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

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Towards an Alternative Indian Tea Economy

The Indian tea economy is undergoing acute transformations, with the divestment of tea companies from plantations leaving thousands of plantation workers jobless, and small tea growers struggling with a general lack of knowledge and their dependency on bought leaf factories and intermediaries. A review of the current trends in the Indian tea market and two alternative sites in Darjeeling indicates the potential of solidary enterprises and also exposes the difficulties these groups face to emancipate themselves from the colonial-style tea companies.

Converting Urban Cooperative Banks into Commercial Banks

The debate around the conversion of Scheduled Urban Cooperative Banks into commercial banks warrants an investigation into their performance. The larger objective is to examine whether SUCBs are able to compete with their peer group and remain viable when subjected to stringent regulatory requirements, in the event of their conversion. The performance of SUCBs as a group is comparable with that of their peer group, that is, old private sector banks, with the exception of non-performing assets. Performance rankings reveal that the smaller SUCBs are better performers than larger ones, calling for a relook at the threshold for conversion. In the event of conversion of SUCBs into commercial banks, some of the converted entities will be as good as some of the existing OPSBs, or may even be a shade better.

Cooperatising Medical Care

Andhra Pradesh government's move to transfer the running of government hospitals to cooperative societies is not based on the actual experience of the working of medical cooperatives in India. The sustainability and cost-effectiveness of health cooperatives are yet to be studied systematically. Kerala's experience at any rate is distinctly discouraging.

D R Gadgil on Cooperative Commonwealth

The cooperative system that was put into operation in the country as a result of the recommendations of the Committee of Direction of the Rural Credit Survey in the middle of the 1950s has, after a couple of decades of positive results, run into difficulties and steadily declined. Many administrators and others in discussions blame that committee and D R Gadgil in particular for the scheme where the state was made a partner in the cooperative enterprise, resulting in rigid mechanical procedures, heavy subsidies - overt or implicit - and bureaucratisation on the one hand and politicisation on the other. How objective and fair is this assessment?
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