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

Articles by Amitabh KunduSubscribe to Amitabh Kundu

Migration, Employment Status and Poverty

This paper analyses the pattern of migration in urban areas and its socio-economic correlates. The analysis is based on the National Sample Survey's reports of employment and unemployment pertaining to the latest rounds, which provide information on migration. Economic deprivation is not the most critical factor for migration decisions, even for seasonal migrants. People migrate out of both poor and rich households, although the reasons for migration and the nature of jobs sought by them are different. Rural-urban migrants have a greater risk of being below the poverty line than the urban-urban migrants, but both report a lower risk than non-migrants. The probability of a person being poor is low in a large city compared to any other urban centre, irrespective of the migration status, age, number of subsidiary activities undertaken, etc. The results indicate that migration has been a definite instrument of improving economic well-being and escaping from poverty. The probability of being poor is much less among the migrants compared to the local population, in all size classes of urban centres.

Issue of Urban Exclusion

This article examines the rationale for excluding urban areas from the scope of guaranteed employment, given socio-economic deprivation and vulnerability in small and medium towns. The lack of employment has affected their demographic growth, leading to distortions in the urban hierarchy. The possibility of utilising the educated unemployed in non-manual work is explored.

Politics and Economics of Land Policies

By committing itself to improving environmental conditions in the core region of the national capital, the new master plan for Delhi makes no significant departure from its predecessors. But the strategy for a balanced regional development, a relocation of industrial units to the peripheries, which appeared as a window-dressing in the first two master plans, has been entirely given the go-by.

Urbanisation and Urban Governance

This paper attempts to assess the changes in workforce structure and the system of governance associated with macroeconomic reforms and their impact on the rate and pattern of urbanisation in India. The analysis of development dynamics in the 1990s shows that there has been an all-round decline in the growth of employment. Income growth and incidence of poverty have been extremely uneven across states. Thus a slowing down in the rate of urbanisation and concentrations of demographic growth in developed states seem to be the logical outcome. The process of urbanisation has also become exclusionary in nature, as only a few large cities with a strong economic base are able to raise resources for development, leaving out small and medium towns.

Dichotomy or Continuum

Spatial dimension of development continues to be a neglected area in economic analysis. As a consequence, the traditional models of development fail to explain the growing imbalance in space as also the widening gaps in levels of socio-economic development between the city and its periphery. The objective of the present paper is to analyse if indeed the distance of a village from the nearest town has a systematic impact on its socio-economic characteristics.The distributional pattern of the indicators of economic well-being, health, education, etc, shows that their values do not necessarily decline along smooth gradients, as we move from the city/town to its periphery.

Politics and Economics of Credit Rating

Rather than being carried out in an objective manner, the credit rating exercise has been used as an instrument to persuade the local bodies to follow market-based financial discipline.

Globalising Gujarat

Both proponents and cirtics of new development strategy agree that urban growth in the post liberalisation phase would be very high, although the critics hold that this will be associated with low productive employment and poverty and a negative effect on quality of life in the cities. It is important therefore to assess empirically the impact of economic liberalisation on the nature and pattern of urban growth. This article attempts an analysis of the trends and patterns of urbanisation in Gujarat, a rapidly industrialising state, taking account of the changes in labour market and those in the systems of urban governance, land management/ development practices, and the commercialisation of basic services.

Regional Distribution of Infrastructure and Basic Amenities in Urban India

A state and size class wise analysis of the level of urban basic amenities reveals that disparities are extremely high in the nineties. The government and para-statal institutions have not exhibited sensitivity in favour of backward states, small and medium towns and the poor. Presently, privatisation, partnership arrangements and promotion of community-based projects have emerged as the only options for undertaking investments in basic amenities due to resource crunch in the government. This changed perspective and a consequent decline in public investment, however, are likely to accentuate the disparity in the levels of amenities across the size class of urban settlements.

Migration, Urbanisation and Regional Inequality

Amitabh Kundu Shalini Gupta An analysis of migration patterns using data (on male migrants) from the census indicates a slowing down of population mobility over the decades since independence. This article focuses on the dynamics of migration and urbanisation in the context of the changing structure of economic development.

State and Social Security

The country has made a conscious but unproclaimed choice of allowing people to live in a manner that degrades human life slowly but systematically. This is because the political economy of the country does not offer an alternative irrespective of whether the development strategies it pursues are with or without a human face.

Poverty and Planning

Amitabh Kundu The proposal to dispense with the use of the poverty index in funds disbursal, on the ground of difficulties in its computation, amounts in a way to delinking poverty from planning. Simplification and standardisation of the methodology of measuring poverty should therefore receive the urgent attention of experts if ad hoc political pressures and vested interests are not to take over under cover of the New Economic Policy.

Urban Bias in PDS-Reexamination of NSS Data

public enterprises arc inefficient or that public sector managers are all incompetent, but that in a comparative advantage sense government resources and talent ait better used elsewhere. I do not deny that for historical or tactical reasons, some departures from this approach or a phased move in this direction is all that can be attempted given the democratic setting in which we operate. It is important, however, to be conceptually clear as to what is to be retained in the public sector and why. An implication of this approach, for example, is that a government that has taken over a textile mill or engineering firm at some point will, after the needed corrections or changes are made; be prepared to sell it to others, even if profits begin to be made as its limited resources and talents arc urgently required to address, say, human resource development issues. The concept of opportunity cost is relevant to government too! A final point on why it is essential to encourage the shift of private goods production to the private sector. The indiscriminate expansion of the public enterprise sector at the central and state levels has not only caused an overload and poor public accountability in the government system, but also has contributed to the neglect of important functions which only a government can perform. In India, basic public functions such as maintenance of law and order, legal and judicial reform to facilitate contract enforcement and justice and to reduce transaction costs, human resource development of the poor (in which a recent UN Report ranks us lllth in the world) and reduction of inequalities with special attention to backward areas and the expansion and upgrading of the basic infrastructure facilities needed for economic and social development are examples of priority tasks to which government needs to give urgent attention. The function of supervision and corrective action taking which is a key function in any govern ment is weak in many of our public agen cies with disastrous consequences for implementation as we have just seen from the recent banking sector fiasco. There is no shortage of suave bureaucrats, but monitoring, and supervision are often left to some lowly clerks. Furthermore, as Rudra has rightly emphasised, government's regulatory and information role assumes special significance in the context of the production of goods with monopolistic features, externality effects, environmental impacts and other factors that producers (whether public or private) are likely to exploit and that the public is unable on its own to rectify. In this sense, a major task of the government is to make the market system work efficiently and effectively. This is only a partial but by no means a minimalist agenda of challenges for the state, I would rather have a government address these problems with the best talent


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