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

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Baat Kam Kaam Zyada

The union agriculture minister's recent admissions that the level of buffer stocks is far from comfortable runs counter to the prime minister's assurances. This is not only a confession of incompetence but of the government's unconcern. In this bleak situation the urgent need is to take steps to meet the fodder crisis by releasing the wheat which has been labelled 'unfit for human consumption', to restructure food-for-work programmes and build up buffer stock through prudent imports.

Drought The Rajasthan Scenario

Drought: The Rajasthan Scenario Arun Ghosh Severe drought is stalking Rajasthan. Even if the food stocks with the government can avert famine deaths, the biggest problems are likely to be, first, drinking water and, second, fodder for the cattle. And there is no doubt that there is little connection between the drought relief works programmes and long-term plans consistent with the needs of the area.

Gentle Persuader

Essays in Economic Policy and Economic Growth by I G Patel; MacMillan, 1986; pp viii + 261.
THIS collection of lectures delivered by I G Patel over a span of more than twenty- two years from March 1963 to May 1985 is a treat to read for the old-timer, and an object lesson to the economic policy-maker of today in regard to how to tread the difficult course of tendering advice in a logical and yet gentle, persuasive manner. For IG Patel, whose credentials as an economist are impeccable, has also been a successful economic policy adviser, holding many distinguished positions first in the government and the international agencies and then as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, ending up his successful career, in the midst of the intelligentsia, in the London School of Economics and Political Science where he currently holds the coveted post of director, I G Patel joined the government in 1954 (having been a member of the B M Bernstein Mission from the IMF in 1953, which produced the famous report on "Growth with Stability''), and right from the start he was (unofficially) associated with the formulation of the Second Five-Year Plan, now popularly known as the Mahalanobis plan. Latter-day critics have assailed the strategy adopted in the Second Plan and compared the growth achieved by India with that at- lained by South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore

Black Money and Its Impact on Savings and Investment

Black Money and Its Impact on Savings and Investment Arun Ghosh The impression, shared even by experts, that the rate of unrecorded savings out of black income is higher than our recorded saving rate and that, therefore, the rate of saving is understated in national accounts statistics, is based on a misunderstanding of the methodology used for estimating savings. Nor does black money go to finance large-scale investment activity; it mainly goes for conspicuous consumption, or speculative activity or acquisition of urban property.

Food for Work Food For Thought

The monsoon threatens to be scanty or deficient over more than two-thirds of the sown area in the country this year and a massive Food for Work Programme may become necessary to safeguard the incomes of landless labourers and small landholders in the coming months. But is anybody even thinking along these lines in New Delhi?

Further Thoughts on Import Liberalisation

The larger aid promised by the Aid India Consortium for the current year at $ 5.4 billion contains seeds of serious problems in the future. Borrowing from abroad can be useful provided the imported savings are used to finance essential imports. But if we start importing power generating equipment against tied aid because of a shortage of rupee resources we would be asking for trouble.

Liberalisation, Competition and Import Policy

Liberalisation, Competition and Import Policy Arun Ghosh IN a seminar on industrial policy, industrial performance of different industries, and the efficiency and impact of alternative growth strategies, conducted by the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, the question of liberalisation of industrial (and import) policy was understandably a major issue that came up for discussion. While some view the issue essentially as the age- old argument in regard to import substitution vis-a-vis ex port-led growth strategies, the truth is

The Budget, Inflation and All That

The Budget, Inflation and All That Arun Ghosh ONE has to admit that although prices have generally been rising, there is no visible sign of pervasive inflation in the economy as yet. Budgetary deficits have been increasing at an alarming rate over the past several years, as a result of the excess of government expenditures over income (or receipts), and monetary circulation has been increasing, government recourse to borrowing from the banking sector being a prime factor. And yet, the increase in the price level has been significantly less than one would expect as a result of the large budgetary deficits. So, what really has been happening? Is it that some of us, outside government, have been ultra-conservative, scared, and generally out of touch with reality when

Savings and Investment Recent Trends

Savings and Investment: Recent Trends GOVERNMENT spokesmen, at a high policy level, have for sometime been propagating the following view: (a) that our savings rate is already very high by any standard; (b) that we should, in consequence, not worry about the need to force the savings rate up further, and in particular, not levy any new taxes or raise tax rates; (c) that our national income growth rate in recent years


NEW DELHI Congress Working Committee Disowns Government's Economic Policy BM THE ruling parly attempted to turn an extraordinary somersault by its resolution on what it chose to condemn with characteristic cynicism as the "grand design of destabilisation" of External forces hostile to India" which, it proclaimed with equally cynical self-righteousness, were "inextricably linked with internal forces of political and economic subversion". It rested its case on "the events of the last six weeks'' (the resolution was adopted on April 18). This presumably means that the beating the ruling party, with the prime minister as its star campaigner, received in the West Bengal and Kerala assembly elections is sought to be projected as part of the grand design of destabilisation. It is also an admission that the hounding out finally of V P Singh from the government, after his transfer from finance to defence, and the exposure of a series of scandals, especially in costly defence purchases, have shaken the government and, despite its massive majority in parliament, the spectre of destabilisation has begun to haunt the political caucus in power. But if the Congress leadership thought that its latest shrill cry of destabilisation would carry conviction with the public and would smother all further questioning of its policies and conduct, it has failed to achieve such a diversionary purpose. On the contrary, it has opened itself more to public ridicule and strengthened doubts about its credibility and integrity. The edict that any questioning of the rise in defence expenditure in this year's budget presented by the prime minister himself would be anti-national has not prevented questions being raised on shady defence deals with arms merchants abroad. In contrast to the shrill denials and diversionary tactics of the government leaders at the centre, the dignified manner in which the non-Congress chief ministers conducted their business at their recent meeting in New Delhi and dealt with pressing political issues of public interest has been very refreshing. The chief ministers suggested that the questionable defence deals must be examined in parliament, if necessary in a special session not open to press and public.

Darkness at Noon Modernisation of Government

Darkness at Noon: Modernisation of Government Arun Ghosh A VISIT to the room of any secretary to the union government these days is apt to impress you. The private secretary and the personal assistant to the official have at least one electronic typewriter if not two; and many of the officials have personal computers in their room. Indeed, personal computers these days adorn the rooms of the members of the planning commission, though most of them, as also the officials having them, do not know how to use a computer; and even the few that do know how to use a computer, have understandably no time to use them. They are always busy attending meetings, or seeing visitors or clearing urgent files. No really high official has time even to look at a computer. In fact, it would be somewhat silly of such a high official to spend his time on a computer; these should really be used by the junior officers whose task it is to compile, sift and analyse data.

The 1987-88 Budget-A Bird s-Eye View of Central Expenditures

A Bird's-Eye View of Central Expenditures Arun Ghosh This paper discusses the expenditure pattern of the central budget and the priorities reflected in this pattern and finds that the picture that emerges is not one that is likely to enthuse any but the rentier class.


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