy should be government by internal imperatives and not global demands.”

Satish Jain, a scholar from JNU, Delhi said that core values that bind society are being lost to market forces. An agitation in Goa against SEZ showed that people were not willing to accept them, he said.

In his welcome address DL Seth said that a global metropolitan class was trying to maintain its hegemony through globalization and setting up islands of SEZ was a way to perpetuate the system.

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