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What Do You Know About The Investments of George Soros, The Latest Critic Of PM Modi

Why has the government not taken any concrete steps to curb the activities of foundations and organisations run by multi-billionaire businessman cum philanthropist George Soros?

DelhiThe Hungary-born US-based billionaire has left his footprints in India through his Open Society Foundation. This trust has been working in India since 1999 after George Soros hit the world by weakening a few currencies and minting money. 

In India, the Open Society Foundation has helped more than 40,000 Micro Small and Middle Enterprises and more than 37 lakh poor people. It gives more than six hundred scholarships every year as well. 

According to the OSF official website, “OSF organises a career recognition program for students in Senior school and Junior colleges to give them a pathway to choose collegiate programs” through Operation Sahay Foundation. 

Its official website claims, “OSF provides resources for basic schooling – a good bag, lunch box, water bottle, notebooks and stationery items. We identify such schools where this is a necessity. This will stimulate their desire to attend school regularly. Parents from a poor economic background are also much relieved by this provision.”

Operation Sahay Foundation is not a clandestine organisation. It is based in Bangalore, works openly and boasts of “running the programme designed to benefit the deprived in Education & Training, Healthcare and Social Upliftment.” 

Operation Sahay Foundation also runs Sahay Arogya Yojana. Its official website writes,

“Projects under Sahay Aarogya Yojana of OSF include AMP (Aarogya Medical Points that works for the betterment of basic medical access in remote locations. Providing Oxygen Concentrator and consumables for non-commercial Covid19 care providers (hospitals). Making available Oxygen Concentrators for Covid patients who are prescribed to use them for a temporary duration.”

OSF also runs Sahay Krishi Yojana. 

Why has the nationalist government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi not taken stern actions against the Open Society Foundation, which, in Union Minister Smriti Irani’s words, ‘has mounted a war against India’ by criticising the prime minister?

Oswal Group of companies set up a fertiliser plant in Punjab’s Sangrur in 2013 and the Soros Fund invested a whopping Rs. 1,530 crores in the project. 

George Soros Fund has invested in other projects as well. 

Besides, George Soros has invested thousands of crores of rupees in the Indian stock market through Foreign Institutional Investors. Again, it can not be a clandestine operation and must be under the watch of the stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Soros Fund has invested in companies dealing with food processing, vegetable oil, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers and other businesses. 

In Tamil Nadu, Soros Fund also runs Be Well Hospitals that claims to have ‘benefitted 5,00,000 patients, 10,000 health checkups, performing 30,000 surgeries’

According to its website, “The hospital hopes to see more people in India and around the world getting non-compromised, evidence-based healthcare. Working towards this end, Be Well has been setting up hospitals with world-class infrastructure in locations that currently have limited access to healthcare.”

It aims to ‘establish secondary care hospitals (50 to 75 beds) in all semi-urban & district headquarters towns across India and create a bigger network delivering big promises. Be Well will become the first organised private player in this “secondary plus healthcare model”, an integrator between primary and tertiary care hospitals.’

Open Society Foundation also funds the French NGO Sherpa. According to its official website, this organisation claims to ‘fight new forms of impunity linked to globalisation, work for human rights and environmental protection in value chains, and tackle illicit financial flows.’ 

French organisation Sherpa moved the Supreme Court against the Rafale Deal in 2018, it might have unnerved the ruling party and the government. 

The OSF also helps the Human Rights Law Network, Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation, Right to Food Campaign, Centre for Policy Research, Association of Democratic Research, and Namati of Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen.

When the government put 18 NGOs under its watch list in 2016, it included Soros Fund Management. 

But the pertinent question remains, why has the government under Modi not taken action against these operations?

Attacking Soros, Union Minister Smriti Irani said, “The man who broke the Bank of England. A man who is known and designated as an economic war criminal by a nation has now pronounced his desire to break Indian democracy.” 

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar called George Soros ‘old, rich, opinionated and dangerous’.

Attending the Raisina Conference in the Australian city of Sydney, he said, “But he is old, rich, opinionated and dangerous because what happens is when such people, such views and such organisations – they actually invest resources in shaping narratives.”

The knee-jerk reaction of the government raises another question. Is the Indian government following the Chinese model of Wolf Warrior diplomacy?

‘Wolf Warrior diplomacy’ is the belligerent language used by Chinese diplomats since Xi Jinping came to power. Instead of introspecting, the government spokespersons come out with strong words and point out the history of western hypocrisy and imperialism. 

The Wolf Warrior spokespersons of the Chinese government paint anything critical as an interference in its internal affairs. 

They also call any criticism of the regime an attack on its civilisation, history, and values and a plot by foreign powers unable to stomach the rise of a rival in Asia.

Are we following the Chinese?

Pramode Mallik

is former BBC Producer and a commentator on international affairs.

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