LIC is a living example of the welfare-oriented nature of nationalised industries that have won people’s trust. It has been built by the people of the country with their hard-earned money, and no constitutional government has any right to ruin it. Let us all together stop the government from taking this ill-fated step.
Leaflet for circulation among policy holders and the public
(Translation of Hindi leaflet into English)
An Appeal to the People of the Country
Comrades, it will now be more than one year since our toiling farmers have been protesting against the government’s three farm laws. Hundreds of farmers have lost their lives, but the government remained unaffected. Although the BJP government was elected in 2014 over the issue of rising prices of petrol and inflation, both are at an all-time high under their rule. Due to the new farm laws, the prices of agricultural products and vegetables have been rising unchecked. The Minister of Agriculture will innocently tell the people, ‘This is not under our control’. But the government keeps pushing things out of its own control, and the poor masses have to keep grinding. The people of the country have still not recovered from the destructive demonetisation undertaken in 2016. People’s purchasing power was exhausted, and small businesses were destroyed. All claims like ‘demonetisation will weaken the drug mafia’, ‘terrorism will be eliminated’, ‘black money stowed abroad will come back to the country’ were false. Further, without any preparation, the COVID-19 lockdown was announced. The government did not care for the migrants walking home from metros. Hundreds of workers were victims of road accidents. Tired workers resting on railway tracks were victims of accidents. In the second wave of the pandemic, people were forced to go from hospital to hospital in search of proper treatment. Many died due to the lack of life-saving drugs, oxygen. The top leadership was absent from this scene. The government was silent when private hospitals plundered the people. Only public health workers and public hospitals somehow continued to serve the people. The government took advantage of the crisis and started modifying many laws. Labour laws were amended against the interests of workers.
In the same period, the railway, the largest employer in the country, was also pushed towards privatisation. Ports and docks, airports, roads, stadiums, national monuments, tourist destinations, and even the factories that manufacture arms and security equipment for the army—everything is on sale under the rule of this government. Banks that were left helpless after mergers and demonetisation are also being prepared for sale for a fraction of their real value. Banks are accumulating losses because big capitalist houses don’t pay back loans, and the same capitalist houses are coming forward to buy these banks. After independence, nationalised industries and financial institutions played an important role in strengthening the basic infrastructure of the country, improving the financial condition of the people and making the country’s economy self-reliant. These institutions have granted financial sovereignty to the country. The role of these institutions has been neglected, and they are being given to private corporates. ‘I won’t let the country be sold, but I will sell the country’s industries’—this policy has confounded the people of the country. This is being done to benefit BJP’s industrialist friends. These steps will increase the uneven distribution of wealth in the country. That is, the rich will become richer and the poor poorer. Nationalised institutions have been built with public money; this money is available to the government when people keep their savings in institutions such as banks, insurance companies, post offices. The government has worsened the country’s economic situation through bad economic policies and unnecessary expenses. The only way for them to make money now is by raising the taxes on petrol and diesel and selling national assets. From mergers and privatisation to monetisation, all policies have been made to sell the assets built by our ancestors for next to nothing.
The government has been trying to privatise the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) for a long time. When LIC was nationalised, BJP had opposed its nationalisation. LIC, which is the topmost financial institution not only in the country but in the whole world, has provided excellent financial security to the country since its establishment in 1956. Be it the five-year plans or other welfare schemes, LIC has always contributed the most. LIC has made important contributions to health, education, transportation, agriculture, industries and national security. Be it railways or banks, LIC has fulfilled all kinds of financial needs of the government. It is people’s money that is used for providing services to the people. This is how a welfare-oriented nation works, which the government is trying to destroy. Today, by introducing Initial Public Offering (IPO) in LIC, the government is moving towards disinvestment. LIC is being introduced in the share market under the pretext of lack of capital or lack of transparency. LIC provides financial help to others; it does not need money or fake transparency. What other transparency does an institution that presents its accounts annually to the parliament need?
Comrades, any kind of change in the nature of LIC will be destructive to the country’s economy. LIC is a living example of the welfare-oriented nature of nationalised industries that have won people’s trust. It has been built with the hard-earned money of the people, and no constitutional government has any right to destroy it. Come, let us together oppose this ill-fated move of the government.
All India Insurance Employees Association, Hazaribagh Mandal