Food and Agriculture

A Simple Arithmetic
25 May, 2017, Prabhat Patnaik
The advance GDP estimates for 2016-17, however calculated,show a grim picture of the economy. The real per capita income of the agriculture-dependent population, which constitutes half the country's populace, has remained stagnant or even marginally declined during the three years of the Modi government. While the pursuit of neoliberal policies can be held responsible for this, treating the aggregate growth as a “great achievement” for political mileage is unwarranted.
Agribusiness: Consolidating against the farmer
04 October, 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar
American seed major Monsanto’s aggression shows that the mega merger movement in the global agribusiness area is less about cutting costs and more about protecting profits.
The Pulses Conundrum
29 September, 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
As inflation in the prices of pulses gives way to a price decline, a misplaced argument that the government should not regulate the private trade to curb speculation and stabilise prices is being expressed.
25 Years of Economic Reforms: Agriculture
27 July, 2016, Jayati Ghosh
The inability to resolve the pressing concerns with respect to food production, distribution and availability is one of the important failures of the entire economic reform process.
When Commodity Prices Fall
26 April, 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The decline in primary commodity prices over the past four years particularly last year, shows that financialisation of commodities has amplified and exaggerated instabilities and fluctuations.
Growth, Imports and Inequality: Explaining the persistently high trade deficit in India
31 December, 2015, Zico Dasgupta & Subhanil Chowdhury
This paper provides an explanation of the asymmetric relationship between the GDP growth rate and the trade deficit and looks at the mechanism through which the trade deficit in India has increased.
The Dismal State of Rural India
10 July, 2015, Prabhat Patnaik
The recently released socio economic and caste census paints a dismal picture of rural India where more than half of the total rural households survive on manual casual labour.
The Beleaguered Indian Farmer
24 June, 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The forecast of a poor monsoon is a real bad news for the Indian farmers as it would not only reduce crop production leading to shortages but also encourage speculative holding.
How Food was Moved to the Margins of the New Household Budget
29 May, 2015, Rahul Goswami
An enquiry into the private consumption expenditure indicates that a huge majority of India’s population are experiencing food insecurity in one or several forms.
Agriculture in Crisis
01 April, 2015, Jayati Ghosh
India is on the brink of a major agricultural crisis resulting from natural causes and poor policy of the present government in the field of agriculture and social sector.
Unseen Workers: Women in Indian agriculture
01 April, 2015, Jayati Ghosh
Although women play a pivotal role in Indian agriculture, it is amazing to see how their work goes unnoticed in the public domain.
How Not to Treat Agriculture
19 March, 2015, Jayati Ghosh
The Union Budget 2015 indicates that the government is going beyond what could be called benign neglect of agriculture to policy moves that are likely to harm its viability.
Revisiting Rural Indebtedness
05 February, 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The distribution of rural credit disbursement is skewed and biased towards the rich and warrants better access to all sections for improved capital formation in agriculture.
The RBI Governor's Unwarranted Remarks
02 January, 2015, Prabhat Patnaik
Dr. Rajan's criticism of the debt-waiver scheme for farmers underscores the fact that "social banking" gets progressively eliminated in the era of neo-liberalism.
India Concludes Bilateral Agreement with US, Agrees to an Indefinite 'Peace Clause'
17 November, 2014, Biswajit Dhar
By making a bilateral agreement with the US, India is able to avert any challenge to its food security programme for now, but the programme will be under WTO surveillance.
The Cotton Conundrum
24 October, 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
China’s decision to liquidate its large raw cotton stocks accumulated as part of a policy of supporting domestic production is hurting the world’s cotton exporters.
India Faces Criticism for Blocking Global Trade Deal, But is it Justified?
09 September, 2014, Jayati Ghosh
Contrary to wider perception, the bigger risk to the multilateral trading system comes from the developed world failing to listen to the concerns of developing countries.
Budget 2014-15: The continuing neglect of the 'rural'
04 August, 2014, Arindam Banerjee
The Budget fails to address the real issues and problems of a crisis-ridden agriculture sector, while expanding expenditure to support farmers and workers is the only way out.
The Last Straw
23 May, 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The possibility of a fall in India’s agricultural production due to the El Niño effect gives rise to a possibility of worsening stagflation.
The Offensive against Transfers to the Poor
22 May, 2014, Prabhat Patnaik
The demand by corporate magnates to roll back the relief measures for the poor is nothing but an expression of the class animosity of corporate capital towards the working poor.
The Food Price Rise Acceleration in Rural India
31 December, 2013, Rahul Goswami
For crop cultivators and rural labour, the CPI – a measure of the rise in the food prices – is showing an accelerated upward trend, particularly October 2011 onwards.
Credit and Capital Formation in Agriculture: A Growing Disconnect
21 November, 2013, Pallavi Chavan
Capital formation in agriculture in recent past suffered due to overemphasis on short-term and indirect credit, but this may prove to be costly for future sectoral growth.
Contract Farming: Recipe for crisis
11 July, 2013, Jayati Ghosh
The Indian Government believes allowing private corporate intervention will help resolve all problems in agriculture despite contradictory evidences from past experiences.
Locked into Business
10 July, 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Despite the numerous problems associated with it, the Indian government has been encouraging and facilitating contract farming practice as part of its liberalisation drive.
India's Watered-down Food Bill Won't Really Benefit its Hungry Millions
25 June, 2013, Jayati Ghosh
India's ruling Congress party has failed to deliver on an election pledge to bring in a law that would help deliver food security.
The Changing Pattern of Food Inflation in India
25 June, 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The authors investigate the structure of food inflation during the years of the UPA government and consider what it suggests about the management of the food economy in India.
What Census 2011 Reveals about Our Growers and Their Land
05 June, 2013, Rahul Goswami
The change in the number of cultivators and agricultural labourers provided by Census 2011 should help us recognise the growing impacts on food security caused by urbanisation.
More Farmers or Fewer?
13 May, 2013, Rahul Goswami
The consequences of western Maharashtra’s urbanisation on the food security of the 14 districts that have sent rural workers to that region are yet to be recognised.
Food Price Transmission in India: The case of wheat
30 April, 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The general tendency among Indian policy makers is to blame international price movements for the rise in prices of essential food items in India, which is actually not true.
The Political Economy of Indian Food Exports
02 April, 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The article discusses the political economy configurations that permit rising grain exports from India, even as domestic food prices spiral out of the reach of ordinary people.
Of False Premises, Faulty Reportage and Declining Hunger: Unraveling the enigma
30 January, 2013, M Kumaran & Biraj Swain
The official assessment about India making progress in addressing hunger, nutrition and poverty over last two decades, do not match the ground realities.
The Cost of Food Security
22 January, 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The argument of inadequate food supplies and burden on the government’s budget that is advanced against universal food security programme is shocking and without much basis.
From District to Town: The movement of food and food providers alike
08 January, 2013, Rahul Goswami
Policy obsession with urbanisation is changing the nature of crop production and food consumption in India as seen in the shifts in district rural-urban population balances.
India's Triumph in Rice
26 December, 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The argument that the Indian government’s decision to lift the four-year ban on non-basmati rice exports was a wise move is both inappropriate and premature.
Wages of Neglect
14 December, 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
While monsoon-dependence contributed to the long-term worsening trend of Indian agriculture, that dependence and the decline in productivity is the result of long-term neglect.
Food World
17 October, 2012, Jayati Ghosh
The globalised fast-food culture encourages a wasteful and unhealthy pattern of food consumption that is detrimental to health of people in developing and developed countries.
FDI in Retail: Benefiting neoliberalism, harming people
26 September, 2012, Subhanil Chowdhury
The decision of the UPA government to open up the retail sector in the country to FDI is an example of the basic fallacy in the ‘growth fetishism’ of the votaries of neo-liberalism. While the government argues that this move will generate investor confidence in the Indian economy and lead the country to high growth, in reality the problems of the common people- deprivation, poverty and hunger- far from being ameliorated will actually be intensified.
India's Supermarket Move Shows its Tired Government has Run Out of Ideas
21 September, 2012, Jayati Ghosh
Opening up India’s retail sector to western supermarkets will lead to exploitation of small producers and adverse employment effects. Despite vehement opposition the government insists on pushing through this reform, a move that speaks of a tired regime which has run out of ideas.
Another Looming Food Crisis
25 July, 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The possibility of another global food crisis facing the world brings with it questions about what exactly is causing these crazy fluctuations in global food prices. Arguably, it is not changes in ‘real’ conditions that are behind these price fluctuations. Rather, it is the role played by rumour, and therefore by the media in altering expectations that can explain, to a large extent, the recent spike in food prices.
The Growth Model has Come Undone
12 July, 2012, Mritiunjoy Mohanty
The government’s argument that India’s economic slowdown is the result of the global situation and related uncertainty is only partly true. The deeper reason is the unravelling of the underlying growth model — partly due to the greatly increased import dependence of the manufacturing sector and partly because the investment subsidy that Indian companies enjoyed due to the under-pricing of assets is no longer feasible.
Food and Agriculture: Trends in India into the early Twelfth Plan period
23 April, 2012, Rahul Goswami
The transformation taking place in India's agriculture and crop cultivation choices is brought about by a few key factors that have begun to heavily influence the patterns of crop cultivation, the movement of food through India and the effect of these on nutrition on different income classes in rural and urban habitats. In this view, foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and the influence of the retail food industry is linked with climate change impacts and the proposed genetic engineering solutions; the combining of agriculture, health and nutrition is aided by pro-technology policies and consumption geared for urbanising India; and the domination by the USA of the crop science, research agenda and market reform process is still evident. These factors are responsible for the repetition of the misdiagnosis of impending hunger in the country by the Government of India as being a consequence of a lack of food, to be tackled today, and tackled exclusively by technological means.
The Great Fuel Subsidy Hoax
20 March, 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
In his Budget Speech, the Finance Minister signalled his intent to reduce subsidies, particularly the fuel subsidy, by an estimated Rs 25,000 crore. In this article, the authors consider the retail prices of petrol and diesel in India relative to some other countries, and examine the validity of the claim that the petroleum sector is actually a burden on the exchequer.
Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Urban India
28 February, 2012,
This report is an update of Food Insecurity Atlas of Urban India that was developed by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in October 2002 and a companion exercise to the Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Rural India of 2001. Reviewing the relative position of the major states with respect to food security, the Report reveals an alarming situation of a permanent food and nutrition emergency in urban India. Hence in order to promote food and nutrition security for all, the Report offers certain policy recommendations emphasizing that urban food security is impacted by the macroeconomic policies and therefore, economic reforms needs to be re-formed to provide inclusive urban development.
Concentration in Global Food Markets
14 February, 2012, Jayati Ghosh
The growing power of multinational firms within the global food system has implications for both producers and consumers of food and it poses serious threats to global food security. Therefore, enforcement of some regulation and control is necessary to prevent concentration of market power in the hands of a few large retailers that leads to various malpractices.
From Food Security to Food Justice
07 February, 2012, Ananya Mukherjee
Millions of Indians suffer from the twin violence of hunger and injustice. However, most of the Indian governments are neither willing nor able to deliver food justice. Therefore, the need of the hour is the devolution of power and resources to the local level so that with their knowledge of local needs and situations they can create a just food economy, as has been shown by the women in Kerala.
Retail Rollback
26 December, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Permitting FDI in retail trade, wherein a few oligopolistic buyers would come to dominate the retail trade, will lead to adverse employment effects and an erosion of real incomes of small crop producers.
Multinational Retail Firms in India
12 December, 2011, Jayati Ghosh
The actual impact of large corporate retail, and especially multinational retail chains, in developing countries clearly shows that many of the claims made by proponents of such corporate retailing – in terms of employment generation or benefits to producers and consumers – are suspect or sometimes completely false.
Retrogression in Retail
01 December, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Permitting FDI in retail trade, wherein a few oligopolistic buyers would come to dominate the retail trade, will lead to adverse employment effects and an erosion of real incomes of small crop producers.
Karuturistan, Ethiopia: The fire next time?
21 October, 2011, Alemayehu G Mariam
Karuturi is an Indian MNC that currently owns 2,500 sq km of virgin fertile land in Gambala Ethiopia where it practices corporate farming. The project has not only displaced local inhabitants from their homeland, they are also impoverishing the local community by bringing in farmers from India and thereby denying local people the right to livelihood. The produce is meant to be exported to the international market, whereas Eithopia is one of the largest recipients of foreign food aid.
Evading an Inflation Cure
07 September, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The changing responses of the government to persisting inflation suggest that the government has given up on the task of curbing inflation and expects that people would learn to live with the phenomenon and adjust. Thus the focus on the long-run supply constraints in agriculture as being the reason for the recent inflationary surge is to evade rather than address the problem of inflation.
Grabbing Global Farmland
07 September, 2011, Jayati Ghosh
It is essential to fight the irresponsible and exploitative behavior manifested by Indian companies involved in the recent trend in large-scale overseas acquisitions of farmland and the undemocratic processes underlying these land grabs. Without this, the struggle for greater economic justice within India will also be undermined.
India's Role in the New Global Farmland Grab: An examination of the role of the Indian government and Indian companies engaged in overseas agricultural land acquisitions in developing countries
23 August, 2011, Rick Rowden
This report explores the role of Indian agricultural companies that have been involved in the recent trend in large-scale overseas acquisitions of farmland. In addition to examining the various factors driving the ''outsourcing'' of domestic food production, the report also explores the negative consequences of such a trend. It looks at why critics have called the trend ''land grabbing'' and reviews the impacts on local peoples on the ground, who are often displaced in the process.
Food Prices, Health and Nutrition: Red-flag indicators for the 12th Plan
17 August, 2011, Rahul Goswami
The long-term impacts of food inflation on the rural and urban poor are yielding worrying indicators in India's nutrition and health sectors. Analysing new data from the NSSO's 66th Round and recent trends in retail food prices, the author establishes that households in the lower deciles of consumption in both rural and urban areas have been hurt the most by the steep rise in the real retail prices of cereals during 2003 to 2009-10.
Food Price Transmission in South Asia
14 June, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The recent increase in global food prices has once again set off alarm signals in developing countries, especially in South Asia, where food inflation has been a major problem for some years now. Evidence from South Asian countries corroborates the fact that domestic factors do play a role in the international transmission; while rising global prices put upward pressure on domestic prices in a much rapid manner, its downward movements are less rapidly or effectively transmitted and often do not have any such impact.
Industrialising India’s Food Flows: An analysis of the food waste argument
23 May, 2011, Rahul Goswami
From the mid-term appraisal of the Eleventh Five Year plan onwards, central government ministries have been telling us that post-harvest losses in India are high, particularly for fruits and vegetables.
Why West Bengal Needs a Left Government
04 April, 2011, Jayati Ghosh
It is not only for taking forward the struggle for democracy but also the successful achievements of the Left government in the areas of land distribution and health that West Bengal should have a government headed by a revitalised Left Front. It is essential to consolidate these achievements and move forward, rather than allow them to be dissipated or even reversed.
The Transmission of Global Food Prices
22 March, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
Clearly, we are back in another phase of sharply rising global food prices, which is wreaking further devastation on populations in developing countries that have already been ravaged by several years of rising prices and falling employment chances.
The Onion Price Rise: What actually made us cry?
21 February, 2011, Ann Mary John
It is unfair to hold only supply side factors responsible for the upswings in onion prices. Food price inflation can be seen to have been caused by the government's action (inaction) and not by the emerging domestic demand or the unfortunate supply side conditions alone.
Is the MNREGS Affecting Rural Wages?
04 February, 2011, Jayati Ghosh
Despite numerous problems with the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Scheme has borne some positive results. Ironically, the moderate success of the Scheme in improving the conditions and bargaining power of rural labour, including that of women workers, has now become another source of its criticism.
Food Prices and Distribution Margins in India
03 February, 2011, Jayati Ghosh
To look at corporate retail as the solution to the current food price increase seems to be foolish as the recent evidence on distribution margins indicates that the countrywide share of corporate retail in food distribution is estimated to have tripled in the past four years and the retail food prices have shown the greatest increase. Instead, creating a viable and effective public distribution system in essential commodities is an immediate requirement.
Policy Paralysis and Inflation
03 February, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The price trends over the last one-and-a-half years suggest that inflation is being driven by factors which are structurally embedded in the economic environment generated by the government's neoliberal reform agenda adopted for two decades now. Further, neoliberal thinking is leading not only to policy paralysis and absurd reasoning, but also to policy responses that are contrary to what is needed.
Diluting the Right to Food
02 February, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
In its task of formulating the Food Security Bill, the National Advisory Council has ended up recognizing the supply constraints that could hinder implementation of the bill which guarantees universal access to food through a public distribution system.
(Un)Common Suffering: Distributional impact of recent inflation in India
06 January, 2011, Rajarshi Majumder & Subhadip Ghosh
Recent inflation in India is special both because of its peaks and its persistence. It is argued that unlike during 2008-09, recent inflation is due to structural problems. Further, a distributional analysis reveals that its impact is not shared equally. People in the lower income groups have been facing uncommon difficulties, as their purchasing power seems to have been halved over the last four years.
Food Inflation and Agricultural Swaraj
03 January, 2011, Rahul Goswami
The price of a basket of staple foods has become crippling in rural and urban India. The government's response is to favour agri-commodity markets, greater retail investment and more technology inputs. For food growers and consumers alike, the need for genuine farm swaraj has never been greater.
Hunger: The true growth story in India
21 December, 2010,
Although many of the policies needed for ensuring genuine food security of the people of India are in place, they require more public resources and genuinely inclusive and empowering approach. The specter of hunger in India, the authors contend, will drive some of the more painful policy changes and the associated processes and can help the different policy areas cohere to ensure universal food and nutrition.
From Field to Fork: Obama's agri recipe for India
03 December, 2010, Rahul Goswami
The signing of the ‘India-US Agriculture Dialogue’ is not about food security and fair trade but about support to the USA's National Export Initiative. US President Obama's farm mission has been a very important part of his India visit. The implications for India's food sovereignty and food flows must be fully known.
Food Security sans PDS: Universalization through targeting?
08 November, 2010, Smita Gupta
The obvious strategy to tackle hunger and malnutrition is to universalize and strengthen the Public Distribution System (PDS) by making adequate food available at affordable prices. The argument is more compelling for India where endemic hunger continues to badly affect a large section of people. It is therefore time that the NAC and the Government stop putting forward specious arguments against a universal bill, and instead use the current food stocks and the forthcoming rabi crop as an opportunity for full-fledged food security.
Is Food Inflation finally coming down?
02 November, 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The past three years have witnessed a period of very rapid and sustained increase in food prices, which has very significantly affected the living standards of the bulk of the Indian population. Food price inflation has been in double digits for an extended period, and all the declared policies of the government have done little to reduce it.
Making a Mess of the Food Security Bill
09 September, 2010, Jayati Ghosh
The NAC draft bill has come as an unwelcome surprise as instead of altering the divisive and unfair division of people into BPL beneficiaries and others who would be excluded from public distribution, it reinforces the division. In fact, in pushing for a greatly truncated and extremely exclusionary PDS system, the draft effectively undermines the PDS itself.
Managing the Food Economy
07 August, 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The National Advisory Council’s proposal for a system of targeted universalisation will simply limit the impact of the PDS. The proposal is based on the grounds of constrained supply whereas in reality there seems to be excess stockholding by the government which can be utilised to ensure access to food as well as widen and deepen the productive base in the agricultural sector.
Engineered Inflation
02 August, 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar
With prices of essentials already on the rise, the move to hike petroleum product prices threatens to make inflation the country’s principal economic problem. This will have serious future implications with an aggravation of inflationary trends that currently burden the common person, and the success of the July 5 bandh was a reflection of a strong public expression of anger and opposition to the move. But why the government is adopting such policies that transfer most of the burden onto the aam aadmi and aggravate inflation need to be assessed.
Shrinking Cereals, Growing Food Parks
04 May, 2010, Rahul Goswami
Although controlling food inflation and ensuring food security to the population are two major concerns of the government at present, data and reports of various studies show very little improvement on both fronts. On the contrary, the increasing corporatisation of food production, procurement, movement and distribution is contributing to household food insecurity, particularly amongst the rural and urban poor.
The Political Economy of the Enabling State
10 March, 2010, Jayati Ghosh
While this year’s Economic Survey identifies the basic goal of economic policy as inclusive growth, this is to be delivered by a change in focus to an enabling government from an actively interventionist one. This vision excludes the possibility that the process of market-driven economic growth itself generates greater material insecurity and impoverishment for a significant section of the population.
Controlling Food Prices
23 February, 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
As usual when the Union Budget is presented, all eyes will be on the Finance Minister and his speech will be thoroughly scanned for all the implications on the economy. But this time, there is one particular reason why ordinary citizens will be specially focussed on the Budget: the hope that the Government is finally going to act decisively to contain food price inflation.
Are we Heading for Another Global Primary Commodity Price Surge?
13 January, 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
Well before the financial crisis broke out so violently in the US and caused ripple effects all over the world, most people in developing countries were already reeling under the effects of dramatic volatility in global food and fuel markets.
Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Rural India
23 November, 2009,
This Report is an update of the Rural Food Insecurity Atlas of 2001 released by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Since then, numerous new programmes have been initiated by the central and state governments for achieving food security in the country. Giving a broad indicative picture of the level of food insecurity in different states and the operation of the nutrition safety net programmes, the Report concludes that the State has to play a crucial role in enhancing foodgrain output, ensuring the widest access to food through expansion of livelihood opportunities and promoting biological utilisation through appropriate investments in public health measures.
How Expensive is Food Security?
09 September, 2009, Jayati Ghosh
The poor monsoons and prevailing drought conditions mean that ensuring genuine food security to the population is the most important task before the central government. The maximal possible estimate shows that providing subsidised food to all households is actually not too expensive. Therefore, if the central government is actually serious about ensuring real food security in the country, it has to consider certain necessary and also eminently doable measures.
The Threat of Drought-driven Inflation
24 August, 2009, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
With just a few weeks to go before the Southwest monsoon retreats, it seems almost certain that the deficiency in rainfall would be such as to constitute a drought.
Securing Food for the People
05 August, 2009, Jayati Ghosh
Food security is currently one of the most important policy areas which call for a wide range of government interventions. The government’s approach to the problem should be multi-pronged and has to extend beyond a legal promise. A food security law would be meaningful only when it guarantees universal access and meets every citizen’s nutritional requirements.
Inflation Fears and Commodity Prices
30 June, 2009, Jayati Ghosh
Even as the global downturn continues to cause trade flows to decline, and jobs to be lost, there may be upward pressure on certain prices in the near future. However, unlike the monetarist arguments, the reasons for the inflationary spiral lie not in fiscal expansion or in supply-demand mismatch. Instead, they reflect the continuing possibility that financial speculation can cause sharp changes in the prices of commodities in the world market.
Global Crisis and Commodity Prices
31 December, 2008, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
As an extraordinary year draws to a close, all that is clear for the future is that very little is clear. In the global economy, many processes that were unleashed during this period are yet to unfold fully, and their future direction is dependent upon several imponderables, not least of which is the strength of the policy response to the ongoing financial crisis and economic recession.
Signs of Stagflation
26 September, 2008, C.P. Chandrasekhar
There is fear that India may have crossed a turning point, with growth in the future likely to be below the creditable 9 per cent per annum trajectory achieved over the last five years. Some features of growth performance during the first quarter, like the slowdown in agricultural and industrial growth and the continuing dependence on service led growth do give cause for such concern. The situation is more disconcerting since it occurs in the context of sharp inflation exceeding 12 per cent on an annualised basis.
Land Reforms in West Bengal and Public Perceptions
28 August, 2008, Jayati Ghosh
The ground realities of the turmoil surrounding Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal are very different from what has been portrayed by the media. Ironically, it is the same media that chooses to remain silent on compulsory acquisition of land by other states and far worse treatment meted out to the peasantry.
WTO: One More Failure
07 August, 2008, C.P. Chandrasekhar
On July 29, a meeting of ministerial representatives of a large group of members of the World Trade Organisation ended without result. The meeting itself should not have been held in the first place. It was unscheduled, and was convened to clinch a deal on the modalities that should govern the Doha Round of trade negotiations, even though there was no evidence that members were anywhere near agreement in a number of areas that mattered.
Two Instruments by Name Kalawati and Sasikala
28 July, 2008, R. Ramakumar
One of the most discussed speeches in the debate on the trust motion in the Loksabha was Rahul Gandhi's. Arguing that "energy security is directly related to poverty", Rahul Gandhi pitched in for the deal in the name of two widows from suicide-stricken Vidarbha – Kalawati and Sasikala.
Farmers' Suicides in India: Magnitudes, Trends and Spatial Patterns
03 May, 2008, K. Nagaraj
Given the very large number of suicides by farmers in various parts of India over the last decade, there is a need to probe the issue by utilizing a data source which would provide a comprehensive, nation-wide picture. This paper is a modest attempt to fill that gap. Its basic objective is to put together, and carry out a preliminary analysis on, the secondary data that are available on farmers' suicides in the country. The paper studies, first, the magnitude and trends in farmers' suicides in India over 1997-2006; and second, the regional patterns, if any, in the incidence and trends in these suicides.
The New Enclosure Movement
15 March, 2008, Jayati Ghosh
A large part of the rural area around Delhi and other big cities has been converted from farmland into more pieces of attractive real estate in a portfolio of land holding. In the process, the attributes of the villages of these formerly completely rural areas are changing fast, not only in terms of ownership and cultivation patterns, but also in terms of the material means of support of the local population and their lifestyles. This also implies significant changes in the nature and options for employment for the local population.
Addressing Social Concerns
10 March, 2008, Jayati Ghosh
The main issues in this year's economic strategy of the government, especially the intentions as signalled in this year's Budget proposals remain the same as that of 2004. These are employment, the agrarian crisis, nutrition and food security, education, health and social security. In each of these areas, the UPA government promised much. However, the delivery has not only been far below the promises, but in some cases even worse than the previous government.
Why can't we Feed our People?
05 February, 2008, Jayati Ghosh
There is a strong though complex relationship between violence against women and economic processes. This means that the evidence of increasing violence against women in India in the past decade must have something to do with the very rapid economic changes that have also been so apparent over this period. Adverse employment and economic conditions, especially in rural areas has increased the pressure on women. There is also a strong undercurrent of violence in the recent economic processes which often target women.
Wheat Inflation and India
12 December, 2007, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
Having decided to import wheat in sequential lots to beef up its reserve, the government finds that it is having to pay continuously rising prices for the commodity. According to reports, as compared with the weighted average price of $205 per tonne paid for wheat imported in 2006-07, the average price paid on tenders floated on June 26, August 30 and November 12, 2007 was $326, $389 and $400 per tonne respectively.
Agriculture's Role in Contemporary Development
23 May, 2007, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The evidence of an acceleration in GDP growth in India increases, aided on occasion by periodic revisions in the base year used for constructing the estimates. While the factors accounting for this acceleration are still being debated, another unusual feature of this growth since the 1980s has received less attention:
Indian Economy in the Era of Contemporary Globalisation: Some Core Elements of the Balance Sheet
17 May, 2007, Praveen Jha & Mario Negre
In recent years, the 'official' India has been patting itself on account of accelerated economic growth rates and the presumed progress in poverty reduction. However, as this paper argues, the recent economic growth has been extremely lopsided; more than ever before. Further, large sections of the country's population continue to suffer, very acutely, with reference to a whole range of development deficits. This paper is an attempt to sketch a snapshot of India's economic growth performance, along with some of the major development deficits it is facing.
Is Contract Farming Really the Solution for Indian Agriculture?
15 May, 2007, Jayati Ghosh
Contract farming is increasingly being presented as a solution for the problems of Indian agriculture, by major international donor agencies, multinational companies and even the government. It is argued that private sector participation will be promoted through contract farming and land leasing arrangements will allow accelerated technology transfer, capital inflow and assured markets for crop production, especially of oilseeds, cotton and horticultural crops.
The Progress of "Reform" and the Retrogression of Agriculture
25 April, 2007, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The consequence of recent structural shifts is that the Indian economy can record the observed creditable rates of non-inflationary growth of aggregate GDP even when its agricultural sector languishes. It appears that a feature of the growth process in a more open and liberalised environment is that the peasantry has a much smaller a role in sustaining economic growth and can thus be partially excluded from development. What is disconcerting is that the self-correcting mechanism that existed in the earlier period to restore a semblance of balance between agricultural and non-agricultural growth are no more operative.
Some Aspects of the Well-Being of India's Agricultural Labour in the Context of Contemporary Agrarian Crisis
22 February, 2007, Praveen Jha
This paper explores why the official poverty estimates show low levels as well as decline in poverty in India over the 1990s, whereas all other economic and social indicators suggest that absolute poverty is high. The former do not capture the true picture because the official method involves the 'fallacy of equivocation'. It is also argued that when actual rural poverty is as high as nearly four-fifths of the population and poverty depth is increasing with a higher proportion of people being pushed down into lower nutritional status, there is an urgent need to revert to a demand-driven universal public distribution system.
Singur and the Political Economy of Structural Change
17 February, 2007, Mritiunjoy Mohanty
The paper explores the controversy that has surrounded the West Bengal Government's land acquisition programme in Singur and situates it within the overall context of economic growth and transformation. It argues one of the most adversely affected groups as a result of the acquisition is relatively large farmers for whom agriculture is a source of accumulation and not livelihood and subsistence. This might explain in part why the resistance has been so strong. The paper argues that equitable and sustained growth is possible only by reducing the share of agriculture in the labour force and therefore that the West Bengal Government's strategy has to focus on maximising the generation of non-farm rural employment.
Why Inflation Still Matters
13 December, 2006, Jayati Ghosh
Perhaps more than any other purely economic issue, inflation has always been a pressing socio-political concern in India. That is because the vast majority of our working people receive incomes that are not indexed to prices, and are therefore directly and adversely affected especially by the rise in prices of necessities. Since money wages and the incomes of small businesses of the self-employed adjust to rising prices only with a lag, this means that their real incomes get eroded over time. So inflation has direct income distribution consequences.
Nutrition Concerns
11 September, 2006, Jayati Ghosh
The National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) are extremely useful indicators of many basic conditions of life and health among our population. Two such Surveys were conducted in the previous decade, in 1996-97 and in 1998-99. The latest survey, hereafter NFHS-3, was conducted over 2005-06 and covered all 29 states.
Speculation Moves Forward
05 September, 2006, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Forward trading has a long history in the country, but it has never been a matter of much public concern. Till recently, that is. When the search for explanations for the increase in the prices of food began a few months back, some observers turned their attention to the massive increase in forward and futures trading in commodities. What emerged was revealing.
Stealing Food from the Poor
10 January, 2006, Jayati Ghosh
Its sounds incredible, but it is not. The government that came to power promising to ''enhance the welfare and well-being of farmers, farm labour and workers, particularly those in the unorganised sector and assure a secure future for their families in every respect'' is now choosing to attack one of the most basic requirements for existence of these groups, access to adequate nutrition.


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