Tavleen Singh’s Article: Habits Of Socialism Die Hard

Tavleen Singh, in her weekly column in Indian Express of date, has reviewed Modi’s one year as PM.

We Indians have so internalised socialism that we now live it the way a person breathes, that is, without realising that we are living it. Tavleen Singh is no exception. Though one of the least dhimmi and least socialist of the Indian Journalists, she can’t resist the temptation of “government should do this and government should do that in matters economic.” In a sane world, government should do nothing as far as economy is concerned. It should just get out of the way.

So she says that Modi should control government officers who are back to lording over the economy. Had she been a true Free Market person, she would have demanded that Modi must dismantle all regulations of economy, and honourably retire the officers tasked with regulating economy.

She then comes back to her regular theme of improving education and healthcare. Emphasis on education and healthcare is something socialists talk of once they have destroyed an economy. As the socialism collapses the economy, they start saying that it is not working because the education is not good, and people do not have access to quality healthcare at affordable prices. The fact is that these are the consequences of socialism, not the cause of its failure. Socialists are pastmasters at attributing consequences of socialism to lack of its improper implementation, and as a solution, they demand even more socialism, i.e., more government intervention and more public money to be thrown at the beast called bureaucracy.

It is only in the last paragraph that she mentions in passing that if Modi is to succeed, job scene and investment must improve. Something that her whole column should have been  all about.

“Among the worst legacies of Nehruvian socialism was that immense power was put in the hands of officials. They ran major public sector corporations, big banks, universities, literary and music academies, government hospitals and even service industries like hotels and airlines. They switched from one area of expertise to another without having expertise in anything. This often made them arrogant and delusional. Long is the list of foreign investors who came with the hope of investing in India but ran away because of the red tape that officials used to tie them in knots.

The Prime Minister has failed to bring these officials under control. And, so while he talks of making India the best country in the world for business, they slyly continue to impose horrendous taxes and invent stupid new rules. Of these possibly the stupidest is the plan to ask Indian taxpayers to give details of foreign travels when they file income tax returns.

The problem with putting a rule like this in place is that it gives vast powers of harassment in the hands of petty officials who are usually more corrupt than the ‘burra sahibs’. Of these the most corrupt are those who work in the tax department, so to give them extra power to seek out black money is a very bad idea. If the Prime Minister is surprised that investment in India, both foreign and Indian, has not revived, he should not be.” (from the column)

Read her column here.