Agriculture and the Free Market

IN the context of the on-going country-wide kisan movement for repealing Modi’s three agriculture bills, while an overwhelming majority of commentators have stood with the position taken by the kisans, a few, though not necessarily agreeing with Modi, have raised the question: why shouldn’t agriculture operate within a free market?

A Strike against the Discourse of Unreason

THE November 26 strike is significant not only because it protests against the Modi government’s brazen and unprecedented attacks on workers and peasants in the country, not only because these attacks carry forward an imperialist agenda, but for a deeper and less discussed reason as well which can be seen as follows.The ascendancy of the Hindutva elements derives from the success they have achieved in shifting the public discourse in the country.

Immiserisation Behind the Recovery

MINISTERS from Narendra Modi to Nirmala Sitaraman are talking about a recovery of the Indian economy from the pandemic-induced crisis. Even the Reserve Bank of India which estimated the second quarter GDP growth to have been -8.6 per cent, has seen signs of recovery in October.Of course there had to be a recovery from the deep abyss to which the lockdown had pushed the economy, as some degree of normalcy returned; it is no reflection of any virtue of the government.

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.For demonetisation to curb black money, there must be some mechanism through which it can be shown to do so. Otherwise it would be no different from claiming that the Olympic Games of 2016 curbed black money in India.

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.

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.