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

DevelopmentSubscribe to Development

Calcutta Diary

Between the two World Wars, literature buffs were wont to spend an enormous amount of energy and talent to discuss the pros and cons of art for art's sake in creative pursuits. We appear to have run into a similar situation with the controversy on the role of foreign exchange holdings in accelerating national development. A theology is threatening to take over: foreign exchange holdings are for the sake of holding foreign exchange and we better desist from exploring other facades of the phenomenon.

A New Development Paradigm

At the beginning of the 21st century there is the need for a new development paradigm that recognises that 'government failure' is a much more important problem than 'market failure'. 'Privatisation' of government services by its employees and government's monopoly of power are the real problems today. The new paradigm must be based on a clear and non-ideological recognition of the strengths and the weakness of the state and the people. A democratic society has enormous potential for entrepreneurship, innovation and creative development. The people, their diverse forms of activity and association such as companies, cooperatives, societies, trusts and other NGOs must be allowed and encouraged to play their due role. The state must focus on what only it can do best and shed all activities that the people can do as well or better. The heavy hand of government in the form of incentive-distorting laws, rules, regulations, procedures and red tape have also corrupted industry and business and other organised interest groups. These must be removed so as to release the energy of the people. The state should confine itself to managing the economy so as to accelerate employment and income growth in a self-sustaining manner, ensure that all citizens receive their basic entitlements of basic public goods and services and empower the poor so that they have equal rights (and responsibilities) with the better off citizens.

Third World Perspectives on Communication

Critical Issues in Communication: Looking Inwards for Answers – Essays in Honour of K E Eapen edited by Srinivas R Melkote and Sandhya Rao, Sage Publications, New Delhi, Thousand Oaks, London; 2001; pp 491, Rs 595.

The New National Water Policy

The revision of the National Water Policy was a wholly internal governmental exercise, with no consultations with people and institutions outside. Further, it was a mere 'amendment' exercise, and the resulting document can hardly be described as a 'new policy'. The two most egregious failures of the new NWP are in relation to water-harvesting and community management of water. The prime minister's speech to the NWRC stressed both, but there is nothing corresponding to this in the NWP. Important controversies such as those relating to water as 'commodity' versus water as 'commons' or 'a basic right', the desirability of water markets, etc, are ignored. A valuable opportunity for a comprehensive review and a well-considered new statement has been lost. However, NWP 2002 is now the officially declared policy, and will stay in place for some years. While pointing out deficiencies and calling for revisions, the attempt must be to see what can be done with the document as it exists. Through proper, effective and repeated citation, the document can in fact be made to come alive and serve useful purposes.

Official Development Assistance

Official development assistance (ODA) is one of the most effective methods of promoting development in low-income countries. However, the idea of development itself has changed significantly over the years, and ODA has increasingly come to incorporate the human rights approach to development. Developing countries can draw up a basic framework incorporating the requirements of growth without violating other rights, and industrial countries can then raise the funds needed for development assistance. The human rights approach has the advantage of the recognition that the rights are universal and the responsibility of fulfilling those rights is also universal.

Dams and Development

Dam oustees in Satara district of Maharashtra recently scored a signal victory, when their 'sit-in struggle' resulted in the acceptance of their demands by the state government, including those on water allowance and equitable distribution of water. The agitators in Satara have thus managed to continue their tradition of struggle in the quest for development.

Rural Migrants and Labour Segmentation

Whether people benefit sizeably by migrating from rural to urban areas is a question that has loomed large in development economics literature. Based on a primary survey carried out among slum-dwellers in Delhi, this study examines the links between duration of migration, distance of migration, occupation and the incidence of poverty. With experience, it is found that migrants are more likely to move from low income and casual jobs to high income and regular jobs, and thus undergo an increase in their standards of living.

Taxation of Charitable Trusts

Given the large need for services in social development and social welfare areas, which the state is unable to meet in sufficient measure, and the need to encourage and support non-profit organisations promoting cultural activities as well those 'civil society' organisations defending civil liberties, promoting the welfare of women and children, etc, the state should spare from tax income that does not accrue to any individuals or juridical persons for private benefit. The acceptance of the recommendations of the Advisory Group on Tax Policy and Tax Administration for the Tenth Plan on tax treatment of charitable organisations would do grave damage to the work of the voluntary agencies which form one of the heart-warming and bright aspects of our society.

Transfer of Power? Politics of Mass Mobilisation in UP

The recent electoral history of UP that has witnessed the growth of parties representing the lower and middle castes speaks of a politics of more competition and democracy. But as this paper argues, though peasant and caste mobilisation may have challenged upper caste/ class domination, this has not necessarily promoted policies of public expenditure for services benefiting the poor, nor has there been implementation of developmental programmes that address their vital concerns.

Left Front Rule in West Bengal

Left Front Rule in West Bengal Domination without Hegemony ACHIN GUPTA West Bengal has experienced more than two decades of Left Front rule. Diverse explanations have been offered by social scientists to explain this unique phenomenon. Atul Kohli (1990) has characterised this rule as

Indian Software Industry Development

Export-led growth has been the mainstay of the spectacular performance of the Indian software industry. However, continued growth at the blistering pace set in the 1990s faces significant challenges in the form of growing scarcity of talent, rising wage costs and emerging competition. Besides, the recent slowdown in the US has lowered growth estimates for the infotech industry. The Indian software industry cannot afford to be complacent if it wants to maintain its position as a premier purveyor of software services. The industry will need to consolidate its strengths and move up the value chain if it is to maintain its head start on the competition. Most importantly, it will have to invest substantially in R and D and create linkages to encourage career prospects for researchers in engineering.

Pages

Back to Top