The Government claims to lack funds for education. Is that true?
JNU, well known for its inclusive character and academic excellence, sustains itself with government funding of about Rs 170 crores per year. In the year 2016-17, government sops to super-rich corporates, through exemptions in corporate tax were to the tune of Rs 83,492 crores. Had the Government made corporates pay their taxes, the amount could have funded 491 affordable and good quality Universities like JNU!
So the problem is not lack of funds – but the question is, why does the Government prioritize subsidizing corporates rather than subsidize education for the country’s young generation?
“Why waste money on JNU where people waste time doing research rather than getting a job?” – the ABVP and Sangh trolls kept asking on social media as part of their “Shut Down JNU” campaign. The question is:
- Why is funding Universities and funding research considered a “waste” rather than an investment in the country’s independent fund of knowledge and the minds of its youth?
- Why is allowing super-rich corporates to get away without paying taxes and paying back bank loans, not considered a daylight loot of the country’s resources?
Take a look at the Modi government’s priorities where education is concerned:
- The share of expenditure in education in the Central Budget has been slashed from 4.57% in 2013-14 to 3.65% in 2016-17.
- The total allocation for education in Central Budget as proportion of GDP has fallen from 0.63% in 2013 to 0.47% in 2016-17.
Meanwhile Modi govt has been extending huge sops to the corporates through tax-waivers and writing-off ‘bad’ loans. The numbers are mind-boggling:
- In 2016-17 the Modi government gave big corporates tax waivers to the tune of Rs 83,492 crores. In 2013-14 this amount was Rs 57,793 crores. (Source: ‘Revenues Foregone’ statements of the 2013-14 and 2016-17 Central Budgets).
- According to ‘India Ratings’, till March 2016 loans from banks to corporates amounting to about Rs 13 lakh cr. have not been repaid and have come under the category of ‘bad loans’ (DNA, 13 May 2016), and out of this, Rs.7.4 lakh cr. is at risk of being written off!
- During the Modi regime there has been a huge fall in the ‘bad loan’ collection owed by corporates to banks. In 2013-14 the collection rate was 22% which has fallen to 10% in 2016-17 (Indian Express, 3 January 2017).
- Last year SBI alone waived Rs 7,000 crores owed by 63 big capitalist defaulters. (DNA, 6 November 2016).
- In reply to an RTI the Central Information Commission has said that the amount of money given by SBI to the Adani group cannot be made public! (Live Mint, 27 December 2016).
- During the Modi years since 2014, there is a huge jump in the amount of bad loans being written- off by the public sector banks. As per the latest expose by Indian Express, in the fiscal year 2016-17 alone, govt-run banks have written off a record amount of Rs 81,683-crore bad loans! This was preceded by write-offs to the tune of Rs. 49,018 cr. in 2014-15 and Rs. 57,586 cr. in 2015-16! Taken together, the total amount of written-off bank loans to corporates during Modi years stand at more than Rs.1.88 lakh cr! This is nothing short of a massive Bank-Loan Scam far exceeding UPA’s 2G scam of 1.76 lakh crore! (Indian Express, 7 Aug, 2017)
- Instead of feeling apologetic or ashamed at this massive corporate bank loan scam, PM Modi’s Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramaniam (in an address in Kochi on 14 March 2017) brazenly declared: “The Government should waive the loans of big corporates; this is proper and this is the way capitalism works”. (PTI, 14 March 2017)
Punish Protest – Pamper Thuggery
ABVP and DUSU cadre who assaulted teachers and students in DU go scot-free. ABVP cadres who assault Najeeb – leading to his disappearance – go scot-free.
Who is punished? All those students who protest against string of anti-students policies. And, in an unprecedented attack on the institution of JNUSU, the JNUSU President Mohit who led struggles for justice for Najeeb, against seat cuts, against subversion of JNU’s Academic Council is fined and then denied registration for opposing the unjust fine!
The Modi Government’s policy – enforced by its hand-picked VCs – is clear: punish student activists who resist anti-education policies and campus violence; pamper ABVP cadre who fan up thuggery on campuses.
The BJP Government brands its critics – especially students and teachers – as “anti-national”. We must ask the BJP and its campus lumpen brigade ABVP – is it “nationalist” to beat up students and teachers, attack seminars, muzzle dissent, and starve research? We must expose and resist the attacks on Universities, education, and research as attacks on the country’s youth and its future.