EXACTLY twenty years ago, a major financial crisis had hit the countries of East and South East Asia in July 1997. This crisis was a watershed in the history of third world development, in the sense that these “tiger economies” which had seen extraordinarily high growth rates until that time, remained permanently crippled thereafter.
INDIA’S livestock economy is among the biggest in the world. A ban on cow slaughter would either result in more and more unproductive animals being killed in most unscientific and cruel ways or would entail such a high cost for maintaining unproductive animals that cattle rearing would cease to be a profitable enterprise for farm households. Restrictions being imposed on cow slaughter and the actions of the cow vigilantes would deal a serious blow to the agrarian economy and in particular to the livelihoods of the poor and middle peasants in rural India.
MUCH hype has surrounded the transition to the Goods and Service Tax (GST regime) which has tended to be elevated to the status of being the magical solution to all of India’s economic problems. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Quite independent of the intrinsic merits or demerits of GST compared with the structure of taxes it has replaced, the changeover does not address the fundamental challenges of the Indian economy even in the sphere of taxation.
NARENDRA Modi’s attempt to imitate Jawaharlal Nehru by giving a mid-night speech on July 1 at the Central Hall of parliament, while inaugurating the Goods and Services Tax, could perhaps be passed off as a merely laughable idiosyncracy. His equating, or even putting on a parallel footing, a mere tax-reform with the grand historic event of India’s attaining independence, could perhaps be shrugged off as just harmless self-promotion by one who prides himself as the author of the tax-reform.
THE Indian constitution had erected a financial federal structure as a complement to the political federal structure. The constitution had been aware that if the states were reduced to the status of mendicants approaching the centre for resources, then that ipso facto would entail a subversion of the federal polity.
THE question of farm-loan waiver that is being demanded by the peasantry is much misunderstood. Such a waiver, it is argued by critics, would vitiate the credit-culture in the country: people would stop repaying loans henceforth in expectation of waivers on them. Since the UPA government had waived farm-loans a few years ago and now again there is a demand for a farm-loan waiver, peasants, they contend, are getting into a habit of not paying loans and demanding periodic waivers instead.
THE term “globalisation”, though much used, is extremely misleading, as is its presumed “other”, “nationalism”. This is because both terms are used as blanket terms without any reference to their class content, as if there can be only one kind of “globalisation” and only one kind of “nationalism”.
WHEN the CSO had released advance estimates of GDP for the October-December quarter of 2016-17, within which demonetisation had occurred, the fact that the economy had still shown a 7 per cent growth rate, had been an occasion for much celebration in government circles. It had been used by the government to argue that, contrary to the claims of the critics, demonetisation had not hurt the economy.
AT a class I took for SFI activists on May 29 on political economy, someone asked me the question: what is a derivative? My answer, I could feel, was unclear to the audience. Since other comrades too would be having this question in mind, I thought I should attempt, hopefully, a clearer answer here.