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

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A Major National Initiative

For the first time in India a comprehensive social security scheme for the unorganised sector has been proposed. The proposal by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector seeks to develop a healthy workforce that in turn will have a positive impact on national income and economic growth. The scheme aims to cover sickness, maternity, old age and death and proposes a participatory system with some contributions from the workers.

Linking Guarantee to Human Development

If properly planned and implemented, the rural employment guarantee programme will create favourable conditions for much-needed rural regeneration. But it is also important that the scheme be considered as part of a larger package linked to the objective of improving human development.

Kerala's Turnaround in Growth

Kerala, which has been known for its high human development but low economic growth, is now exhibiting a new phenomenon. Growth has accelerated since the late 1980s, as a result of economic reforms and a large inflow of remittances. However, the challenge remains of translating its high human development status and relatively rapid growth into meaningful outcomes in employment and equitable participation of women.

For a Fair Globalisation

The Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation may not satisfy the appetite of avid anti-globalisers; yet, it is unlikely to be of any comfort to the equally avid globalisers and unilateralists.The report's main contribution is its insistence on conducting social dialogues within a democratic framework, at the local, national and international levels, to create a fair globalisation that is inclusive.

Twelfth Finance Commission

The focus of the paper is to review the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Twelfth Finance Commission with special reference to Kerala. It also critically examines the emphasis on fiscal deficit reduction without paying attention to its quality and finds that this has led to the centre and the states resorting to a softer option of cutting productive capital and necessary maintenance and social sector expenditure. This is likely to have adverse consequences on equitable growth and to impede the process of relieving the economy of structural constraints on growth. The study suggests incorporating the concept of quality of fiscal discipline.

Labour and Capitalist Transformation in Asia

Just as the labour movement and trade unions have been unable to keep up with the recent changes at a global level, most studies on labour and capitalist transformation continue to operate within old debates, views and perspectives and are hardly able to take into their approach and analysis the changes due to the recent acceleration in the process of globalisation. An attempt to address this concern by bringing back labour into the research agenda.

Plight of Power Sector in India-II

The unaccountability of state Electricity Boards (SEBs) in India has led to gross inefficiency at all levels. This article examines significant aspects of inefficiency costs involved in SEBs functioning. Part I of this article, published last week, dealt with physical performance focusing on such aspects as technical inefficiency, T and D losses, its possible underestimation, as well as some aspects of institutional and organisational inefficiency. Part II deals with the supply cost of electricity, tariff and revenue, as well as financial performance.

Plight of Power Sector In India - I

True to the spirit of a social democratic state, India originally evolved her power development policy in line with the state's professed commitment to honouring and ensuring social security equations. Although the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) were to function as corporations, they became agents of the state governments. This article attempts to throw light on the significant aspects of inefficiency costs involved in SEBs' functioning. Part I deals with physical performance focusing on such aspects, as technical efficiency, T and D losses, and their possible underestimation as well as some aspects of institutional and organisational inefficiency. Part II, to appear next week, will deal with the supply cost of electricity, tariff and revenue, as well as financial performance.

Concerns on Food Security

India's food security is likely to worsen given that demand is likely to grow faster than supply. Integration into world trade will probably worsen matters. PDS is one answer, but targeting remains a problem. A long-term solution can come only from R and D in agriculture. Report on a national seminar on food security in the context of economic liberalisation.

Political Economy of Labour and Development in Kerala

in Kerala K P Kannan Kerala is well-known for its achievements in the sphere of social development that includes a rapid and high level mobilisation and organisation of workers regardless of location and sectoral occupation. However, such a process of social development without a commensurate transformation of the productive sectors has presented Kerala with some major dilemmas. This paper therefore takes a critical look at the political economy of labour and development by examining the roles of labour unions, state, and capital. The three dilemmas relate to (i) technological choice in the face of high and rising labour costs in labour-intensive activities for maximising long-term growth and employment, (ii) mismatch between labour-supply and labour demand as a result of changing job expectations of the younger generation in a technologically stagnant economy, and (iii) lack of new investment despite growing loanable funds and declining resistance to technological change. The failure of labour unions to agree to productivity improvements through technological changes and increasingly resorting to 'closed shop' strategies has been particularly emphasised.

CHINA-Behind the Facade-Party Decides, People Respond

Behind the Facade Party Decides, People Respond K P Kannan CHINA is a massive country, much more massive than India. This alone makes it difficult to generalise on one's impressions gathered during a short visit to its capital, Beijing. Yet, it is exciting to talk about China, a country which remained forbidden for so long. After reading and listening so much about the political and economic changes, I was naturally curious to find out something about it. And what I say here has nothing to do with books and reports, or lectures and conferences. I was more interested in interacting with people I encountered, ordinary and not-so-ordinary, and their own perceptions of their situation. I was amazed by the frankness with which they spoke and the extraordinary frankness with which they suppressed their frank opinions when faced with loaded questions, Even before landing in Beijing, I knew it is a massive city. But its massiveness has some difference. Its population of over 13 million is as much as in Bombay, sorry Mumbai, but you do not really run into the kind of surging crowds as in front of the VT station or any suburban markets. Roads are wide, four or six lanes, in addition to separate lanes for bicycles. The city is relatively clean and it was really hard for me to spot such huge slums as one frequently encounters in Mumbai. Maybe, the control on inmigration was a factor although this is no longer the case. People in general looked clean, healthy and more importantly young in age. The young both men and women seemed to take great care in dressing, in western style with popular brands. A bell boy in the hotel where I stayed looked carefully into the label of the T-shirt worn by an academic colleague of mine with whom I was standing in the lobby and read aloud the brand name. And then he smiled approvingly after all, the man is wearing a decent T-shirt. From my Indian background, it was striking to see the presence of young women working everywhere and more prominently in hotels, restaurants and shops, small and big, old and new. They moved about freely even in night. The long electric buses for public transport seemed to have more women as drivers and conductors and went about their job with such natural ease that I felt embarrassed watching them curiously, These striking features do not end here, Massive construction work sites dot the landscape of Beijing, Walking around the city with a Chinese friend was indeed informative. To my repeated enquiries about the huge and new shopping complexes, offices, etc, he got a bit tired. As if to sum up his answer to all my questions he said with a smile; "My friend, Hong Kong is taking over China," I was familiar with large shopping complexes in western Europe but a number of them that I went around in Beijing were definitely bigger than what I had seen in Europe. Of course, China is massive.

Declining Incidence of Rural Poverty in Kerala

K P Kannan In Kerala, the incidence of rural poverty has declined in the 1980s in spite of the slow rate of growth of the economy. The explanation for this is that various state intervention programmes, especially the public distribution system, have had a positive impact on poverty. The experience of Kerala shows that, with or without growth, it is possible to alleviate poverty through well designed and implemented programmes, and that social protection for the most vulnerable groups should be a necessary component of development policy.


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