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

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Real versus Fictitious

The COVID-19 pandemic is stretching the contradictions of the present economic arrangements to the limits. The system survived inflating financial assets and feeding on inequalities. The divide between the real economy and the sphere of finance cannot be left unchecked without risking an economic catastrophe. Wealth and income inequalities cannot be pushed anymore without irretrievably damaging the underlying social contract. The virus is making change inevitable.

World Economy and Nation States post COVID-19

With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the world economy has come to a grinding halt. The economic fallout would be enormous in terms of loss in production, income, and employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major ruptures in the world system, which has serious implications for global accumulation of capital. It, therefore, presents an opportunity to reimagine the global division of labour and the international economic architecture.


Confronting Bureaucratic Capture

The people's planning programme in Kerala is under threat of a bureaucratic capture with government orders and guidelines from above subduing the process of participatory planning. This paper proposes overhauling the methodology of planning from below to put the experiment back on track. This will involve demystifying and debureaucratising the planning process and strengthening participatory spaces. However, the enthusiasm for maximising participation should not ben at the expense of the right to be critical. People's participation is not a substitute for expertise in development planning. Participatory planning has to make maximum use of the expertise within the government and outside it without compromising on accountability and responsiveness to the people.

Reining in Rules of Origin-Based Protectionism

From neutral trade policy devices employed to identify country of origin of commodities, the rules of origin are emerging as protectionist tools. Nation states, as they are increasingly denied conventional trade policy tools, are reasserting themselves by evolving new and less visible weapons of intervention. The central objective of the harmonisation work programme of the WTO is to ensure that the rules of origin are employed without/or with least trade distorting effects. But, as this study shows, even if it is successfully completed, the HWP is likely to leave considerable scope for misuse of rules of origin for protectionist purpose.

Stagnation and Revival of Kerala Economy

The existing literature treats the migration-remittances phenomenon as something which has tended to moderate the influence of the crisis in the Kerala economy since mid-1970s. In sharp contrast, the present paper is an attempt to bringing in the question of migration and remittances to its rightful place within the structure of the regional economy. The study attributes the stagnation in the commodity producing sectors since the mid-1970s to the 'resource movement effect' and 'spending effect' associated with the migration-remittances boom.

World Bank-CII Study on Competitiveness

The study should be seen as one of the first attempts to define and legitimise the second generation of economic reforms. However, the narrow definition of 'investment climate' employed in the study excludes several important factors that govern competitiveness, such as social infrastructure.

Structure and Growth of India's IT Exports

The policy initiatives taken to develop the information technology sector in India have yielded rich dividends in terms of exports and established the country's credibility in international IT markets. However, the focus has mainly been to promote IT as a foreign exchange earner. This paper looks at India's performance in software exports, the implications of this boom on the availability of skilled manpower in other competing sectors, and the possible threats to the sustained growth of software exports. To combat some of the negative offshoots of the current export-centric IT scenario, the authors say a proper incentive structure needs to be looked at, and the supply of technically skilled personnel enhanced. Most important of all, the diffusion of IT into other areas of the economy should be accelerated to help in the sustained growth of the sector.

India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Accord

Preferential trade arrangements, as have come into force under the India-Sri Lanka free trade agreement, have varying impact on sectors as well as regions in the two countries. Preparatory studies and careful planning are necessary in order to provide safeguards and to minimise adjustment costs.

Natural Rubber Perils of Policy

K N Harilal K J Joseph THE rubber plantation industry in India is caught in perhaps the worst crisis that it has encountered since independence. The crisis has many dimensions; the record fall in the price of natural rubber being the most striking. The market price of natural rubber recently touched the lowest level recorded during the last five years and is about half of what prevailed two years ago. With input prices and cost of living maintaining their upward trend, the plight of about nine lakh natural rubber growers and four lakh workers engaged in rubber cultivation needs no elaboration. According to a conservative estimate the accumulated loss suffered by the growers during the last one year would be around Rs 800 crore. Most of this loss would have been borne by the small holders (with an average holding size of less than 0.50 hectares) who account for nearly 85 per cent of the area as well as production.

Planning for Empowerment-People s Campaign for Decentralised Planning in Kerala

People's Campaign for Decentralised Planning in Kerala T M Thomas Isaac K N Harilal Despite the acclaimed advantages of decentralisation of planning and repeated commitments made in its favour, the planning process in India has remained a highly centralised affair. None of the departmental exercises - so-called district plans, block level planning or area level programmes has been able to ensure genuine planning from below, sensitive as such planning should be to complex local-specific problems and felt needs of the people.

Autonomy of Demographic Variables

Autonomy of Demographic Variables K N Harilal MARI BHAT and Irudaya Rajan (EPW, September 1-8, 1990) begin their paper on demographic transition in Kerala with the following words of Lord Kelvin, "...when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of Science, whatever the matter may be". Notwithstanding well known objections to the cited and similar approaches to the theory of knowledge we appreciate the quest for precision and accuracy. However, while encouraging the urge for precision, we should also ensure that the precise statements and numbers so derived truly represent the original ideas lest we all be caught up in a mess of precise but meaningless numbers.

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