of economic and political sovereignty of "We the People of India"
-- By Ravi Kiran Jain
Globalisation is destructive of the sovereignty of the people of this
country, which we had solemnly resolved to have in our Constitution.
The Constituent Assembly was already engaged in the task of framing the
Constitution of India when we became independent on 15th August 1947.
The framing of the Constitution of India was completed on November 26th,
1949 on which date it was adopted and we became Republic on January 26th,
Our Constitution is a socio-economic document. It is a promissory Constitution,
a promise made by "WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA", to ourselves, who
had resolved to constitute India into a "Sovereign Socialist Secular
Democratic Republic" to secure to all its citizens Justice: Social,
Economy and Political and gave "ourselves this Constitution."
This promise is contained in the Preamble.
In our constituent
assembly this twenty sixth day of November1949, do hereby adopt, enact
and give to ourselves this constitution. The Preamble and part IV of the
Constitution represent the hopes and aspirations of the people of this
In his famous Tryst
with Destiny speech given on August 14-15, 1947 Jawahar Lal Nehru declared
that the task ahead was "ending of poverty, and ignorance and disease,
and inequality of opportunity." It is this task which we resolved
to be achieved keeping in view the true spirit of the Preamble, "We
the people of India" have enacted the Constitution. 'We' who were
36 crores in 1950 and who are now 102 crores are the architects and founding
fathers and mothers of this Constitution.
The Directive Principles
contained in part IV of the Constitution gave us a time bound programme
not only to achieve the aforesaid task of which Nehru had reminded the
country on the eve of independence, but also to bring prosperity by adopting
the economy of self-sufficiency and self-reliance and to become a leading
country in the world. Unfortunately, we could not achieve what was envisaged
within that time frame.
The history of the
struggle for political freedom of the country had played a vital role
in the making of our Constitution. Certain fundamental rights are guaranteed
for citizens in part III of the Constitution.
Human rights can be
classified into the following three categories:
(a) Civil and Political rights
(b) Economic, Social and Cultural rights; and
(c) Collective Rights to Development.
The first category
of these rights namely civil and political are enforceable through provisions
contained in part III of the Constitution under the heading "Fundamental
Rights," the II and III categories of these rights are contained
in part IV under the heading "Directive Principles of State Policy",
though they are not enforceable through the courts, yet they are "nevertheless
fundamental in the governance of the country" and it is the duty
of the state to apply these principles in making laws.
The Directive Principles exhort the state to ensure that citizens have
an adequate means of livelihood, that the operation of the economic system
and the ownership and control of the material resources of the country
sub serve the common good, that the health of the workers, including children,
is not abused, and that special consideration be given to pregnant women.
Workers, both agricultural and industrial, are to have a standard of living
that allows them to enjoy leisure and social and cultural opportunities.
Among the primary duties of the State is the raising of the level of living
that allows them to enjoy leisure, and social and cultural opportunities.
Among the primary duties of the State is the raising of the level of nutrition
and the general standard of living of the people. The principles express
the hope that within ten years of the adoption of the Constitution there
will be compulsory primary education for children up to the age of fourteen
years. The other provisions of the principles seek equally to secure the
renovation of Indian Society by improving the techniques of agriculture,
husbandry, cottage industry, etc.
In complete contravention to these fundamental principles the globalisation
has reversed the process and is destroying the right to development contained
The Supreme Court of India in a recent judgment noticed: The Directive
Principles in our Constitution are fore-runners of the U.N.O. Convention
on Right to Development as inalienable human right and every person and
all people are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic,
social cultural and political development in which all human rights, fundamental
freedoms would be fully realised. It is the responsibility of the state
as well as the individuals, individually singly and collectively, for
the development taking into account the need, fuller responsibility for
the human rights, fundamental freedoms as well as the duties to the community,
which alone can ensure free and complete fulfillment of human being. They
promote and protect an appropriate social and economic order in democracy
for development; The state should provide facilities and opportunities
to ensure development and to eliminate all obstacles to development by
appropriate economic and social reforms so as to eradicate all social
injustices. These principles are embedded, as stated earlier, as integral
part of our Constitution in the Directive Principles. Therefore, the Directive
Principles now stand elevated to inalienable fundamental Human rights.
Even they are justiciable by themselves.
Globalisation has made impossible for state to apply these Directive Principles
taking them to be fundamental in the governance of the country "in
making laws",. After we become the member of W.T.O. it is not the
Directive principles but the dictates of the W.T.O. which have became
fundamental in the governance of the country. There are clauses in the
treaty that our Parliament has to enact laws in tune with some of its
provisions. The people's
Commission on GATT headed by Justice V R Krishna Iyer rightly observed
that the Final Act deprives the center of its exclusive legislative power
qua some of items in three lists of the Seventh schedule by making the
following observation in concluding part of it's report.
"In short, the Union Parliament and the State Legislatures have been
ousted of their legislative sovereignty over an extraordinary range of
matters. Even domestic agriculture, under the purview of the state government,
has been transferred wholesale to the W.T.O. The unavoidable conclusion
is a loss of legislative and executive sovereignty and the increasing
irrelevance of the Union Parliament as an instrument of governance, worse
still, all this has been accomplished without even the knowledge or consent
of the parliament, under circumstance in which the Prime Minister expressly
stated that he would not wait for a parliamentary debate pending negotiations.
Negotiations were conducted in a clandestine and covert fashion and the
only information ever provided to the people, that too at the end of the
day, were statistic furnished by the OECD."
In the seventh Schedule of the Constitution, there are three lists, which
provide the power to the Parliament and State Legislatures to make laws
regarding various developmental activities. The People's Commission had
pointed out that WTO impinges on India's sovereignty by preventing the
Centre or the States from legislating in certain matters.
It is accordingly obvious that WTO is destructive of the right to development
contained in Part IV of the Constitution of India and takes away our economic
and political sovereignty. Right to development can be realised only by
people's participation in the process of development. "We, the people
of India", should decide what should be the model of development.
"We, the people of India" have been caught in cobweb of globalisation
when in 1991 the government led by Chandra Shekhar found that the problem
of India's balance of payments had become acute and he had to start negotiations
with the I.M.F. Thereafter the Congress Government with Dr. Manmohan Singh
as Finance Minister announced new economic policies which departed widely
from the theories of Welfare State. The negotiations with the I.M.F. and
the World Bank resulted in large immediate credits. These two financial
institutions give loan only on their satisfaction that the borrowing country
is '"on the right path in its economic, fiscal and industrial reform."
Under the guise of reaching to a satisfaction that the borrowing country
is "on the right path," these institutions monitor the economic
and industrial development. Now the World Bank gives guidelines which
have become "fundamental in the governance of the country,"
and not the Directive Principles. Various governments since 1991 are committing
a breach of faith by violating fundamental norms and principles on which
the citizens of this country were to secure for themselves social, economic
and political justice. Now the World Bank gives periodical reports.
It examines our "economic performance." Our government provides
to World Bank, a free access to all its institutions and official records.
The World Bank declares that it conducts studies "as part of the
continuing analysis by the Bank of the economic and related conditions
of our country." (A World Bank Country Study: India Sustaining Rapid
Economic Growth, July 1997)
In its so-called report "India: Reducing Poverty Accelerating Development
- A World Bank Country Study" (Oxford University Press, 2000), the
World Bank has suggested ways to meet long-term challenges of poverty-reduction
and development. It is not merely a suggestion. It is a document of our
One may feel aghast by a careful perusal of this report that is revealing
of the fact that all successive governments have absolutely surrendered
our country's development agenda in the hands of the World Bank. It is
crystal clear by this report that now it is under the World Bank's dictates
that the issues of basic education, health, agriculture, industry, infrastructure,
etc. are taken up. This report says that is was discussed with government
of India on August 10, 1999. It runs into 260 pages and is very elaborate.
It is not possible to believe that such a bulky document containing so
many aspects could be discussed only in a day. It is not mentioned in
the so called report as to who was representing the Government of India
in this discussion.
May be that it was only some bureaucrat. It is not merely a report, but
a long' term agenda claiming to give guidelines to "We, the people
of India", how to reduce our poverty, improve our health, impart
education to the poor, how to develop infrastructure and how to have "a
good governance" Now the "governance" is being done in
accordance with the monitoring of the World Bank, and not on the Directive
Principles, contained in Part IV, which according to the Constitution
are fundamental in 'governance.' There is hardly any- aspect of human
activity, relevant for economic and social development, that has not been
dealt within this so called report.
Sovereignty means that the people shall decide how to develop themselves.
However, the process of globalisation is creating unemployment, recession,
scarcity of raw materials and a haphazard industrial growth and making
this country economically bankrupt and it has put us in the cobweb of
multinationals with total loss of sovereignty, both political and economic
on account of liberalization and globalisation.
The biggest tragedy of the country is that there is no public criticism
of the present state of affairs. The reason is that there is no participation
of the people. Public action is necessary to restore sovereignty. The
enlightened people of this country believe that this loss of sovereignty
at the hands of W.T.O., World Bank and I.M.F. is far worse than the slavery
which we had before August, 1947. The political leaders of our country
have divided the people along caste, communal and regional lines. Issues
have become non-issues and non-issues are presented as issues. Jean Dreze
and Amartya Sen in a recently published work "India: Economic Development
and Social opportunity" rightly conclude that "public action
in this broad sense, can play a central role in economic development and
in bringing social opportunities within the reach of the people as a whole".
These eminent social
scientists further say, "This depends upon a variety of factors including
the nature of the political parties and their leadership, the skill and
traditions of investigative journalism and also the level of literacy
and education in this region." Independence in 1947 meant transfer
of power from an alien to the local political class. 'The political leadership
till about 1970 maintained Constitutional norms to strengthen the nation
by giving it a development agenda to reach to the commanding heights of
the economy. But after 1971, a second generation started attaining adulthood.
A process of concentration of power in few hands started. Institutions
became secondary. Men and women in power became primary. The process of
decay of Institution started. The process was hastened and became very
fast since 1980. Market started dominating the Institutions, the fall
out of which was consumer culture, greed and corruption and nexus of political
class with criminals, mafias and multinationals. Since 1991, the political
leadership of this country started the process of total surrender of development
agenda in the hands of I.M.F. and World Bank.
The state is in retreat everywhere and power is being transferred from
the political class of this country to the multinationals. This is happening
under the garb of liberalization and globalisation. Power is being transferred
to the business class, first to the Indian Business Class and through
it to the foreign business led by multinationals.
The loss of sovereignty is a known aspect, but the most important aspect
is what should be done. As a first steps the people of this country be
made aware of this loss of sovereignty, which is directly violative of
their right to development. A debate has to take place on a national scale
as to how there can be a people's participation to fight with this situation.
It has to be a new struggle for economic independence more arduous than
the struggle for political independence that we fought before 1947. Independence
in what sense? Independence in deciding our way of life, our model of
development, our level of education, our culture, so on and so forth.
The new tools and the new remedies for the enforcement of Human Right
To Development can be found in the Institutions of Local Self Governments
created by 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts for the rural as
well as the Urban decentralized planning. The people themselves at the
local level can decide what should be the model of development now. The
right to development encompasses within its ambit all Human Rights and
Fundamental freedoms including right of self- determination. The Right
Of Development is of multi-dimensional character incorporating all Civil,
Political, Economic, Social and Cultural rights necessary for the holistic
development of the individual and the protection of this dignity.
Democracy implies people's participation not only in decision making about
preparation of plans for economic development and social justice but also
in execution of such plans.
Now under Part IX and IX-A of the Constitution vide Article 243 - B and
243 - Q Panchaayats "shall be constituted in every state" in
rural areas and urban areas. Now these Panchaayats are the creation of
the Constitution and not the creation of an ordinary Statute. These institutions
are Constitutional functionaries, These institutions can be used to realize
the rights contained in Directive Principles of State Policy better than
higher echelon like Parliament and State legislature which is evident
by the perusal of the relevant provisions of the Constitution, Article
243-G give power to the Panchaayat in rural areas and Article 243-W gives
power to the Municipalities in urban areas "to function as institutions
of Local Self Government" having powers with regards to "the
preparations of plans for economic development and social justice as well
as the implementations of the schemes for the economic development and
social justice as may be entrusted to them including those in relation
to the matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule and Twelfth Schedule of
the Constitution These schedules are given at the end of this paper. Kindly
see the list of items in these schedules which would show that all possible
human activity is covered by these items which are necessary for human
These are now small republics of the Local Self Government, The institutions,
by devolution of powers and responsibilities, shall have the power and
authority to prepare plans for economic and social justice, development
activity has been brought to the grassroots level. Now we can involve
ourselves in our development to have social justice by decentralised planning
through these institutions. But we have to create awareness among the
people to be active and for defending their civil, political, economic
and cultural rights by participating in the decision making process of
the implementation of plans and to the execution thereof.
But while adopting the path of involving the people of this country to
realise their right to development through the local self- government
institutions; we have to be on our guard keeping in view the world Bank's
evil eyes on these Institution as well. On page 58 of 'India: Reducing
Poverty, Accelerating Development- A World Bank Country Study, it has
"Local governments, by and large, do not have the autonomy to choose
the taxes, these being either laid down by state governments or approved
Except for Municipal Corporation, the local government have no borrowing
powers and are wholly dependent on State governments for capital loans.
The borrowing powers of municipal governments are governed by the Local
Authorities Loans Act 1914, which require them to borrow with the previous
sanction of the state government."
This shows that after laying their hands on the Central and various state
governments, they want to have an access to these institutions and make
even these institutions to loose their decision making power. If that
happens, it would be an irreversible process of loss of sovereignty.
Dominance of the global powers like World Bank and IMF have weakened our
Parliament and state legislatures and have corrupted our political leaders.
They have not yet been able to lay their hands upon the Institutions of'
Local Self Government. We have to save these institutions from them.
Kindly Do Peruse These Two Schedules
Eleventh Schedule (Article 243 G)
1. Agriculture, including agricultural extension; 2. Land improvement,
implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation;
3. Minor irrigation, water management and water-shed development; 4. Animal
husbandry, dairying and poultry; 5. Fisheries; 6. Social forestry and
farm forestry; 7. Minor forest produce; 8. Small scale industries, including
food processing industries; 9. Khadi, village and cottage industries;
10, Rural housing; 11.Drinkingwater,; 12. Fuel and fodder; 13. Roads,
culverts, bridged, ferries, waterways and other means of communication;
14. Rural electrification, including distribution of electricity; 15.
Non-conventional energy sources; 16. Poverty alleviation programme; 17,
Education, including primary and secondary schools; 18. Technical training
and vocational education; 19. Adult and non-formal education; 20. Libraries;
21. Cultural activities; 22. Markets and fairs; 23. Health and sanitation,
including hospitals, primary health centers and dispensaries,; 24. Family
welfare; 25. Women and child development; 26. Social welfare, including
welfare of the handicapped and mentally retarded; 27. Welfare of the weaker
sections, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the schedule
Tribes; 28. Public distribution system; 29. Maintenance of community assets.
Twelfth Schedule (Article 243W)
1. Urban planning including town planning 2. Regulating of land-use and
construction of buildings 3. Planning for economic and social development
4. Roads and bridges 5, Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial
purpose 6. Public health, sanitation conservancy and solid waste management
7. Fire services 8. Urban forestry, protection of the environment and
(promotion of ecological aspects 9, Safeguarding the interests of weaker
sections of society including the handicapped and mentally retarded 10,
Slum improvement and up-gradation 11. Provision of urban amenities and
facilities such as parks, gardens, playgrounds 12. Promotion of cultural,
educational and aesthetic aspects 13, Burials and burial grounds cremation
grounds and electric crematoriums 14. Cattle pounds prevention of cruelty
to animals 15, Vital statistics including registration of births and deaths
16. Public amenities including street lighting, parking lots, bus stops
and public conveniences. 17. Regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries.