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

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Roots of Uneven Regional Growth in India

Roots of Uneven Regional Growth in India Pradhan H Prasad The rate of public investment and consequently the rate of growth of production in the rich states will remain higher than in the poor ones, causing regional inequality to increase, unless the process is checked by transfer of adequate resources from the rich to the poor states. The implications of this formulation have been echoed sometimes in Finance Commission reports (more prominently in the notes of dissent) and also sometimes in reports of the Planning Commission, but its full implication has never been realised by the constitutional bodies and the institutions of the union government which are involved in the process of transfer of resources. The result is that the process of uneven regional growth continues unabated even after four decades of independence.

India after Four Decades of Independence

India after Four Decades of Independence Pradhan H Prasad INDIA after four decades of independence finds itself in a more difficult position (in the context of overall development) than immediately after the end of colonial rule. In a large part of Indian agriculture the outmoded semi-feudal mode of production still persists.1 The regional imbalance is more pronounced today than then, measured either in terms of per capita income (Table 1), or in terms of agricultural growth.2 Because of the lop-sided and inadequate investment and inappropriate choice of technique in the economy, the climate for industrial growth is becoming increasingly difficult. The rate of growth of demand for industrial products in the internal market has been decreasing of late. Even during nineteenth century, as Bagchi has said, the feeble beginnings of modern industries were "not because of any absolute shortage of finance for investment in the hands of the tiny native capitalist class or in the hand of the foreign capitalist class. It is simply that under the policy of free trade arid with an economic environment where mass poverty was endemic, it was not profitable to invest in domestic industry for supplying the home market,"3 The situation is not very different now. Mass poverty is endemic even today. The slow and uneven growth of agriculture, which is the occupation of about 70 per cent of Indian workers, not only adversely affects the growth of rural income but operates as a drag on increase in effective demand for industrial goods. The increasing paucity of public funds for developmental activities, because of proportionately increasing demand for non-developmental expenditure mainly for internal security and defence, have resulted in slowing down public investment particularly in railway, electricity and other infrastructures.4 It had a two-fold effect. On the one hand, it gradually dampened the growth of demand for industrial goods. On the other hand it has resulted in increasing scarcity of essential intermediate goods (which is needed for industrial expansion) like power, coal, petrol and petroleum products, steel, cement, etc. While the increasing expenditure on police and paramilitary force is caused by increasing internal violence (because of uneven development bringing the ever-increasing area under the vortex of non-development and increasing the concentration of economic power), the increasing defence expenditure is caused by imperialist-induced progressive stepping-up of the arms race in the sub-continent.

Towards a Theory of Transformation of Semi-Feudal Agriculture

Any attempt to theorise about issues related to the transformation of a sector of the economy in third world countries involves analysis of antagonistic contradictions at two levels. While the main global contradiction re- mains between the imperialists and the third world countries, those who want to struggle on the side of pro- gressive forces to hasten the process of social transformation cannot afford to neglect the dialectics of the part. It is in this context that the analysis and understanding of the 'semi-feudal mode of production' in Indian agriculture assumes importance.

Agrarian Violence in Bihar

This paper argues that the present spate of agrarian violence in Bihar is a manifestation of intense struggle between the rural oligarchy and the direct producers, the latter comprising agricultural labourers and cultivators who use mainly family labour in their cultivation, EnmesHed in the feudal tradition of extra-economic coercion, the rural oligarchy is engaged in a feudal mode of appropriation of surplus and in intensification of exploitation. The direct producers have now decided to resist this exploitation and this antagonistic contradiction manifests itself in class struggle which surfaced in the late sixties and is now becoming bloodier every day The struggle has intensified as the economic crisis has deepened because of non-development in an agrarian structure which remains dominated by semi-feudal relations of production even after more than three decades of independence. It may be possible to suppress the militant poor peasant movement by using the para-military forces in a big way, but not for long. If the economic roots of the peasant movement are not tackled by massive investment in water management and land reform measures providing land to the tillers to the exclusion of intermediaries, the movement is bound to surface again and again involving larger and larger geographical areas.

Poverty and Agricultural Development

Pradhan H Prasad The author's analysis of data on agricultural development and the proportion of the rural population below the poverty line suggests that the adoption of the water-fertiliser-HYV technology has led to a decline in poverty, The decline is also associated with increase in agricultural and foodgrains production. If the decline in the proportion of the poor in rural India has been relatively small, it is not because the 'trickle down modified' thesis is not valid in the Indian situation, but because the rate of agricultural growth has been low and has been heavily dependent on the vagaries of nature.

Location of Indirect Taxes-A Note

A Note Pradhan H Prasad Shift of location of a tax towards the production end increases the burden on consumers in a sellers market. Thus, in a situation such as ours, a change of location of tax from the consumers' end to the production end benefits the class of traders and industrialists at the cost of consumers. A tax levied at the producers' end offers scope for legal evasion, whereas this scope does not exist in case of sales tax at the retailers' end.

PERSPECTIVES

Nalini Pandit Classes in Marxist theory are not mere economic categories. They are living social groups whose attitudes and responses are determined by historical and cultural factors. The materialistic interpretation of history does not imply an exclusive emphasis on the economic factor to the comparative neglect of others. The purpose of formulating a social theory is to understand the attitudes and responses of different social groups to particular programmes.

Poverty and Bondage

Pradhan H Prasad The dominant aspect of the mode of production in Indian agriculture is semi-feudal, wherein semi- feudal bondage

Agrarian Unrest and Economic Change in Rural Bihar-Three Case Studies

in Rural Bihar Three Case Studies Pradhan H Prasad Agrarian unrest is one of the most potent motive forces of social and economic change in predo- minantly rural societies, such as ours. Sometimes the changes are brought about by the positive force of the agrarian movement itself. In some other situations, the changes are the result of the influence of classes which are not directly involved in the movement. In yet other conditions, the changes are due to the response the ruling classes in the form of a combination of repression and reform, The present study attempts to analyse the impact of agrarian unrest in some parts of Bihar. The areas studied are Musahari in Muzaffarpur district, Turkaulia in Champaran district and Tundi in Dhanbad district. f IT has been found that in predominantly rural societies, such as ours, one of the most important motive forces of social and economic change is agrarian unrest Sometimes the changes are due to the positive force of the agrarian movement itself. In some other situations, the changes are determined by the influence of classes which are not directly involved in the movement. In yet other conditions, the changes are due to the response of the ruling classes

Production Relations Achilles Heel of Indian Pkanning

Production Relations: Achilles' Heel of Indian Planning Pradhan H Prasad Planning in India has been viewed mainly in terms of investment planning. This emphasis on investment planning can be traced to the influence of the long-period theories of development which entirely overlook the significance of much more essential factors than the level of investment.

Employment and Income in Rural India

Choice among Alternative Models What I have tried to do in this paper is to point out certain general lessons that we have learnt from the last twenty- five years of experience in regard to state and nation building in the "Third World". There is, on the one hand, the modernisation model which seeks to undermine the autonomy and power of the new states. There is, on the other hand, what may be called the state' building model which seeks to conceive of the tasks of modernisation, economic development and the rest as part of a general drive; towards consolidating national autonomy and realising the values of democracy, social justice and .secularism. Bangladesh has come to life when the alternative scenarios can be perceived in their fullness, when the ground for making critical choices has been cleared of a lot of confusion and misleading cliche, and when the real need is for a proper perspective and bold initiatives from the political elite rather than passing on the, responsibility to foreign trained technocrats.

Some Policy Priorities

Pradhan H Prasad India can hardly hope to achieve a rapid rate of industrial development so as to eradicate poverty, underemployment and unemployment without first laying the foundations for a sufficiently high net investment in agriculture along with intensive use of land.

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