As Punjab farmers go vandalising and destroying Reliance Jio towers to protest against the new farm laws, NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain got schooled by Gurcharan Das, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, India.
.@OnReality_Check | "The root of the problem is it is difficult to do reforms in a democracy," Gurcharan Das, Author and Former CEO of P&G India on the backlash to the #FarmLaws in Punjab, with protestors now attacking Jio telecom towers in the state pic.twitter.com/dRTHEiobqg— NDTV (@ndtv) December 29, 2020
Sreenivasan Jain, while holding a discussion on how protesting farmers in Punjab have taken to vandalism and looting, asked Das about the 1500 Jio towers vandalised in Punjab. Das, however, before responding to the law and order situation in Punjab, explained how reforms in a democracy like India are hard.
“The root of the problem is it is difficult to do reforms in a democracy. Therefore, all reformers spend 80% of their time selling the reform and 20% of their time doing the reform. The problem is since ’91, the reformers have not sold the reforms. Therefore, people think that the reforms make the rich richer, corporates bigger and the poor poorer. But that is not true. We know that poverty has been declining 1% per year since 1991,” he said.
Das pointed out how the poverty in India has reduced and the middle class has expanded. “Reality here is that Indians still confuse being pro market as being pro business. So there is a stigma. The stigma of capitalism. Hence you always have a small group in a reform which loses out. In this case, that small group is very wealthy. And they have paid for the lot of the protest. And the mistake Modi made like all the reformers is that he did not sell the reform well,” he added.
At this point, Jain cut him short and said how this opens up a whole another debate and went on to claim that many of the things Das said might appear contentious. He then went on to ‘correct’ Das and claimed that it is not the rich farmers who are protesting.
In the well organised Punjab farmers protest, facilities such as gyms, massage chairs, malls, tattoo parlours, live pizza counters and even DTH connections have been arranged for. Organisations with dubious and shady connections as well as pro-Khalistani organisations have been reportedly garnering support and raising funds for these protests as well.