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

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Indian Ports and Globalisation

Grounding Economics in Geography This paper is concerned with the economics of Indian ports as one important phenomenon in Indian economic geography, and its relationship with regional development under the free market economy. A port performance index derived with the help of principal component analysis of eight individual port performance indicators shows that overseas traffic intensity is the most significant determinant of performance. With increasing openness of the economy and absence of an integrated policy toward export transport network, there is a decline in export intensity and rising domestic coastal traffic in Indian ports.

Investment Boom and Underutilisation of Capacity in the 1990s

This paper discusses the possible reasons for the boom in industrial investment in the first half of the 1990s, in the wake of the relaxation of industrial regulation and controls, and why the boom petered out after the mid-1990s.

Structure and Growth of India's IT Exports

The policy initiatives taken to develop the information technology sector in India have yielded rich dividends in terms of exports and established the country's credibility in international IT markets. However, the focus has mainly been to promote IT as a foreign exchange earner. This paper looks at India's performance in software exports, the implications of this boom on the availability of skilled manpower in other competing sectors, and the possible threats to the sustained growth of software exports. To combat some of the negative offshoots of the current export-centric IT scenario, the authors say a proper incentive structure needs to be looked at, and the supply of technically skilled personnel enhanced. Most important of all, the diffusion of IT into other areas of the economy should be accelerated to help in the sustained growth of the sector.

Technological Innovation and Economic Development

This paper examines the trends in R and D expenditure in different areas between 1994-95 and 1999-2000 linking this expenditure with the economic importance of the areas. Based on this assessment some suggestions are made for fostering and supporting technological innovation that can lead to accelerated economic growth. A clear policy imperative is that proper measures must be taken to make Indian firms and industries more competitive in a global context. The analysis indicates that agriculture and mainstream industries are the major current drivers of the Indian economy. These are the areas where technology inputs can make India globally more competitive. Bridging the gaps between needs and technology and creating the right conditions for large-scale diffusion of such technologies is one of the great challenges facing Indian R and D.

Software Sector: Trends and Constraints

Based on a survey of software-related companies in major cities of India, the authors provide an analytical framework for examining the organisation and size of the Indian software industry. The analysis shows that the Indian software industry lacks diversification in types of export, and relies mainly on software services exports. It also suggests that while there exist significant opportunities for the industry to expand domestically and internationally, the realisation of such expansion depends on major reforms in infrastructure planning and regulatory rules.

Cargo Handling of Major Ports in India

This paper attempts to analyse the performance of major ports in India taking into account the absolute cargo handled by them during 1951-52 to 1992-93. A particular focus of the study is the Calcutta-Haldia Port in the same period, with a view to determining the reasons for its deteriorating performance.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis Dilemma: Strategies and Alternatives

Cost-benefit analysis has on the one hand been enlisted by decision-makers around the world as a way of justifying or scrutinising choices about whether to build dams, road, airports; what actions to take on global warming or biodiversity; to determine damages from oil spills; or redesign automobiles for safety. At the same time, grass roots opponents have contested the ways in which the technique values lands and natural resources, its neglect of equity issues and its incompatibility with many forms of reasoned negotiation. Engaged intellectuals have argued that the technique does not clarify but obscures rational deliberative processes involving plural values and is based on deeply controversial political theory. A conference held at Yale University in October 1999 brought together diverse professionals in an effort to better understand the nature of conflicts that CBA creates and how to cope with the political challenges posed by it. Presented here is a review of the proceedings followed by a selection of papers read and discussed at the conference.

Neoclassical Economics, Institutional Theory and Democracy

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a part of the neoclassical paradigm and is an example of the neoclassical ideology. But CBA is even more specific as an ideology. Proponents of the CBA approach insist that this tool can be used to evaluate alternatives in complex decision situations from the point of view of resource allocation. The CBA ideology is precise and ambitious with the promise of delivering what is best or an 'optimal' solution for society as a whole. These strong claims by advocates of CBA is at the heart of many of the disputes concerning decision-making in areas such as energy systems, dam construction and road planning. CBA exemplifies a tradition in science generally where only that which can be expressed in quantitative terms counts and where the scientist or analyst should be able to point out the 'best' alternative. Such a role for science and for the tools offered does not appear to go well with dominant ideas of democracy.

Scales, Tales and Tools

Anthropologists perceive that culture and economy are made up of multiple and sometimes inconsistent value domains. In the cost-benefit world, all values belong to a single sphere and can be compared on a seamless scale so that socio-economic choices can be made - the thesis of commensuration. In contrast, anthropological comparison suggests that people do not always commensurate in everyday life, and employ other tools for making social selections. This paper focusing on the assumptions and the economic world that cost-benefit analysis invokes, begins with an anthropological model of the economy and some problematics of the cost-benefit procedure, using some ethnographic tales to illustrate the problems and closes with suggestions for ways cost-benefit analysis might be used.

The Missing Girl Child

The Census 2001 has revealed some interesting and worrying features with regard to sex ratios which calls for some explanation. For example, the overall improvement in sex ratio in favour of females may be explained by the fact that female death rates have become lower than the male death rates. But the sex raio at birth (SRB) becoming more favourable to males has, however, influenced the overall sex ratio in the opposite direction, which is reflected in the adverse child sex ratio. Child sex ratios in Punjab and Haryana, especially with the adverse sex ratio at birth of point towards rampant practice of female foeticide along with a certain amount of infanticide in these two states. The fact that Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal both have registered an improvement in overall sex ratio between 1991 and 2001, but with the child sex ratio declining sharply requires a detailed probing. Interestingly all the states that have shown large declines in child sex ratio between 1991 and 2001 - Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Delhi - are economically well developed and have recorded a fairly high literacy rate. This is contrary to expectation and needs to be examined.

Timber Ban in North-East India

This paper looks at the impact of the Supreme Court ban on timber logging on the people of north-east India. Though the force of its impact is felt deeply across the entire region, the paper focuses on the state of Meghalaya, based on data collected from the villages of east and west Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills district. Given the common socio-economic conditions and political history of the region, insights derived from the state are significant to understand the experiences of the people in the other north-eastern states.


When we think about the value of something, we often focus on what we value or how much we value something. This paper argues that how we value is an important social and political relationship. Drawing on examples taken from art, federal water projects, and people's efforts to resist them, the author describes some of assumptions behind, and the consequences of, people's efforts to capture or convey value through processes of commensuration: the transforming of qualitative relations into a common metric. The effects of commensuration are complex and variable; as a strategy of valuing, commensuration can create new objects and new relationships between objects; it can systematically exclude certain kinds of valued goods, relations, or people. Commensuration as a means of integrating disparate values can also distort the nature of people's investments in politically potent ways.


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