ECONOMIC NOTES

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”.

The RBI Governor’s Unwarranted Remarks

THE governor of the Reserve bank of India, Dr Raghuram Rajan, while inaugurating the annual conference of the Indian Economic Association at Udaipur on December 27, questioned the wisdom of the debt-waiver scheme for agriculturists, which the UPA government had announced in order to halt peasant suicides. He suggested that it had actually affected adversely the flow of credit to the agricultural sector.

New Data Show Continuing Agrarian Distress For Small And Marginal Farmers

IT is official now. New data released by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) for 2013 show that the agrarian distress in rural India is continuing, and even intensifying for small and marginal farmers. In the last decade, there has been much talk on inclusive growth, revival of growth rates in agriculture, higher public investment in agriculture and the doubling of agricultural credit. Yet, the new data show that all these policies have largely bypassed the rural areas, and particularly the small and marginal farmers.

The Meaning of Neo-Liberal “Development”

NARENDRA Modi is “marketed” these days as the “development” man. The BJP’s electoral successes, such as they are, are attributed to the fact that everyone wants “development”, which the other political formations, caught up in appeasing this or that “sectional group”, are alleged to have been ignoring until now. And taking a leaf out of Modi’s book, others too have started talking about prioritising “development”.

Cutting Social Sector Expenditure

THE NDA government is reportedly planning drastic cuts in social sector spending in 2014-15 to reduce the fiscal deficit. According to a report in The Hindu of November 27, the cuts relative to the budgetary provisions for this year could be as large as 25 percent in many sectors. While the government has not confirmed these reports, the coyness of its protestations, together with the pervasiveness of such reports, and the clear evidence at least with regard to one area where cuts are being effected, viz.

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