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

Articles By D Bandyopadhyay

Lost Opportunity in Bihar

Rural Bihar is being suffocated by the control exercised by the landed gentry who own a disproportionate share of cultivable land and yet have little interest in increasing agricultural production. Those who can and do - the marginal and small peasants - work the land as sharecroppers and have few rights to it. By rejecting the recommendations of the Bihar Land Reforms Commission, the State in Bihar has lost yet another opportunity to reorder production relations through legal means.

Singur: What Happened, What Next and Time to Pay the Cost

Since Tata Motors has shifted the Nano project from Singur, the company will have to meet the cost of land acquisition, development and the police protection that was provided for two years. The state government should issue a global expression of interest to set up an automobile plant in the area - the land cannot be used for any other purpose.

Guiding Role of Central Finance Commission Regarding State Counterparts

State finance commissions ensure that finances are appropriately devolved to all the tiers of the panchayat bodies. This role is supplemented by the central finance commission, establishing an "organic" link between the two. Can the Thirteenth Finance Commission prove to be a better guide to the SFCs than its predecessors?

Does Land Still Matter?

The national economy is growing at near double-digit rates but neither industry nor non-agricultural activities in rural India have been able to provide livelihoods for millions of rural workers. It is this failure that underlies the spurt in rural violence that has highlighted once again the issue of the poor's access to land, water and forests. It is gradually being recognised that further deterioration of economic, social and political conditions of the rural poor can neither be arrested nor reversed without a significant policy shift towards a comprehensive land reform programme. Land reform means the disempowerment of a small but very powerful number of people. In a democratic society land reform can be undertaken sans bloodshed but not without tears.

Is the Institution of District Magistrate Still Necessary?

Created in the mid-19th century by the colonial rulers to manage their affairs in India, the district magistrate was in charge of administration and collection of revenue. Today, the post has created a dichotomy between the district administration and various self-government institutions at the village and district levels. Given the administrative and bureaucratic problems that arise from such a structure, a pertinent question is whether this office is still functionally valid.