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

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KERALA-Preparing for the Inevitable

 is that the so-called policy of liberalisation has nothing to show for itself. It is becoming difficult even in political terms to live with it. This is testified to by the reversion to radical rhetoric Within the liberalisation frame, however, such rhetoric is bound to be a pathetic, counter-productive effort. It may, therefore, appear logical, considering the increasing fiscal imbalance and mounting demands of development and defence, that the government would soon be forced to take 'unpopular' decisions, including new taxes, increases in administered prices and cuts in subsidies. Such measures may, however, raise all manner of new problems, economic, administrative and political. It will be interesting to watch the process of adjustments in economic policies and political alignments. Another phase in financial management may have opened with the recent meeting of the full Planning Commission. What may follow could well be a series of gambles in economic policy and political management. There is no evidence yet to show that development planning based on a meaningful policy frame is proposed to be revived and popular mass sanctions mobilised for the purpose, though the Planning Commission may feel gratified that it could attract some attention from the political leadership after being on ice for a long time. But it is also doubtful that a wishy-washy paper on financial imbalances written by Raja Chelliah will do the trick and safeguard the Seventh Plan. The fact to be reckoned with is that Chelliah, himself a strong votary of the so-called economic liberalisation policy, has played his part, together with L K Jha in bringing about the present financial imbalances. The Planning Commission has to take a more forthright stand than it dared to at the recent meeting of the full Planning Commission if it is to play a meaningful role as an expert advisory authority.

KERALA-Growing Food Deficit

KERALA Growing Food Deficit KPK THE latest Economic Review (1986) published by the state planning board presents a grim picture of the Kerala economy. Much of what it has to say should not come as a surprise to those who have been observing the performance of the economy over the last decade or so. Lopsided priorities in various development programmes, ineffective implementation, rampant corruption and above all subordinating the overall requirements of the state to the concerns of sectional vested interests cannot but create the sort of economic situation that has been revealed in the annual economic review. While the national economy registered a growth rate of 5.1 per cent in real terms, the Kerala economy has just managed a growth rate of 2.9 per cent in 1985-86. The worst hit has been the agricultural sector which has suffered a severe setback registering a mere 1.5 per cent growth rate. There has been a general decline in area, production and productivity of crops. The striking feature, however, is that the decline in area under paddy to the extent of more than 52,000 hectares followed a decline in all major crops. The marginal increase in the productivity of paddy has not been able to offset the impact of the area decline resulting in a decrease of 6.6 per cent in rice production. As it is Kerala is a chronically deficit state in respect of foodgrains and the situation is being salvaged only because of the improved situation in the national economy and the working of a public distribution system encompassing the whole population and distributing rice and wheat received through central allocations.
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