the indian government still largely drives the indian economy. it still decides the course and extent of wealth creation and distribution. the organized public sector is still the highest paying and the largest employer (employee strength: 18 million) in the country. and its employees still constitute the largest segment of the market for goods and services produced by the organized private sector in the country. together, those who run the organized public sector (which includes the government) and the organized private sector represent the most fortunate sections of the indian economy. who are they?
here's some probably-not-very-far-off-the-mark guesswork:
last year (2007-08), the finance minister estimated that he'd have to spend nearly 46,400 crore rupees on the salaries, allowances and travel expenses of nearly 33 lakh central government employees. this apart from the nearly 8,000 crores to be incurred on their pensions. by various estimates, not more than 25-30% of those employees are dalit, adivasi, obc and muslim. which means the central budget takes care of around 24 lakh upper caste hindu families, directly, through, say, 45,000 crores (most of the reserved classes and the minorities are in class 3 & 4 jobs so their average salaries would be low, of course). the state governments, public sector enterprises (owned by the centre and the states), nationalized banks etc., take care of (assuming a similar share, as in the central government, for the upper castes) another 115 lakh families or so. would their wage and allowances and incidental expenses bill come to another, say, 1,50,000 crores (let's assume the salaries are lower in the states and the psus)? the organized private sector chips in with its own contributions to support another 65 lakh families (of a total 9 million). would that amount to a combined wage bill of 90,000 crores (the average private sector salaries are lower than the salaries in the public sector, by some estimates)? add to these numbers, the large defence establishment of the country, whose size varies, according to some estimates, from 2-3 million. let's go for the conservative estmate, 2 million. its combined salary and pension bill runs to another 65,000 crores. let's assume, again, that the upper caste hindus make up around 70% (only) of total employees (which means 1.4 million of 2 million) in this sector of organized employment too and their wage bill amounts to, say, (only) 45,000 crores.
what does all that mean? well, looking closely, all those facts (assumed yes, but they're not far off the mark, in my view) read together with the history of independent india in the last sixty years seem to indicate that one of the main objectives of the indian state, through its policies and pursuits, is to fund the lives of: around 14 million families of upper caste hindus directly, and through them, the lives of another 6.5 million families of upper caste hindus indirectly. or, totally, around 20.5 million upper caste hindu families. last year, it gifted each of those 20.5 million families an assured, average paycheck of around rs.1,61,000 (rs.3,30,000 crores divided by 20.5 million employees). 20.5 million families mean around 106 million individuals (the average indian family size is around 5.2 individuals). or around 71% to 53% or 42% (depending on three varying estimates of their size: 150 million, 200 million and 250 million) of all upper caste individuals in the country.
after these 106 million individuals are taken care of, the rest of the budget is all about dressing up all other efforts of the government to take care of the other 44 or 94 or 144 million of upper caste hindus in the country, in widely acceptable egalitarian garb.