Socialism means a pattern of economy in which the disparities between the ‘haves’ and ‘have notes’ are reduced to a minimum. It means leveling up the poor, and the adoption of measures for preventing the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.
There are two methods for bringing about such a pattern. First, force can be used as is done in communist countries. Secondly, by persuasion, people can be won over to accept this pattern. India has accepted a democratic form of Government. So, force cannot be used. Our country pattern cannot be of the communistic type. The reason in simple. We attach quite as much importance to the individual as to the group. Our country can have only democratic socialism. Democracy and socialism are not opposed to each other. They can both go hand in hand. In such a society, there will be socialism as well as individual liberty. It is practically quite sound. Such a pattern combines the virtues both of democracy and socialism.
In urban areas the plan of progressive nationalization must be followed. This will bring equality in incomes. The rich must be made to pay more taxes. So through a well-planned system of taxation, disparities should be removed. Every care should be taken to see that the production gradually increases.
Co-operation is the backbone of planning in the rural areas. Experts are of opinion that our land problem can be solved only through a wide application of co-operative farming. This is the only way of bringing about a socialists pattern of economy or society in the villages. a ceiling on landholding must be imposed. Surplus land should be given to the Panchayat to be cultivated by the landless laborers. As there will be no ceiling on incomes, so the progressive farmers need have no fear.
It may also be added here that co-operative farming and collective farming are two different things. In collective farming, the farmer is reduced to a wage earner. He enjoys no rights of ownership on land. But in co-operative farming the farmer remains the owner of his land. He gets a share in the crop in proportion to his land.
Furthermore, the village Panchayat should be given executive and financial powers. They should be formed through elections. So the administration will be decentralized. This will bring self-government to the rural areas. The government would only guide them from a distance. It will not interfere with their day-to-day working. We are happy to note that the government is already taking urgent steps in this direction. Now, under a law, elections to the village Panchayat are to be held regularly. They will not be allowed to remain dissolved or superseded.
We can safely conclude from the above account that the success of the socialistic pattern would depend on two things, on the one hand, upon the success of the Panchayat Raj and on the other, on co-operative farming. In recent times, the life of the nation has been disturbed by frequent outbursts of violence. This comes in the way of democratic socialism. It must be put down. Corruption and the lack of a sense of responsibility on the part of the government officers are other serious obstacles in the way. Honest and sincere workers are needed to make socialism a reality.
Despite all this, the country has been marching of the road to socialism. Under the leadership of late Mrs. Gandhi, our beloved Prime Minister, the country took rapid steps towards Socialism. Banks were nationalized. Privy Purses were abolished. Coal mines were taken over by the Government, and State trading in food grains was introduced. Inequalities have been reduced to some extent. Now there is stress on the development of cottage industries. Everything possible is being done for the weaker sections of society. India is well set on the road to socialism despite the present stress on privatization, and the crucial role that has been chalked out for multinationals.