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

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Regimes of Dispossession

Mass privatisation and monetisation of public assets will push the country into yet another crisis.


Accumulation through dispossession and displacement has been a convenient tool for capital the world over, and India is no exception. In India, the dispossession of the land of disadvantaged groups, like Scheduled Tribes and small farmers, was an important instrument for building state-led industrial and infrastructure projects in the early decades of planned development. Later, the scale and character of such a dispossession changed in favour of private capital, especially after the roll-out of reforms and the coming of special economic zones, and large private infrastructure and real estate companies. And the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, which was quick to latch on to the possibilities for such accumulation through dispossession, attempted to accelerate the process by further easing land acquisition in favour of corporates through an ordinance just a few months after assuming office.

Although this move, by and large, failed in the face of stiff resistance, the current government at the centre has apparently not learnt its lessons. Now, after a short gap of a few years, the government is all set to push through yet another round of such capitalist accumulation; this time, through large-scale dissolution of public assets, both through privatisation and monetisation. Unlike earlier dispossessions, which transferred forest and farmland from subaltern groups to the government and corporates, this new dispossession drive allows private capital to appropriate assets, which are currently under government ownership or control.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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