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

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An Empirical Investigation of Real Farm Incomes across Indian States between 1987–88 and 2011–12

Using the unit-level data from various rounds of the Employment and Unemployment Survey of the National Sample Survey Office, the first consistent time series of the average real farm income per cultivator for 18 major Indian states for 1987–88, 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2004–05, 2007–08, 2009–10, and 2011–12 is presented. Using this data, two sets of issues are studied. First, how did real farm income evolve across these 18 Indian states? Which states have high levels and growth rates of real farm incomes? Is there any evidence for convergence of real farm incomes across Indian states? Evidence for unconditional convergence is found, which suggests that the states with relatively lower farm incomes have, on average, grown at relatively faster rates. But the tendency towards convergence has not been strong enough to change relative rankings of states (by real farm income per cultivator) in any significant way. Second, did the market-oriented reforms of agricultural marketing systems increase real farm incomes? It is found that market-oriented reforms did not increase real farm incomes.

Punjab’s Peasant Movements

Pagrhi Sambhal Lehar to Samyukt Kisan Morcha: A Century of Punjab Kisan Struggle 1907–2021 by Ronki Ram, Chandigarh: Unistar, 2022; pp 129, ` 595.

The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology

Farmers in developing countries have little voice in infl uencing agricultural research. However, they are not without political infl uence. The tension between these understandings is examined by investigating the importance of farmers in the political economy of genetically modifi ed crop approvals in India. The evidence shows that while farmers may not be important in shaping policy, they have the clout to defeat it.

Political and Electoral Dynamics in Punjab

Given the political churning taking place in Punjab, the electoral scene may remain quite fl uid until the votes are counted and perhaps even after the results are declared. Nevertheless, the current elections refl ect a clear decline of the earlier hegemonies, particularly of the landed aristocracy of the region, which has controlled state politics over the past fi ve decades or so.

Political Churning in Punjab before the Elections

The assembly elections are going to be held in Punjab in February 2022. All political parties are gearing up for it. The Congress party is facing internal conflicts, whereas the Akalis are making a new alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party after breaking their alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party due to the farmers’ agitation. The incumbent Congress government has failed to deliver in terms of its promises and development. Both the Akalis and the Congress will be heavily relying on their mass base. However, a big challenge has emerged in the form of the farmers’ agitation. The Aam Aadmi Party is still struggling with its agenda and organisational basis despite being the main opposition party. The standard parameters of prediction of an election result seem to be non-functional at this moment.

Repeal of the ‘Black Farm Laws’

Tracing the trajectory of the farmers’ movement against the farm laws, this article commends the victory of the farmers with the repeal of the black laws while also reflecting on the struggles that lie ahead.

The Ordinance Raj

The frequent promulgation of ordinances is detrimental for a constitutional democracy.

Foodstuffs Market Regulation

Despite several objections, the three farm laws, including the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, were enacted with full force by the union government. However, after more than a year of the farmers’ agitation, the government decided to withdraw these laws. The amended ECA had some contradictory provisions and, in sum, limited the scope for regulation by local/state/union governments. The present article discusses the provisions of the amended ECA and its impact on the scope for regulation of the foodstuffs market.

Indian Agriculture Over Time

Political Economy of Agricultural Development in India: Policies, Achievements and Concerns by Akina Venkateswarlu, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2021; pp xvii + 554, ₹1,695.

Lessons in Democracy

The government’s retreat on farm laws cannot be seen in isolation from the farmers’ commitment to democracy.

Farmers’ Solidarity in the Wake of UP Elections

Recognising social and political fissures amidst a call for unity is essential.

Development and the Farmer

The consensus against the farmers’ struggle grants them the space to have doubts and apprehensions, but no civic or intellectual agency to seriously question the legitimacy and reliability of the vision of the future embedded in the new laws.

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