Dhan Vapasi: The Treatment India needs to Recover from the Crisis (Part 2)

Public Wealth

The people of India collectively own wealth that is not privately owned. That is called “public wealth”, which is in the form of public lands, the minerals, the improvements on the land, water resources, public sector corporations, financial institutions like banks and insurance companies, and resources such as the radio spectrum. These are public assets or wealth.

We all are shareholders in this wealth. It’s our wealth, in India, all around us. It’s not wealth — black or white — in foreign banks, which somehow needs to be brought back to India. The Indian government controls this wealth – much of which is lying unused, misused and abused. If this wealth is monetised and returned to the people, it can truly transform their lives and India’s future.

India’s public wealth is estimated at $20 trillion dollars. That would approximately come to Rs 1,50,00,00,00,00,00,000 – more than Rs 50 lakh for every one of India’s 25 crore families. Put in simple terms: India is rich, yet Indians have been kept poor. The median Indian family earns just over ₹ 1 lakh a year – less than ₹ 10,000 per month for a family of five. They save very little, if it all. This is what needs to change. This is why people need their wealth back.

What is needed is for the government to monetise this public wealth and return it to the people in manageable chunks every year – Rs 1,00,000 every year to every family. This would more than double the annual income for over half the Indian families.

Getting this wealth back means the people can choose how to spend it for their families. That spending, in turn, becomes income for sellers. When they spend on food, it is income for farmers. When they spend on other goods and services, it helps boost employment and creates jobs. The wealth return is universal and not means tested. This eliminates political and bureaucratic discretion, and thus reduces corruption.

Tomorrow: Part 3

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.