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Inviting Disaster

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Should the runs scored by Cricket Maestro Sachin Tendulkar be ‘redistributed’ among other ‘not-so-fortunate’ players so that there is ‘equity’ in the game? Should Sikhs and Gorkhas be permitted entry into the Armed Forces only ‘in proportion’ to their numbers? Should Parsis only be allowed to generate just as much wealth as their numbers allow? These are just the kind of questions that arise when people begin to talk of ‘distributive justice’ in accordance with share in population. It needs to be understood that outcomes cannot be tampered with to accord with unrealistic ideologies. That’s putting the cart before the horse. Outcomes can only be shaped by providing appropriate opportunities in as equitable a way as possible. Economies evolve just the way nature does – the influencing factors are so many that ill-informed tampering can cause more damage than good.

The Congress has opened a can of worms with its ‘redistribution of wealth’ promise among other unrealistic offerings in its manifesto. With his announcement of ‘revolutionary steps’ that will follow the party’s proposed x-ray of the wealth people have, Rahul Gandhi seems to be projecting himself as a soon to be Fidel Castro, even a Pol Pot. The furore that followed with these increasingly radical announcements has allowed PM Modi to float the ‘Mangalsutra’ metaphor. Instead of expounding its whacky economics, the Congress has got caught up in countering this narrative.

Priyanka Vadra should understand that her mother did not ‘give up’ her mangalsutra, it was snatched from Sonia Gandhi by LTTE extremists. And obsolete ideology that has been discarded even by ‘communist’ nations will do the same to the mangalsutras of the Indian women. Much of conservative India will be aghast at such a prospect. And people should prepare once again to wait three years after ‘booking’ a scooter or a car before they can buy one. And those who manufacture cars will not be allowed to make trucks. Small and medium scale industries will have caps to their production because they should not scale up to become ‘monopolies’. Nationalised textile mills will pay salaries to workers and ask them not to come to work because actually producing goods would cause greater losses.

Have Indians forgotten the dire circumstances before liberalisation of the economy was reluctantly introduced? Wealth tax and Sam Pitroda’s inheritance tax are the kind of rat brained ideas that can destroy the incentive to generate wealth. India has already lost much of its best talent to countries that offer better opportunities. Let not India’s wealthy be the next to flee. And they don’t need to go as far as the western countries, UAE is much closer.