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

P M MathewSubscribe to P M Mathew

Is Social Science Research Dying?

Harsh Sethi (EPW, September 30- October 6, 2000) raises several valid issues related to the ICSSR system, which, most social scientists would agree, should have been raised long back. Though belated, Sethi’s observations, especially as from a scholar having substantial firsthand information on the working of the ICSSR, need to be taken seriously and discussed. While Sethi raises the whole issue in the context of the recent policy shifts of the council, and of the ministry of human resource development, this could have been foreseen by anybody having some sense of history. Yes, a new type of social science culture has emerged during the 1980s and 1990s, and it has been devaluing the painstaking efforts of pioneers and visionaries like J P Nayak, V K R V Rao and D T Lakdawala

Remembering Arvind Das

My friend Arvind Das is no more. Surprisingly, I could learn about his sad demise only after two months, through the columns of Economic and Political Weekly (September 23) from the obituary note by our common friend, Jan Breman. While paying a glowing tribute to Arvind, Breman, of course...

Women in Panchayats-The More Relevant Questions

Women in Panchayats The More Relevant Questions P M Mathew THE article by Manu Bhaskar on women panchayat members in Kerala (Economic and Political Weekly, April 26) is a notable contribution in the area of women studies for several counts. Since the implementation of the new Panchayat Raj Act, very few studies have taken place regarding the grass roots realities relating to its effective implementation. Besides, despite the presence of several studies in the area of women leadership, the micro-level reality relating to the sprouting and sustenance of leadership at the grass roots level remains unexplored. Above all, against the background of the heated national debate on official representation of women in legislative bodies, such a discussion obviously contributes to throwing much light upon the prevalent lacuna and the imperatives.

Union Budget and Small Enterprises

P M Mathew While the Union Budget offers some concessions to the small sector, it is clear that the United Front does not have a comprehensive perception of the role and relevance of the sector.

From Beautiful Small to Flexible Specialisation-Asian Experience of Small Enterprise Development

Specialisation Asian Experience of Small Enterprise Development P M Mathew Besides physical presence of clusters and networks, a thriving entrepreneurial culture is necessary for effective operation of flexible specialisation. In most Asian countries, a conscious effort to nurture entrepreneurial culture is required since, given their basic agrarian economies, enterprise is alien to the common man.

More Politics of Business than Business

More Politics of Business than Business P M Mathew SMALL-SCALE industries sector in India has been very little examined against the background of economic reforms. This is probably for the reason that very few people are really concerned about having a scientific understanding of the problems of this sector from a policy angle. The little literature that has emerged is either purely academic with very little of practical utility or initiated by some retired civil servants. Naturally, the quality of studies in this area is poor and they have very little practical utility from the point of view of developing this sector.

State Sector Enterprises in Kerala

State Sector Enterprises in Kerala P M Mathew P MOHAN AN PILLAY study on public sector enterprises in Kerala (EPW, February 17-24, Review of Industry and Management) is important for two crucial reasons: Firstly, the illusion about public sector as the vanguard of socialism has been gradually fading among Kerala politicians as elsewhere in the country. Even the spokesmen of the ruling CPI(M) like V S Achuthanandan, its state secretary, have started talking of the need for 'discipline' among the employees. Besides, chief minister E K Nayanar and the minister for industries, K R Gowri have already unrolled the carpets for the Tatas for favour of investments in the state. Secondly, the stranglehold of commercial capital in Kerala shows some apparent signs of loosening because of the activated interest in the stock market. Though sickness in the small-scale industry sector has been massive, the reasons for it have to be sought in other objective factors as well.

Integrated Entrepreneurship Development Programmes

Integrated Entrepreneurship Development Programmes P M Mathew WHILE sketching a historical account of the emergence and present position of Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) in India, A N Oza (EPW, May 28, 1988) raises some important issues relating to its present status, juxtaposed with the original objectives. The central problem posed by Oza is the vitiation of the objective of EDR The objective of EDP, accor- ding to him, is "to identify and develop first generation entrepreneurs for promoting growth of healthy small business enterprises. This objective, however, has got vitiated over time as the number of organisations conducting EDPs mushroomed; there are at present 686 such organisations in various parts of the country, of which 616 are established or sponsored or financially supported (directly or indirectly) by the central or state governments, all-India and state-level financial institutions and the public sector banks.

Structural Adjustment At Whose Cost

paper on India) lies in throwing many interesting hypotheses for validation at the micro-level. For example, the impact of rapid agricultural growth on the industrial distribution and the performance of the rural non-farm sector along with the related changes in technology needs to be explored further. Similarly, the nature and extent of reinvestment of agricultural surplus on the rural non-farm sector is extremely important from the long run point of view and needs to be documented.

Cultural Action Not Class-Neutral

'Cultural Action' Not Class-Neutral P M Mathew THE report on the Chandigarh Women's Conference (EPW, December 12, 1986) apparently fails to read between the lines some of the crucial problems posed in my paper.1 While discussing the present role and future tasks of trade unions, the note (quite unintentionally, I hope) separates my idea of cultural action from the context in which I have discussed it. This leads to the much masticated concept of 'conscientisa- tion' which has a deceptive simplicity and the aura of patron-client relationships too. As it reads, the report gives the impression that I have the following positions regarding the strategies of the capitalist class and of the state relating to 'development' of the 'informal sector' or what I would call the informal surface:2 (1) that the illusions raised by economism are the most crucial danger; and (2) that countering of such a strategy, is, by and large, the duty of the trade unions.

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