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

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Regional Economies and Small Farmers in Karnataka

Regional Economies and Small Farmers in Karnataka

The divergence between economic growth and equality in the Indian context can be attributed to the disconnect between the macroeconomy and regional rural economies that host small landholdings. Comparing the agrarian peripheries of two distinct capital-accumulating urban areas in Karnataka, a decipherable pattern in distributional outcomes, food and livelihood security as well as sustainability are revealed. The portrayal of capital-centric urbanisation as an opportunity for livelihoods and poverty reduction among India’s agrarian communities is questioned.

Few geographies and communities in today’s world remain exclusively rural or urban. Rural social customs and food culture are commonly found in urban life. Rural life is replete with capital-driven technologies and urban “externalities” in all their forms. The coexistence of urbanism and rurality in hybrid lifestyles reflect both the contradictions and seamlessness of social evolution. This said, although rural–urban socio-economic boundaries are blurring, rurality continues to prevail in India in diverse forms. This paper addresses the trade-offs and challenges involved in adopting a regional development model built on rural agrarian enterprise when urbanism is pervasive, using the case of Mandya and Bengaluru as an anchor.

The rural is generally caricatured as money-poor and nature-rich, but a historical analysis suggests otherwise. Rural surpluses fuelling market-centric towns around agricultural hubs can be traced to the mercantile economy of irrigated paddy lands in Tamil Nadu (Harriss-White 2013), to the agro-industrial regions of North Bihar (Misra 2007), the North East Americas (Clark 1990) or Thailand (Andriesse 2014). They indicate that capitalism and urbanisation are often built around rural enterprise. Harriss-White (2012) addresses the question of why local capitalism in agrarian regions needs careful academic treatment.

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Updated On : 29th Nov, 2017

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