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

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Co-operative Sugar Factories in Maharashtra

With more than one-third of the co-operative sugar factories in the state being sick, the Maharashtra government had appointed an expert committee to go into the reasons for the sickness and to suggest remedial measures. In view of the importance of the co-operative sugar industry for Maharashtra’s economy as well as the relevance of the expert committee’s recommendations for co-operative sugar factories in a number of other states, these recommendations deserve to be discussed widely.

Electricity Regulatory Commissions

The setting up of the electricity regulatory commissions (ERCs) represents a culture change which will call for reorientation of the working of the state governments and the state electricity boards as also consumer groups. But for this new chapter in economic management in the country to be successful, it will require, more than anything else, education and empowerment of consumers. The media will have to play a major role in this endeavour. Without such all-round effort the ERCs will be yet another empty gesture.

Democracy at What Cost?

Democracy is more country-specific than is generally recognised as is evidenced by the extent to which the strength, vigour, vitality, transparency and accountability of democratic institutions differ from country to country. Much has happened to make a travesty of democracy in this country. It is time we tried to minimise the costs we are paying for neglecting the important task of institutionbuilding. We need to reinvent democracy.

Economic Policy: 'Stray Thoughts' Again

The loud thinking by finance minister Yashwant Sinha at the annual session of the CII last month on so-called second-generation economic reforms falls in the category of 'stray thoughts' made famous by the late Indira Gandhi. The country's economic progress has in the past paid dearly for such facile and platitudinous pronouncements of politicians in power. A discussion of some specific issues to drive home the danger.

Maharashtra Budget: More Questions Than Answers

In the pursuit of populist policies the Maharashtra government has taken several hasty decisions which do not augur well for the financial health of the state.

Enron Revisited

With the commissioning of the first phase of the Enron power project in Maharashtra shortly, several issues critical to the management of the power system in the state will now have to be grappled with to ensure that the state electricity board's financial viability is not further undermined. What is specially significant is that these issues have to be faced in the changed context of the share of power generations by independent power producers going up very substantially in the coming years.

Outdated Rent Laws and Investment in Housing

Anachronistic rent laws have been the biggest deterrent to investment in the housing sector and increasing the availability of housing. Since the political parties in power at the centre and in the states have been bent upon pursuing populist policies for the last 50 years, the battle to get a sensible law on the statute book has once again had to be taken to the Supreme Court.

Maharashtra Cotton Monopoly Procurement Scheme

The monopoly procurement of cotton scheme of the government of Maharashtra, launched as a short-term measure in 1971, has become another holy cow. Whichever political party has come to power in the state has pressed for its continuance. A review of the working of the scheme, however, leads to the unambiguous conclusion that it must be wound up at the end of its current lease of life in June this year.

Finance Commission A Quinquennial Ritual

Ritual? Madhav Godbole BY its order dated July 3,1998, the central government appointed the Eleventh Finance Commission (EFC) with a request to make recommendations on the following matters:

MAHARASHTRA-What Is Right in Economics Is Wrong in Politics

What Is Right in Economics Is Wrong in Politics Madhav Godbole ECONOMIC terrorism is as much a menace in India today as is political terrorism. Bal Thackeray, chief of Shiv Sena, made a bomb blast in his Dassera rally in Mumbai on October I by announcing that he would direct the state government to supply free electricity to fanners in the state. This was a clear signal that elections were round the corner Following the footsteps of Tamil Nadu and Punjab, Thackeray wants to build a vote bank of farmers for his party, As was to be expected, the chief minister has reacted with alacrity and announced that his chief and remote control's directive will be implemented without delay. Not to be left behind and anxious to share the credit for this 'epoch-making' move, the deputy chief minister and energy minister of the state, who belongs to the other coalition party, namely, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has welcomed this "bold decision in the interest of the people" wholeheartedly. His only worry is how to find the amount of Rs 650 crore which (according to his wrong assessment) would have to be paid to compensate the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) for the loss of revenue likely to be sustained by it. The move is all the more shocking coming as it does against the background of the precarious financial position of the Maharashtra government.

Maharashtra Where Has All the Money Gone

even some academics seem to think that caste, is like sex and age about which the census organisation can collect information easily. But caste does not really have the kind of certainty and rigidity frequently attributed to it. This is, in fact, the burden of much of sociological and anthropological research that has developed during the last 50 years or so.

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