Peasant Struggles in Shekhawati in the Early Twentieth Century
Sep 13th 2017, Vikas Rawal
The article is highly relevant to the ongoing peasant struggle in Rajasthan (Sikar) today. It examines the historical evidence that shows that the emergence of economically and politically dominant landlords from among Jat, and to a smaller extent Brahmin, castes in Shekhawati is a relatively recent phenomenon. Peasant struggles in Shekhawati in the first half of the twentieth century brought an end to the shackles of the Jagirdari system, which fundamentally changed the structure of control over land with tenants-at-will getting ownership rights over land.
On the Economic Implications of Restrictions on Cow Slaughter
Jul 11th 2017, Vikas Rawal
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.
The Roots of the Agrarian Distress in India
Jun 29th 2017, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The policy shifts of the reform era have not been in favor of agriculture. Trade liberalisation, deregulation and a greater role for market forces have not benefited the farmer, who is trapped in a persisting crisis. It is time for today's policy makers to recognise their own disconnect, and learn from the evidence at hand.
The Question of Farm-Loan Waiver
Jun 23rd 2016, Prabhat Patnaik
The primary reason why loan-waiver is being demanded at present is not an output fall owing to any natural calamity. It is the price-fall on account of the bumper harvest that underlies this demand. It is the breaking down of an appropriate institutional mechanism that is responsible for the peasants' distress and periodic demands for loan-waivers.
The Economy under Modi
Jun 20th 2017, Prabhat Patnaik
As per official data, half of the country's population witnessed no improvement in real per capita income over the three Modi years. Other indicators like the demand from net exports, Central Government expenditure (as a proportion of nominal GDP) and number of new jobs created in the organized sector, all reflect a gloomy picture of the Indian economy. The government has been keen on keeping finance capital happy while compromising on these matters.
Crop Prices and Farmers' Unrest
Jun 20th 2017, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
Distressed farmers are demanding loan waivers, but that should not deflect attention from what needs to be done and undone to address the roots of the agrarian crisis.
A Simple Arithmetic
May 25th 2017, Prabhat Patnaik
The advance GDP estimates for 2016-17, however calculated, show a grim picture of the economy. The real per capita income of the agriculture-dependent population, which constitutes half the country's populace, has remained stagnant or even marginally declined during the three years of the Modi government. While the pursuit of neoliberal policies can be held responsible for this, treating the aggregate growth as a "great achievement" for political mileage is unwarranted.
Agribusiness: Consolidating against the farmer
Oct 4th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar
American seed major Monsanto's aggression shows that the mega merger movement in the global agribusiness area is less about cutting costs and more about protecting profits.
The Pulses Conundrum
Sep 29th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
As inflation in the prices of pulses gives way to a price decline, a misplaced argument that the government should not regulate the private trade to curb speculation and stabilise prices is being expressed.
25 Years of Economic Reforms: Agriculture
Jul 27th 2016, Jayati Ghosh
The inability to resolve the pressing concerns with respect to food production, distribution and availability is one of the important failures of the entire economic reform process.
When Commodity Prices Fall
Apr 26th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The decline in primary commodity prices over the past four years particularly last year, shows that financialisation of commodities has amplified and exaggerated instabilities and fluctuations.
Growth, Imports and Inequality: Explaining the persistently high trade deficit in India
Dec 31 st 2015, Zico Dasgupta and Subhanil Chowdhury
This paper provides an explanation of the asymmetric relationship between the GDP growth rate and the trade deficit and looks at the mechanism through which the trade deficit in India has increased.
The Dismal State of Rural India
Jul 10th 2015, Prabhat Patnaik
The recently released socio economic and caste census paints a dismal picture of rural India where more than half of the total rural households survive on manual casual labour.
The Beleaguered Indian Farmer
Jun 24th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The forecast of a poor monsoon is a real bad news for the Indian farmers as it would not only reduce crop production leading to shortages but also encourage speculative holding.
How Food was Moved to the Margins of the New Household Budget
May 29th 2015, Rahul Goswami
An enquiry into the private consumption expenditure indicates that a huge majority of India's population are experiencing food insecurity in one or several forms.
Agriculture in Crisis
Apr 1st 2015, Jayati Ghosh
India is on the brink of a major agricultural crisis resulting from natural causes and poor policy of the present government in the field of agriculture and social sector.
Unseen Workers: Women in Indian agriculture
Apr 1st 2015, Jayati Ghosh
Although women play a pivotal role in Indian agriculture, it is amazing to see how their work goes unnoticed in the public domain.
How Not to Treat Agriculture
Mar 19th 2015, Jayati Ghosh
The Union Budget 2015 indicates that the government is going beyond what could be called benign neglect of agriculture to policy moves that are likely to harm its viability.
Revisiting Rural Indebtedness
Feb 5th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The distribution of rural credit disbursement is skewed and biased towards the rich and warrants better access to all sections for improved capital formation in agriculture.
The RBI Governor's Unwarranted Remarks
Jan 2nd 2015,, Prabhat Patnaik
Dr. Rajan's criticism of the debt-waiver scheme for farmers underscores the fact that 'social banking" gets progressively eliminated in the era of neo-liberalism.
India Concludes Bilateral Agreement with US, Agrees to an Indefinite ‘Peace Clause'
Nov 17th 2014, Biswajit Dhar
By making a bilateral agreement with the US, India is able to avert any challenge to its food security programme for now, but the programme will be under WTO surveillance.
The Cotton Conundrum
Oct 24th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
China's decision to liquidate its large raw cotton stocks accumulated as part of a policy of supporting domestic production is hurting the world's cotton exporters.
India Faces Criticism for Blocking Global Trade Deal, But is it Justified?
Sep 9th 2014, Jayati Ghosh
Contrary to wider perception, the bigger risk to the multilateral trading system comes from the developed world failing to listen to the concerns of developing countries.
Budget 2014-15: The continuing neglect of the 'rural'
Aug 4th 2014, Arindam Banerjee
The Budget fails to address the real issues and problems of a crisis-ridden agriculture sector, while expanding expenditure to support farmers and workers is the only way out.
The Last Straw
May 23rd 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The possibility of a fall in India's agricultural production due to the El Niño effect gives rise to a possibility of worsening stagflation.
The Offensive against Transfers to the Poor
May 22nd 2014, Prabhat Patnaik
The demand by corporate magnates to roll back the relief measures for the poor is nothing but an expression of the class animosity of corporate capital towards the working poor.
The Food Price Rise Acceleration in Rural India
Dec 31st 2013, Rahul Goswami
For crop cultivators and rural labour, the CPI – a measure of the rise in the food prices – is showing an accelerated upward trend, particularly October 2011 onwards.
Credit and Capital Formation in Agriculture: A growing disconnect
Nov 21st 2013, Pallavi Chavan
Capital formation in agriculture in recent past suffered due to overemphasis on short-term and indirect credit, but this may prove to be costly for future sectoral growth.
Contract Farming: Recipe for crisis
Jul 11th 2013, Jayati Ghosh
The Indian Government believes allowing private corporate intervention will help resolve all problems in agriculture despite contradictory evidences from past experiences.
Locked into Business
Jul 10th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Despite the numerous problems associated with it, the Indian government has been encouraging and facilitating contract farming practice as part of its liberalisation drive.
The Changing Pattern of Food Inflation in India
Jun 25th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The authors investigate the structure of food inflation during the years of the UPA government and consider what it suggests about the management of the food economy in India.
India's Watered-down Food Bill Won't Really Benefit its Hungry Millions
Jun 25th 2013, Jayati Ghosh
India's ruling Congress party has failed to deliver on an election pledge to bring in a law that would help deliver food security.
What Census 2011 Reveals about Our Growers and their Land
Jun 5th 2013, Rahul Goswami
The change in the number of cultivators and agricultural labourers provided by Census 2011 should help us recognise the growing impacts on food security caused by urbanisation.
More Farmers or Fewer?
May 13th 2013, Rahul Goswami
The consequences of western Maharashtra's urbanisation on the food security of the 14 districts that have sent rural workers to that region are yet to be recognised.
Food Price Transmission in India: The case of wheat
Apr 30th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The general tendency among Indian policy makers is to blame international price movements for the rise in prices of essential food items in India, which is actually not true.
The Political Economy of Indian Food Exports
Apr 2nd 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The article discusses the political economy configurations that permit rising grain exports from India, even as domestic food prices spiral out of the reach of ordinary people.
Of False Premises, Faulty Reportage and Declining Hunger: Unraveling the enigma
Jan 30th 2013, M Kumaran and Biraj Swain

The official assessment about India making progress in addressing hunger, nutrition and poverty over last two decades, do not match the ground realities.

The Cost of Food Security
Jan 22nd 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The argument of inadequate food supplies and burden on the government's budget that is advanced against universal food security programme is shocking and without much basis.
From District to Town: The movement of food and food providers alike
Jan 8th 2013, Rahul Goswami
Policy obsession with urbanisation is changing the nature of crop production and food consumption in India as seen in the shifts in district rural-urban population balances.
India's Triumph in Rice
Dec 26th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The argument that the Indian government's decision to lift the four-year ban on non-basmati rice exports was a wise move is both inappropriate and premature.
Wages of Neglect
Dec 14th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
While monsoon-dependence contributed to the long-term worsening trend of Indian agriculture, that dependence and the decline in productivity is the result of long-term neglect.
Food World
Oct 17th 2012, Jayati Ghosh
The globalised fast-food culture encourages a wasteful and unhealthy pattern of food consumption that is detrimental to the health of people in developing and developed countries.
FDI in Retail: Benefiting neo-liberalism, harming people
Sep 26th 2012, Subhanil Chowdhury
The decision of the UPA government to open up the retail sector in the country to FDI is an example of the basic fallacy in the 'growth fetishism' of the votaries of neo-liberalism. While the government argues that this move will generate investor confidence in the Indian economy and lead the country to high growth, in reality the problems of the common people - deprivation, poverty and hunger - far from being ameliorated, will actually be intensified.
India's Supermarket Move Shows its Tired Government has Run Out of Ideas
Sep 21st 2012, Jayati Ghosh
Opening up India's retail sector to western supermarkets will lead to exploitation of small producers and adverse employment effects. Despite vehement opposition the government insists on pushing through this reform, a move that speaks of a tired regime which has run out of ideas.
The Coming Food Crisis
Sep 12th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Even as the global recessionary trend continues, the world is waking up to the prospect of another food crisis resulting in a period of political turmoil with unexpected consequences. This will have an adverse affect on poor developing country exporters that have not yet recovered fully from earlier crises.
Another Looming Food Crisis
Jul 25th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The possibility of another global food crisis facing the world brings with it questions about what exactly is causing these crazy fluctuations in global food prices. Arguably, it is not changes in the 'real' conditions that are behind these price fluctuations. Rather, it is the role played by rumour, and therefore by the media in altering expectations that can explain, to a large extent, the recent spike in food prices.
Food and Agriculture: Trends in India into the early Twelfth Plan period
Apr 23rd 2012, Rahul Goswami

The transformation taking place in India's agriculture and crop cultivation choices is brought about by a few key factors that have begun to heavily influence the patterns of crop cultivation, the movement of food through India and the effect of these on nutrition on different income classes in rural and urban habitats. In this view, foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and the influence of the retail food industry is linked with climate change impacts and the proposed genetic engineering solutions; the combining of agriculture, health and nutrition is aided by pro-technology policies and consumption geared for urbanising India; and the domination by the USA of the crop science, research agenda and market reform process is still evident. These factors are responsible for the repetition of the misdiagnosis of impending hunger in the country by the Government of India as being a consequence of a lack of food, to be tackled today, and tackled exclusively by technological means.

The Great Fuel Subsidy Hoax
Mar 20th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
In his Budget Speech, the Finance Minister signalled his intent to reduce subsidies, particularly the fuel subsidy, by an estimated Rs 25,000 crore. In this article, the authors consider the retail prices of petrol and diesel in India relative to some other countries, and examine the validity of the claim that the petroleum sector is actually a burden on the exchequer.

Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Urban India

Feb 28th 2012
This report is an update of Food Insecurity Atlas of Urban India that was developed by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in October 2002 and a companion exercise to the Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Rural India of 2001. Reviewing the relative position of the major states with respect to food security, the Report reveals an alarming situation of a permanent food and nutrition emergency in urban India. Hence in order to promote food and nutrition security for all, the Report offers certain policy recommendations emphasizing that urban food security is impacted by the macroeconomic policies and therefore, economic reforms needs to be re-formed to provide inclusive urban development.
Concentration in Global Food Markets 
Feb 14th 2012, Jayati Ghosh
The growing power of multinational firms within the global food system has implications for both producers and consumers of food and it poses serious threats to global food security. Therefore, enforcement of some regulation and control is necessary to prevent concentration of market power in the hands of a few large retailers that leads to various malpractices.
From Food Security to Food Justice 
Feb 7th 2012, Ananya Mukherjee
Millions of Indians suffer from the twin violence of hunger and injustice. However, most of the Indian governments are neither willing nor able to deliver food justice. Therefore, the need of the hour is the devolution of power and resources to the local level so that with their knowledge of local needs and situations they can create a just food economy, as has been shown by the women in Kerala.
Multinational Retail Firms in India
Dec 12th 2011, Jayati Ghosh
The actual impact of large corporate retail, and especially multinational retail chains, in developing countries clearly shows that many of the claims made by proponents of such corporate retailing - in terms of employment generation or benefits to producers and consumers - are suspect or sometimes completely false.
Retrogression in Retail
Dec 1st 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Permitting FDI in retail trade, wherein a few oligopolistic buyers will come to dominate retail trade, will lead to adverse employment effects and an erosion of the real incomes of small crop producers.
Karuturistan, Ethiopia: The fire next time?
Oct 21st 2011, Alemayehu G. Mariam
Karuturi is an Indian MNC that currently owns 2,500 sq km of virgin fertile land in Gambala, Ethiopia, where it practices corporate farming. The project has not only displaced local inhabitants from their homeland, it is also impoverishing the local community by bringing in farmers from India and thereby denying local people the right to livelihood. The produce is meant to be exported to the international market, whereas Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of foreign food aid.
Evading an Inflation Cure
Sep 7th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The changing responses of the government to persisting inflation suggest that the government has given up on the task of curbing inflation and expects that people would learn to live with the phenomenon and adjust. Thus the focus on the long-run supply constraints in agriculture as being the reason for the recent inflationary surge is to evade rather than address the problem of inflation.
Grabbing Global Farmland
Sep 7th 2011, Jayati Ghosh
It is essential to fight the irresponsible and exploitative behavior manifested by Indian companies involved in the recent trend in large-scale overseas acquisitions of farmland and the undemocratic processes underlying these land grabs. Without this, the struggle for greater economic justice within India will also be undermined.

India's Role in the New Global Farmland Grab

Aug 23rd 2011, Rick Rowden
This report explores the role of Indian agricultural companies that have been involved in the recent trend in large-scale overseas acquisitions of farmland. In addition to examining the various factors driving the ''outsourcing'' of domestic food production, the report also explores the negative consequences of such a trend. It looks at why critics have called the trend ''land grabbing'' and reviews the impacts on local peoples on the ground, who are often displaced in the process.

Food Prices, Health and Nutrition: Red-flag indicators for the 12th Plan

Aug 17th 2011, Rahul Goswami
The long-term impacts of food inflation on the rural and urban poor are yielding worrying indicators in India's nutrition and health sectors. Analysing new data from the NSSO's 66th Round and recent trends in retail food prices, the author establishes that households in the lower deciles of consumption in both rural and urban areas have been hurt the most by the steep rise in the real retail prices of cereals during 2003 to 2009-10.
Food Price Transmission in South Asia
Jun 14th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The recent increase in global food prices has once again set off alarm signals in developing countries, especially in South Asia, where food inflation has been a major problem for some years now. Evidence from South Asian countries corroborates the fact that domestic factors do play a role in the international transmission; while rising global prices put upward pressure on domestic prices in a much rapid manner, its downward movements are less rapidly or effectively transmitted and often do not have any such impact.
Industrialising India's Food Flows: An analysis of the food waste argument
May 23rd 2011, Rahul Goswami
From the mid-term appraisal of the Eleventh Five Year plan onwards, central government ministries have been telling us that post-harvest losses in India are high, particularly for fruits and vegetables. The amount of waste often quoted is up to 40% for vegetables and fruits, and has been held up as the most compelling reason to permit a flood of investment in the new sector of agricultural logistics, to allow the creation of huge food processing zones, and to link all these to retail food structures in urban markets. The urban orientation of such an approach ignores the integrated and organic farming approach, as it does the evidence that sophistication in food processing has not in the West prevented food loss or waste.
Why West Bengal Needs a Left Government
Apr 4th 2011, Jayati Ghosh
It is not only for taking forward the struggle for democracy but also the successful achievements of the Left government in the areas of land distribution and health that West Bengal should have a government headed by a revitalised Left Front. It is essential to consolidate these achievements and move forward, rather than allow them to be dissipated or even reversed.
The Transmission of Global Food Prices
Mar 22nd 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
Global food prices are spiking once again, creating fears of a renewal or intensification of the global food crisis. Given that recent domestic food price changes in different Asian countries point to a broader trend whereby they have been strongly related to international price changes, this is a matter of extreme concern.
The Onion Price Rise: What actually made us cry?
Feb 21st 2011,Ann Mary John
It is unfair to hold only supply side factors responsible for the upswings in onion prices. Food price inflation can be seen to have been caused by the government's action (inaction) and not by the emerging domestic demand or the unfortunate supply side conditions alone.
Is the MNREGS Affecting Rural Wages?
Feb 4th 2011, Jayati Ghosh
Despite numerous problems with the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Scheme has borne some positive results. Ironically, the moderate success of the Scheme in improving the conditions and bargaining power of rural labour, including that of women workers, has now become another source of its criticism.
Food Prices and Distribution Margins in India
Feb 3rd 2011, Jayati Ghosh
To look at corporate retail as the solution to the current food price increase seems to be foolish as the recent evidence on distribution margins indicates that the countrywide share of corporate retail in food distribution is estimated to have tripled in the past four years and the retail food prices have shown the greatest increase. Instead, creating a viable and effective public distribution system in essential commodities is an immediate requirement.
Policy Paralysis and Inflation
Feb 3rd 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The price trends over the last one-and-a-half years suggest that inflation is being driven by factors which are structurally embedded in the economic environment generated by the government's neoliberal reform agenda adopted for two decades now. Further, neoliberal thinking is leading not only to policy paralysis and absurd reasoning, but also to policy responses that are contrary to what is needed.
Diluting the Right to Food
Feb 2nd 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
In its task of formulating the Food Security Bill, the National Advisory Council has ended up recognizing the supply constraints that could hinder implementation of the bill which guarantees universal access to food through a public distribution system.
(Un)Common Suffering: Distributional impact of recent inflation in India
Jan 6th 2011, Rajarshi Majumder and Subhadip Ghosh
Recent inflation in India is special both because of its peaks and its persistence. It is argued that unlike during 2008-09, recent inflation is due to structural problems. Further, a distributional analysis reveals that its impact is not shared equally. People in the lower income groups have been facing uncommon difficulties, as their purchasing power seems to have been halved over the last four years.
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