Looking back 2017 in terms of economic and social impacts on India, it can be said that it has not been the best year so far. The ill effects Hindutva is taking firm root on Indian society. The murder of Mohammad Afrazul, a migrant worker in Rajasthan who was brutally butchered by a proponent of Hindutva, Shambhulal Regar, is a case in point! The reason cited for the murder has been that Afrazul was engaged in ‘Love Jihad’, a term used by Hindutva groups referring to the Muslim males allegedly wooing Hindu girls for marriage with a purpose of converting them to Islam. There have been other instances also where Bajrang Dal trying to disrupt mutually accepted marriage on the accusation of ‘Love Jihad’. The Hindu-Muslim conflict is also on the rise with several clashes taking place in West Bengal.
In the economic front, the development of double whammy is something of a major concern and can have far reaching impact. The double whammy refers to:
- Impact of demonetization
- Introduction of GST
With majority of Indians employed in unorganized sector, the impact of demonetization was severe. It is one thing of not paying tax, and it is another of losing jobs and livelihood. Scores of household employed in the unorganized sector has lost their livelihood because of demonetization.
In a nutshell, the major impacts of demonetization have been:
- Loss of jobs
- Slowing down of the economy
- Accruing loss to the medium and small scale industries, which generates majority of the employment
- Loss of revenue in agricultural sector
To cut the long story short, the impact of demonetization has been substantial and pitifully negative. Before the demonetarization dust could settle, the government struck the second whammy of GST (Goods and Service Tax).
GST in India is characterized by:
- Rising consumer cost index
- Fewer consumer savings
- Loss of sales and production
- Sufferings of the small businesses
- Wrong implementation of GST leading to further sufferings of the consumers
Banking sector suffered too with the following developments:
- Problems of bad loans crippled banking sector
- Undue banking levies and charges harassed the common people
- Intensification of the woes pertaining to agriculture sector
Thus, this year has been subject to circumspect with some dangerous trends emerging. The most worrying aspect of it is that these trends have long term and damaging impact on the country. The election victories of BJP on some major states such as, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh shows that people wants more of Hindutva despite economic downfall. This essentially means that people does not mind economic hardship if the Hindutva is preserved. This is a dangerous psychographic, although the opposition parties are also to blame for this. It can be dubbed as Hindu backlash, which is caused because of the minority appeasement policies pursued by certain opposition parties including Indian National Congress. However, the silver lining is, it can be expected that our political parties, sooner than later, will find a right balance between the majority and minority relationship. This day is awaited by everyone!