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

Articles by J Mohan RaoSubscribe to J Mohan Rao

Food, Agriculture and Reforms-Change and Continuity

There are strong elements of both change and continuity in the policy regime affecting food and agriculture as well as in the structure, of the rural economy. Further, the actual changes in the policy regime have been considerably more moderate than the revisionist claims and intent. Finally, the regime changes appear largely unwarranted by the, present needs and potentials of the economy which seem to have changed less than some analysts have inferred from past observations.

Food Prices and Rural Poverty-Liberalisation without Pain

Liberalisation without Pain?
J Mohan Rao WHOLESALE liberalisation of Indian agriculture is not yet a reality. Zeal for the presumed economic panacea of integrating domestic food markets with global markets seems to have been tempered at least for reasons of political expediency. The rise in prices of publicly distributed food and an associated risein poverty during the years following 1991 provided a highpoint in the Indian skirmishes over the wisdom of the Washington Consensus, Apart from this recent episode, the idea that a food price increase hurts a large part, perhaps a majority, of the rural population who buy some or all of their food in the market has not been seriously challenged as a key stylised fact about the Indian economy, Martin Ravallion's recent piece 'Reform, Food Prices and Poverty in India' (EPW, January 10-16) serves as reminder that the stylisation bears unstylised empirical testing. Contrary to the prevalent view and to the results of previous investigations, Ravallion reaches the startling conclusion that the positive correlation between food prices and poverty is a statistical artefact without any causal significance. Ravallion forcefully states that "[the positive correlation] is not an income-distribution effect. Rather it appears to be due to covariate fluctuations between average consumption and food prices due to other variables, including food supply; bad agricultural years simultaneously lower rural living standards and increase food prices" (p 29; emphasis added). In other* words, rural poverty increases when food prices rise not because rural income distribution worsens but because rural average income declines. Given the general expectation that liberalised trade in agricultural commodities will raise prices and the liberal faith that this will increase allocative efficiency and output, Ravallion's negation of distribution and affirmation of mean consumption as the transmission mechanism for changes in poverty seems to reassure would-be liberalisers that freeing up food prices will be painless, His conclusion appears to remove a major roadblock on the way to agricultural liberalisation.

Indices of Industrial Productivity Growth-Disaggregation and Interpretation

Indices of Industrial Productivity Growth Disaggregation and Interpretation J Mohan Rao This paper studies productivity trends in Indian industry on the basis of a particular scheme of disaggregation. The disaggregated productivity measures are then suitably aggregated to provide a revised index of productivity for Indian manufacturing.

Manufacturing Productivity Growth-Method and Measurement

J Mohan Rao Work on productivity measurement in Indian industry has left unaddressed several critical issues of method and the correspondence between theoretical measures and the indicators used to measure them. Before issues of interpretation are engaged, these methodological issues need to be clarified and, where possible, the measures recast.

Beyond Urban Bias

Beyond Urban Bias?
J Mohan Rao Democracy, Development and the Countryside: Urban-Rural Struggles in India by Ashutosh Varshney; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995;

Agrarian Forces and Relations in West Bengal

Agrarian Forces and Relations in West Bengal J Mohan Rao IN a paper candidly acknowledging the 'rural rides' rather than extended research on which its conclusions are based, John Harriss ('What Is Happening in Rural West Bengal? Agrarian Reform, Growth and Distribution', EPW, June 12, 1993) has nevertheless put us in his debt by providing a sweeping interpretation of the changes occurring in the Bengali countryside over the period of Left Front rule. He squarely confronts the Marxist/' social-democratic' /reformist government's claim that the significant improvement in West Bengal's agricultural performance and in the living standards of its rural poor are due to the structural changes in agrarian relations brought about by its reform policies. And in arriving at his negative verdict, Harriss finds reason to set aside previous diagnoses of the causes of agricultural stagnation based on the distribution of rural property and power, and the modes of surplus appropriation they support.

Economic Reform and Ecological Refurbishment-A Strategy for India

Economic Reform and Ecological Refurbishment A Strategy for India J Mohan Rao In a previous article, the degraded state of India's environment was documented, but the view that growth per se is the culprit was rejected. This article presents the case for an alternative economic strategy to SAP

Whither India s Environment

Whither India's Environment?
J Mohan Rao Orthodox economics has traditionally focused on the efficiency of resource allocation and avoided discomfiting questions concerning both the social equity of economic outcomes and their ecological entailments. This paper elaborates the nexus among economy, ecology and equity, using India as a case study. Key areas of the environment are surveyed and lines of causality between various economic factors and environmental degradation are analysed. In a companion paper, to appear later, alternative economic policies, directed at the fulfilment of basic needs and environmental protection, are explored.

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