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

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NEW DELHI- 21-Point Programme

NEW DELHI 21-Point Programme B M THERE are a few concessions to populism in the 21-point economic programme outlined by the Prime Minister, such as the offer to provide essential commodities at controlled prices to students in hostels. The main thrust of economic policy as outlined in the programme is, however, something which has been in the process of being evolved for quite some time. Reliance is placed in the programme on what are called productive forces in the industrial structure, including, notably, the big business houses. Special efforts to stimulate industrial production and investment are considered the first imperative of economic policy. It was not fortuitous, therefore, that the Prime Minister considered it necessary to make a broadcast to the nation

NEW DELHI- The Fertiliser Muddle

Inspector-General of Police in charge of the operations, whose extensive reports on 'Naxalite' activities have been prominently printed under his name in all the four dailies of Bihar. With such a policeman-journalist in action, poor and landless peasants and harijans cannot avoid being labelled 'Naxalites' and then being shot for being 'Naxalites.' The government has decided to freely provide firearms to the landowners of Bhojpur and Patna districts for use against 'Naxalites.' The 'Naxalite-hunt' is on in foil swing. Today's 'Naxalites' are poo peasants tomorrow's will be other dissenters

NEW DELHI- Misdeeds of SAIL

NEW DELHI Misdeeds of SAIL THE resignation of the General Manager of the Durgaptir steel plant, B H Tulpule, administered a severe jolt to the smug complacency of the. Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and the Steel Ministry. Quick on its heels has come the breakdown of the negotiations over a new wage agreement for the steel industry. This has created a serious crisis for the industry

NEW DELHI-Indo-Soviet Economic Co-operation

NEW DELHI Indo-Soviet Economic Co-operation B M INDO-SOVIET trade and economic co-operation have run into several snags in recent times. In the form in which these relations have been maintained so far, they have reached a virtual stalemate. New initiatives are, therefore, called for if that trade is to expand and new areas of co-operation are to be productive. The new five-year trade agreement which is to be signed before the end of this year

NEW DELHI-Scuttling the Hathi Report

THE government is in a dilemma of its own making over the Hathi Committee's report on the drug industry. Furious lobbying had preceded, and has followed, the submission of the report The pharmaceutical industry

NEW DELHI-Growth without Priorities

NEW DELHI Growth without Priorities B M THERE is a revival of confidence in official circles about the economic situation. The check on the galloping price rise is regarded as the most reassuring development. This, it is believed, allows some flexibility to policy- making and the management of the economy.

NEW DELHI- Groping for an Industrial Relations Policy

NEW DELHI Groping for an Industrial Relations Policy B M THE Prime Minister announced at the annual session of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry last week, in what was evidently an impromptu response to certain remarks made by the President of the Chambers, that a tripartite meeting of workers, industry and trade and the government would soon be convened by the Labour Ministry to improve indus trial relations. The announcemen came as a surprise, most of all to the Labour Ministry.

NEW DELHI- Vendetta against Indigenous Technology

NEW DELHI Vendetta against Indigenous Technology B M THE fertiliser industry, from its very inception, has been an outstanding example of how foreign business interests have been assisted by their would- be Indian collaborators (both in the private and public sectors) and by the higher levels of the bureaucracy, to ' stunt indigenous development and sabotage growth targets. This has taken place despite the existence of a competent band of Indian scientists and engineers in the Planning and Development Division of the Fertiliser Corporation of India who could well have carried this sector to self-reliance. In fact, official quarters did entrust responsibility for the development of the industry to these technicians in the late sixties and the early seventies. But the indigenous technical agencies were given short shrift, and the culmination came with the decision to return to turnkey arrangements, with Japanese interests, for the construction of new fertiliser plants even though the Indian capability in the field was thereby left underemployed and despite the readiness of international agencies such as the World Bank to give credits for the construction of the fertiliser industry in the public sector with the P and D Division of the FCI as prime consultants for the purpose.

NEW DELHI-All Eggs in the Food Basket

NEW DELHI All Eggs in the Food Basket B M THE government seems to be pinning all its hopes on the expected bumper rabi crop. But will the rabi harvest, even if it is as bountiful as the government expects it to be, mark the turning point for the economy after three years of soaring prices and stagnation in investment and production? The Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry are claiming that, even though it is a pre-election year, the Budget for 1975-76 makes a determined effort to raise substantial additional resources which has made possible a sizeable increase in the annual plan outlay for the year. It is now for food management to be firmly taken in hand. The conference of the Chief Ministers on the price and procurement policies for rabi crops last week was, therefore, regarded as being of crucial importance.

Strengthening the Status Quo

NEW DELHI Strengthening the Status Quo B M AFTER prolonged hesitation and drift, the government is showing signs of evolving some sort of an economic policy frame. There is no well-defined statement and evidently none is intended to be presented. The budget speech of the Finance Minister later this month may, however, betray the new directions. The reluctance to present anything clear-cut by way of a policy statement no doubt stems from the awareness that the populist commitments and pretensions of the past would then be seen to have been mere slogans. The trend of policy now is such as would not win public applause if it were to be frankly outlined and stated. Therefore, the line adopted for purposes of public consumption has been to strike a posture of confidence and otpimism. The slight seasonal fall in the wholesale price index has been made much of as if it were a consequence of the government's anti-inflationary policies. Indira Gandhi, at the inaugural function of the Khetri copper project, went so far as to claim that her government had handled the economic crisis more effectively than many other governments and that conditions in India were already better than in other countries. Her colleagues in the government

NEW DELHI- Creeping Shadow of Elections

NEW DELHI Creeping Shadow of Elections B M HOW sharply the options before the government have narrowed is highlighted by its desperate position on. the question of the payment of dear- ness allowance to its three million employees. As per the Pay Commission formula, the government is obliged to grant five DA slabs to its employees, each costing the exchequer upward of Rs 50 crores. The government has been procrastinating over this while discontent among the employees has mounted. Pressed by the Opposition parties in Parliament to clarify the government's position, the Finance Minister pleaded that a fresh review of the government's finances was under way and that a decision woud be taken in the light of the results of the review. The excuse did not impress any one. The state of the government's finances is already clear enough; the budgetary deficit is soaring and the government simplv does not have the resources to pay its employees the additional DA which is rightfully theirs. No amount of reviewing will improve the government's financial position.

NEW DELHI- In Suspended Animation

NEW DELHI In Suspended Animation B M THE stage is set for another of the periodic reorganisations of the Planning Commission


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