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

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Short Reprieve

sophisticated, non-essential goods and services which are capital intensive and use relatively more of imported technology and materials. Further, the large urban agglomerations have become the main markets for goods and services, which has encouraged large-scale, centralised production and has been inimical to the kind of decentralised industriali- sation the virtues of which are currently being extolled. Finally, the sharp income disparities have also had the effect of restricting the domestic market for goods and services, which has led many industries to look for markets abroad, in turn further strengthening large-scale capital-intensive production relying on imported technology. Clearly, this is far from being the milieu in which village and cottage industries can be expected to flourish. Of course, there is a chicken-and-egg problem here. Development of cottage and village industries and a decentralised pattern of industrialisation will no doubt generate employment and reduce disparities in income and living standards. But it is equally certain that unless the existing sharp disparities in incomes and purchasing power can first be drastically reduced and the power of the large-scale private sector is curbed, cottage and village industries stand no chance of coming up on any significant scale. The DESPITE the apparent purposiveness of the deliberations of the working committee of the Janata party, the two resolutions on political and "organisational matters, and the one on the price and unemployment situation, only reinforce the impression of a general lack of direction that the party has been projecting ever since it came to power. That the party working committee could not even adopt a proper resolution on the general economic situation and had to confine itself to some very unexceptionable, if self- contradictory, sentiments about the need to control prices and bring down unemployment, underscores that this lack of direction is the result of deeper contradictions within the party, which It has not been able to resolve. this is even more evident in the political resolution which really is a curious document, in that, it almost confines itself to one problem, even if a major one: the problem .faced by the scheduled castes in rural India. The re- Janata government's talk of shifting the pattern of industrial growth in favour of village industries can, therefore, be taken seriously only if simultaneously it also spells out what steps it proposes to take to reduce disparities of income and wealth in society. Nothing of the sort has been done by any of the Janata party's numerous spokesmen. The most deafening silence has been on the subject of land reform which is by any reckoning the most crucial element in any move to reduce economic and social inequity among some three- quarters of the country's population. Without a more equitable redistribution of land

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