Policy Issues

Agrarian Conditions and Recent Peasant Struggles in Sikar

SIKAR, situated in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, has a glorious history of peasant struggles. From 1920s through 1960s, peasants of Sikar fought successfully against the jagirdars. Sikar had an extremely oppressive jagirdari regime under the Raja of Sikar and peasants worked under a huge burden of taxes (lag) and obligation to provide unpaid labour and military services (bag).

For NITI Aayog, Government Services are Injurious!

NITI Aayog counterposes government’s role in production with that of provision of services. In its Three Year Action Agenda, in one section it states: “As the government contains its role in manufacturing, it must also expand its role in the promotion of public health and quality education”. Contradicting this statement, at another place, it states: “sectors like health and education also need to be opened up for viable PPP models to accelerate sustainable development”.

NITI Aayog – Promoting Privatisation

The Three Year Action Agenda of the NITI Aayog is full of tailored prescriptions for the government to virtually privatise all sectors, albeit in the name of PPPs. Niti Aayog, the champion ‘consultancy firm’, which enjoys government patronage, is parroting the World Bank line. Coming from World Bank, they are called ‘conditions’ attached to loans, while these very prescriptions coming from the Aayog are called ‘advice’.

‘Toilet Vigilantism’: Ridicule to the Core!

‘TOILET vigilantism’, being practised in different parts of the country, has made the already vulnerable social divide starker. The government under the Swachh Bharat Mission has set a goal of constructing toilets to make the country open defecation free (ODF). Recently, a Hindi film too dealt with the importance of construction of toilets in villages. There is nothing wrong in it and in fact there is a dire need to have toilets in all households. But the desperation shown and the draconian method of ‘toilet vigilantism’ has even widened the social gap in the countryside.

‘Kutil Niti’ of NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog was constituted by the BJP government immediately after it assumed power at the centre. This brought down the curtains on the Planning Commission. The intention behind the establishment of NITI Aayog has been very clear – deepening the neoliberal reforms. It has taken upon the task of international financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF to ensure the transfer of public assets to private players, reduce the role of government in welfare activities and confine the State to cater to the ruling class interests only.

Serious Anomalies and Unjust GST Rate on Essentials Medicines

THE prime minister has been requested to ensure that essential medicines listed in the National List of Essential Medicines are kept outside the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 28, CITU leader J S Majumdar flagged serious anomalies in the tax structure for medicines fixed by the GST Council, disregarding a Supreme Court order and subsequent government notifications.

“One Tax, One India”: The Gainers and Losers

THE launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime on the midnight of June 30, 2017 has been marketed by the Modi government as a big ticket reform that will benefit all stakeholders. In its media blitz to justify the measure, the government claims that the GST would “help to create a unified common national market for India, giving a boost to foreign investment and “Make in India” campaign” and reduce the overall burden of the indirect tax burden of the consumer.

Superficial Way of Tackling Corporate NPAs

IT is an acknowledged fact that the huge NPAs (non-performing assets) are the fundamental cause for the deep rooted maladies afflicting PSBs (public sector banks)out of which the contribution from the large borrowers (loan exposure of Rs 5 crores and above) is more than 90 per cent.

The entire energy and attention of the PSBs should be focused in recovering the NPAs from the large borrowers without any write off or sacrifice. But will it happen?

Drug Pricing: Prime Minister Misleading People

AFTER US President Donald Trump accused the drug companies with his “get away with murder” comment and thereafter meeting the top executives of US drug companies on January 31 on drug pricing, regulation and trade; and as the “Pharmaceutical companies are under fire around the world as a wave of new treatments for cancer and other serious conditions reach the market at ever rising prices,” the prime minister of India Narendra Modi discovered that it is not the drug companies and policy deficiency but the doctors who are the real culprits for high prices of medicines in India.

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