India is often characterized as an emerging economic super power. The huge demographic dividend, the high quality engineering and management talent, the powerful Indian Diaspora and the emerging Indian transnational – knells the optimism. In contrast, there is another profile of India which is rather gloomy. This is the country with the largest number of the poor, illiterates and unemployed in the world. High infant mortality, morbidity and widespread anemia among women and children continue.
India suffers from acute economic and social disparities. This article addresses dimensions of such disparities, viz. regional, social, and digital and gender. There is empirical evidence to indicate that during the last two decades all these disparities have been increasing.
Globalisation came to India through the economic reforms and is gradually transforming our culture and self concept. This paper proposes to social transforming of the Indian economy and situates the process of economic liberalisation in India in its wider context. While the economic reforms of the 1990s stimulated growth, the direct beneficiaries were more affluent urban dwellers. Social reform has lagged behind economic reform. The paradigm shift in the Indian planning from growth with stability and social justice to neo-liberal development is traced. This is linked to the theoretical discourses on globalisation and their applicability in the Indian context.
The approach paper of latest five year plans stresses the importance of more inclusive economic growth. It emphasizes the need for bridging the divides discussed in this article. Unless these are achieved in a time-bound manner, there could be serious adverse implications for the Indian economy, society and polity.
Key words: Globalisation, liberalisation, social transformation, economic disparities and social disparities, economic reforms, India.
India is often characterized as an emerging economic super power. In fact, it is the only large potential market waiting to be conquered by the multinational corporations. The process of integration of India into the global market is progressing fast. Almost all economic indicators are showing healthy trend and India is one of the fastest growing major economies of the world.
India has several strengths which can be fully exploited in the coming decades. The relatively young population which is still growing at about 2 per cent per annum in a world inhabited by nations with ageing populations can be considered an important asset. This asset can generate huge demographic dividend in the coming decades. India can become the principal supplier of skilled workers to developed countries with ageing societies experiencing acute labour shortage. The powerful Indian Diaspora can work as a potential facilitator for the smooth transition of India into a world economic power. The high quality engineering and management talent of India is universally acclaimed. Home grown Indian companies have been entering international arena to set new trends of mergers and acquisitions.
There is an altogether different profile of India, a country with the largest number of poor and destitute in the world. India also accounts for the largest number of illiterates; and the largest number of unemployed. It has the largest number of anaemic women and children, and huge infant/child and maternal mortality.
Indians constitute about 17 per cent of world population. But we account for about 35 per cent of the poor and 40 per cent of the illiterates in the world. There are more poor and illiterates today than at the time of independence sixty years ago. Our infant mortality is still about 60 per 1000 live births, which is one of the highest in the world. More than 50 per cent of Indian women and children are anaemic due to acute nutritional deficiency. India also experiences a high incidence of morbidity and mortality on account of various waterborne diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes, etc.
These are not normal characteristics of a modern nation which is aspiring to be a world economic power. A decent society cannot be built on the ruins of hunger, malnutrition, ill health and illiteracy. Children who are the bridge between our inherited past and the aspirations for the future are neglected beyond limit. As a result huge damage is done to their physical and mental health. If the trend continues, our chances of gaining from globalization on the strength of our human resources are slim.
Economic development and social development are mutually reinforcing. Disparities in economic development and social development are also mutually reinforcing. Socially excluded are economically marginalized. Economically marginalized remain socially excluded. The gains of economic development accrue disproportionately to the socially developed groups. The economic gains will help them to further horn up their social skills which in turn will enable them to gain even more from the economic opportunities. On the other hand, socially backward may gain only marginally from economic development which may not be sufficient for them to improve their social skills to enable them to earn more. This vicious circle transcends from generation to generation. There exist several dimensions of economic and social disparities of development in the country.
When Marx and Engels (1848) wrote the political slogan: “Workers of the world, unite”, they gave a vision of unified world capitalism and were very close to the theme of today’s theorists on globalisation. They were among the first writers to treat the international economy as a dynamic category, in which both states and regions were affected by international trends. When the World Bank in 1996 had to justify the introduction of the market into the countries of the former Communist bloc, it is ironical that it chose a passage from the same Communist Manifesto in which the young radical Marx and Engels recognized the radicalism of the new capitalist order:
“…. The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, and establish connections everywhere”.
This was the time, as early as 1848, when the globe had become a part of discourse on society and culture. It implied a generic transformation of the world. Today when we talk of historical transformation, globalisation, through liberalisation and economic reforms, comes as the main process causing change and crisis. The most important issue which dominates our socio-political, cultural and economic horizon is that of globalisation.
Economic globalization has a long history, but in its commercial age it was nation-based, produce was generally according to the needs and benefits trickled down to the masses. With the advent of capitalism, its character changed. Production became unplanned. When it accumulated in excess, markets slid down into depression in cyclical fashion every 25 to 30 years. Economic globalization can be best seen as the more advanced form of capitalism.
Liberalisation and globalisation came to India through the economic reform and is gradually transforming our culture and self image. Capital worked hard at promotion of neoliberal policies and finally succeeded. This paper proposes to theorise the transition of the Indian economy and situate the process of economic liberalisation in India in its wider context and in a long-term perspective. The structural shifts within the World economy had implications on the process and the nature of India’s integration to this global system. Contemporary globalisation became a neo-liberal project. It is a political project characterized by the dominance of neo-liberal capitalism, by which the speed and intensity of global flows have increased.
The theories and discourses on social change and transformation till 1970s and 1980s were largely associated with industrialisation and the gaps between the rich and poor nations. Marx and many other scientists discussed the Industrial and French Revolutions and their social ramifications. Some influential global paradigms in sociology on social transformation were: Modernisation theory which propagated an urban, industrial milieu for modernity; Dependency theory postulated that underdevelopment in the periphery was the direct result of the historically evolving structures of capitalism, the World System Theory viewed nations in relation to their placement within a global division of labour between core, periphery and semi periphery. The new literature on globalisation moves beyond the poor versus the rich nations and lays emphasis on how interconnected and integrated the world has become. The early 1970s breakdown of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and national controls of capital flows marked a major watershed in the globalisation of trade, finance and investment.
NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENT
The social origin and ideology of the new elite that emerged during the colonial period, and eventually provided leadership to the nationalist movement, was very different from the earlier landed aristocracy. Though they mostly came from the erstwhile dominant communities/castes/classes, their socialization and orientation was mostly urban, emanating from their professional training in the Western institutions of learning, English medium local schools or the British universities. These lawyers, doctors, teachers, and journalists (mostly from Brahmin, Bania and other upper castes) eventually emerged as leaders of the Indian nationalist movement. Though the landed gentry were not completely marginalized, its monopoly over institutions of power was certainly broken. The old ideas of hierarchy and feudal power began to give way to new ideas of ‘equality, liberty and freedom’. These new elites, as Srinivas argued, were ‘two-faced, one face turned towards their own society, while the other was turned towards the West. They were spokesmen for the West as far as their own people were concerned, and spokesmen for their people, as far as the rulers were concerned’ (Srinivas 1966: 80).
By the early 1970s, the profile of the Indian political elite had undergone many important changes. The new political elite of democratic India began to articulate values and aspirations of rural dominant castes and regional interest-groups. ‘The diffuse ideological orientation of pre-Independence days was found to be increasingly absent in the consciousness of the emerging new political elites’ (Singh Y. 1973:139). This process of shift from the ‘politics of ideology’ to the ‘politics of representation’ continued during the decades of 1980s and 1990s as well (Yadav 1999; Palshikar 2004).
Apart from a wider consolidation of democratic political process at social and cultural levels, the decades of 1980s also saw some interesting new trends. The decade witnessed rise of several ‘new’ social movements. These new mobilizations questioned the wisdom of the developmental agenda being pursued with much enthusiasm by the post-colonial state. The following decade saw the beginning of liberalization policies and a gradual withdrawal of the state from the sphere of economy. This was an important ideological shift, a decline of the Nehruvian framework of development and social transformation ( Das 1994; Jodhka 2001).
Coupled with the changes in the geopolitics of the world following the collapse of Soviet Union, the end of Cold War, the unleashing of new technologies of telecommunications, this period also saw the beginning of a new phase in the reach of the global capital. This process of ‘globalization’, as it has come to be known, was not confined to the economy alone. It has also influenced culture and politics everywhere and has opened up new possibilities for social action and networking.
It was around this time that “new” political questions like environment, gender, human rights came-up almost simultaneously in different parts of the world. Networking across national boundaries gave them a different kind of legitimacy and strength. For example, the movement against the construction of dam across Narmada River invested considerable amount of energies in mobilizing internal public opinion and the global funding agencies against the project with some degree of success. Similarly the question of human rights violations are watched and commented upon by global agencies. The question of gender rights is articulated, more or less, similarly at the global level and women’s organizations working in India actively network with their counterparts in other parts of the world. Even the Dalit movement, which rediscovered itself during the 1980s and 1990s, has tried to take the question of caste to international platforms by linking it to the question of race (Thorat and Umakant 2004).
BIRTH OF A GLOBAL SOCIETY
The recent history of liberalisation in India can be located within the longer history of global capitalism. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the destruction during Second World War were followed by a new phase of capitalism. The Depression marked the end of British economic power. America defined the terms of post-war reconstruction. By the 1970s the post-war boom was over, the American economy faced a crisis. The United States had sustained its military expenditure and international commitments through monetary expansion, and which led to inflationary pressures. Subsequent efforts at monetary regulation, that is, increasing of interest rates and restriction of money supply to curb inflation slowed economic activity. While the recession of the 1930s destroyed British hegemony over the world economy, politico-economic developments during the 1970s and early 1980s questioned the basis of American power. The 1980s became a period of re-negotiation of international economic order.
These shifts in the structure of world economy and the trends towards globalisation crucially affected the third world. International finance, an important mechanism of global integration, came to define the cycles and rhythms of the new international order. The multinational corporations and the financial institutions, like the IMF and the World Bank, started playing a major role in defining the shape of the global order and the internal economy of the debtor countries like India.
DEVELOPMENTAL PATH OF INDIAN ECONOMY
The people of India, after independence, voted for democratic planning and mixed economy model of development. Nehru went with a planned economy because soon after the epic independence struggle people would have not accepted another form of colonization. The term, permit-license quota Raj was used to describe the system of State-directed economic development planning instituted under Nehru. India took to the middle path of „growth with equity‟ which was sought to be achieved through a growing and dominant public sector covering the basic strategic and core industries. The State’s catalytic, participatory and regulatory roles in bringing about planned socio-economic development of the country matched the blossoming and growth of the public sector into the pivotal sector of the Indian economy.
The move toward liberalisation of the Indian economy and dismantling of Nehruvian State-directed planning took place under Indira Gandhi with some relaxation of price controls, import restrictions, and creation and expansion of industries and industrial capacity. Rajiv Gandhi seemed much more favorably inclined to free market principles and began a process of liberalisation of the system of import controls and „licensing regulations and limitations on the expansion of existing industrial enterprises. There was a sudden spurt in industrial production in the sphere of consumer durables and a corresponding „consumer boom. For a while, it appeared that the Indian economy was on a new growth path, but it was short-lived. India had to turn to the World Bank and the IMF for help. India managed to do without this help very soon and then embarked on a course of cautious liberalisation.
What was started under Indira Gandhi in the early 1980s was taken further by Rajiv Gandhi in the second half of the decade. It was christened as India’s „New Economic Policy (NEP) to take the country into twenty-first century. The NEP was intended to revive Indian industrial growth which after the impressive performance in the fifties and early sixties, had virtually stagnated. The liberalisation of the 1980s had resulted in jobless growth, declining employment and a huge debt. This was a period of intermittent incremental liberalisation.
The external debt crisis, which surfaced in early 1991, brought India close to default in meeting its international payments obligations. The balance of payments situation was almost unmanageable and the rate of inflation was high. The underlying fiscal crisis was acute. It was the outcome of persistent mistakes in economic policy that accumulated through the 1980s. Fiscal deficits met by borrowing at home, mounted steadily. Also the receipts from foreigners, in hard currencies like the US dollar, were less than payments to foreigners leading to current account deficits in the balance of payments. It led to borrowing abroad which grew larger steadily. The internal imbalance in public finance led to a rapid accumulation of internal debt that the government owed to its people.
Besides the economic factors, there were some political factors also according to Jalan (1991) which had a bearing on the economic crisis that surfaced in June 1991, the breakdown in law and order following the announcement of implementation of the Mandal Commission report, the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid conflict in Ayodhya, and the fall of the V.P. Singh Government in November 1990.
ECONOMIC REFORMS SINCE 1991
The Government of India adopted policies of globalisation, liberalisation and market economy in the awake of the serious economic crisis that enveloped the country by the middle of 1991. The crisis situation led the government in June 1991 to pursue the New Economic Policy (NEP), based on stabalisation and Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) in which, in return for loans, the Government of India undertook to reduce its role in the economy through a policy of liberalization, deregulation, privatization and globalization.
There are two distinct analytical steps to these reforms: (1) A macro-economic stabilization programme (IMF inspired) essentially focusing on reducing the twin deficits on balance of payments and on the State budget in the short run, and (2) Structural Adjustment Programme (World Bank inspired) in the fields of trade, industry, foreign investments, public sector and financial sector. “Structural adjustment and reform seeks to shift resources:
From the non-traded goods sector to the traded goods sector and within the latter from import-competing activities to export activities, and from the government sector to the private sector. Apart from such resource allocation, structural reform seeks to improve resource utilisation by:
(i) Increasing the degree of openness of the economy; and
(ii) Changing the structure of incentives and institutions in favour of private initiative and against state intervention. The general economic philosophy is to rely more on market forces, dismantle controls as far as possible by relying more on prices and wing down the public sector in the hope that the vaccum will be filled by the private sector” (Bhaduri and Nayyar 1996: 33).
In conformity with the „Washington Consensus, the Government of India embarked on a wide-ranging reform of the policy regime beginning in July 1991. Structural policy changes that came about as a result were in relation to the industrial sector, the trade regime, foreign investment, foreign technology, the public sector, and the financial sector.
The structural reforms implemented by the government represent a radical departure from the development strategy of the past four decades. The reform process, which began in early 1990s, was not India’s first experiment with economic liberalisation. The first attempt was a short-lived episode of hesitant liberalisation in the mid 1960s, which coincided with substantial devaluation of the rupee. The second endeavour was in late 1970s with a focus on trade liberalisation in a comfortable balance of payments situation. The third step was the package of economic policies introduced in the mid-1980s when liberalisation of trade regime gathered momentum and the process of industrial deregulation were set in motion. These liberalisation episodes were perceived as correctives for an industrializing economy in transition but did not contemplate any fundamental changes in the objectives or the strategy of development. However, the changes in 1991 were significant enough to be characterized as a shift of paradigm.
It is worth highlighting three dimensions of the contrast between the past and the present. First, focus on efficiency and growth in the economy rather than on growth with social justice as in the past. Secondly, reducing the role of the State in the economy as it had led to inefficiencies, and placing a great reliance on market forces in the process of economic growth and development. Thirdly, integrating the Indian economy into the world economy, as this would bring in competitive pressures to force Indian firms to modernize and upgrade their technologies, lead to the benefits of specialization based on the international division of labour, and make the latest products available to the Indian consumer who had till date put up with shoddy local goods, and in due course, the difference between Indian and world prices would disappear as India became completely integrated into the world system of production.
The paradigm shift in the Indian planning from „growth with stability‟to „growth with social justice‟ to „empowerment with development‟ and finally to „neo-liberal development‟ is clearly perceptible. The core of the new paradigm of neo-liberal development is that economic activity should not be guided by physical controls or State intervention. Instead, decisions about investment, production and consumption should be based on relative prices and the market mechanism, what is more, is that world prices should be the basic determinant of resource allocation. The consequent restructuring of the economy, it is presumed, would impart both efficiency and dynamism to the growth process. Rapid economic growth, it is hoped, would lead to an eradication of absolute poverty.
In sum, the salient features of the new economic social movements are:
- Export promotion as against import substitution.
- Reliance on the market in place of direction by state.
- Prominence for the private sector instead of dominance by the public sector.
- Openness for international economy and to foreign capital rather than accent a protected domestic activities.
The process of economic reform is either „strategy-based‟ or „crises driven‟. The reform process in India did not become strategy-based. It was neither shaped by the economic priorities of the ordinary people, nor did it have a long-term view in terms of development objectives. It was crises-driven. Economic reform, which is crises-driven, irrespective of whether the crises is an external shock or an internal convulsion, is more difficult to sustain and less likely to succeed.
THEORISATIONS ON GLOBALIZATION
Globalisation is the new regime of tempo-spatial connectedness and joining of societies and nation-states. It strives to make the world as its market where all the people are being brought as buyer and seller in unequal terms.
Held et al. (1999) identify three theoretical positions in relation to globalization, those of the hyperglobalisers, the skeptics and the transformationalists. Hyperglobalisers argue that globalisation is a real and powerful phenomenon and represents an unprecedented change in recent years, so that global flows have undermined the existence of the nation-state. They are primarily concerned with politics and power. Skeptics like Hirst and Thompson argue that the idea of globalisation is overrated and that current levels of interconnectedness are not unprecedented. Some skeptics focus instead on processes of regionalization which are intensifying activity within major financial and trade groups. Transformationalists see globalisation as primarily a social phenomenon and analyse it in terms of qualitative change and that it is transforming many aspects of the current global order but the old patterns still remain. Now let us analyze some of the approaches to globalisation and their applicability in the Indian context.
Giddens (1990) and Robertson (1992) conceptualized globalisation in terms of cultural economy perspective, that is, as a process of historic progression of the world. Instead of a single casual logic, they stress the multiple causal logics of globalisation as a historical process. Giddens points to four discrete and intersecting dimensions of globalisation: capitalism, industrialism, surveillance and militarism. He considers globalisation as a consequence of modernity. It involves „time-space distanciation‟ and „disembedding‟ of social relations. The increased interconnectedness leads to reflexivity that is increase in global awareness and consciousness. Even in India, especially the urban India, social activity is constantly informed by flows of information and analysis which subject it to continuous revision and thereby constitute and reproduce it. Global migrations, both legal and illegal, have forced a rethinking on the concept of citizenship. The notion of dual citizenship, which Vajpayee and also Manmohan Singh promised in the Pravasiya Bhartiya Diwas, is the result of such reflexive processes in India.
The world is being increasingly characterized by extensive connectivity or interrelatedness and extensive global consciousness, a consciousness which continues to be more reflexive. Robertson (1992) defines globalisation as:
“Globalisation as a concept refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole…..both concrete global interdependence and consciousness of global whole in the twentieth century”.
The first part of the definition, global compression, resembles the arguments of theories of dependency and world-systems. It refers to increasing level of interdependence between national systems by way of trade, military alliance and cultural imperialism. For Wallerstein, the globe has been undergoing social compression since 16th century but Robertson says its history is much longer. India has always had trade relations and cultural exchanges with people away from the “geographical expression” called India. We have redefined and relativised our culture and society over a period of time because of these contacts. Contemporary globalisation initiated because of economic reforms has deepened and intensified the contact. The essential character of globalisation resides here in the consciousness of the global that is, consciousness by individuals of the global situation specifically that the world is an arena in which we all participate.
Robertson illustrates essential processes of relativisation involved in the progression toward the experience of globality. India is also witnessing the relativisation of societies and the Indian State is of course not withering away but becoming increasingly regulatory rather than being intervensionist. Based on Robertson‘s arguments of two interpenetrating processes, India is also witnessing the universalisation of particularism (as in the nation-state) and the particularization of universalism (the appropriation of the universal in local contexts, such as unisex wardrobe and Valentine‟s Day celebrations in India). Robertson’s concept of „glocalisation explains many such phenomena in India. There is a reassertion of local identity, culture and economy with demand for protectionism and religious revival. What Shiv Sena is asking for in Maharashtra is an example. Giddens (2000) also talks of tension between local revivals and globalisation when he talks of fundamentalism vs. cosmopolitan tolerance. McDonald’s in India is another example of how globalisation has become localized. Beef and pork burgers are not sold in India for obvious reasons. Even pizzas in India with typically Indian garnishing are sold.
While trying to understand the global culture, Appadurai (1996) talks about „ethnoscape, that is, landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live: tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles and other moving groups and persons. He talks about „technoscape, that is, the global configuration of technology that moves at high speeds across various kinds of previously impervious boundaries. He also talks about „mediascape, which refers to the distribution of electronic capabilities to produce and disseminate information, are now available throughout the world. Ideoscape means flow of ideas and ideologies. The point that Appadurai wants to make is that the combination of ethnoscape, technoscape, mediascape and ideoscape lead to the globalisation of culture.
Appadurai considers globalisation as disjuncture, where global cultural system produced a vision of cultural confusion and chaos. Mingling of cultures leads to fusion and new products (Hannerz, 1992). Take the example of Hinglish, a language formed by the mixing of English and Hindi languages. This is an example of cultural hybridization in India. The deterritorialised Indian ethnic diaspora in the Silicon Valley in the US and Keralites plumbers and waiters in Dubai acquire transnational cultural traits leading to the process of cultural hybridisation.
Castells (1996) argues that globalisation and informationalism have contributed to a new experience of time and place in the network society of the „age of information. This borderless and timeless society creates changing networks of social interaction and produces new social relationships. This can be applied in analyzing the Indian context. The internet, the mass media and ICT in India have dissolved boundaries and got people closer and changed the social interaction pattern, now based more on capital and symbols. They have produced new virtual and electronic relationships on social networking sites. Technological advances have altered the social and economic life.
Oommen (1998) talks of cultural impact of globalisation and the “Birth of a New World Society”. According to him, the consequences of globalisation could be discerned through four interrelated processes – homogenisation, pluralisation, traditionalisation and hybridisation. The process of homogenisation of cultural patterns and institutional arrangements initiated by the revolution in transport and communication, accelerated by the modernisation project, climaxed with the onset of globalisation. In the cultural context, homogenisation manifests in evolving a common lifestyle and consumption pattern, that is, dress (For example, jeans), food (For example, McDonalds), music (For example, popularity of Michael Jackson). However, homogenisation is more visible in certain other contexts: nuclear family, monogamous marriages, parliamentary democracy, private property and western technology. The homogenisation process is characterised by displacement syndrome, that is, movement towards homogenisation is taking place through the process of displacement. For example, South Indians are wearing pyjama and not only lungi. Some of the old elements are displaced but some others are retained and new elements are added.
Oommen also talks of the process of pluralisation accompanied by Accretion Syndrome. Pluralisation concedes and commends the co-existence of a variety of consumption and institutional patterns. For example, along with Mc.Donalds, other modern variety of junk food and along with Michael Jackson’s other recent styles of pop music come to be accommodated. Thus, pluralisation created a space for a variety of life-patterns and institutions, that is, accretion.
The hegemonising tendency of globalisation gives birth to a loss of meaning and an erosion of identity to the non-west. This leads to the resurrection of roots, a search for identity, and a process of traditionalisation accompanied by revivalistic syndrome. Globalisation, thus, proffers fundamentalism. Finally, Oommen, talks of the process of hybridisation with mutation syndrome. The crossbreeding of the traditional and the modern, the local and the global gives birth to hybridization which creates new cultural elements and social patterns which are neither traditional nor modern, neither local nor global. The four processes, operating independently and in interaction give birth to a new world society. It is not a movement from tradition to modernity, simplicity to complexity, and heterogeneity to homogeneity, but it produces new permutations and combinations giving birth to variety and pluralism.
ISSUES AND CONCERNS OF THESE NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN THE ERA OF GLOBALISATION
This is an appropriate time to critically assess the social, cultural and economic condition and independence of the country. Viewed from the wide boulevards of its cities, India seems to be thriving. There is an undisputed increase in GDP. And the growth rate of the economy and the urban markets appear to be flourishing. Not, however, with the vast diversity of available indigenous products, but increasingly with a plethora of middle class consumables–from kitchen gadgets and washing machines to the latest stereo systems and cars. Over 20 channels of television with a staggering array of national and international programs are beamed into millions of homes. Cellular phones and domestically-assembled Mercedes-Benz cars have become the new status symbols.
Behind the facade of these superficial symbols of consumption, however, lies a story of increasing disparities: a rise in under- and unemployment; a deterioration in the livelihoods of a majority of the population; an increase in critical poverty; a decline in the membership of trade unions; and a phenomenal increase in the number of workers in the informal sectors of the economy and in the extent of the irregular employment. Additionally, there has been an intensification of rampant corruption, particularly by political and economic elites; a staggering increase in environmental degradation in both urban and rural areas; loss of genetic bio-diversity; and growing social unrest arising largely out of greater immiseration. At the same time, there has been an increase in dependence upon international capital and multilateral and transnational institutions, resulting in a critical loss of control–not just by producers, but by the country itself.
This section of the paper explores this dualism by looking critically at the impacts of the new package of economic reforms on India’s social and ecological diversity, on the livelihoods and lifestyles of a majority of the people, on the political trends that seek a more rapid “integration” into the global market place and on the capacity of the country to build a pattern of social and economic development that is in consonance with the deepening of democracy; the widening of social justice and the sustainability of the environment.
Though these have been hotly debated issues in the Indian society over the last decade or so, one cannot say anything very conclusively. Economists commenting on the process globalization and economic reforms have been divided into two camps. Those who support the regime point to significantly higher rates of economic growth that India has been witnessing ever since it initiated reforms. Even in terms of its economic benefits, they argue, rich and middle classes are not the only ones who have benefited. With expansion of economic activity and growing opportunities, the poor and marginalized have also benefited.
This, according to them, is evident from the available data on poverty. According to official sources, and the data collected by some independent agencies, poverty levels in India have come down considerably over the last twenty years or so. During the period 1983 to 2004-2005 the share of the poor in the population at the national level came down from 45 to 28 per cent. However, in terms of absolute numbers the decline was only marginal from 324 million to 315 millions8. While all the major States experienced reduction in the percentage of the poor to varying degrees, five major States experienced increase in the number of poor during this period. These are Bihar (from 46.4 to 50.5 million), Madhya Pradesh (from 27.3 to 33.0 million), Maharashtra (from 28.5 to 31.7 million), Orissa (from 16.2 to 18.4 million) and Uttar Pradesh (from 55.2 to 63.9 million).Some others put this figure even lower. Surjit Bhalla, for example, argues quite passionately in defense of reforms. According to him:
No matter what the data source, survey or national accounts, growth is shown to lead to poverty decline, almost one for one. No growth, no poverty reduction is the only conclusion. …economic reforms initiated in 1991 have led to a radical transformation in the well being of the bottom half of the population. From an approximate level of 38 percent in 1987, poverty level in India in 1998 was close to 12 percent (Bhalla 2004).
However, there are many economists who loudly contest such claims and argue that actual drop in poverty has been much lesser than what most of the estimates being projected by the Planning Commission of Government of India or International agencies. Abhijit Sen and Himanshu argue that poverty estimates were very sensitive to both survey design and post-survey analysis. The poverty ratio, according to them fell at most by 3 percentage points between 1993-94 and 1999-2000, and it is likely that the absolute number of poor actually increased over this period (Sen and Himanshu 2004)
Some scholars have also been critical of economic reforms and the resultant process of globalization for what they see as its larger political implications. Globalization, they argue, is a “neo-colonial” process that weakens the ability of sovereign States like India to intervene in their economies for social change and
development. The growing power of transnational organizations and global institutions manipulate policy making processes in a manner that would suit Western capital and multinational corporations, eventually leading to a process of unfreedom (for example see Patnaik 2003).
Some others have argued that this kind of capitalist globalization could also be harmful for India’s food security. With globalization taking roots in Indian soil, the priorities of Indian farmers would be dictated by external factors instead of the requirements of local populace. In the new regime of market driven production, farmers may move to production of those commercial crops that have greater demand in the global market, resulting in a shortage of food grains in the country. According to them, this is precisely what happened when the British colonial rulers forced the Indian peasants to produce cotton over food grains in order to meet the demands of raw material of new Industries after the industrial revolution in Britain during the nineteenth century (see, for example, Patnaik 1998).
However, it may still be too early to make any conclusive statement on social and cultural aspects of globalization. Much of the available literature has looked at it in terms of policy. We still need to formulate relevant questions that could help us make sense of the changes being experienced in the Indian society with globalization. Moreover, in some ways, globalization is not a matter of policy choice alone. It is also a process of epochal change, a name given to the changes being experienced in the post-Cold War world.
Growing obsession with the so-called “new economy”, information technology, media and the urban consumers led to a complete marginalization of the “rural” and agrarian sector. This neglect of agriculture and rural economy has affected not only the farming communities but also the landless labourers, who because of the crisis of agriculture are finding it much more difficult to find employment on viable wage. (Ghosh 2004).
Agriculture is not the only thing that has suffered this neglect during the post-reforms period. Some other important areas of social and cultural life have also come under severe crisis over this period. The most crucial of these are public health and education. In the field of health, the thrust during recent years has been ‘towards more sophisticated care’ (Sagar and Qadeer 2003:138). While the quality of health services available to the rich and the urban middle classes, mostly in expensive private hospitals, has significantly improved, for large masses of rural and urban poor very little has changed (Baru 1998). On the contrary the withdrawal of the influential middle classes from the public health system has made things worse as regards the functioning of these institutions in concerned.
More or less the same is happening to education, particularly school education. Though the proportions of literate population have gone up significantly over the last five decades, inter-regional and inter-gender differences continue to be quite glaring. Further, education in independent India has not developed the way it should for the working of a healthy democracy. Instead of promoting universal quality education at the primary level, schooling in India has been becoming quite uneven.
The most disturbing consequence of growing differentiation of schooling is the decline in the standard of instructions and functioning of the government run schools. The middle classes and rich send their children to expensive English-medium private schools, the government run schools end-up catering primarily to the poor. Such differentiation of schooling perpetuates a culture of inequalities, which in turn would have wider implications for the working of society, politics and economy.
The new perspectives on development that emphasize on participation, respect cultural diversities and measure progress in terms of human development could provide useful directions for the public policy for dealing with such emerging challenges. However, in order to be able to do so, India would require a State that is active and effective, and not merely regulative.
Employment under Liberalization
In 1991, when the New Economic Policy began, India already had a massive unemployment burden of about 11 million people. Without the SAP, it was expected to rise to 15 million by 1994. A comprehensive survey of employment in the post-1991 phase suggests, counter to the claims in the government’s Economic Survey of 1995, that this period has been one of “jobless growth,” and that whatever employment has been generated has been through poverty alleviation programs, which have little impact on either asset creation for the poor or on aggregate economic growth. Simultaneously, there has also been a reduction in (real) public investment and government expenditures on health, education and welfare. For those who depend on a daily wage to survive, these trends have had disastrous consequences. Undoubtedly, a few will adapt to find new or better-paying employment and others will find alternative, often nonlegal ways to earn a living. The overall unemployment trend, however, suggests a net adverse impact on access and control over productive resources.
One estimate suggests that restructuring the economy through privatization, import liberalization and deflationary fiscal policy will lead to an increase in unemployment by at least several million people per year over the next two years. Another study states that there will also be growing unemployment in the organized sector owing to increasing capital intensity that will push workers into the informal and agricultural sectors. Over the past five years, employment in the organized sector has in fact increased by 1.2 million people (0.5 million in the private sector and 0.7 million in the public sector.) However, compared to the 35 million added to the labor stock in this period, the extent of the crisis in employment is obvious.
The decline in private sector employment has come despite growth in production, partially due to computerization plans that are being accelerated in the name of efficiency and profits. The employment situation also has deteriorated due to the retrenchment.
The cutting away of superfluous tissue , privatization and closure of SOEs. Several estimates indicate that, with a decline in the number of salaried persons with salaries/wages protected partially against inflation, there will be a sharp fall in the demand for consumer goods.
Any tangible commodity purchased by households to satisfy their wants and needs. Consumer goods may be durable or nondurable. Durable goods (e.g., autos, furniture, and appliances) have a significant life span, often defined as three years or more, and services, which in turn will result in a fall in the employment opportunities in the informal sector. The expected number of unemployed would therefore be 30 million by 1997, an addition of over 10 million people due to the SAP. Meanwhile, the unorganized sector which provides employment to 90 percent of workers has seen its share in the national income decline from 70 percent in 1981 to 63 percent in 1991.
Among the communities most adversely affected are artisans and handloom weavers, who suffer the gravest consequences from SAP-induced inflation and squeeze in credit supply. A significant percentage of the almost 20 million handloom weavers across the country have been affected by the export of raw cotton and cotton yarn, which has resulted in a shortage of yarn and a rise in its domestic price. There seems to be little concern that with each death, a slice of India’s unique heritage of remarkable textile tradition inches towards extinction.
The situation also affects the young, as available evidence suggests that the rise in unemployment is driving young people into underworld activities in larger and larger numbers, including young girls engaging in prostitution. AIDS is spreading in India and it might be assumed that epidemic proportions of prostitution, drug trafficking and crime will grow as expected as a consequence of the compounding of unemployment and increasingly materialist values under the SAP regime. The plight of India’s children has also received little attention from policymakers. Estimates of the number of child workers range from 70 million to 1 O0 million, with India having the distinction of having half the world’s child workers. The past six years have generated little change for child welfare in India. In fact, growing impoverishment and displacement has only increased the vulnerability and insecurity of children. Current data show that expenditures on social sectors–particularly health and education for the lower half of society including child welfare–is stagnant or in decline. According to the U.N. Development Program, India spends a lower share of public expenditure on health and education than nine of the least developed countries, most of which have per capita incomes much lower than India’s.
Unemployment in the rural areas is also a problem. C.H. Hanumantha Rao, who as chairperson of the National Commission on Rural Labor gathered extensive evidence on conditions in rural India, unambiguously made the linkage between SAP and the deterioration of livelihoods of rural labor. According to Rao, SAP measures affect rural labor through the reduction of public investment in both agriculture and social sectors, including primary education, health care and drinking water supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection. Since investments in agriculture, rural development, irrigation and social sectors are basically financed by state revenues, these have become the first victims of the new economic measures.
Although central outlays on poverty alleviation programs have by and large been protected, Rao argues that since the resources of states have been eroded, expenditures on essential outlays for agriculture have declined, with adverse consequences for the social sector and rural employment. Rao holds that the increase in the prices of essential commodities like food grains is a consequence of the SAP, and that this has substantially impacted the poor. For instance, if the National Commission on Rural Labor had recommended a daily minimum agricultural wage of 20 Rupees at mid-1991 prices, within two years it had to recommend a 40 percent increase in order for wages to accommodate the rising cost of basic needs.
Poverty and the Polarization of Wealth
A relatively conservative scholar concluded that “… while economic liberalization may have accentuated economic disparities, sharpened caste divisions and promoted patriarchy and fundamentalism, it is important to note that the market has released undercurrents(a network of regions promoting music, art and events) which may eventually suppress and overwhelm the divisive forces.”Unfortunately, here the author has not carried the honesty of an acknowledgment of the massive social, cultural and economic disarray the New Economic Policy has caused forward into an analysis of the structural root causes. Instead, the author uses a convenient escape route in the hope of a possible reversal at some unspecified period in the future.
However, the poverty line in India is fixed at such a low level that crossing it by no means ensures dignified living for a household. The contentious debate over the number of people below the poverty line was somewhat stilled by a startling yet sobering comprehensive survey by the National Council of Applied Economic
Research released by the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Milton Berle in January 1997. The survey showed that over 40 percent of India’s people were still below the poverty line and that another 30 percent are just above it. Thus, according to the criterion under which citizens are guaranteed the right to live in dignity, an overwhelming majority would be classified as belonging to the category of those whose right to life is being violated.
A social scientist, commenting on the seemingly endless preoccupation with “poverty studies” said “…. it is a tragedy of human efforts that, despite an enormous investment in social capital on the creation of equitable conditions of existence, we continue to be involved in developing cognitive tools for understanding distress.”The debates and studies on poverty are marked by a distancing from any engagement with the need for political change to positively alter the conditions of the poor. Witness the continuing dependence among planners and donors on technical fixes, despite 60 years of evidence that they are, at best, superficial and, at worst, an insult to the poor. The past four decades of developmental planning and poverty alleviation programs suggest that not only is trickle down not working, but that economic growth does not yield a deeper process of democratization, the realization of more egalitarian control or access to natural and financial productive resources. The abandoning of any serious equity thrust is reflected not just in statistics showing that income disparities between the poorest 20 percent of the population and the wealthiest 20 percent have doubled in India in the last 30 years, but also in a country where many salaries in the corporate sector exceed $300,000. In a national situation where the minimum daily wage is less than $2 and half the working population does not even earn that much, serious ethical and political issues arise.
In 1995, the then-ruling Congress party responded to growing unrest over poverty issues in an election year by announcing a wide range of welfare and rural development programs and financial allocations in the yearly budget. These safety nets were designed to mitigate only the short-term effects of stabilization and structural adjustment, without consideration of the long-term adverse impacts of economic reforms on the rural areas and the rural poor. One of the much-touted safety nets is the Public Distribution System, which is aimed at providing food security for the poor. Evidence suggests, however, that this is far from the case. Not only has there been a net decline in the purchasing power poor population in rural Bihar, Uttar Pradesh state (2001 provisional pop. 166,052,859), 92,804 sq mi (240,363 sq km), N central India. The capital is Lucknow. , Orissa and Punjab are able to obtain supplies. In the urban areas of eight states, less than 10 percent of the people buy from the Fair Price Shops (outlets for food from the Public Distribution System) and 88 percent of the people covered by the survey reported that they do not get supplies when they need them.
Persistent under nutrition
A type of malnutrition caused by inadequate food intake or the body’s inability to make use of needed nutrients. And malnutrition, as well as an increase in starvation deaths compounded by growing under- and unemployment and rising food prices, are inexcusable when the country food buffers are overflowing. Recently, a more targeted program has been proposed to halve the prices that are charged to those below the poverty line. Given the experience of the past several decades, unless concomitant institutional reforms are also put into place with appropriate mechanisms for accountability and monitoring, even this effort will fail to even partially alleviate the poor’s access to affordable food.
All this should not be construed as a critique of the Public Distribution System organization itself, since there continues to be a critical need to provide subsidized food in the short run to those who are really poor, but rather a recognition that centralized storage and distribution systems are not a substitute for a four-pronged strategy that includes the following: i) improving the productivity and availability of enough food locally; ii) recovering and restoring the productivity of degraded agricultural lands and distributing them to the poor; iii) creating conditions for the democratization of access and control over productive natural resources; and iv) increasing incomes of the bottom 40-50 percent of the population.
Likewise, it is not enough to blame the corporate world or the SAP regime for engendering unethical practices and for legitimizing the polarization of wealth. The Sixth Pay Commission has recommended massive increases in the salaries of bureaucrats and elected representatives. In the past few years, NGOs are also being increasingly corporatized and commercialized, with little accountability and commitment to challenge entrenched economic and political interests. To the contrary, they have become increasingly pliable agents for the priorities and programs of bilateral and multilateral donors and in the perpetuation of fragmentation and competition in what needs to be a truly “voluntary spirit.” In this way, a multiplicity of actors and sectors of society are responsible for perpetuating poverty and the stratification of wealth.
A relationship between liberalization, corrupt lifestyles, the criminalization commercialization of expectations and the resultant cultural disarray and breakdown of civil society is slowly becoming clear. The task of concerned researchers and activists is in making this intermeshing clearer as the dominant; top-down doctrine of globalization and liberalization-cum-marketization unfolds itself.
All countries following neoliberal policies follow the IMF line which thrusts export promotion at the cost of real development and import substitution. Structural adjustment is an essential part of program and leads to misery and food riots. IMF has a record of leaving devastation behind in Africa and Asia. Neoliberals never worry about the poor or welfare, culture or ecology.
The Economic Reforms in India made India integrated with the world market, liberated from constraints of time, space and currency. It brought about changes in patterns of communication, technology, production and consumption, which in turn led to gradual transformation in caste, tribe, family, village and occupational structure or to put it generally, the way in which people live and work. This is because people, capital, goods, information and images are flowing around the globe at an intensified speed. Appadurai’s cultural flows, in terms of ethnoscaspes, mediascapes, financescapes, technoscapes and ideoscapes, are happening in India. This is erasing diversities of our culture and economic entity and transforming our thought systems. Coke, McDonalds, Nike, Ford and other international products are being consumed by the middle and upper class Indians. All these are not causing homogenization but a mélange culture leading to a postmodern world of differences, disjuncture, new social movements and pluralisation.
Widening disparities and violence
Liberalisation has often been identified as a new form of economic imperialism of technologically advanced, richer and stronger nations as against the relatively underdeveloped, poorer and weaker ones. Liberalisation as a policy is not congenial to poverty-alleviation but poverty-perpetuation through exploitation of all sorts. While the economic reforms of the 1990s did much to liberalise and stimulate growth, the direct beneficiaries were more affluent urban dwellers. Social reforms have lagged behind economic reforms. The trajectory of development with the LPG model now has created two India – one that has access to modern state, technology, market and the other which is way behind. With the withdrawal of the State in education and health sectors, the divide between the two India has increased creating crises. It has resulted into social oppression and brutalisation of the poor. India seems to be distancing itself from Gandhian principles of bridging the gap between the metropolises and the countryside. The chasm between glittering upper class lifestyle of cities and rural poverty is increasing day by day. The widening of regional and interstate disparities during the1990s, despite overall economic liberalisation, highlights the importance of strengthening slow-growing states. Wealth is generally more concentrated in urban rather than rural areas where the majority of Indians live. Economic growth also tends to be higher in wealthier states in the south and west such as Gujarat and Maharashtra than poorer states like Bihar, Orissa, and Uttar Pradesh in the north and east. Investment naturally flock to the more developed regions equipped with infrastructure advantages. Additionally, with mounting pressure from internal migration from states like Bihar, investing in human development and poverty reduction in states left behind is key to enhancing the national stability that allows liberalisation and growth to proceed. Besides inequality and exclusion, another darker side of globalisation is violence. It leads to violence of all kinds – physical, in terms of displacement of people by developmental projects and also ethnic upsurges (creation of Special Economic Zones and land acquisition has led to more Maoist violence) (Pandey 2010), against children, in the form of child labour; and against women, minorities and marginalised.
Urban middle class has benefitted from the fast growth of white-collar jobs in IT sector, but the blue-collar jobs in India”s manufacturing sector have grown only marginally. This causes widening disparities not only between classes but also different sectors of the economy leading to social crises. There are many unintended consequences which the technological growth in India, leading to a risk society which Beck (1992) had talked of. Besides global environmental risks (For example, global warming) and health risks (GM food), the contemporary social life has been witnessing a series of changes leading to social crisis, such as erosion of traditional family norms, many unconventional jobs and heightened job insecurity, multi-cultural identity amidst global signs and images and shifting employment patterns. All these are socially disruptive and bring tension to the fabric of society.
Income inequality and brewing tension
Globalisation gives a premium to people with high levels of education and entrepreneurial skills, who are better equipped to survive and succeed in a competitive world. As a consequence, the unskilled labour, uneducated workers and marginalised population are likely to benefit less in a more competitive economy with both public and private players in the market. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) study widening differentials in earnings of the college educated vis-à-vis less educated individuals appear to be the single most important observable factor accounting for increasing inequality in India. The economic reforms have meant loss of livelihood to many people in traditional jobs like rag-picking (because of import of waste paper from developed countries), silk-spinning (because of Chinese thread and yarn), vendors and hawkers in cities (because of FDIs and super-markets) etc. Ratio of urban income to rural income which was just about 1.6 in 1951 and continued to remain within reasonable limit during the first three decades of development planning to reach 2.1 in 1980-1981, worsened during the last two decades to record a level close to 4.5. While large and medium cities are experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity, the rural areas have been experiencing economic stagnation.
Thus income and wealth inequality is amplified. If economic growth is to continue, employment opportunities must be made available to India’s rural poor. India must strengthen labour-intensive industries like manufacturing if it is to reduce poverty and increase growth in rural areas. Fewer workers are being employed in the agriculture sector as the use of machinery and labour-reducing cropping techniques have increased. Only around 0.1% of India’s population are benefiting from employment in India’s rapidly growing outsourcing, IT, and services industries. In the globalized version of capitalism, people of the countries where corporations are headquartered are also ignored through outsourcing, because wages in countries such as India, China and the Far East are very low and the difference go into the corporate pockets. The lives of these IT professionals, business executives and managers have become very stressful because of excessive pressure to efficiently perform and compete in this „hire and fire” environment.
Social transformation is happening because the economic reform measures have affected the lifestyle of the Indian urban middle class (Pandey 2010). It is believed that they would gradually percolate down to the villages. Globalisation provides a useful means to develop technologies necessary for production of goods and services that improve our well-being. The new economy focuses on technological progress, increasing opportunities and increasing use of computing and information technologies. The internet access is differentiated by location, social class, gender, ethnicity, age and education, collectively referred to as digital divide (Castells, 2001). The Information, Communication, Technology (ICT) plays an important role in shaping uneven development within the economy. In India the development of the „shrinking world” due to „time-space compression” has led to new social divisions between those who have access to ICT and those marginalised from them.
Reservation policy undermined
While caste is often portrayed as a feature of Indian life of fading importance, and one concentrated in rural areas, the caste system continues to assert itself through social inequalities and voting patterns. Efforts to address caste inequalities by affirmative action have been mixed and are confined to the shrinking public sector. The increased competition of economic liberalisation has worked to further undermine caste privilege in business circles by creating the need to hire based on merit rather than caste. Although there is an ongoing debate to introduce reservation policy in the private and corporate sector, nothing much could be done because of the fierce resistance from them.
Culture of consumption and environmental impact
Economic reforms in India in pursuit of globalisation have made the country a consumer society. There is also a growing culture of consumerism and also commodification of culture (Pandey 2010). Indian urban life has been transformed with a new found consumer spirit and the burgeoning information technology industry. While the social consequences of this consumerism boom are frightening enough, the environmental implications are also serious. The rapid rise in production of luxury goods has serious ecological consequences from resource extraction (mining, tree-felling, etc.) to production (pollution, working hazards, etc.). Besides consumption, environmental impacts are too felt in the increasing wastes, which are generated. In this respect, the phenomenal rise in the use of plastics, detergents, and other non-biodegradable or hazardous materials in the last few years are alarming.
It is clear that various dimensions of economic and social disparity- regional, rural-urban, social class or gender have aggravated in the recent period. That too during a period when India has been achieving accelerated economic growth and has been emerging as a global player. This trend, if not arrested and reversed fast, will have serious adverse implications for the Indian economy, society and polity. As of today, a majority of Indians have been bypassed by the process of economic development either are able to contribute to the growth process or receive any tangible benefits. How can we make the economic growth in India inclusive covering the backward regions, the rural areas, the marginalized social classes and the women? Indeed, this is the principal theme being addressed in the 11th Five Year Plan with an appropriately titled approach paper “Towards Faster and more Inclusive Growth”. The entire Chapter 4 of this Plan document being finalized deals with “Strategic Initiatives for Inclusive Development”. Three areas are dealt in great details, viz. child care, empowerment through education, and comprehensive strategy for better health. Chapter 5 “Bridging Divides: Including the Excluded” deals with the various strategies to correct the imbalances and disparities. These significant policy initiatives backed by resource allocations may achieve these objectives.
Education and skill formation are principal vehicles for improving the earning capacity. A recent report of the “National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector” brings out the criticality of these factors in promoting the well-being of the vast majority of the people of the country23. The various structural gaps which constrain the young people in the backward regions, rural areas and socially marginalized communities to receive quality education need to be removed without delay. This will positively impact on the economic growth by enlarging the pool of knowledge workers significantly. Currently only 7 per cent of the young Indians in the age group of 18-23 yr attend University or other higher educational institutions. Once opportunities are created for those currently left out some 20 per cent of young Indians can join the global workforce as knowledge workers helping reduce social and economic disparities in the country.
Finally, those who believe in trickledown theory argue that poverty is coming down and no one is is worse off as a result of high growth. Then why worry about increasing disparities? But in a vibrant democracy, even illiterate people are aware of the highly iniquitous sharing of the benefits of development. They expressed their resentment against the India Shining Propaganda 3 yr ago24. Unless things improve significantly they will express their resentment again through the ballot box.
Thus, the economic reforms in India accelerated flows and connectedness of people, goods, technology, information and capital. At the same time, globalisation has intensified exclusion, marginalisation and disconnections among different class of people, regions and city and countryside. Different people are looking at the reforms from their own perspectives. The upper class is very happy with the ongoing reform process. They have more televisions, more channels on cables, more imported goods and so on. Nobody is any longer ashamed of conspicuous consumption. The middle class is seeing this as an opportunity of its advancement to the upper class. Many feel making money one way or the other will get them into the high consumption category. The lower classes want jobs and less inflation. The economic reforms have created mutually opposed tendencies like universalisation and particularisation, homogenisation and differentiation, integration and hybridisation in India. They transformed ailing developing economy into a market economy, attracting foreign direct investment but far away from self-reliant and indigenous development. It would not be out of place to mention Freire (1970) here who exhorted, though in a different context: we need to embark on „a fierce struggle to re-create the world”.
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SAP – Structural Adjustment Program
SOE – State owned Enterprises
GM Food – Genetically modified food
 Research scholar, Department of Education, University of Allahabad, Allahabad.