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Glossing over Rural Crisis

Mukesh Vatsyayana

By Indradeep Sinha
People's Publishing House, 1980, pp vii 162, Rs. 10.00

VOLUME V NUMBER 2 September/October 1980

One fact about the book is that it is a revised version of the general secretary's report to the 22nd national conference of the All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) held at Vijayawada in June last year. Because the book is based on the report of a general secretary to his organization, it is infected with all the defects such a report suffers from—a brief account of the party's activities during the period under discussion in which an attempt is made to play up the role of one's own organi­zation while running down rivals; a hasty glance, meant more to gloss over rather than uncover, at some none-too-glorious episodes in the party's history; a sweep­ing formulation of the party's program­me which is general enough to make one eel that one has done one's duty by the people and vague enough to cause con­fusion in the ranks when it comes to implementation. A major part of Sinha's book is devo­ted to an analysis of the crisis of the capitalist path of development that broke out in the Indian economy in 1973-74 and its deleterious impact on the agri­cultural sector. He draws upon a wide range of statistics to prove how the poor, starving and labouring millions in and outside Indian villages had to pay for the capitalist model of ' development' impos­ed upon them by their bourgeois rulers. There is no quarrel with Sinha when he discusses how the severe recession which brought to a halt the wheels of the capi­talist economies of the world in 1973-75 adversely affected the Indian economy because of its links with international capitalist forces. In a bid to neutralize as much as possible the ill effects of reces­sion the developed capitalist economies of the West acted to shift their burden to the weak shoulders of 'dependent' coun­tries of the Third World. While prices of primary commodities exported by countries like India fell heavily, the prices of manufactured goods imported by them rose, resulting in a massive trade deficit. Terms of trade deteriorated so badly against the Third World dependent eco­nomies that it became necessary for India to increase its exports by nearly 50 per cent by 1976-77 just to maintain the 1972-73 level of its imports. In such a situation, the advice of the IMF and the World Bank to the Government of India to mould ...

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