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At the time of independence in 1947, India had just five central public sector enterprises with an investment of mere Rs 29 crore. Besides, perhaps India had fairly reasonable network of railways and extensive Posts and Telegraph covering the entire country to serve the British masters. Today India has 320 central public enterprises with investment of around Rs 12 lakh crore. As many as 165 CPSEs earned a net profit of about Rs 1.5 lakh crore and 78 CPSEs, a net loss of Rs 29,000 crore. There is, perhaps, double the number of state public enterprises. The statistics is sketchy with regard to total number of state public enterprises and their investments. But indication is that there are at least 1000 state public enterprises with investment of Rs 4-5 lakh crore. That apart there are central and state corporations, particularly, by way of railways, state road corporations, posts and so on. Investments in them run in to several lakh crores of rupees.

 So it is clear that Public Sector Enterprises formed the backbone of industrial development of the country in Independent India.  Of course, its role has been changing with the changing time. Initially its role was to help create the much needed industrial base and infrastructure apart from bringing about price stabilization and socio-economic development. They were also engine of growth in true sense of the term. PSEs contributed greatly to job creation by adopting labou-intensive techniques in the early part of independence, nationalization of sick textile units and setting up ancillary industries around major units subsequently. With the economic liberalization in 1991, its role changed to take on competition including global. This included reduction in jobs as a result of modernization and to improve efficiency. SAIL for example, which employed over two lakh workers to produce less than 10 million tonnes of steel in the past, employs just 80,000 workers today and produces much more. But even today it has surplu employees. It has seven times more employees than Tata steel for per tonne of steel production. This is one of the major reasons for some of the public enterprises still being inefficient. Some other companies like Life Insurance of India, which enjoyed monopoly status after nationalization in the 1950s, took on competition well after Insurance sector was opened up to private players in the late 1990s.

Public sector Enterprises are now slowly trying to exit areas where it is not competitive and drain on resources and public exchequer. Air India is a very good example. Civil aviation was nationalized in the 1950s. Only government was allowed operate airlines particularly for security reasons and to serve social goals like operating in routes which are not profitable but important from social point of view.  With opening up of the aviation sector to private players, Air India is just not able take on competition partly because of over-staffing, inefficiency and mounting debt burden due to which government is forced to bail out from public exchequer.

But none can deny the fact the Public sector played a key role all along in nation building. In the early years of independence, Public sector got into areas of basic and heavy industries where private sector would not venture into as they did not have the financial muscle or wherewithal. In fact 1948 industrial policy encouraged private sector more. But when private sector was not forthcoming in adequate number and in areas where investments are needed, the government modified the industrial policy in 1956 to give more prominence to public sector in the industrial development of the country. This ensured that there was balanced growth. Public sector also helped in removing regional imbalances, development of infrastructure, townships and remote areas. Subsequently Government was forced to nationalized some sick unites particularly in textiles industry to protect the interest of worker. It even had to start manufacturing bread to bring about price stabilization in an era of shortages. Food Corporation of India was set up to improve storage facilities and create buffer stock due to which India is surplus in food production. But the organization has now outlived its utility and it is time it was dismantled as was done in Mexico and perhaps continue only in eastern India where procurement is still a problem as green revolution has not spread far and wide there.

In fact it is time for government to exit in several areas, particularly in services sector excepting in railways and telecom where privatization has not worked in many countries. Also there is some strategic interestinvolved in these two sectors. In case of Hotel industry, Public sector came into being when private sector was not forthcoming in an era of controls. Today it should exit totally has private sector does better in this sector.  So also Air India as private airlines have shown the way how airlines can be run efficiently. Rightly government has taken a call to go for strategic sale of Air India. Modi government has adopted right philosophy with public sector enterprises. Divest government stake in many areas including banking to the extent of 49 per cent and retain control to fulfill social, economic and strategic considerations.

Secondly, it had decided to carry out strategic sale like Air India to improve efficiency and save taxpayers money in bailing them out year-after-year. Thirdly it has decided to exit from areas where private sector can do a better job. In case of sick undertakings, it will try to go for outright sale if attempts to revive failed. The government has also chalked out plans to utilize the huge land available with public sector companies for setting up more units, utilizing huge cash of over Rs 6 lakh crore piled up with profit-making public sector enterprises. In the oil sector in particular, public enterprises are doing extremely well earning profits even in an era of falling global oil prices.

 

In sum, it is clear there no one-size-fit-all solution to the woes of public sector enterprises and rightly Modi government has adopted multi-pronged strategy to deal with the issue.

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*K. R. Sudhaman, who has over 40 years experience in journalism, has been Editor in Press Trust of India, Economics Editor in TickerNews and Financial Chronicle.

Views expressed in the article are author’s personal.

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The truth hidden behind this invasion on the Fundamental Rights of the Indian citizens residing in the State of J&K (Permanent Residents) has not been brought to the focus of the parliamentarians or the jurists.

 

I being one of the victims of this arbitrary Law (35A) am trying to re-open the hidden pages of the history that how and why the people of J&K were brought under such a suppressive and oppressive Laws which grew under the shadow of Article 35(A) depriving the people of J&K of their Fundamental Rights which they were entitled to citizens of India. The citizens of India who were redefined as Permanent Residents of the State of J&K have remained denied of their basic human rights defined in the Constitution India in its Chapter-III as Fundamental Rights. The  citizens of India  residing in J&K have remained deprived of their basic human rights/fundamental rights since 1954.

 

 

 

The Legacy of 1953

 

Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah was crowned as Chief Minister of J&K in 1977 under Indira-Sheikh Accord which was opposed by this author (Bhim Singh), who was Secretary-General of the Indian Youth Congress. The Congress surrendered with its 45 MLAs (out of 65) to the dictates of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah. Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah, the main victim of Article 35(A) in 1953 himself realised that authoritarian rule was only possible in J&K and he agreed to retain Article 35(A) which in fact was introduced on May 14, 1954 by the then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad on the recommendation of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

 

Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah’s National Conference won election to the State Assembly in 1977. This was the first time that this author also won the State Assembly election with thumping majority as Congress candidate. The Congress won only seven seats in the Assembly. It was National Conference rule which smashed all the decencies of the ruling party. Swallowed huge properties which are still under the control of Abdullas in the state. Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah used the same Detention Rule which were applied against him and his comrades for years by the Central Govt. This author was jailed under the Detention Laws for years by the Govt. of Sheikh Abdullah though he was an Assembly Member in the Congress party. All the tragedies/suppressions/oppressions committed by the earlier governments against Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah’s party and supporters were repeated by Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah and after his death by his son, Dr. Farooq Abdullah and others.

 

This author resigned from the Congress and also from the State Assembly and floated J&K National Panthers Party to launch a democratic movement to ensure that justice was delivered to all the residents of J&K who were being ruled ruthlessly and mercilessly with the dictatorial Laws.

 

The Constitution of India could not enter the State of J&K because of the presence of a temporary Article, 370 which still is grabbing the necks of the residents of J&K who are otherwise citizens of India. This is a tragedy that Fundamental Rights incorporated in Chapter-III of the Constitution of India from Article 11 to 35 have not been made applicable to the citizens of India residing in the State of J&K which had acceded to the Union of India on October 26, 1947. Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor-General of India, signed the Instrument of Accession, the next day, October 27, 1947.
 
This is irony of the situation that Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution of India on January 26, 1950 keeping the State of J&K away from the Union of India. The Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26, 1947 was not utilized constitutionally and the State of J&K was not integrated into the Union of India. Temporary Article 370 deserves a critical and serious reading. Maharaja of J&K was allowed to continue as a Ruler of the State although the Maharaja had signed the Instrument of Accession like other 575 Rulers. Article 370 made it clear in its declaration that the Parliament of India shall have no constituent power to legislate in respect of any subject concerning the State of J&K.
 
This power was vested in the President of India alone. The Constituent Assembly of India had clearly mentioned that the Maharaja shall continue as a Ruler of J&K. Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah who enjoyed friendship with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru constituted a parallel Constituent Assembly in the State of J&K picking up his political agents as its Members. This Constituent Assembly of J&K under the leadership of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah passed a draconian Resolution on August 20, 1952 dismissing the Maharaja (Maharaja Hari Singh) and declaring J&K as a State without a Ruler. Sheikh Abdullah was arrested under the command of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, on the night between August 8/9, 1953. Bakshi Gulam Mohd. deputy of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah was installed as the Prime Minister of J&K by Yuvraj Karan Singh who had been recognized as Sadar-e-Riyasat of J&K by the Central Govt. Sheikh Abdullah was arrested, charged with heinous crimes, was shifted to Madras State and put on trial for anti-national/secessionist  activities. Released in 1964 under the intervention of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. He was installed in power as Chief Minister in 1977 under Indira-Sheikh Accord, 1975.

 

J&K was charged with J&K Constitution which was introduced on January 26, 1957 when Bakshi Gulam Mohd. was the Prime Minister of J&K. This Constitution of India was against all the democratic norms and against the mandate of the Indian Constitution. The new party those days which emerged was known as Jan Sangh which had been opposing separate Flag and the Constitution for J&K underwent several changes and transformations from Jan Sangh to Janata Party and from Janata Party to Bharatiya Janata Party. Unfortunately, the fresh Legislators in the State Assemblies or in the Parliament of India were never introduced with the developments in the political history of J&K. Article 370 was a temporary as was introduced by the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly, Dr.Bhimrao Ambedkar. He was opposed to the introduction of Article 370 but Nehruvian faction had a strong hand. Article 370 though temporary inserted clause (3) in which it was clearly mentioned that,

 

“Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify.” It was a proviso added to this clause (3) which could not have continued after the demise of Constituent Assembly of J&K which expired on January 26, 1957. The proviso had provided that, “the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.” After January 26, 1957 the Constituent Assembly of J&K breathed its last and therefore Article 370 (3) shall read after 1957 as under:-

 

“Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify.” The Parliament of India is competent to legislate at least in respect of three subjects namely, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communication and Allied Matters. The President is competent to amend any provision within the scope of Article 370 which was (is) a temporary phase only.

 

As far as Article 35(A) is concerned this has not been associated on the pages of Indian Constitution even for the simple reason that this Article (35A) was totally stranger in the annals of the Constitution of India. The President of India was assigned power to deal within the meaning and scope of Article 370 alone. Article 35 was part and parcel of the domain of the Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution.
 
The President of India had no power whatsoever to interfere with the domain of Fundamental Rights. Under Article 368 of Constitution of India, Parliament of India is alone competent to interfere with the domain of any Chapter of the Indian Constitution. Article 32 was in the domain of the Fundamental Rights as Rights to Property which was amended during the time of Morarji Desai as Prime Minister of India. A proper and specific procedure was adopted through the floors of the Parliament of India. Article 35 was nipped in the bud by the President of India on May 14, 1953 which was not in accordance with the procedure nor it had vested any power in the President of India.
 
This was most tragic that 35(A) introduced by the President of India in 1954 had literally grabbed the Fundamental Rights of the Indian citizens residing in the entire State of J&K. This legislative authority was vested with the Parliament of India alone and Article 35 could not have been demonized. It was this illegal, unconstitutional and undesirable Law imposed by the President of India which had brought suffocation and untold miseries to the great nationalist, secular and democracy loving people of J&K. This author himself was imprisoned about 54 times by the rulers and spent nearly 8½ years in illegal detentions in Srinagar, Jammu, Kathua, Reasi and other prisons. He was not alone about two dozen fellow students were killed by the state bullets right since 1959 till 2015.

 

The Supreme Court of India has been the only saviour and protector of the civil liberties and unconfirmed Fundamental Rights of this author and his companions who have been fighting for the implementation of rule of law in the State of J&K. The famous case, ‘Bhim Singh vs. J&K & Ors’ that Supreme Court decided in 1984 when Prof.Bhim Singh was a sitting MLA of Panthers Party can be read on the pages of Law Books where the Supreme Court of India directed the Govt. of J&K to pay a compensation of Rs.50,000/- (Fifty Thousands Only) to this author. Last year the Supreme Court of India directed the State of J&K to pay a compensation of Rs.200,000 (Two Lacs Only) to Panthers Party’s General Secretary, Ms. Anita Thakur and Rs.100,000 (One Lac) each to Advocate, Mr. H.C. Jalmeria and Journalist Mr. P.K. Ganjoo. They were leading a Panthers Party procession from Reasi (Jammu) to Parliament for implementation of the Fundamental Rights of Jammu Migrants.

 

This has been a tragedy that 35(A) which was inserted by the Order of the President in 1954 has conferred most draconian and dictatorial power in the Govt. of J&K which can destroy any of the Fundamental Rights of the Permanent Residents of J&K, within the meaning and scope of Article 35(A). Article 35(A) today is being heard by the Supreme Court of India. This author as a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India. A Barrister and holding a Masters Degree in Law from London University with distinction has decided to fight for the cause of the younger generations of J&K who are being put under the rode of suppression and oppression by the Rulers of J&K irrespective of their political schools of thought. The Panthers Party is committed to fight against the suppression and oppression by the ruling parties of J&K against the innocent and God fearing people of J&K with a hope that truth shall win someday, human and fundamental rights shall be honoured by the Rulers.
 

 

(Prof.Bhim Singh), Sr. Advocate

 

Chief Patron of National Panthers Party

 

& Sr. Executive Member, Supreme Court Bar Association
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Quit India Movement or the August Movement was launched by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942 to gain independence from British rule. Gandhiji gave call to the British to withdraw from India.He decided to launch a mass civil disobedience movement 'Do or Die' call to force the British to leave India.The Cripps Mission and its failure also played an important role in Gandhi's call for the Quit India Movement. The British government on 22ndMarch 1942, sent Sir Stafford Cripps to negotiate terms with the Indian political parties and secure their support in Britain's war efforts. A Draft Declaration included terms like establishment of Dominion, establishment of a Constituent Assembly and right of the Provinces to make separate constitutions. These would be granted after the cessation of the Second World War. According to the Congress, this Declaration only offered India a promise that was to be fulfilled in the future. Commenting on this Gandhi said; "It is a postdated cheque on a crashing bank." After the rejection of the Cripps proposals the Indian National Congress launched the Quit India Movement.

The Quit India Movement in Andhra

Quit India Movement spread to all the states and provinces across the country. In Andhra the Provincial Congress Committee had issued a circular popularly known as the ‘Kurnool Circular’ as the police ceased the copy when they ride ‘Kurnool Congress Office. This was drafted by Kala Venkat Rao, on 29thJuly 1942 and   was sent for the approval of the Congress Working Committee through Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah, a member of the working committee.

The ‘Kurnool Circular’ envisaged a programme of defying prohibitory orders, lawyers to give up practice, students to leave colleges, picketing salt and foreign trade and industry, cutting of communications, cutting of toddy yielding trees, travelling without tickets, pulling chains to stop trains and blow up bridges to disrupt communications and retard the movement of Army personnel: the cutting of telegraph and telephone wires, non-payment of taxes excepting municipal taxes, and hoisting of national flags on all Government buildings as a sign of independence. ‘Kurnool Circular’ intended to paralyze all means of communications and machinery of administration. Some of the prominent leaders who were taken as detenus during this period in Andhra were Pattabhi Sitaramaiah, A.Kaleshwer Rao, T.Prakasham, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Maganti Bapineedu and several others.

On the 12thAugust 1942, the town of Tenali observed a complete Hartal as a protest against the arrest of the Congress leaders. The crowd tried to set fire to the Railway Station. They also destroyed the books, records and currency in the Booking Office while the staff in-charge of the office fled. There upon, the police opened fire and in this firing three people were killed, namely Bhaskaruni Lakshminarayana, Majeti Subbarao and Sripathi Panditaradhyula Srigiri Rao.

On 12thAugust 1942, a procession of 500 students marched to the Court of the Sub-Magistrate in Chirala and asked him to close the court. After causing damage to the building the crowd raided the offices of the Sub-Registrar and the sales tax officer and then stoned the police station. They dispersed only after the arrival of the police and the civic guards.

On 13thAugust, a crowd of 2,000, consisting mostly of students, gathered in front of the Hindu College, Guntur. The police opened fire as a result of which several were wounded and two persons died instantaneously. On the night of 12thAugust 1942, an attempt was made to cut the telephone wires between Dowleswaram and Rajahmundry by  Bommakanti Venkata Subramanyam, Chekuri Veera Raghava Swamy (Student), Chekuri Venkata Rayudu, G. Sathi Raju, K. Rama Krishna Rao, T.V. Venkanna, V. Seetharaman and K.V. Seetharama Sastry of Rajahmundry. All of them were arrested and were awarded eighteen months rigorous Imprisonment each.

On 12th August 1942, telephone wires were cut by organizers between Palacole, Lankalacoderu, Bhimavaram and Vendra. On 12th and 13th August they took out processions in the streets of Nellore town and damaged electric lights on the streets and destroyed telephones and signal equipment in the railway station.  At Kavali the Head Master’s room of the local Board High School was set on fire. In Venkatagiri Raja College, Nellore, the Principle hoisted the national flag. The struggle was at its height in August and the first half of September with the mantra “Do or Die”, given to them by Gandhiji.  They continued the struggle till 1943.

The Quit India Movement in Telangana

The Quit India Movement had its repercussions in the Hyderabad State. Swamy Ramanand Tirtha met Mahatma Gandhi at Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee and obtained permission to conduct the Quit India Movement in Hyderabad State. Not only State Congress but various Praja Mandals in the State participated in the Quit India Struggle. Swamy Ramanand Tirtha left Bombay via Sholapur for Hyderabad and anticipating that he might be arrested, sent a letter to Dr. Melkote envisaging the demands of the Hyderabad State Congress so that it could be signed and sent to the Nizam. He was arrested as soon as he got down at the Nampally station. Dr. G.S. Melkote duly signed the letter on behalf of the State Congress the release of all political prisoners. Some reactionary elements in Hyderabad tried to take advantage of the slogan “Quit India” saying that the British withdrawal from India would automatically mean the Independence of Hyderabad and raised the slogan, “Azad Hyderabad”.

During the Quit India Satyagraha,in Hyderabad several leaders like  Pandit Narenderji, Harishchandra Heda, Gyankumari Heda, Vimalabai Melkote, G.S. Melkote, Jethandra Rashtravadi, Padmaja Naidu, Smt. and Sri Ramaswamy, B.Ramakrishna Rao, G. Ramachari, Gangadhar Krishna, Ganpat Rao, Krishna Dube (Kothagudem Trade Union leader of Singareni Collieries), L. Narayana, Rajeshwar Rao, Somyajulu, D. Narasaiah, Komaragiri Narayana Rao, M.S. Rajalingam, Sridhar Rao Kulkarni, Kodati Narayan Rao, Vande Mataram Ramchandra Rao, Prem Raj Yadav and Mallayya Yadav, Kaloji Narayana Rao got arrested. Apart from the Satyagrahis in the city several volunteers participated in the Satyagraha movement from Osmanabad, Parbhani, Aurangabad, Nanded, Umri, not only on behalf of the State Congress but also on behalf of the Maharashtra Parishad and the Karnataka Conference. Govind das Shroff, the Secretary of the Maharashtra Parishad was placed under detention in Aurangabad. Padmaja Naidu was arrested for placing the Congress flag on the Residency building.  

Before the Quit India movement was launched in Hyderabad, several nationalist leaders like Kasinath Rao Vaidya, Hassan Thirmiji,Vinayak Rao Vidyalankar, Ravi Narayana Reddy, Fataullah Khan, Janardhan Rao Desai, Hanumanth Rao, appealed to the Nizam to form a Ministry consisting of duly elected ministers. Seeing the demand for the restoration of civil liberties and Responsible Government growing day by day, the Nizam’s Government engaged the services of Prof. Rushbrook Williams, who was an employee of the B.B.C., on a honorarium of 200 pounds per annum to carry on propaganda on behalf of the Nizam’s Government by writing articles in different newspapers and journals saying that the people in the Indian States, particularly  in Hyderabad enjoyed political rights to the same extent as the people in the neighboring Indian provinces. During the 1942 movement two Hyderabadis, Abid Hasan Safrani and Prof Suresh Chandra joined the Indian National Army (INA) of Subhash Chandra Bose.

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*Author is in the Department of History, Dr.B.R.Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad.

Views expressed in the article areauthor’s personal.

(The Feature has been contributed by PIB Hyderabad.)