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A case against privatisation

Published:May 6, 2021

When BJP government says that the job of the government should be to govern and make policies rather than run hotels, trains, etc. then I couldn’t agree more. The job of the government is in fact to run the country and govern it, not to run the trains and govern ticket counters. It’s because running industries and services can also be done by the industrialists, but running the country can not be done by them. So it is better if the government focuses on running the country while industrialists and private companies focus on running the trains and planes better.

However, something has happened recently that made me rethink about the case in favour of privatisation. While the country is in dire need of vaccines we witness the countries largest vaccine maker leaving the country and investing profits in some other country to expand the business. Frankly, any smart business man would do that, so nothing to blame him for this, otherwise he would not have the title of a businessman but that of a charity maker. Any businessman can take profits made in the country and leave it to settle in another or close his business altogether. You cannot blame him for that. That’s just a scaring possibility of privatisation that we should think of. It is only the government that can not leave the country and settle in another, neither any business man nor any other person.

Government has no say in boosting up production of vaccines in these private companies other than handing out whatever price asked by the companies. The times are such that for spending no government can negotiate and for earning no businessman would hesitate. Think of such case let’s say for transport and communication. Whenever their urgent need will arise, the respective companies will demand, government will spend, businessmen will earn, politicians will get some commission and common people will pay for all these. And the end result? Wait, wait and more wait, helplessly more wait. If government is not in direct control of the institutions that fulfil the basic needs of the people, then when the time arises both government and the people will find themselves in a fix like what is happening with vaccines today. If privatisation opens door for such possibilities, then both the people and the good intending government should be concerned about this.

Organisations and industries relating to healthcare, medicines, vaccines, communication, transport, food, etc. that fulfil basic needs of the people should be in direct control of the government so that it can influence its production whenever the need arises like it has arisen today. This could be done through various ways like policies and laws for such times or by making them government enterprises. But if its run with the same dumb care attitude that the government offices we have seen running, then again it is of no avail. Ultimately it comes down to we the people. We ultimately get a system that is no better than what we are.