Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The ‘Modi Wave’ and its Inherent Dilemma

Amitayu Sengupta

A lot is being written about BJP after the Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections. One stream of the discussions talks about the national impact of this result, the probable brakes on the ‘Modi juggernaut’, how AAP is the model for countering BJP, etc. A more interesting stream of discussion highlights the dilemma of the present BJP government that has so long been covered up by the euphoria of ‘Modi wave’.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nawarangpur: Thousands Organise Under The Red Flag For Land and Dignity of Life

Vijoo Krishnan

It took nearly 24 hours from Bhubaneswar by rail and road to reach Nawarangpur District Headquarters. The journey took eight hours more than required due to an extraordinary situation prevalent in this part of the World. The Maoists had found an innovative way of fighting American Imperialism-to blow up railway tracks that link these rich regions filled with poor people to the other parts of Odisha. The express train was literally being dragged to Damanjodi in Koraput District from where we were to proceed by road. It was led by a pilot engine which went ahead to check if all was well with the tracks and was followed by another train ahead of us.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Labour Reforms: A Marxian Relook

Satyaki Roy

We begin with two stylized facts related to labour and industrial growth in India: first, the share of wage cost in gross value of output has declined sharply from 9 per cent in 1973-74 to roughly 2 per cent in 2011-12. This simply reflects the fact that in organized manufacturing the relative costs of employing labour seem to have drastically declined over the years. The second important fact being that the workers working in labour intensive sectors account for a lower share of both total wages and output compared to those working in other sectors.  In other words the significance of labour intensive sectors in terms of providing wage income and producing manufacturing output is on the decline. It has been widely recognized as well that capital intensity in manufacturing has been increasing in India despite being a ‘cheap labour’ economy. And this is largely related to ‘compression of time and space’ in globalization that internalizes global competition in the ‘local’. The local-global dichotomy in terms of markets and competition is increasingly becoming blurred. Industries face global competition in the local space and as a result often adopt technologies developed in the West that are labour displacing. This is further triggered by the trajectory of growth in India which has been heavily dependent on profit income that favour consumption of luxuries and importables that also induce labour displacing technologies. Moreover there has been a relative cheapening of capital because of easy flow of finance that also favoured capital intensive technologies.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Science, History and Mythology: Hindutva Discovery of Ancient India


A special symposium on science and technology (S&T) in ancient India as gleaned through Sanskrit texts was organized as a side event at the 102nd Indian Science Congress held in Mumbai in January 2015. The symposium itself, with an obvious Hindutva agenda, and the claims made there, generated headlines both nationally and globally as the organizers may have hoped, but for very different reasons. Far from highlighting important contributions in ancient India, or uncovering hitherto unknown facts, the symposium presentations proffered fantastic claims showing a complete inability or disinclination to distinguish between science and history on the one hand and mythology and sophistry on the other.