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

Articles By M Vijayabaskar

Tamil Nadu Economy

Tamil Nadu is a state that has ensured a simultaneous improvement in growth and human development. Innovative welfare interventions combined with economic dynamism have been a key feature of the state’s development. In the context of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam coming to power on the back of a slew of promises on welfare and development, and the ongoing pandemic, the trajectory of growth and resource mobilisation efforts by the state is examined. The analysis points to an emerging disjuncture between growth and tax efforts of the state as well as a decline in central transfers.

 

A Crucible of Tamil Nadu’s Sociopolitical Ethos

Based on shifts in Tamil Nadu’s economy and polity, the prospects for emergence of political alternatives to the two dominant Dravidian parties are examined in the context of the upcoming assembly elections. Despite the emergence of cracks in the constituency forged by Dravidian mobilisation, the core elements of Dravidian ethos continue to hold electoral appeal.

 

Sustainable Development through Diversifying Pathways in India

From groundwater depletion to toxic air pollution, modernising development pathways are linked with grave unsustainability challenges, as they extend the unbridled extraction of “goods” from nature while carelessly dumping back the “bads.” To move beyond this and to realise sustainable development, plural pathways may be required in each field, be it agriculture or housing. As outcomes of struggles for democracy and sustainability, these diversifying pathways may be structured around caring and cooperative (human–nature) relations.

Agricultural Revival and Reaping the Youth Dividend

In recent years, “youth” has emerged as a distinct category of population to be governed in India. Policy efforts to realise the “demographic dividend” amidst an agrarian crisis have however not met with success as suggested by reports of jobless growth on the one hand and poor quality of employment generated outside agriculture on the other. What are the prospects of improving youth livelihoods within agriculture? Can the youth revive the prospects of agriculture? Improving incomes within agriculture while also paying sufficient attention to caste and gender relations that shape labour hierarchies, access to land, youth preferences and mobility aspirations is critical to imagining a future that sustains agriculture and youth livelihoods.

The Agrarian Question amidst Populist Welfare

Tamil Nadu’s emergence as a developmental model rests on its ability to combine economic growth with poverty reduction and high levels of human development. Scholars attribute such outcomes to a set of social policies implemented in response to a long history of “democratic action.” It is, however, not clear whether such intervention through social policies can also enable a more inclusive trajectory of economic development. This paper uses the analytical lens of the “agrarian question” to examine this aspect of the state’s development. In doing so, the paper argues that while social welfare nets are crucial to negotiate the vulnerabilities of a market-driven growth process and open up new political and economic spaces, they are inadequate in a context where the secondary sector has not been able to absorb labour to the extent anticipated.

Caste as Social Capital

There are suggestions that caste networks can be used as a means to reduce transaction costs and promote economic development. Based on critiques of the "social capital for development" literature and the experience of the knitwear cluster in Tiruppur, this article contends that caste-based economic networks reinforce socio-economic hierarchies and generate new forms of exclusion.