Thursday, March 29, 2012

Capitalism: A host Story by Arundhati Roy

Read the article written by Arundhati Roy in Outlook:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Conviction of Dr. Binayak Sen

One comments in Times of India regarding the verdict on Dr. Binayak sen that it proves the influence of feudalist elements in the government. Why feudalist influence? Dont you see the monopoly houses of India? Do you think those 4 Indians who are among ten top richest men of the world are feudal lords? How then it can be the influence of feudalist elements?
It is the monopoly houses of India who are plundering the resources. Activities of people like Dr. Binayak Sen make people conscious about this plundering. The verdict actually proves how much shameless the state could be. It shows how openly the state could serve as a servent of TATA, GOENKA, AMBANI, VEDANTA and others. It is shame that KALMADI, A RAJA etc will remain outside the bar as a patriot and the people who selflessly fight Malaria among adivasis, demands women’s right or tribal right will be behind bar. Let every ‘stupid common man’ of India make a demand to put himself behind the bar with Dr. Binayak Sen and let the place outside free for KALMADI (Common Wealth Scam), RAJA (2G Scam), SONIA( Bofor’s Scandal), SING (2G Scam), PRANAB (Ambani’s servent), SOREN (Endless Scam), LALU (Chara Ghotala), BUDDHA (Singur & Nandigram) etc etc.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


As a member of the Executive Council of North Bengal University, Prof Ajit Kumar Ray wrote a letter to the Honourable Chancellor, the Governor of West Bengal regarding the role of the Vice Chancellor in dealing with the corruption case against few officers of the university. Though the Inquiry Officer specifically mentioned the names of Sri Ranju Gopal Mukherjee, Sri Pijush Saha and Dr. Dilip Kumar Sarkar, the vice-chancellor, being a party-loyalist, could not mention the names of first two.
Secondly, knowing very well that he has no jurisdiction to suspend someone under Clause 27 of University services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules 1975 without the approval of the Executive Council,he served suspension notice without the approval of the EC to Dr. Sarkar who, as expected, approached High Court for justice and sought injunction on suspension order. Honourable Single Bench immediately in the interim order made the judgment on 13th May 2010 that “the order of suspension is without jurisdiction”. Without rectifying his order according to single bench's observation, the vice-chancellor appealed to the division bench and, thereby, unnecessarily mis-using public money.
Thirdly, as ordered by the Division Bench, the Vice-Chancellor did not itemize the issue of suspension for the consideration of EC in its meeting on 23rd June, 2010, instead he tried to approve his suspension order which was subjudiced and was enlisted for hearing on 1st July. Interestingly, he itemized the issue fraudulently mentioning that he had applied section 10(6)which was neither true nor the plea was accepted by the Ld Single Bench of the Highcourt.
Those who are interested to know details please see the blog where the copy of my press release and letter to the Chancellor were posted.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chandmoni Tea Garden: Report of a Study

Recently a study on displaced women workers of Chandmoni Tea Estate has been completed by Dr. Saswati Biswas, Reader, Dept. of Sociology of North Bengal University. The report reveals a glaring example of how industrialists (though here it is not an industrialist but promoter Neotia) flout the written agreement and government makes pre-planned false promises and assurances to befool innocent, ill-informed, helpless workers. It also reveals how public land is being grabbed by land-sharks to make huge personal profit in the name of development.
According to MOU, signed in presence of Jyoti Basu and Somenath Chatterjee on 18.10.1998, out of 664.395 acres of land, “it has been decided that 406.64 acres of land which is now held by Chandmoni Tea Company Limited on lease for cultivation of tea, be resumed by the state govt. out of total land holding of the company, for ultimate settlement with a ‘New Company’ promoted by Chandmoni Tea Company Ltd. for development of a satellite township. The balance land of the tea estate will continue to be held by Chandmoni on existing term of lease.”

MOU further says- “The existing workers who are likely to be displaced because of construction of the satellite township will be rehabilitated by the Chandmoni Tea Company Limited. There shall be no loss of employment for the workers.”

Report of the study says “Secondly it was decided in the Memorandum that 406.64 acres of land would be brought under the township and the rest would continue to be held by Chandmoni on existing terms and conditions that means tea would be cultivated on the remaining land. However at present though the brochures of Uttarayon Township Project claims that the latter has been set up on 400 acres of land the land which was left for tea gardens seems to have been included in the project. This is substantiated by any visit to the websites which provide information on Chandmoni, where the area of the township is given as 600 acres. We may mention two of them here, where one can access the newsletter ‘Water Business and Industry News’ of May 2007 says “Bengal Ambuja is building a 600 acre township near Siliguri”. The same may be read from the writes, “apart from the string of city centres the company (Bengal Ambuja Housing Development Ltd.) is building a 600 acres township named ‘Uttarayon’. ”
When MOU was signed for township within 406.64 acres of land and rest to continue tea-garden, how the company dared to uproot tea bushes of entire 600 acres of land and construct building? Is there any underhand dealing between the promoter and the ruling party?
According to MOU, there shall be no loss of employment for the workers. What is the present position of those displaced workers?
Report of the study says-“ Thirdly the memorandum of understanding states that the workers who were to be displaced would be rehabilitated, this was also not followed in practice. .. About 100 workers were shifted to Subalvita and the rest who stayed over at Chandmoni have lost their jobs receiving about Rs. 2 lakh each. Till to-day retirement benefits have also been withheld. Thus while the memorandum claims that there would be no loss of employment, workers have really lost job not to speak of the casual workers who have neither employment nor compensation. ”
Why are their retirement benefits being withheld? Because, those workers are now being pressurized to leave the place. If they agree to leave the place then only the company will release the retirement benefits. Under which clause of which act can the company do this?
Is it development?
Study also reveals that 64% of formerly permanent women tea garden workers are unemployed, 12% are engaged in irregular construction work as helper, 12% as garden worker at Uttarayon (2 weeks in a month), 4% are now maid-servant and 4% are selling illegal liquor. (Pictures show condition of housing of resettled workers at subalvita)

Dr. Saswati Biswas, UGC SAP sponsored Project Report, “Development Project and Project Affected Women, A Study of the Former Women Workers of Chandmoni Tea Estate”, September, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Poverty, Inequality and Growth

Does the globalization improve the condition of poor? Does positive growth rate really reduce inequality?
There are volumes of literature in search of linkages between globalization and poverty. “The pro-globalization advocates argue that it led to faster growth, that it reduces poverty, and that it brought about a decrease in inequality. The anti-globalization critics argue that it led to slower but more volatile growth, that it increased poverty in most parts of the world and that there was an increase in equality” (Nayyar, 2006, p-2). However, in the literature it is claimed that ‘two sets of factors can be identified as the main proximate causes of the differing rates of poverty reduction at given rates of growth: the initial level of inequality and changing income distribution’ (Ravallion, 2004, p-14).
Moreover, the World Bank identifies six country conditions that are particularly relevant for the case study of pro-poor growth strategies which are (i) population density and its degree of urbanization, (ii) assets and income inequality, (iii) importance of agriculture, (iv) importance of climatic variability, (v) fertility and (vi) institutions (World Bank, 2005, pp 75-76).
We examined the claim of positive relationship between growth rate with reduction of poverty and inequality keeping all the above stated conditions in mind. We take two groups of countries: In group (i), there are altogether 25 states. Many of these states were Soviet Republics within former USSR. These states declared independence and initiated reform process of their planned economy in order to transform into a capitalist market economy in early nineties. In group (ii), we consider six south Asian countries.
We measure poverty and inequality for both groups prior to 1990 and after 2000. Since states in group (i) were under socialist system prior to 1990, we find that both the measures of poverty and inequality of all these countries (except six countries for which data prior to 1990 are unavailable) are appeared insignificant . On the other hand, in group-(ii) ,almost one-third of the people in this region live in poverty and experience absolute deprivation in so far as obtaining basic and minimum human necessities are concerned. However, countries of both groups show positive average growth rate during the period 1995-2004. Then how such positive growth rate achieved through globalizations improves poverty and inequality in two groups of countries those differ with initial level of poverty and inequality?
Following are the results:
In case of the countries of the first group:
a) Where growth is positive and poverty reduces along with declining inequality. This is pro-poor growth situation. Armenia is the only country, which falls within this group.
b) Where positive growth with reducing poverty and increasing inequality. This is ‘trickle down’ growth process. Three countries fall in this category, namely Azerbaijan, Macedonia and Tajikistan.
c) Where positive growth increases poverty and inequality. This is ‘immiserizing’ growth situation. It implies that the adverse effect of high inequality is such that it offsets the beneficial impact of growth on poorer section of the population. In case of former socialist state turned capitalist countries this phenomenon appears predominant though economists claim that this situation is rare. Because, remaining 20 countries fall in this category.
In case of the countries of the second group:
a) Where positive growth with reducing poverty and increasing inequality. This is ‘trickle down’ growth process. Bangladesh, India (Rural), India (Urban), Nepal and Pakistan fall in this category.
b) Where positive growth increases poverty as well as inequality. This is ‘immiserizing’ growth situation. Sri Lanka falls in this category.
Summarizing the results, it can be said that the claim that ‘growth reduces poverty and that it brought about a decrease in inequality’ has not been realized with respect to countries belonging to East Europe, Central Asia and South Asia. Moreover, positive growth due to globalization either immiserizes the poor (turns their condition from bad to worse) or trickles down benefits insignificantly irrespective of the country conditions lay down by the World Bank. Moreover, the impression that ‘immiserizing’ growth concept is rare in reality is not true. On the contrary, positive growth in socialist turned capitalist countries predominantly makes the condition of the poor worse.

1. Nayyar D. (2006): Development through Globalizatio?, World Institute for Development Economic Research, Research Paper No. 2006/29
2. Ravallion, M. ( 2004 ): Pro-poor Growth: A Primer, Development Research Group, World Bank, N.Y., Washington
3. World Bank (2005):Pro-Poor Growth in the 1990s: Lessons and Insights from 14 Countries, Operationalizing Pro-Poor Growth Research Program, U.K. Department for International Development, The World Bank

*This is an excerpt of a research paper presented in the national seminar at National Institute of Technology, Shilchor by Dr. Ajit Kr. Ray