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

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Agricultural Development at State and District Levels

out that there are substantial differences between the British and the Indian contexts which need to be recognised, but concedes that the British experience is likely to be more relevant to us than that of other countries. One can readily agree with the conclusions of this useful paper. His central contribution to the book, namely, the paper entitled 'Privatisation of Public Enterprises: Scope and Limits' recognises the need for examining the case for privatisation, as also the limits to privatisation, and deals briefly with some of the points which can be made against privatisation. However, this effort at objectivity seems somewhat half-hearted. Indeed, the paper explicitly admits that "there is a bias in this approach in favour of private ownership in the context of technical efficiency". The main thrust of the paper is to explore the scope for privatisation in certain sectors. The illustrative framework provided in the statement at the end of the paper lists a number of public enterprises in various sectors which could be considered for privatisation. For instance, it indicates that the refining units of the public sector oil companies could be carved out as independent units and privatised; that Indian Petrochemicals Corporation could be transferred by sale; and that each generating unit of National Thermal Power Corporation could be a separate entity for transfer. It is perhaps not Reddy's intention actually to advocate the privatisation of these units: he is probably merely indicating possibilities. However, can one responsibly put forward such ideas without entering into a discussion of the policy issues involved? The IPCL, Indian Oil Corporation and NTPC have all been successful with reference to both physical and financial indicators and one is not aware of any major customer dissatisfaction with IPCL or IOC; and all these operate in very important sectors. On what grounds should one consider their privatisation? Similarly, we have the following on the life insurance sector: "Split and transfer by sale of equity, joint venture, etc Split into units for yardstick competition." But should we not first go into the basic question of why life insurance was nationalised, and whether a change in the policy is now called for? Red- dy says somewhere that his paper goes into the question of "why privatisation", but the perfunctory remarks on "scoped and "need" are hardly adequate.

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