Archive for February, 2021

– Yogi Aggarwal

The Government’s chief policy-making body, NITI Aayog, has commissioned a research organisation, CUTS International, to study the “economic impact” of various judgments delivered by Supreme Court, the high courts, and quasi-judicial bodies such as the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The study is aimed at “sensitising the judiciary on the economic impact of their decisions”. The Niti Aayog blames “judicial activism” for stalling projects in different parts of the country. The study findings will be used as a “training input for judges of commercial courts, NGT, HCs, SC”.

By “economic impact” the Aayog actually means the impact on the profits of private businesses. As part of the new study, CUTS has started research on the 2013 NGT ban on sand mining on the Yamuna river bed in Gautam Buddha Nagar, which caused “severe and avoidable losses to the sand mining industry, leaseholders, as well as truck owners.” Other judgments to be studied concern the Vedanta Sterlite copper plant, iron ore mining in Goa, an airport in Goa, and building construction in Delhi. (more…)

Read Full Post »

In 2017, as the Modi government pushed for legislations against the slaughter of cattle in different states, the following study by Manali Chakrabarti argued that (1) the effect of these laws would be to undermine the livestock economy entirely; and (2) without the supplementary income, the marginal and small farm households would not be able to hold on to their land either. These observations become even more relevant and compelling today, as we see a concerted drive by the rulers to make farming unviable for small peasants and oust them from their land. Hence we are re-posting the piece. — RUPE

Three years later: A brief update

— Manali Chakrabarti

This piece was written in 2017, just after the Union government’s notification banning sale and purchase of bovine animals for slaughter. Even before this notification, cow slaughter was banned in 22 out 28 states in India. Subsequently, the Supreme Court stayed the ban, and the Union government seemed to have withdrawn the ban due to nationwide uproar against it. (more…)

Read Full Post »

[A Telugu translation of this article is included in Bharata Raitangam Pai Daadi (translator: P. Jamuna), the pdf of which can be found here.]

The Mexico Model and Lessons for India’s Agriculture

In the previous two parts of this article, we saw how

(1) the Government is trying to ram through a conclusive determination of property rights in agricultural land throughout the country. This is being done explicitly in order to develop a “vibrant land market”, i.e., in order to facilitate transfers of land;

(2) for the last 20 years or so, there has been an intensifying drive by international investors to get control of land, including agricultural land, in the Third World;

(3) the penetration of organised retail in the Third World, generally linked to giant transnational retail firms, leads inexorably to the ousting of small peasants; and

(4) the existing crisis of the Indian peasantry under neoliberal rule has created the conditions for small peasants to lose their land, either to large landholders or to corporations. Indeed, when the rulers say they plan to double farmers’ income, they mean that they plan to halve the number of farmers.

What will these changes, if they come to pass, mean for India as a whole?

Advocates of neoliberal policies argue that the pain of these changes is temporary. Farmers may lose their land, but the land will be put to higher-value uses, thus increasing total income. And jobs will be created for workers in agriculture, logistics (procurement, storage and transport), food processing, and retail. ‘In the net’, i.e, after setting losses against gains, they argue, this process will lead to greater prosperity and jobs all round.

This is a travesty of the truth. In fact these changes will wreak a terrible and varied devastation. That devastation will not take place all at once; its effects will differ across regions, sectors, castes, genders, and communities, in this, the world’s most stratified society. At first, most who are affected will not realize the interconnections between their own fate and that of others similarly affected; why they are ripped from their tenuous but familiar subsistence and cast on the open waters, as so much flotsam and jetsam; how different sections of working people, though strangers to them, are facing the same confusion and misery; and which classes are responsible for the social calamity. And so, which classes they must join hands with in order to resist the attack.

It is all the more necessary, therefore, to make people aware of these very concrete facts and interconnections.


Read Full Post »

[A Telugu translation of this article is included in Bharata Raitangam Pai Daadi (translator: P. Jamuna), the pdf of which can be found here.]

In the previous part of this article we saw that the Indian rulers are actively preparing the legal groundwork for parting peasants from their land. In the following part we place this in an international context.

The world economy is witnessing an intensifying drive by international investors to get control of land, including agricultural land, in the Third World. Why is this so?

The imperialist economies have been afflicted by a long-term trend of slowing growth, for reasons inherent to capitalism in its present stage. Over decades, capitalism has sought to counter that tendency toward stagnation by employing various means. In particular it has sought to do so by expanding financial sector activity – i.e., the activity, not of generating surplus in the course of production, but of acquiring and trading claims over the surplus.

Despite this extraordinary growth of finance, the captains of world capitalism remain pessimistic about the prospects for growth. Indeed, even prominent ‘mainstream’ economists now predict that the advanced countries will undergo ‘secular (i.e., long-term, chronic) stagnation’ for the foreseeable future. (However, they avoid linking this tendency to the nature of monopoly capitalism, which indeed is at the root of it.)


Read Full Post »