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

Mrinal Datta ChaudhuriSubscribe to Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri

Attack on Presidency University, Kolkata

On 10 April 2013, Presidency University, Kolkata was attacked multiple times by groups of armed hooligans from outside bearing banners of the students’ wing of the ruling Trinamool Congress. These armed thugs broke into the university grounds, viciously assaulted students and teachers, and...

Strategy for Economic Reform in West Bengal

During the last two decades West Bengal has led the rest of the country with regard to agricultural performance and implementation of panchayat institutions. But these developments have begun to level out. At the same time the state has fallen behind in other sectors - industry, higher education and state of public finances, particularly - to an extent that is seriously worrying. This paper reviews performance of these different sectors, discusses possible explanatory factors, and makes a number of suggestions for policy reforms. With regard to industrial revival, it stresses public investment in transport and communication, measures to improve higher education, foster industry-university collaborations, and help small-scale industries overcome specific market imperfections (access to credit, technology and distribution channels). In public finance, emphasis is placed on raising tax revenues (especially with regard to the service sector), limiting losses of public sector undertakings, and widening the scope of land taxes and user fees. In the agricultural sector, the need for a greater role of the government with regard to biotechnology, extension services, irrigation and flood control is emphasised, along with suggestions for encouraging and regulating contract farming with MNCs. Finally the article urges greater empowerment of panchayats with regard to social service delivery and agro-business development, and administrative reforms to enhance accountability of state government employees.

On the Political Structure of a Liberal Democracy

On the Political Structure of a Liberal Democracy Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri THERE is a major difficulty in having a serious discussion around important political concepts. The difficulty stems from the fact that these concepts have constantly been used and abused over a long period of time in the battle-grounds of actual political conflicts all over the world. Such a process necessarily simplifies, obliterates and emasculates the meanings of complex, many-sided concepts. At the end, what often remain are certain vague associations of ideas. Such associations of ideas are then mercilessly exploited by political combatants in creating 'brand-names1 for the packages they want to sell or in attacking the opponents they want to fight. Thus we have in the world today some extremely illiberal regimes managed by rigid self-perpetuating oligarchies being labelled as 'democratic', and some extremely inegalitarian political groups calling themselves 'socialist'. 'Fascism', of course, has plainly become a term of abuse.
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