ECONOMIC NOTES

Skating on Thin Ice

THE Modi government completed one year in office on May 26. This year saw a continuation of the industrial stagnation which has been a feature of the Indian economy for quite some time now. The year-on-year rates of industrial growth, calculated on the basis of the index of industrial production, have been as follows:

2008-09 : 2.5 percent                           

2009-10: 5.3 percent

2010-11: 8.2 percent

2011-12: 2.9 percent

2012-13: 1.1 percent

2013-14: -0.1 percent

2014-15: 2.8 percent

A Simple Calculation

A VERY simple calculation is enough to illuminate what has been happening in the Indian economy over the last few decades. In July 1973, I know from personal knowledge, the starting basic salary of an Associate Professor in a central university was Rs 700 per month. Nowadays the starting basic salary of an Associate Professor in a central university is about Rs 47,000 per month (which is the sum of Rs 39,000 and Rs 8,000 shown under two separate heads).

The Devolution of Resources From the Centre to the States

THERE is a common perception that with the government accepting the recommendation of the Fourteenth Finance Commission to raise the share of the states in the divisible pool to 42 per cent, there has been a substantial increase in the resources available to the states; and that a new “progressive” era has dawned in the Indian economy, since the states, which are the main spenders on welfare and social sector activities, will now have more resources at their command.

SYRIZA’S SLIP

THE victory of a Left Alliance, Syriza, in the Greek elections on January 25, was a matter of great significance, especially because that victory was based on a promise that Syriza would get rid of the memoranda imposing austerity on Greece by the “Troika” (the European Union, the European Central Bank and the IMF). Syriza’s victory was thus expressive of a popular revolt against neo-liberalism.

Budget 2015-16: Bonanza for the Corporates

BUDGETS these days deliberately tend to produce a miasma of words and figures, which can then be interpreted by the “pundits” in TV studios in so many diverse and confusing ways that the class content of the budget gets effectively camouflaged. But the miasma produced by Jaitley this year can scarcely conceal the class content of his budget. This is because his is the most brazenly pro-corporate, pro-rich and anti-people budget in recent memory.

GROWTH AND HUNGER

INDIA, we are constantly reminded, is one of the more rapidly growing economies of the world at present; and even though the growth rate has come down somewhat of late, official figures show that it still remains quite high. What is less talked about however is the fact that the magnitude of hunger in India today exceeds that of even sub-Saharan Africa, which is generally considered to be among the poorest regions of the world; and it also exceeds that of what are officially categorised as “the least developed countries”.

The Significance of Syriza’s Victory

THE victory of the radical Left alliance, Syriza, in the recent elections in Greece should not be seen only as a Greek phenomenon, nor even as one whose significance is confined only to the Eurozone. In the conflict between finance and the people which is raging throughout the world at present, Greece has emerged as one spot where the people have stood up to the might of finance and beaten back for now its political offensive.

 

BEGINNING OF

A PROCESS

The “Niti Aayog”

THE Planning Commission, set up under Jawaharlal Nehru’s prime ministership, was a logical expression of an idea that underlay India’s anti-colonial struggle, namely that in independent India, an improvement in the material conditions of life of the people, subjugated and plundered through a century and a half of colonial rule, required a comprehensive marshalling and conscious allocation of all national resources. It was an essential component of what Nehru had called India’s “tryst with destiny”.

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