The Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has closely worked as an agent of big business. Nothing epitomises this better than a banner sponsored by the UPA Government and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year under the ‘India Everywhere’ campaign which said ’15 years, six governments, five prime ministers, one direction’. Reality is not far from this. Corporate India is on the warpath; between January and October 2006 Indian companies spent thrice the money buying foreign firms compared to what MNCs have acquired here.
But alls not well with the Corporate India project. Mobilisations across the country, by farmers and
social movements against SEZs, have dampened the government’s enthusiasm. The stalemate in
the World Trade Organisation and the likely collapse of the Doha round of trade talks is good news
for the world’s poor and bad news for corporate India. Trade liberalisation is down but not out yet
and India has been pushing for bilateral free trade arrangements in South and South East Asia. The
spectre of urban chaos looms large with schemes such as the National Urban Renewal mission.
Urban groups across the country have questioned the anti-democratic and pro-corporate nature of
the mission and are working on alternative visions for people friendly cities. The Bush-Manmohan
nuclear deal will heighten geo-political tensions in South Asia and beyond. The deal is under fire in
the US Congress and there are fissures among members of the UPA government.