ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Amrita AbrahamSubscribe to Amrita Abraham

Does Fighting Corruption Pay-A Maharashtra Case

police chased this group they ran towards the temple and lit a barrel of kerosene, Four shops two each belonging to Hindus and Muslims were gutted alongwith a small mosque in between. At that time the mob was made to disperse but several hours later at about 11pm two furniture shops belonging to two Muslim brothers were set ablaze by the Hindu militants. Fortunately there was no loss of life. Mathura has remained by and large peaceful, but the recently increased militancy due to the Ramjanmabhoomi- Babri Masjid controversy was the source of this trouble. The VHP is demanding possession of a mosque at Mathura claiming it to be Lord Krishna's temple which was demolished by Aurangzeb. The mob which attacked the mazar was shouting slogans to this effect.

Asian Women Journalists Take Stock

Despite their growing presence in journalism, women in many Asian countries continue to face restrictions on their professional roles and sexual discrimination in media organisations. Report on a seminar held in Beijing in May.

PUNJAB- A Document of Good Intent

PUNJAB A Document of Good Intent Amrita Abraham SOLUTIONS to complicated problems always seem so simple and obvious after they have been found. This is so of the Punjab accord of July 24. The 11-point accord is not the 'solution to the Punjab problem' that many people, more in relief than through conviction, have called it. Even a cursory examination of the 11 points shows how loosely worded it is, how much has been left out of it, how any one or all of them could become the basis of another dharma yudh morcha. But the accord is certainly a way out of the cul de sac for the moderate Akali- Dal leadership and particularly H S Lon- gowal. All that the accord is is a document of good intent on both sides.

CINEMA-A Scheme of Life

IMPLICATIONS One crucial thing to understand is that corruption among village officers cannot flourish without the aid and encouragement of the higher officials from Girida- vari to Tehsildar or the Taluq registrar. The Patels don't do anything without taking the Police Sub-inspectors or Excise Officers into confidence. It is a matter of mutual understaning that all the concerned share the bounty in every case. Telugu Desam government's piecemeal measures consider things in isolation from each other. If the part-time village officers are ill-trained, unqualified, corrupt and caste minded the higher officials are much more so. The ill effects of their corrupt practices and casteism are much more consequential and theirs is the lion's share in the bounty of corruption. Maybe, they are less exposed as the actual job is done by the village officials. However, Telugu Desam Party does not have this com prehensive approach to the problem of "corrupt, casteist" part-time village officers and has launched an isolated attack on them leaving the giant administrative apparatus in the countryside untouched. How can we ensure that the new village officers known as the village assistants will be free from these practices as also the officers at the block and tehsil level who are used to these practices? The outgoing village officers arc mostly Congress landlords or those associated with them; but the new officials will also be from either Telugu Desam landlord families or Congress landlord families; at the most a few may be from urban oriented non- landlord families. But in any case all will be under the heavy pressure of the local landlords, be they of Telugu Desam or Congress. Bureaucracy can never work in a social vacuum in a neutral fashion because of its linkages with the society at the individual level and also because of its social values.

MAHARASHTRA-I-Housing

ushering in of a new period of plan holiday and scuttling of planning itself. This may be considered as politically inexpedient. Of considerable interest in this context is the hard work being put in by several interested groups and lobbies for influencing the adoption of a variety of options that are being posed to the political authority. The case for widening business opportunities for private business enterprise, Indian and foreign, in order to reduce the burden of financing development in the public sector through the government's budgetary resources is being pressed with special zeal. The series of liberalisation measures which have been taken in recent year have set the stage for what are called more bold and pragmatic policies, especially in the sphere of industrial development. It is being suggested that the government should unceremoniously vacate some areas of even infrastructural development, hitherto reserved for the public sector, for private enterprise, if not completely at least partly. There are also parallel moves for what is called privatisation, if not outright denationalisation, of many public sector projects in addition to denotifying many of the sick industries taken over by the government. The entire industrial policy and economic development strategy is in a state of flux. This was specifically and openly hinted at by the Prime Minister himself when he said in his speech in reply to motion of thanks on the President's address to Parliament that "we are looking at a new industrial policy". The role of foreign capital, including multinationals, in the development process is also admittedly under fresh scrutiny.

Bombay 2001

Bombay 2001 Amrita Abraham ABOUT the time the report of the Revised Development Plan for Greater Bombay (Draft) 1981-2001 was released in June, the city's newspapers published three stories that are cautionary tales, as it were, for urban planners. They were all about that elusive thing, money. One reported that the Municipal Administrator had met the Chief Minister to discuss the need for additional resources for the city and particularly amendments to the Rent Act and government contributions to the city's finance. There was nothing new or dramatic about the points raised nor has the government departed from its decades- old routine of 'taking note' and then shelving the problem, A second story reiterated that the World Bank which had agreed two years ago to fund an urban renewal scheme and an ambitious site-and-serviee project in Bombay was withholding funds until the city could demonstrate it was able to raise some resources on its own and particularly by amending the Rent Act show it was pursuing more 'rational' policies. The third reported that a BJP legislator intended to take the Union government to court for appropriating funds allocated by the World Bank for Bombay. Present regulations require all foreign funds for state projects to be routed through the Centre and the practice is for New Delhi to retain a percentage. But according to Ramdas Nayak, the Centre had appropriated extortionate amounts from Bombay. This is the political reality against which urban planners have drafted the Development Plan (DP), a statutory exercise and a setting out of the development policies, the data on which the policies Ire based and the instruments for pursuing those policies.

MAHARASHTRA-II-Carnage which Had to Happen

affected by an acute shortage of man- power. Some of the textile mills in Bombay are facing a serious problem of marketing their cloth in the face of competition from the relatively cheaper output of the powerloom sector. Were the millowners also responsible for fuelling the riots in Bhiwandi so as to cripple its powerloom industry?

MAHARASHTRA-Housing for Bombay s Poor

MAHARASHTRA Housing for Bombay's Poor Amrita Abraham THE government of Maharashtra may find itself with no option after the end of August but to threaten to control rigorously the free market sales of flats if builders and landowners do not respond positively to the new urban land ceiling policy announced at the end of June, By mid-August there had been some 15 revised building plans submitted to the Bombay Municipal Corporation out of 1,868 cases pending. Housing officials said they were not unduly concerned by this slow response believing it would take more time to draw up revised architects' plans, etc. However, spokesmen of some of the associations of builders and developers have been sounding quite uncertain about

MAHARASHTRA- A Sugar Co-operative and Its Environs

 MAHARASHTRA A Sugar Co-operative and Its Environs Amrita Abraham ONE of the proud achievements of the Shetkari Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana in Sangli, the co-operative sugar factory started by chief minister Vasant- rao Patil in 1956, is the acreage that has been brought under sugarcane as a result of lift irrigation schemes it has promoted and financed. At the start, out of the approximately 1,500 acres of the command area of the factory, less than ten per cent was irrigated by river water, the rest by well water. Today the command area has increased to cover 40,000 acres in Sangli and Kolhapur districts and, after an expenditure of Rs 1.25 crore, half this land has been covered by lift irrigation schemes from three rivers, the Krishna, the Warna and the Verala.

MAHARASHTRA-Foot-Dragging on Minimum Farm Wages

Foot-Dragging on Minimum Farm Wages Amrita Abraham ORGANISATIONS representing small farmers, agricultural workers and workers on the Employment Guarantee Scheme, from several parts of Maharashtra, held a five-day dharna in Bombay last month to protest against the recommendations of the Third Page Committee on minimum agricultural wages. Two pieces of information, which are relevant to the discussion on agricultural wages, emerged in the same week. The government admitted belatedly that the drought in various parts of the state was as bad as, and perhaps even worse than, the last severe drought in the state in 1972. Thirty per cent of the kharif crop has been affected by late and sporadic rains or long dry spells in some districts. The second piece of relevant information emerged from the investigations of the R S Gavai Committee into charges of corruption in the EGS in Dhule district, first brought to light by the then district collector, A run Bhatia. Gavai's findings confirmed that corrupt officials on the scheme had paid short wages to EGS workers and paid wages in factitious names, that suspect officials in charge of the programme received protection from unnamed but nigh level authorities and that after the disclosures were made local police authorities were more concerned with preventing further disclosures than with investigating the charges.

HOUSING- Slum Dwellers and the Constitution

many instances the landlords have been able to mobilise peasants frim the upper castes and utilise them in mass attacks on the dalit bastis. These attacks show that, by and large, the peasants have not been separated from the landlords and are still following their lead, this is an important weakness. Caste obviously plays a role in allowing the landlords to retain the leadership of the middle elements.

URBAN LAND CEILING-Bombay s Promised Land

URBAN LAND CEILING Bombay's Promised Land Amrita Abraham URBAN land ceiling regulations rode into the statute book during, the Emergency under the steam of socialistic rhetoric. It was a badly-designed, incomplete piece of legislation and was nor accompanied by necessary policy instruments. Its objects were impeccable: to provide government with cheap urban land (at Rs 10 per sq ft in Bombay) for public purposes and to house the urban poor whom no one but the government could provide for. It sought to make provision for the equitable, social use of urban land whose value was increasing at exponential rates (and, what is the same thing, to prevent the misuse or non-use of land).

Pages

Back to Top