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

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BIHAR-Teaching the Santhals a Lesson

is not a very good augury for making a Plan, much less for implementing it. Another area of anxiety for the planners is export performance which is far from adequate to sustain the import liberalisation policy without getting into serious balance of payments difficulties. The growth of exports in volume terms has been only two per cent during the Sixth Plan. The problem can only worsen, if, in addition to liberal imports in the name of securing high tech inputs for upgrading domestic production Capacities, there are imports, as for instance in the case of sugar, for augmenting supplies for current consumption in the name of holding the price line and easing inflationary pressures. The planners have considered it wise that the level of foreign financing of the Seventh Plan should be modest. Even so, it is proposed to be 10 per cent of the Plan outlay which will be higher than that in the Sixth Plan which was seven per cent. However, considering what is euphemistically called deterioration in the climate for foreign aid flows and the rising cost of servicing foreign credit, even the modest level of foreign financing proposed for the Seventh Plan will involve onerous repayment liabilities. In the absence of any visible signs of a breakthrough in exports, the viability of the policy of import liberalisation is bound to remain in question. In this con' text Yojana Bhavan circles are intrigued that the Prime Minister has not so far found suitable Cabinet Ministers to take charge of even such important ministries as Commerce and Industry. They are also worried about the dragging of feet on the question of improving the management structures of public sector enterprises which continue to suffer from bureaucratic and political interference. The fact indeed appears to be that except for a few enthusiasts of liberalising, the Planning Commission as such is not that close to the economic policy preferences of the government. Nor does it enjoy the confidence of the political authority as is necessary for making the Commission's advice effective and its work purposeful. While, therefore, the Seventh Plan will be prepared with all the usual frills and pretensions, the planners themselves seem to be uncertain about the direction of the government's economic policies.

BIHAR-Teaching the Landless a Lesson

BIHAR Teaching the Landless a Lesson Umesh Sinha ON December 31, 1984 evening, about a 1,000-strong contingent of CRP and BMP (Bihar Military Police) attacked Mongar Bigha Tbla, a Harijan hamlet of Kaithi Bigha village in Aurangabad district of Bihar and killed 10 Harijans. The contingent indulged in shooting, looting and arson for 36 hours. The Tola was set on fire and six Harijans were thrown into the fire. Dozens of heads of cattle were also burnt alive. After the operation was over, the police arrested eight perons and paraded them upto the Obera police station about a kilometre away. Five of them were believed to have been shot either on the way or in the police station. Ten days after the carnage the Tola with burnt mud houses was still completely deserted. The whereabouts of its around 105 surviving inhabitants are unknown.

BIHAR-Landlord s Witch-Hunt

Landlord's Witch-Hunt Umesh Sinha ON March 28, in an obscure village, Jhakhad in Lakhisarai sub-division of Munger district four Harijan women were declared witches by an ojha twitch doctor). Their heads were shaven. They were stripped. Their faces were painted black and dotted with lime. The women of the village protested against the proceedings, but were shouted down. The 'witches' were then forced to go around the village. A frenetic mob, led by the landlord of the village, chased them and beat them brutally. They were stoned, too.

BIHAR- Travails of Migrant Labour

LAST month, Jiya Manjhi left his village, Madhubani, with two brothers and five of his fellow villagers. All of them were leaving their family behind in distress, in the hope of finding employment Jiya borrowed Rs 200 from Ugrasen, a village trader, to meet the travel expenses. Mori, one of his companions, raised some money by selling of his goat. They were on their way to Punjab the land of hope. They had heard they could earn good wages there. Some people they knew in the neighbouring villages had managed to earn enough money to start paying their debts to the mahajan. Moreover Rambaran, a labourer of phenhara village, had a hovel but now owns a bamboo thatched hut. With such dreams, Jiya Manjhi and his companions, eight men in all, hitch a ride on a lorry at Seikhpura Bazar to reach the district town of Motihari from where they would board a Punjab- bound train.
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