Kolkata: The economic liberalisation policy had led to a fast growth of billionaires and increased poverty among farmers in the country, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said on Monday.
"The country has recorded the fastest growth of billionaires post economic liberalisation, numbering 54 till 2009," Karat told a seminar in the Durgapur industrial town.
Speaking on `Imperialism and globalisation: Responsibility of the working class`, Karat said when the UPA came to power in 2004, there were just six billionaires. "The number has shot upto 54 till 2009 and the world`s richest people are living in India."
Karat blamed the liberalisation policy for the `growing plight` of millions of farmers. "It is amazing that the government is apathetic to the growing rate of farmers`
suicide, particularly in Andhra Pradesh," he observed.
While the poor farmers were undergoing hardship, the government was preoccupied with "transferring resources in the name of development" and interested in inviting foreign capital and disinvestment in public sector units, he said.
Karat also spoke of the crisis in the country`s retail business due to the government`s stress on inviting foreign investments which led to undermining of the public sector.
"In the process of inviting foreign capitals, public sectors are going to suffer from identity crisis. The UPA government is fast losing control over the public sector which was once our pride," he said.
The CPI-M general secretary alleged that economic resources had been channelised only to a "handful few", particularly during the UPA rule.
Pointing out that globalisation has attracted skepticism worldwide, Karat said protest-demonstrations were reported from the US and many European and Latin American countries.
"Globalisation is unsustainable and protest against it has been gaining momentum worldwide," he said.
Karat also paid a glowing tribute to late CPI-M patriarch Jyoti Basu on his first death anniversary, describing him as "a champion of the working class".