Two Years of DMK Rule in Tamilnadu

DMK claims that it has succeeded in fulfilling the expectations of the common man. Its own alliance partner PMK says that the DMK rule has failed on all fronts. Congress, CPI, and CPI(M) more or less accept the claims of DMK on its 2 year rule.

Development and growth are the major planks that the Karunanidhi regime shares with his counterparts Nitish and Buddhadeb. Tamilnadu Industrial Development Corporation’s advertisement sums up the 2 years rule of DMK Government as: ‘People’s power. Technology. And the vision of a leader to shape it. Grow with Tamilnadu’. Thus the call is ‘Grow with Tamilnadu’. Technology based growth empowers people: this is the basic argument.

The Facts

Tamilnadu government claims that in the year 2008 alone 14 MoUs were signed for investment to the tune of Rs. 18,348 crores. Before the end of this year Rs.30, 000 crores investment would come in. The government claims that Tamilnadu has become a centre of attraction not only for Indian business houses but also for MNCs. They treat Sriperumbudur as a second base after America. The government claims that their version can be verified by a comparative study of investments made in the last two years in different states.

M K Stalin, Local Administration Minister says that Tamilnadu’s share in the total IT production in the country now stands at 11% and that it will go up to 25% by 2011. AIADMK government, in the last 5 years was able to generate only 1, 45,590 jobs in this sector, whereas the DMK government has generated 1, 26,810 jobs in this sector within two years. In this sector, the central government has approved 37 SEZs on Tamilnadu. Through a new IT policy, in this sector alone, 8 lakhs direct employment and 22 lakhs indirect employment will be generated.

Karunanidhi claims that in the manufacturing sector, in these two years, Motorola provided 600 direct and 1000 indirect employment; Dell computers provided 200 direct and 600 indirect employment; Samsung provided 300 direct and 150 indirect employment; Caparo India Limited provided 350 direct and 350 indirect employment, Sanmina SCI Corporation of USA provided 475 direct and 150 indirect employment. Thus, 1925 direct and 2250 indirect employment totaling 4175 employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector were provided.

In addition to this, Karunanidhi claims that, Hyundai has created 11324 direct and 22,000 indirect employment opportunities, totaling 33324 employment opportunities. Even before Karunanidhi assumed power, Hyundai had its production running with more than 15,000 employees and after starting of second plant in February 2008 there was not much new employment.

There is a skewed and distorted development not only in geographical terms but also in the industry profile, with IT, automobile, auto components and bio industries coming up in and around Chennai, cornering the major share.

This capital intensive development with more investment and higher technology has only created lesser number of jobs.

Employment opportunities have grown disproportionately only in IT sector and only the upward mobile sections of society can have access to it.

In the manufacturing sector employment growth is very limited and even this is more of indirect employment with more apprentices, contract and casual workers than permanent workers.

According to Karunanidhi, in the corporate world, they are vying with each other to invest in Tamilnadu.

Capital flows to places where it can earn higher profits.

In Tamilnadu, capital has the following advantages:

    • • Land, water, electricity are offered at subsidized rates.

• Sriperumbudur area is practically a “no trade union zone”. On 30 April this year, more that 1293 Hyundai workers were arrested and 31 of them spent this May Day in prison for attempting to hoist their union flag.

• Wages are less. Wages of 10750 workers in Plant 1 of Hyundai is only 0.5% of the company’s annual turnover.

No Land to the Tillers

Land only to the Corporate Houses

When Karunanidhi’s alliance partner Ramadoss called for a discussion in the assembly before giving land to the corporate houses, Karunanidhi refused on the ground that no discussion takes place in the assembly before giving house site pattas to the poor and land to the landless, and that investment will stay away from Tamilnadu if unnecessary hurdles are put in the way.

Karunanidhi equates the landless, the urban and rural poor with the super rich corporate sector.

Karunanidhi came to power promising 55 lakhs acres of land to the landless poor of Tamilnadu, - 2 acres of land to every landless family. But till date, 1, 16,508 rural poor landless families have been assigned only 1, 33,688 acres of land. This is the biggest betrayal. Adding insult to injury is the story of lands given away to the corporate sector in addition to whatever land is in illegal occupation of the rural and urban rich.

TIDEL Park and Ascendas IT Park have been given 2.8 million square meter prime land in Chennai. Mahindra World City 1300 acres, Nanguneri SEZ 2520 acres, Ennore SEZ 3185 acres, Perumbalore SEZ 3000 acres. More SEZs and corporate houses are likely to get more land in Tamilnadu in the very near future.

Jayalalitha’s 5 year rule created a mere 33,000 employment opportunities and she told Wall Street journal that Tamilnadu will become a gateway not only for South East Asia but for the entire world, as far as IT sector is concerned. Jayalalitha’s regime told the corporate houses: “Ask and thou shalt be given. Knock, all doors will open”. Now Karunanidhi’s regime, says: ‘Without asking we will give, without knocking, all doors will be opened.’

Urban Poor

Tamilnadu leads the country with 47% urbanization. A very huge section of informal and unorganized sector workers have come up. The DMK government, in a shrewd move, cancelled all registration and renewal fees for more than 31 lakhs of workers enrolled in various welfare boards. But these workers constituted the biggest chunk in the huge movements for house site patta for the urban and rural poor. After realizing the underlying class mobilization potential of the welfare boards, DMK government had now handed over all the activities of the welfare boards to the revenue department. The message is “Never assert as a class. Be grateful to be beneficiaries”.

DMK government refuses to give house site pattas to the urban and rural poor while pampering the corporate sector with more land and concessions and exemptions. Urbanization and accompanying industrialization in Tamilnadu has got its bitter side in rural agrarian crisis, with rural employment and income shrinking to unprecedented levels. Whether rural or urban, this huge section is mostly below poverty line.

The basic issues of the toiling masses, like land to the landless, house site pattas, strict and proper compliance with NREGA, price rise, trade union recognition Act have not been addressed by the DMK government.

Keeping the Coalition Intact

There are cracks in the ruling coalition. (It is a DMK government with minority DMK getting outside support of its allies). Karunanidhi is often more irritated by his coalition partners than by the opposition, the AIADMK. Karunanidhi invokes the bogey of naxalism to invoke unity. When CPI staged a walk-out in the assembly on the issue of price rise, Karunanidhi questioned their wisdom in opposing the state government, when they should in fact oppose the central government. He also said that communal forces waiting in the wings will be happy if there are cracks in the secular coalition. This is enough to silence the opportunist left.

Good Governance

This is another universal mantra used by governments of all hues. In this regime, the graph of encounter deaths is rising up. M K Azhagiri, the eldest son of Karunanidhi, stands accused of launching a murderous attack on the office of the daily Dinakaran in Madurai, in which three people were killed. T R Baalu is accused of influencing ONGC for getting favorable contracts for his sons. Social Welfare Minister of Tamilnadu, Poongothai was caught influencing the police to go slow in a criminal case against her relative. Baalu is still a minister in the central cabinet. Poongothai had tendered her resignation which was accepted by the Chief Minister only a few days later. This is the state of transparency and good governance in Tamilnadu.

Popular perception is growing that DMK government only fosters the development of corporate sector and the kulak lobby. There is anger and resentment simmering among the people of Tamilnadu. Time and again various sections of the society are rising up in struggles, more particularly the workers in organized and unorganized sector.

The opportunist left, instead of putting the DMK government in the dock, is busy singing its praises and asking the DMK to lead the secular front in the coming parliamentary elections. The revolutionary left forces will have to take up the challenge of political initiatives with timely intervention, and go for planned and organized expansion.

-- S Kumaraswamy


AIPWA Statement on Harassment of IPL Cheerleaders

The news that two IPL cheerleaders were kept off the field at Mohali on grounds that they are black (TOI, May 21), is truly disturbing. The issue about cheerleaders has been misplacedly reduced to whether or not they offend the sensibilities of ‘our’ (Indian) society. The real issue ought to be: to what humiliations are ‘our’ society and ‘our’ values subjecting these women? Corporates use women’s sexuality to sell each and every product; and the entry of cheerleaders in cricket is a fallout of the establishment of corporate control over sport. Many Indian politicians have claimed that the cheerleaders’ skimpy clothing is an affront to Indian morality. But there is silence from these moralists on the evidence that these women face severe sexual harassment from the crowds and racial discrimination at the hands of IPL organisers and their own corporate employers. Racial discrimination against black people and obsession with ‘fairness’ unfortunately runs more than skin-deep in Indian society: its roots lie not just in a colonial hangover but also in the values of the caste system. Sexual harassment and racism against cheerleaders is a comment on the morality of our society and of corporate culture: it is the responsibility of Indian Government authorities to make sure that those responsible are identified and punished, and the women in question provided with avenues for redress against the discrimination they face.

Liberation Archive