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

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Pa Ranjith’s ‘Kaala’ and the Dalit-Left Revolution to Come

Kaala embodies the confusion and contradictions of the contemporary subaltern politics. It is conscious of the need for solidarity between the Dalit–Bahujan and the left, yet it cannot imagine what form it will take.

Seeing Mumbai through Its Hinterland

The “money in the city, votes in the countryside” dynamic meant that in the past, agrarian propertied classes wielded enough power to draw capital and resources from cities into the rural hinterland. However, as cities cease to be mere sites of extraction, agrarian elites have sought new terms of inclusion in contemporary India’s market-oriented urban growth, most visible in the endeavour of the political class to facilitate the entry of the “sugar constituency” into Mumbai’s real estate markets.

Distortions in Land Markets and Their Implications for Credit Generation in India

Data shows that land is collateral in a large proportion of loans in India. Yet, the several structural, regulatory, and information-driven distortions that afflict Indian land markets force lenders to adopt conservative policies ex ante, affecting both the availability of credit and the collateralisation of land. The paper examines some of these distortions and highlights their significance to the current debate on reforming bankruptcy framework in India. The first part of the paper discusses structural, regulatory, and informational gaps that limit lenders’ ability to lend against land as well as recovery after default. In the second part, some opportunistic and structural reforms in the land markets that could effectively monetise land in credit markets have been proposed.

The Making of Poverty

Labour, State and Society in Rural India: A Class-relational Approach by Jonathan Pattenden; Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016; pp xiv + 2 00, £75 (hardbound).

Migration, Bachelorhood and Discontent among the Patidars

Juxtaposing data collected in the 1950s with data from 2013, this paper describes some of the consequences of a crisis of agriculture in India as a crisis of values and aspirations. Among a relatively prosperous Patidar community in western India, agriculture continues to be economically remunerative while farmers are considered poor. Instead, the ability to secure a job away from land, to move out of the village and possibly overseas have come to constitute new markers of status in a traditionally competitive society. The paper departs from common representations of the caste as an upwardly mobile and successful group, and focuses instead on the discontent and on those who try to achieve the new values of the caste, but fail. As a consequence of failure it shows how Patidars recur to what, from an outsider's point of view, may seem paradoxical: in order to "move up" and participate in the culture and economy of the caste, they have to "move down." In this respect, the paper also contributes to understanding the unevenness of India's growth and the contrary trends that work both to strengthen and weaken caste identity.

Importance of Landowning Non-cultivating Households

There is an increasing importance of landowning households that do not cultivate and a significant presence of urban households owning rural land, which constrains the growth of the agrarian economy, as such households have low incentives to invest in agriculture, and tend to use land for residential purposes, reducing the cropped area. Agricultural labour households tend to lease in land and become cultivators.

How Kerala is Destroying its Wetlands

The amendment to the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008 is one in a series of environmentally detrimental decisions that the Kerala government has taken. The state urgently needs to factor in ecological rationale in decision-making and conserve paddy fields and weltlands for the long term health of the state.

Doubling Farmers' Incomes by 2022

How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022? Is there a precedent? From estimates of change in income of agricultural households over the period 2003-13, this article suggests what needs to be done to achieve a doubling of real incomes. A focus on income from cultivation alone will be inadequate. Policy aimed at increasing net income from animal farming will be key.

Muthanga: The Real Story

The tragic events at Muthanga in Kerala earlier this year were a culmination of adivasi frustrations over the failure of successive governments in the state to restore adivasi land despite several judicial directives and the existence of laws enacted for the purpose, such as the KSA Act of 1975. Instead attempts were made to amend the act which was later wholly repealed. The protest of the adivasis at Muthanga met with brutal repression by the government. But chastened by the public anger at the police action, the government now remains immobilised in the face of a series of fresh land occupations by adivasis in the Kerala part of the Western Ghats. If the government were to handover the land in Muthanga to the adivasis and make other lands available to landless adivasi families and bring all adivasi regions under Schedule V of Article 244 which provides for participatory self-rule and autonomy, it would herald a new era in adivasi history.

Land Distribution among Scheduled Castes and Tribes

In recognition of the basic proposition that scheduled castes and tribes are the most disadvantaged in respect to land, which largely accounts for their perpetual poverty and makes them vulnerable to injustice and exploitation, attempts have been made by the union and state governments to promote and protect their rights with regard to the control and use of land. Based on 13 major states, the present study shows that even after 50 years of planned initiatives and policy measures, there has not been substantial improvement in the landholding status of scheduled groups, and in some states, it has declined further.

Russia - Land Code: Compromise on Ownership

The Russian parliament last month approved the Land Code Bill, allowing limited private ownership of land for agriculture. The bill has strong dissenters, including the communist and agrarian parties, who have raised several important objections to the private ownership of agricultural land. Russia has to promote private ownership of land if it is to achieve its objectives of establishing a market economy and lure greater investment in agriculture. However, the government needs to ensure that such privatisation is not misused, benefiting a few at the cost of the larger interests of the country
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