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Delivering Development Outcomes

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The article “Delivering a Global India: Capital Flows and Development Dilemmas in South Africa’s Mining Zones” by Manjusha Nair (EPW, 24 November 2018) has built upon the ethnographic study of two Indian mining companies in exploring the nuances of the nature of capital and the delivery of developmental outcomes. It is interesting on two fronts: the role of capital, especially foreign direct investments, in bringing in development; and the extent of capital utility in delivering the outcomes of development to local communities. The author has, by and large, succeeded in achieving the first intended goal, that is, highlighting how the Indian mining companies are operating capital and their role in the expansion of South–South cooperation. In the fulfilment of the promises of capital in generating employment through the transfer of skills, both Indian companies have achieved an optimum level of progress.

To quote, in spite of the “state pressure, Indian firms were able to firmly implement some of the projects on ownership and were trying to incorporate diversity and some skill transfer.” However, what is not adequately clear from the findings is the behaviour of firms in rejecting the role of trade unions in workers’ welfare. Had the author elaborated this point, at least in the section on work cultures, it would have given the reader a holistic picture of the firms’ behaviour towards workers’ well-being. It is also necessary to locate the firms’ conduct in explaining the dialectical relationship of capital and labour.

Another aspect that has not been given adequate focus by the author is the development dilemmas, especially the provision of basic civic amenities to the local mining communities by the firms. As mentioned by the author, both the firms “had mining communities with absolutely no development of facilities.” To what extent are the firms committed to the development of mining and local communities? When the firms fail to facilitate even basic services, can this qualify as “development?” The obvious question that emerges is, whose development, and at what cost? Setting aside these concerns, the study is a worthy addition to the existing knowledge, in particular, to the field of development studies and development economics.

Nayakara Veeresha

Bengaluru

Updated On : 30th Nov, 2018

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