Institutions and Economic Development

Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar

In the post colonial countries, suffering from pauperized agriculture on the one hand; and, virtual deindustrialization on the other, achieving faster rates of economic growth was naturally a preeminent objective of economic policy. For without substantially increasing, on a sustained basis, the volume of production of agricultural and industrial goods and, making available to the masses public, quasi-public and merit goods in sufficient quantities, it could have been futile to talk of creating more employment opportunities, raising levels of living of the people in general, and reducing the mass poverty.


‘Twice-Born' Riot against Democracy

Gail Omvedt

(First published in September 1990)

Any caste based reservation system, in this case the Mandal Commission, has to be judged in terms of what it can do and not in terms of what it is not supposed to do—and in this case its goal is the limited but important one of ending caste monopoly in public sector jobs.

WRITING on the Mandal Commission and the 'caste war' going on around it almost seems an exercise in futility. Opinion on the subject is so nearly totally predictable from caste status that the readiness of the masses of the people to believe any written arguments must be declining rapidly.

Can one convince dalits and Shudras (a term I consider more appropriate than 'OBC' for reasons that will become clear) by writing in a journal like EPW or in any English-language paper today? They themselves (particularly dalits) have already thought the issue through on a collective basis—historically, from 1917 onwards, the same caste-groups have been involved in the reservation debate and the same arguments have been used more or less as today—and the less politically-conscious Shudra sections of the northern states are rapidly learning also.

There is a war going on in the streets (and implicitly in the polling booths) and a war of words accompanying it in the press, showing the fundamental caste-divide in India between the 'twice-born' (perhaps the most accurate term for the upper three varnas, more popularly known as the Brahman-Bania-Thakur group) and the rest (which may be termed, to use Jotirao Phule's language, as Shudras and ati-Shudras, or Bahujan and dalits), as well as the various sub-contradictions and ambiguities among these groups.


On Inclusiveness: Challenges of Inclusive Society, Economy and Polity in India

Sukhadeo Thorat

(M.N. Roy Memorial Lecture, March 24, 2012)

I feel honored to have been invited to deliver the 2012, M.N. Roy Memorial lecture by the Indian Renaissance Institute and Indian Radical Humanist Association. M.N Roy was a great visionary, thinker and a visionary with a particular vision for India. Everybody knows about his contribution and vision.

skthorat_copy_copy_copy_copyI wish to use this occasion to reflect on the vision of 'Inclusive India'- our efforts to develop a more inclusive society, which ensures equal and due share and participation to all sections and groups, in the governance of our economy and polity and in the fruits of social and economic development in the country.

I wish to address this issue in the contemporary context. I shall discuss the meaning of social exclusion, the consequences of social exclusion and as to why we should be concerned about social exclusion, the insights from theoretical literature for remedies against discrimination and for inclusive society, and application of these insights to the Indian situation.


Some merit to quotas

Dr. Udit Raj

(First published in January 2006)

udit_raj_copy_copy_copyThe doctors clamouring against reservations for OBCs have demanded that merit be the sole criteria for admission to medical and engineering colleges. Then, how is it that they haven't objected either to the NRI quota or candidates who procure admission on the basis of capitation fee? Does this not affect quality?

Reservations was introduced in the Kolhapur State as early as in 1902 and in the State of Mysore in 1921. In Tamil Nadu, where the human health index is much better than in other states, there is as much as 69 per cent reservation.

Let us take for a moment that upper caste doctors are really meritorious. But is this of any help to the nation when many of them use elite institutes as a springboard to go abroad for higher wages. Nearly 70 per cent of doctors from AIIMS doctors go abroad. How are these elite institutes, under such circumstances, serving the interests of the common people?


Concerns of the Aam Aadmi

Speech made by Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar, Member Rajya Sabha, on annual Budget 2011-12

Mr. Dy. Chairman Sir, I rise to support the Budget 2011-12.

Sir, I congratulate the Finance Minister for presenting an inclusive, growth-oriented and balanced Budget.

Sir, Budget is not only a mechanism of allocation of resources, but also an instrument of income redistribution. Sir, as we know, in welfare economics, there is what is called Pareto optimality, which means that any set of income redistribution is desirable that makes some people better-off without making some others worse off. This Budget has precisely attempted to do that. Sir, I consider the budget "balanced" not in narrow, technical economic sense where revenue equals expenditure. It is balanced in the sense that it has tried to address the concerns of different sections of the society, focusing on Aam Adami.

Sir, the Opposition Parties, have argued that the Budget lacked vision and inclusiveness. Some others said that the Budget does not contain a 'big-ticket' item, and yet others have criticized that the Budget does not contain reforms agenda.


Inclusive Growth: Why? And How?

Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar

(Maiden speech of Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar, Member of Rajya Sabha, delivered in the House on 4th May, 2010)

Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak on the Finance Bill in this august House.

Sir, it is gratifying that after the global financial crisis of 2008, the Indian economy quickly returned to the path of growth and registered 6.7 % growth in 2008-09 and 7.2 % in 2009-10. The credit for this must be given, firstly, to our regulated banking system, most importantly, our public sector banks for reducing the severity of the adverse impact of the global recession; and secondly, to the quick measures taken by the government, by resorting to financial stimulus packages, which helped maintain the level of aggregate demand for bringing back the economy to the growth path. For 2010-11, according to the recent World Economic Outllook published by IMF, the rate of growth for the Indian economy is forecast at 8.8 per cent.


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