Hemant Soren’s Diatribe Against Banks an Extension of Anarchist Opposition Mindset
In the past few years, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren has made several notorious attempts to create unrest in Jharkhand. (Twitter)
The Jharkhand chief minister’s outrage against banking institutions reaffirms that the Modi government schemes are working on the ground
In the past few years, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has made several notorious attempts to create unrest in Jharkhand — the most glaring example of this was his mischievous assertion of Adivasis not being Hindus on a Harvard platform. But last week, he surpassed himself when in a public meeting he exhorted people to shun banks and instead hide their wealth by burying it under the ground, if required. Such juvenile remarks coming from someone holding a constitutional post amounts to a direct assault on India’s banking system, a mala fide attempt to sabotage the country’s economic growth and a desperate attempt to prevent the poor and downtrodden from reaping the benefits of the Modi government’s financial inclusiveness.
This opprobrium unleashed by Hemant Soren, nonetheless, needs to be combated in detail, for the vile intent it carries.
First of all, let me not mince words here. Parties like JMM have been accused of thriving on extortion money and illegal activities. Shibu Soren was convicted by trial courts in a case relating to the abduction and murder of his own secretary, Shivkant Jha, in 1994. This murder was reportedly related to the infamous JMM bribery case of 1993. While Soren was finally acquitted by the top court in 2018, this prolonged murder trial is the best indicator of the JMM’s dark legacy involving illegal money. The question that arises today is simple: Have the Central government’s diligent financial inclusiveness measures dented JMM’s supply of illegal cash, leading to reckless outbursts from Soren? Has it dented the JMM-supported extortion rackets where even businessmen now are left with no cash at home?
Second, let us look at facts here to understand the impact of the Modi government’s financial inclusiveness measures upon the poor. While in the country, the Jan Dhan Yojana has resulted in the opening of 40 crore plus new bank accounts since 2014, in Jharkhand alone more than Rs 1.62 crore new bank accounts have been opened under the Jan Dhan Scheme while more than 97 lakh Mudra loans have been disbursed. In the financial year 2022-23 itself, a total value of Rs 2,350 crore has been given out to 4.83 lakh beneficiaries under various financial inclusiveness schemes through Direct Bank Transfer (DBT). With such a vast quantum of money directly reaching the poorest of the poor, the tribals in Jharkhand have witnessed productive empowerment in their lives. The tribals are now neither dependent on false political custodians nor are they vulnerable to emotional deceptions. This explains Hemant Soren’s frenzied attempts to mislead them and keep them captive to his myopic agenda.
Earlier even the MNREGA wages meant for the poor labourers were pocketed by corrupt contractors and some complicit government employees. The UPA government at the Centre would happily look the other way. Now the entire amount reaches the bank account of the beneficiary through DBT. This has resulted in a huge dent for the corrupt ecosystem of Congress-JMM.
Third, Hemant Soren has exposed his ignorance when he talks of the miserable state of banks. Or, is he in a time warp? The NPA menace that our banks had witnessed until a few years ago was purely a result of ‘indulgent lending’ to chosen friends by the UPA regime. Through a slew of persistent bank reforms and the landmark Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the NPAs are at a record low. According to the latest RBI data, the NPAs of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs), currently at 1.6 percent, is at its lowest in the last 10 years. As a result, the last few quarters have seen almost all major banks reporting record profits; they have clearly emerged as our most potent growth engines going ahead.
Hemant Soren’s attempts to vilify the banking system, thus, is an attempt to derail India’s growth engine. That the Congress party, which acts as JMM’s sidekick in Jharkhand, has not reacted to Soren’s comments, shows it is an equal partner in the CM’s anarchist mission.
Fourth, no honest citizen of this country can think of burying his/her cash and belongings under the ground. Only thieves and looters think on those lines. The absurdity of the words exposes the criminal propensity inherent in Soren’s thoughts. Was this a subtle signalling to the corrupt that they could keep their illegal cash with them and would be protected by the state government?
Finally, if one looks at the shady track record of Soren, no other CM has ever indulged in such brazen looting of the state — the Jharkhand mining scam being the worst example of self-aggrandisement, abuse of power and conflict of interest. In this scam, Hemant Soren, as Mines Minister, doled out a lucrative contract to Hemant Soren, the businessman. Then Hemant Soren, as a businessman, applied for environmental clearance for the mine, which was promptly granted by Hemant Soren, the Environment Minister. The whole pattern in which this shady activity was carried out shows it was well planned, perhaps right from the stage of allocation of portfolios.
People like Hemant Soren are the worst enemies of our tribal population. The genuine empowerment of the poor and downtrodden in the last few years has unsettled their politics and left them staring at their obsolescence. Their outrage against institutions reaffirms that the Modi government schemes are working on the ground.
The writer is an author and BJP spokesperson. Views expressed are personal.
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