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

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Civilisational Change: Markets and Privatisation among Indigenous Peoples

The paper deals with changes in the social and economic system of indigenous peoples upon integration into market systems. The change in production norms is not confined to elite accumulation but also results in a change at all levels, marking a civilisational change from a system based on stability to one based on accumulation. The new norms, however,come at the price of loss of guaranteed access to productive resources, the decline of traditional social welfare systems and the spread of commoditisation. Such a transition, however, need not be a surrender to laissez-faire or neo-liberal policies, but can deal with negativities, including increasing masculine domination. New forms of community and continued non-market access to critical resources, like land and forests, would allow for a greater spread of the benefits.

Education Guarantee Scheme and Primary Schooling in Madhya Pradesh

This paper presents the results of a field study of public schools in Betul and Dewas districts of Madhya Pradesh. The study aims to document the functioning of public schools, whether created by the Education Guarantee Scheme or not and to understand the consequences of the reforms on the links between education and rural society and on the development of private schools. While the results may not be representative of all of rural Madhya Pradesh, they provide an accurate picture of the situation in two areas atypical of the settings targeted by EGS, viz, adivasi villages and dalit hamlets.

Why Big Sell-Offs Irk Politicians

Dare one suggest that politicians could have good reasons to be wary of big-ticket privatisation? With their instinctual understanding of the polity, they might have a better sense of the 'agency' problems inherent in privatisation than the cerebral types who are forever running them down.

Privatisation: Compulsions and Options for Economic Reform

Privatisation is an evocative subject even in the developed economies. In a developing economy like India, with its tradition of successful and pervasive public intervention, it generates unique mind-blocks. Its implementation therefore requires persistent, persuasive zeal. However, the compulsions of ensuring higher levels of investment at progressively higher levels of efficiency and productivity require a complete restructuring of the economic environment. Low levels of public savings, inadequate competition and low export orientation are barriers which need to be transcended. Privatisation and liberalisation of the licensing regime for Foreign Direct Investment are two initiatives which can meet the objectives of efficiency enhancement, domestic and foreign resource mobilisation and incremental capital outlays. The pace of privatisation has quickened since 2000. The adoption of a strategy of block sale of government stock in identified PSEs to a strategic partner, along with transfer of management control, as opposed to market sale of shares in small lots, has enhanced the value received by the government through disinvestment. It also ensures that these assets are put to productive use in the most optimum time frame and with the maximum benefit. While it is too early to quantify such benefits, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence of significant welfare gains for employees, institutional investors and the economy, along with the quantifiable gains for government, from the additional resources freed by the sale of PSEs.

Bangladesh: Closure of Adamjee Jute Mills

The decline of the Adamjee Jute Mills goes back to as early as 1995, soon after a World Bank-Bangladesh government agreement envisaged wide-ranging changes in the jute sector involving closure, downsizing and privatisation of several mills and retrenchment of their workers. Adamjee's experience has found replication in numerous cases in the manufacturing sector, prompting renewed questions once again about adjustment programmes and who actually constitute its true beneficiaries.

Telecom: Policy Response to Change

In a country like India which is not yet telephone-saturated and ongoing changes in related areas are resulting in a rapidly changing profile of users, providers and their respective needs, continuous revision of the telecom policy is imperative. Given the emerging new technologies and the integrating economies there must be fairness among competitors.

Private Health Insurance and Health Costs

The IRDA Bill and the consequent opening up of the health insurance sector to foreign and private investors' raises several questions. Are Indians ready for private health insurance? Will there be demand from all sections of society? What would consumers look for when they 'purchase' insurance to cover future health risks, a concept hitherto non-existent in India? These are some of the questions this paper attempts to answer, based on data collected in Delhi from about 500 households. The study found a wide disparity across sections on willingness to participate. The challenges for the new system would be to pool individuals across risk and economic status categories; set up a multi-tier system to meet objectives of equity and efficiency in health care delivery and for planners and regulators, to keep health insurance separate from other non-health insurance.

Electricity Regulatory Commissions

Rationalisation of tariffs is perhaps the most important prerequisite of viability of the power sector. An important step was taken in this behalf in 1998 by enactment of a legislation for the setting up of the electricity regulatory commissions (ERCs) at the centre and in the states. But the experience of the functioning of the ERCs so far is far from satisfactory. It is now imperative that ERCs take a strong position and refuse to entertain the submissions of SEBs and licensees for tariff revisions till their reasonable directives are complied with. It is time the ERCs made full use of the penal powers available under the concerned legislation. For what is at stake is not only the viability and the future of the power sector but also the credibility of the ERCs

Public Sector Banks in India

An examination of the main arguments extended to build a case for privatisation of the public sector banks (PSBs) in India reveals that the arguments are based on (a) perceptions rather than factual analysis; (b) the use of partial information; and (c) evidence on international experience which is not unambiguous. It can be concluded that the case for privatisation of PSBs in India is not strong enough at least on the grounds usually proposed by the advocates of privatisation. Private sector banking would have a larger probability of crisis if the supporting legal and regulatory framework were not sound enough to insulate the systems from extraneous pressures. It may, therefore, be safer to maintain the public sector character of the banks till the conditions for privatisation are conducive enough.

Competitiveness through Privatisation

At a recent meet in Mumbai highlighting the disinvestment route taken by several countries in the developing world, Italian trade delegates to these countries emphasised the role of privatisation in opening up the economy as well as in helping the government raise resources.


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