The green features is regular archiving has empirical reports/news/ideas on different aspects of "Ecological Democracy" mainly includes theoretical debates on Economic, Spiritual, Culture, Social, Political and Gender Dimension. It aim to cover mainstreaming marginal voice in respect to ecology.
Green features started in April 2012 in the name of "Ecological News".
South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED)-Lecture Series : Date: 15 & 16th May 2013
South Asian Dialogues on Ecological
Democracy (SADED)-Lecture Series
15th May 2013
Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF), Delhi.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN INDEPENDENT INDIA
Dr. Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar is Professor and is ex-chairperson in internationally reputed and
India’s best Jawaharlal Nehru University, Centre of Economic Studies and
Planning, New Delhi. His recently published book “Indian Economy Since
Independence: Persisting Colonial Disruptions” was presented at the lecture
series hosted by South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED) at
Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF) on May 15th, 2013.
name of the book is very thoughtfully given. While taking Globalization as the
central theme in Indian growth story he denied it as a recent phenomenon and
instead went ahead taking 1750 and 1947 as breakpoints in history.
involvement in global trade has existed since eons but the circumstances
changed when India got colonized. Two-way globalization always existed in the
country, but with the advent of East India Company in the 1750s, we got reduced
to one-way globalization and poor from brain. Although, major paradigm shifts
in policy happened in 1947 and 1991, 1982 is a crucial year too, for initial
impetus to liberalization.
1950 onwards, the state played as a dominant actor with main focus on
Indigenous growth, the major policy followed was-tremendous increase of
investment in agriculture and heavy industry in the 1950s followed by wars,
droughts and visibility of initial policy failure in 1960s leading to economic
stagnation. The decade of 70s was also a challenge due to growing internal
strife and oil shocks but with commencement of green revolution and rise of
neo-liberalism we managed to reach a growth rate almost double of “Hindu Growth
Rate” from 3% to 6% by the end of 1980s.
onwards was the phase of Market Dominance. It saw the arrival of NEP and
dichotomous growth with no acceleration. Later in 2002-03 the policies making
with its dependence on phrase “Growth at any cost” led to a great stance of
inequality and poverty in the country which pumped up the crisis of 2008-09.
basic sectoral division of economy into primary, secondary and tertiary is
followed by further subdivision into 9 sectors depending upon organized,
unorganized, private and public components. Idealistic growth pattern; development
of primary sector should be followed by secondary which leads to development of
proper tertiary sector. The Indian case is starkly different because in 1950’s
our tertiary sector was greater than secondary. Unlike other developed South
Asian countries, state dominance for five decades could not add to country,
major rationale being- black economy as an integral part of country, which
aggravates inefficiency of data followed by failure of governance.
rate remained as low as 2 to 2.5% for a very long time after independence but
that doesn’t imply that the state succeeded in job creation for most of the
people. Instead, “Employment is being confused with underemployment to a great
extent” due to existence of organized and unorganized component in the employment
market. His analyses showed that 80% of the investment went into large scale
industry which gives employment to just 7% of the country’s population today
and the rest 93% are employed in medium, small and Cottage industry where only
20% of the total investment in Industry goes. Hence, the growth after 2002-03
with an average growth rate 9.9% and low employment elasticity could be
explained as “Jobless Growth”. Technical progress turned out to be labor
displacing against “Arthur Lewis” expectation of technology to be labor absorbing.
With total focus of the
First Five Year Plan on Agriculture the economy did see some improvement it got
in total output in 1950’s which got hampered from shift of interest towards
industry in the next plan and aggravated further by drought in mid and end 1960s.
With urgent need felt for “food security” came the Green Revolution in early 1970s.
With the use of ground water irrigation, High yield variety (HYV) seeds and
mechanization agriculture saw a great increase in productivity but the
production was concentrated to very few regions and some groups saw shift in
crop patterns. The major problem in agriculture persisted because of Asymmetry
in price setting with industry- agriculture following competitive pricing
unlike industry where prices are either oligopolistic or monopolistic. To
tackle this problem CACP (Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices)
introduced a dual pricing policy wherein producers are paid Minimum Support
Price (MSP) and poor households are given subsidized prices through PDS.
India followed Infant
industry argument for protection of domestic market and gained support from
state through reservation for small scale which got diluted by 1991 due to
introduction of various acts like Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practices
Act (MRTPA) in 1969, Foreign Exchange regulation Act (FERA) in 1974 and by 1991
a move was towards- diversification and modernization of industry.
Tertiary Sector after
1991 became a dominant sector which does not necessarily imply quantum growth
in the sector, but a portion of the increase could be explained through
technological, accounting change and increase in need for services and
concentration of black economy. But his analysis showed that the services
sector after checking on above explained facts saw tremendous growth. This
spurt could be explained through increase in demand for productive and consumptive
services, growth in software and telecom post 1991. In a nutshell the growth of
service sector post-1991 can be explained with liberalization, scale economies
and black economy together.
Government is the
biggest economic entity which directs its entire economy with its actions. Tax
is received as revenue which is used as government expenditure to finance the
development of the country. Tax could be broadly classified into: 1) Direct
tax: Corporation tax and Income tax are major examples. 2) Indirect Tax:
custom, sales, etc. In the year 1947, 45% of the total revenue from tax
collection came from direct taxes which got reduced to mere 13% in 1991.
Current share is 40% from direct tax and 60% from indirect tax. The
Classification of taxes is important because while direct tax enhances output
growth, indirect taxes are collected in the process of consumption hence stagflationary.
Taxes like wealth tax and estate duty are progressive and work towards reducing
intergenerational equality but due to lobby influence such taxes did not existed
In 1991 our economy was
open like any other country but the problem existed with the policy of high
import duty which discouraged imports without encouraging exports. We imported
technology to a great extent and other imports by the rich led to severe BOP crisis
by the end of 1980s.Technology is a moving frontier which can be bought from the
first world either due to strategic reasons or FDI which comes with FII keeping
economy at more risk during the time of crisis.
Poverty is space and
time specific and differs from one place to another according to their
expenditure habits. But in the Indian case Poverty line represents extreme
poverty and policy formed to check this problem was dependent on trickle down
approach of Lewis model, which was a failure because the model was suitable for
the west and our social and economic conditions were different. Physical
infrastructure of the country was Reflection of modernization and elitism.
Banking and credit were meant to enhance the business of elite. In order to
channel funds to the poor Indian govt. in 1969 nationalized all major banks. Post
1991, succumbing to elite, concentrated urbanization which can never be a solution
for development and instead enhanced both rural-urban and urban disparity.
Growing energy intensity and dependence on imported energy resulted in many
crisis a move towards sustainable development and using telecommunication as an
alternative for transportation could be way forward. Social infrastructure saw
a rapid expansion post-1947 but quality suffered.
It was tried to
overcome the infrastructure gap during colonization by copying western
infrastructure which was not suitable for our system. Disadvantage of last
start has been confused with advantage, where you have models to learn lessons
from and change of perspective should be taken care of. In case of India, the
central theme for development is coming from the west. Education system today
is copied from west, the policy makers come from foreign universities, and
hence most of the ideas are recycled from west. Health, problems reflect a lack
of a holistic perspective and the issue environmental damage has been kept
aside. Two noble professions health and education is no more left noble due to
India is a far more complex structure and cannot
be characterized as capitalist or feudal in their pure form. While one can
learn from others, development paths cannot be copied. Disruptions continue
from pre 1947 leadership lacking in independence of thought. Technology is a
moving frontier hence creates a mist so the future is not clear which leads to
short-termism and leadership succumbs to it. Markets split up each question
into separate ones hence the problem is generated due to interdependence are
ignored. There is a great need for long-term solution which includes movement
towards sustainable development while checking on major problems like growing
inequity and extreme poverty.
South Asian Dialogues on Ecological
Democracy (SADED)-Lecture Series
16th May 2013
Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF), Delhi.
ECONOMY SINCE INDEPENDENCE: TRACING THE DYNAMICS OF
India is full of contradictions with continuing mass poverty and illiteracy.
The average growth rate has risen far from that during independence but
sustainability is missing. The growth is guided by corporate sector, which is
unsustainable due to contagious effects of financial crisis. Development after
independence is a short-term solution and focus needs to be shifted from short
term to long term. Colonial disruption is still persisting, which is not to say
that all the blame has to be apportioned to the British but that Indians need
to share the blame for what happened to them. (Tolstoy in his letters and
Gandhi in Hind Swaraj).
Need for a historical View
conditions are different from west hence we cannot follow the same policies.
Time, space and geographical context are very important – if not included in
policy making than becomes ahistorical. In physics, we analyze the world the
way it is but in economics, every economist forms his own universe with
assumptions suitable to him. For example neo classical had their assumptions
and classical had theirs.
Disruption of Indian Society
colonial rule resulted in disrupted societies. Internal dynamics got adversely
affected and social relationships mediated through interest of outside power.
Post- independence society got reconstructed under adverse conditions. There is
`loss of value of ideas’ in society. Dominant idea amongst the elite that West
is modern and therefore superior while indigenous is backward to be discarded.
Colonial rule broke the interconnection between elite and layman and there was
need of mediating class. Police and other bureaucracy was instrument of control
instead of public service like in the west, that’s how our modernity got
overpowered by western modernity. Integral development never happened, since we
forgot to develop ourselves from grassroots. Surplus generation in agriculture
belonged to British. Nationalist leadership from amongst elite agriculture, industry,
leadership, reinforced feudal elements in society, education, etc. and left
their footprints on important aspects of post- independence India’s social,
political and economic life.
Second Five Year Plan, India tried to copy west through application of
successful Lewis model which did not suit the Indian situation. It’s a top down
approach dual sector model according to which development of industry would
trickle down to other sectors. This happened in the west because technology was
integrated, here we needed inception from grass root. But policymakers while
following the Lewis model, decided to fulfill the gap through import of
technology (import of television hampered reading habits in India and more
people were illiterate). Technology is a moving frontier and need anticipation
in order to reach optimal solution. Copying from west is the philosophy we always
followed disregarding its long-term consequences. Strategically Indian
policymakers remained with Soviet Union while following western model
During its entire growth path
from 1950’s till today, India has seen repeated crisis of food security,
continuing poverty, illiteracy, ill health, and so on but we never followed the
policy of learning from mistakes. By late 60s planning commission’s importance
was overpowered by World Bank and World Trade Organization where World Bank
follows crony capitalism- its tagline changes according to demand of
capitalism. Finally, crisis of late 1980s gave a chance for implementation of
marketization which Indira Gandhi restricted for almost more than a decade.
This new economic policy of free market gave way to marginalization of the marginalized
through deleting the difference between necessity and luxury.
Initially in 1947 all problems were seen to have a
social basis and needed to be solved collectively driving the state to a dominant
position. Later by 1991, this was turned on its head, individual was
responsible for her/ his problems and focus was directed towards free market.
None of the two paradigm changes in policy making were able to tackle basic
problems faced by the nation. However, with the actions of state the marginal got
further marginalized. Both strategies of development were of western modernity
where elite demanded more and more concessions for them and marginalized the
poor by making them the residual. The argument followed was that they are the
dynamic elements in society and lead to growth. Agriculture with unorganized
sector, biggest employer to nation was overlooked as marginal. The problem we
are facing today is not of growth but of employment generation- Jobless Growth.
The colonial disruption led to a backward
structure of India’s education structure and economy.
Inadequacy of knowledge generation and borrowed
knowledge led Indian intellectuals to become derived intellectuals. Leading to
inadequacy in relevant knowledge generation resulting in continuing lack of
dynamism in society as a whole. A long term and historical perspective is
essential in understanding the nation’s dynamic or for judging the successes or
failures of its development strategy. Temporary good growth as at present
cannot be the yardstick for success.
South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy
16th May 2013
Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF), Delhi.
ROLE OF PEOPLE’S
KNOWLEDGE IN HEALTH CARE
being one of the lowest in the world in public spending on health and highest
in private spending, continues to be ranked among the poorest performers of the
world in health indicators. Over 35 per cent of people who are hospitalized fall
below the poverty line because of the health expenses; and over 40 per cent
have to borrow or sell assets to pay for their health care. The role of private
sector is rising at an alarming rate, from 8% in 1947 to as high as 93% of all
hospitals, 64 per cent of all beds, 80 to 85 per cent doctors, 80 per cent of all
outpatients and up to 57 per cent inpatients.
Indian Medical Heritage
Medical Heritage consists of both the codified stream where AYUSH is
sophisticatedly practiced and taught through institutional training, and
non-codified stream where mostly oral, ethnic community and ecosystem specific
local health traditions are practiced all over India. A national health system
survey in India in 2009 reported that moderate to very high levels of household’s
use of TRM where more than 6200 plant species in use for managing a range of
simple to complex conditions in India alone. Several policies like: Alma Ata
Declaration (WHO, 1978);National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine, India –
2002; Five Year Plan Documents, India, 2007 and 2012 etc exists but lack of new
recruits and shrinking social and policy legitimacy explains severe erosion of traditional
though there are about one million community- supported traditional health
practitioners spread across almost all the villages of India, there are no
public health strategies to engage them in delivering primary health care
related services at their villages. It is also alarming to note that most of
these local health practitioners are aged above 50 years, meaning that there is
an emerging threat of losing their precious knowledge which will be a loss of rich
indigenous knowledge. India could certainly make a paradigm shift in its
approach to the involvement of local health practitioners who are reportedly
available in every village of India.
Policy Statement 2002, National Rural Health Mission Statement 2005 and Tenth
and Eleventh Five Year Plan Documents 2007 and 2012 recommend the mainstreaming
and involvement of AYUSH as well as Local Health Practitioners to make health
care accessible to everyone.
is serious need to identify and promote safe and efficacious local health traditions
(LHTs) which could be attained by following understated steps:
1. Prioritization of
2. Identification of
3. Analysis of repeated
documented remedies supported with literature review
4. Rapid assessment of
For instance, storing drinking
water in a copper pot is traditional Knowledge for purification of drinking water,
application of turmeric on wound acts as an antiseptic.
Universal health coverage in India is feasible
only through recognition and strengthening of our people’s knowledge in
healthcare. This requires very little investment in identifying, assessing and
promoting their knowledge which does not require any external investment to be
mobilized. Community supported traditional health practices need to be
recognized as legitimate paramedical AYUSH health workers and trained to
provide their services in more effective ways.
South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED)-Lecture Series
16th May 2013
Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF), Delhi.
A COMPREHENSIVE MANIFESTO FOR PEOPLES’S HEALTH
For a comprehensive approach to people’s
health we need to address the various determinants of health as well as issues arising
while strengthening health care through long term policy and action.
Health-care, with increasing national
and international commercial interest, has become the second largest growing
industry after IT. Universal health coverage being the current international
slogan, a country is judged by its poor health indicators and coverage by
health services and medical insurance. The slogan of universal health coverage,
commercial sector interests increasing middle class interest in issues of
public health has resulted in greater attention by the state as well. But the
escalating cost of health-care, both financial and iatrogenic i.e. doctor
granted illness, and actions of state towards it are not promising.
Over the centuries we have seen
drastic changes in health problems. Communicable diseases and malnutrition
persisted and health problems such as non- communicable diseases at younger
ages, increase in injuries (occupational, accidental, homicide, suicide),
toxicities due to environmental contamination, addictions, iatrogenic illness
and old age problems, etc. increased as an externality of modernization. This health
scenario and an increase in dependence on doctors have enhanced the demand for
Classically, an ideal design of
Health Service Systems is expected to be effective, safe, affordable,
sustainable, people empowering with the objective of prioritizing maximum good
to maximum number. Historically, there has been knowledge system pluralism in
India. Societal dialogue across development models has resulted in the present provisioning
and financing of health services. The structure consists of public, private and
civil society (charitable, NGO, cooperative) institutions with knowledge system
pluralism including both AYUSH and Modern Medicine. Strengthening the public
services requires addressing issues of:
·health planning and budget provisions,
·Investment in human resources: education and
training, postings and transfers
·A public health cadre
·Free medicine for all patients, systems for
procurement and distribution.
The system of colonial hangover
with dominance of modern science and medicine as well as commercial interest in
modern medicine led to undemocratic pluralism in relation to AYUSH. There are
various debates running in Civil Society (Medico friend circle, Jan Swasthya
Abhiyan, Kolkata Declaration), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (NRHM),
Planning Commission, Global Health Forum, etc., related to universal health
care service systems and design. Following are the frameworks reflected in
Sector Bio-Medical Curative frameworks: This model runs on free market logic.
State and private insurance is considered to be third party.
·Statist Public Health Framework where state is
responsible for full provisioning and financing with PPP (Public Private
Partnership) as a concession to the reality of their existence.
The existing framework is mixture of two above stated
frameworks. The aim has to be to extract the best from both the systems and
form a unique system. Both the systems have components of various knowledge
systems, reliance on STGs (short term goals), audits, monitoring to ensure
rational practice and peoples movement as a possible moderating force.
Impact of people’s
movements on health systems led to: Frontiers of Modern Medical Practice
changing paradigm that limits Intervention, promotes self care, patient
involvement in decision-making, greater role of psychosomatic etiologies
finding from studies and revitalizing primary health care. Questions regarding
choice of Stream of International Health trends, of framework conducive for
people’s health have risen. The broad points of agreement emerging from the debate
and dialogue are:
·Public funding with public and
·Structure of services designed
for cost effective and rational services, with quality and equity.
·Rational care to contain costs
aspect to health-care system is closer availability to the patient, hence
starting from home, each level provides as much care as it can and is supported
by the next level. So, unnecessary services move to GP, GP to HWs and to
self-care. It is important to design structure of services which are cost-
effective and rational and also serves purpose of quality and equity: Community
centered public services plus civil society provisioning; monitoring is the available
solution that includes knowledge system democratic and integrative pluralism.
The move towards integrating institutional structures, formalizing cross
referral and interaction across pathies; for instance AYUSH education
generating confidence in AYUSH and LHTs, its revitalization by growing herbal
gardens in the sub-centre and PHC compound, focus and promotion of National
University for Pluralistic Sciences- with one college for each recognized
pathy, 1 institution for local health traditions, one for integrated medicine
We live in a country
where one in every four persons goes to bed hungry. Health problems in India
need to be treated at very grass root level provision of basic minimum needs
like roti,kapda and makaan to every individual though
employment generation which provide them self esteem and dignity. Access to
clean drinking water, better sanitation conditions, balance between physical
work, food and leisure and emotional and social wellbeing through community
structures and dignity enhancing societal conditions can take care of 50% of
diseases due to unhygienic environment, hypertension etc.
Hence there is a need for: Health Impact
Assessment of all development plans. Further, social and economic development planning
needs to be centered on people’s health and well-being. Only a new policy
milieu of social solidarity and caring is the solution.