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

Ashok V DesaiSubscribe to Ashok V Desai

A Decade of Reforms

After 10 years, the economic reforms are passing into folklore. But there is still time to ask: Were the reforms done right? Could they have been done better? These questions have a particular resonance because of the bad times the economy is passing through.

A Panorama of Polemics

Ashok V Desai India's Mixed Economy: The Role of Ideology and Interest in Its Development by Baldev Raj Nayar; Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1989; The Political Econopiy of India's Public Sector: Policy and Performance by Baldev Raj Nayar; Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1990; pp ix + 323. Rs 300.

A Panorama of Polemics

Ashok V Desai India's Mixed Economy: The Role of Ideology and Interest in Its Development by Baldev Raj Nayar; Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1989; The Political Econopiy of India's Public Sector: Policy and Performance by Baldev Raj Nayar; Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1990; pp ix + 323. Rs 300.

Search for an Employment-Oriented Growth Strategy-A Discussion

Search for an Employment-Oriented Growth Strategy A Discussion A notable feature of the debate on the Eighth Five-Year Plan has been the concern over the deceleration in the growth of employment in recent years and the quest for an employment-oriented growth strategy. The articles that follow make up a discussion of this theme. All the articles, with the exception of the one by J C Sandesara which critically reviews a draft of the Planning Commission's Approach Paper' on Eighth Plan, are responses to the Economic Advisory Council's Interim Report titled Towards Evolving an Employment-Oriented Strategy for Development in the 1990s'.

India and the Uruguay Round

Ashok V Desai This paper reviews the current Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of GATT It identifies the areas in which there is a likelihood of change, involving quantif able consequences and formulation of rules. According to the author, India can expect no significant gains while she may stand to lose in some areas. There is a critique of India's traditional policy towards GATT If India is to take advantage of some of the opportunities for gains from trade arising out of the Uruguay round then she wilt have to significantly alter her domestic economic policies.

Growth and Equity

Growth and Equity: A Critique of the Lewis-Kuznets Tradition by Anindya Datta; Oxford University Press, Calcutta, 1986; pp xii + 119, Rs 110. A REACTIONARY radical is one who favours an improvement in the condition of the poor provided it is at the expense of the rich, and who opposes all practical economic changes since they could conceivably worsen the condition of some poor. A common reactionary radical line of argument goes as follows: the Indian economy is constrained by demand; redistribution would stimulate the demand for food and raise the growth rate. This argument has been expounded so often in the pages of EPW that its readers are not likely to jump for joy at another statement of it. This book is such a statement

The Indian Electric Power System

The Indian Electric Power System Ashok V Desai The electric power systems in a number of industrial countries experienced large increases in costs, a slowdown in the growth of demand, and the emergence of surplus capacity after the 1973 oil crisis. It is almost as if the Indian power system belonged to another world. Whilst it also shared in the inflation that ensued, it was virtually untouched by the rise in oil prices because its dependence on oil was negligible. It faced chronic excess demand, which it could not satisfy despite an extraordinarily high rate of growth of output It could forget about efficiency and profit, and concentrate on breathless growth.

CAPITAL VIEW

compounded not only by giving weightage to Centrally-sponsored schemes in different areas of development which fall within the sphere of responsibility of the states, but also by more detailed supervision by Central authorities of the allocation of funds and their deployment under these schemes. This is bound to hamstring the initiative of the states in the implementation of these schemes in the light of local conditions and circumstances. Such a dispensation is bound to create frictions and tensions in Centre- State relations which will in due course find political expressions in a variety of ways and forms. The fact is that the Prime Minister does not subscribe and is indeed allergic to the concept and principles of a federal polity. He is fond of insisting that India is not a federal set-up but is a union in which Central authority is supreme and must prevail in regulating relations between the Centre and states. This is the basic position which colours his views on strengthening national unity and integration.

CAPITAL VIEW

compounded not only by giving weightage to Centrally-sponsored schemes in different areas of development which fall within the sphere of responsibility of the states, but also by more detailed supervision by Central authorities of the allocation of funds and their deployment under these schemes. This is bound to hamstring the initiative of the states in the implementation of these schemes in the light of local conditions and circumstances. Such a dispensation is bound to create frictions and tensions in Centre- State relations which will in due course find political expressions in a variety of ways and forms. The fact is that the Prime Minister does not subscribe and is indeed allergic to the concept and principles of a federal polity. He is fond of insisting that India is not a federal set-up but is a union in which Central authority is supreme and must prevail in regulating relations between the Centre and states. This is the basic position which colours his views on strengthening national unity and integration.

The Untold Saga of Self-Reliance

The Untold Saga of Self-Reliance Ashok V Desai India's Quest for Technological Independence by Baldev Raj Nayar; Volume 1, Policy Foundation and Policy Change, xii + 560; Volume 2, The Results of Policy, x + 550; Lancers Publishers, New Delhi, 1983; Rs 350.

Three Cities in China

the Sasoon General Hospital, Pune, for examination and treatment by the Psychiatrist. It was admitted that such prisoners were "given oral injection therapy'' and if there was no response, they were given "electric convulsive therapy under general anesthesia". It was claimed that all such treatment was given under due care, caution and in good faith. The treatment was absolutely necessary to save a prisoner from further aggravation of his disorder. The respondent further admitted that "the electric convulsive therapy under general anesthesia" was administered only when medical treatment was proved to be ineffective on the patient prisoner. The respondent denied that any prisoner was given electric shocks as torture* It was admitted that the prisoners named in the petition were subjected to electric shocks. The respondent asserted that the Jail Superintendent was a guardian and custodian of the prisoners and further stated that no consent of the prisoners or their relations was required by any law. In the annexure appended to the above counter affidavit, a chart showing the names, kinds of illnesses and treatments given to the prisoners was given. Among symptoms mentioned were 'refuses to work', 'mutters to self, 'hallucinates', Sleeplessness', 'depressed', etc The Court asked the petitioner to take the help of the district legal aid committee for ascertaining whether his allegations were true and adjourned for the vacation. The matter came up for hearing after the vacation before a bench consisting of S K Desai and Kur- dekar JJ. In the meantime, the petitioner had approached the district legal aid committee which, however, expressed its inability to help the petitioner in visiting the jail and ascertaining the truth of the allegations. The whole question revolved round the fact whether the prisoners who were being subjected to electric shocks treatment were in fact insane and therefore the petitioner once again urged the Court to appoint a commissioner consisting of legal and medical experts to go into that matter. Even if they were insane, the question whether they could be subjected to electric shocks without following the procedure prescribed by law remained to be answered. If such a treatment was given on medical grounds, could such a treatment be given without the consent of the person or of his near relation?

The Slow Rate of Industrialisation A Second Look

Ashok V Desai The strongest single factor that has raised capital-output ratios in Indian industry is not lack of demand or diversification but technological incapacity. Equipment industries that started production in the sixties absorbed imported technology imperfectly, produced second-rate equipment and obtained high prices for it. Thereby they foisted high capital costs and low capacity utilisation on industries that had to buy their equipment. Similarly, non-engineering industries showed technological incompetence in dealing with problems of adaptation to local materials and equipment.

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