Harmful Effects of Privatisation of Various Sectors on Consumers and Users.
Rail and Road Sector:
• Big increase in fares;
• Dynamic fare policy, i.e., higher the demand, higher the fares,
• No season tickets (metro trains and private buses do not have these)
• No concessions (that are currently given to students, old people, differently-abled people, etc. by railways and state transport buses),
• Payment for every service like water, toilets, bed rolls, etc.
• Curtailment and cancellation of bus and train services on non-profitable routes and during non-peak hours,
• Compromise with safety due to minimum maintenance and hiring of untrained workers on contract to cut cost.
• Delays for those using government run trains since private run trains will be given preference to ensure their punctuality as both private and government run trains will be using the same tracks.
Electricity Distribution Sector:
• Inflated power bills,
• Focus on high end consumers and neglect of common people’s needs,
• Neglect of remote areas and areas with low power consumption,
• Higher chances of disconnection. (In case of gross over-billing, private companies insist that the user first pays before his complaint can be looked into. If he is unable to do so, their power is cut!)
• Insecurity of deposits
• Very low rate of interest for deposits and high rate for loans,
• Difficulty in getting loans for small enterprises, farming and personal needs,
• Closure of “Unprofitable” branches; customers in rural and remote areas will be left to the mercies of the greedy moneylenders.
• Fees charged for every service like passbook printing, check book, etc.
• High premiums and poor settlement of life and crop insurance claims,
• Neglect of the needs of life insurance of ordinary working people and targeting only the affluent sections of society,
• Neglect of the general insurance needs of the rural population such as cattle and hut insurance which are not profitable and concentration of general insurance in fire and marine insurance which are profitable.
• Increase in prices of petrol and diesel,
• Increase in transport costs as well as prices of essential commodities.
• Increased role of foreign companies in this sector of strategic importance.
• Prices for large number of goods will increase because steel is vital to many products and is crucial in the building sector.
• Will endanger the safety and security of our country.
In all the above and other sectors, we have to remember that
• Private sector does not come under RTI!
• The private service provider is not accountable to the customer.
Over and above this, all public sector enterprises and government departments have tremendous assets, to the tune of tens of lakh crores of rupees! These are in the form of tremendous amount of land, including lakhs of acres of extremely valuable land in the metros, as well as offices, buildings, factories, machinery, hospitals, schools, residential units and so on. In the case of electricity distribution, over the past decades, a network of lakhs of kilometres has been created by spending government money. All this wealth which belongs to the Indian people is sought to be handed over to private companies at throwaway prices.
All these assets have been built with the hard labour of generations of workers and by investing people’s money. Government’s money is actually money collected from the people by way of direct taxes as well as indirect taxes that are paid by the poorest of the poor when they purchase anything in the market. And indirect taxes constitute about 2/3 of the total!
Experience not only in India but all over the world has shown that services deteriorate, and safety gets compromised for the common citizen once the private sector takes over. Monopolies have a one-point agenda of maximising their own profit. They give world class services only to the handful of people who can pay astronomical rates.
Privatisation can be stopped and even rolled back if the masses of consumers join the anti-privatisation movement and insist that “People’s assets should be used for the people!”
Your support is essential to protect YOUR assets that have been built with YOUR money!
Join the movement against privatisation!