Modi on Demonetisation

ON the fourth anniversary of demonetisation, Narendra Modi has claimed that it succeeded in curbing black money. He probably believes he can get away with making this claim because of the passage of time. But most people in the country know this to be a lie for a simple reason.

Capitalism and Inheritance

IT is often believed that the ability to pass on property to one’s progeny is an essential element of capitalism, without which the capitalists’ incentives will dry up and the system will lose its dynamism. Nothing could be further from the truth; indeed the acquisition of property through inheritance is contrary to the bourgeois justification for capitalist property.

Labour Hours Lost During the Pandemic

THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) has for some months been bringing out a report that monitors the impact of the pandemic on the world economy, especially the labour-hours lost because of the lockdown and their ramifications. The statistics it provides are not compilations of official data from different countries; they are based on the ILO’s own estimates made with whatever information is available from these countries.

Billionaires and the Pandemic

WEALTH distribution data are notoriously difficult to interpret. This is because variations in stock prices affect wealth distribution, so that a stock market boom suddenly makes the rich appear much richer, while a stock market collapse makes wealth distribution less unequal overnight. In other words, the fact that the rich hold a part of their wealth in the form of stocks makes it difficult to estimate their total wealth which now has one durable component and another that is potentially evanescent.

The Move towards a De Facto Unitary State

FEDERALISM is one of the basic features of the Indian constitution. In the constituent assembly, Professor K T Shah wanted the term “federal”, together with the term “secular”, included in the preamble itself, but Dr Ambedkar rejected it on the grounds that the federal and secular character of the republic was understood and did not need specification. The constitution in its seventh schedule spelt out the jurisdictions of the centre and the states in two lists, and areas of common jurisdiction in a third list.

Modi’s Agriculture Bills Push Imperialist Agenda

THE two bills rammed through parliament last week were objectionable in every conceivable sense. The very fact of their being rammed through the Rajya Sabha, without being put to vote despite demands for a division, was grossly anti-democratic. The fact of the centre making unilateral and fundamental changes in agricultural marketing arrangements which fall within the state list of the seventh schedule of the constitution was a blow against federalism.

A Government Unequal to the Task

A STRIKING aspect of the 24 per cent decline in GDP in the first quarter of 2020-21 compared to the previous year’s first quarter is the decline by 10.3 per cent in public administration, defence and other public services. This is a sector where the GDP is estimated not by the “output” of the sector but by the government expenditure incurred under these heads. The decline in the GDP originating in this sector therefore means a decline in public expenditure.

The Indian Economy on the Verge of Collapse

THE GDP growth in the first quarter (April-June) of 2020 over the first quarter of the previous year has been minus 24 per cent according to preliminary official estimates. But most knowledgeable people believe that even this is an underestimate of the actual contraction brought about by the lockdown. In fact, a former chief statistician of India, Pronab Sen, believes that the actual contraction would have been about 32 per cent. Others put the figure even higher.