Case study on India: Governance gap through Globalization, Neo-liberalism and rise of NSMs

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Case study on India: Governance gap through Globalization, Neo-liberalism and rise of NSMs

  1. 1. Case study on India: Governance gap through Globalization, Neo-liberalism and rise of NSMs One cannot deny the fact that India since its independence from British Empire has beenone of the poorest countries in the world. But after sixty five years as a free country, poverty isstill its major barrier to be considered as a developed country (Berrebi, n.d.). Overpopulation, lack of social infrastructures, illiteracy, unemployment and tribaldeprivation to public investments are the primary reasons for the large proportion of poverty inthe country. Since India is still strongly inclined in its customs and culture, majority of itspopulation are composed of tribes and scheduled caste that are greatly dependent on agrarian oragricultural practices. However, little has been acted by the government upon the lack ofirrigations and agricultural extension services to the rural areas in India. Thus, the neglect ofagricultural assistance to tribal areas has resulted to lower output and has gained much less yieldfrom agriculture. This sector, rural poor, of the society constitutes the majority proportion of thepoor in the country. On the other hand, there are attempts to alleviate poverty by investing onirrigation, agriculture and rural development, however, the policy has largely neglect thedeprived tribal regions. As a proof, when India started promoting „rained farming‟ its focus wasstill on dry lands where there is no source of water nor agricultural inputs while the waterabundant regions of tribal India remained neglected. Public attention has been largely limited tocurative health care and public distribution on urban selected districts and little has given to caterto the livelihoods of tribal people. “In the absence of appropriate policy action to supportagriculture development, tribal communities have increasingly been obliged to evolve a lifestyleof low productivity rained farming followed by distress migration” (Verma, Shilp, 2007). Occupational mobility has been the last resort of the rural poor and tribesman and inhopes of experiencing a standard living; they found their selves on the populated urban cities. Insearch for that kind of living or even just for survival, they have experienced the opposite. Theylive in sub-human areas as well as they have limited access to basic necessities. Majority hasfailed to eat at least 2 meals a day. This scenario of struggling to survive entails how urban areasare seen as a dreamland to many that turns out to be their worst nightmare. This exemplifies ruralmigration that in effect creates a large proportion of urban poverty in the country (AZAD IndiaFoundation, 2010).
  2. 2. “The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2008 shows that improvingagricultural labour productivity could have a profound impact on poverty reduction. Forexample, raising the region‟s average agricultural labour productivity to the level seen inThailand would take 218 million people – a third of the region‟s poor – out of poverty. India,China, Bangladesh and Indonesia would gain the most.” (Heyzer, 2008) Evidently, India has failed to eradicate or even lessen poverty to the minimal levelprimarily because it has neglected the citizens who need it most. The country has the bestpoverty alleviation program in the world but the government has considered its people as mereobjects of these development projects and citizens ended up being used by the elites for their selfinterest. This has resulted to the disarticulation of the primal demands and needs of the people.For an instance, the regional tribes in water abundant areas that are more willing for theimprovement of the yields of their lands were not given much attention and focus for publicinvestments. Only if these demands were sufficed that the country will experience the alleviatingstatus it wanted (Verma, Shilp, 2007). “The county has become less effective in delivering thosefunctions that were important for its development in the modern era, including redistribution,structural regulation and the delivery of public services” (Taylor, 2010). Despite of its internal problems, India is one of the most promising countries in terms ofits competitiveness in global realm. Its economy is one of the fastest growing most especially interms of being the major outsource service provider across countries as well to its technologicaladvancements in software development and telecommunication. However, India cannot claim itsposition as developed as long as there is still a great proportion of its population faced in majorsocial issues. With a population of nearly 1.2 billion, overpopulation is also one of the majorproblem the country is facing along with it is the inability of the government to provide socialinfrastructures such as roads for better transportation and trade, primary and secondary schoolswhich lead to increasing illiteracy of its citizen. (Berrebi, n.d.) This can be clearly manifested inrural regional tribes. Development projects to only selected areas have lead to a greater disparitybetween the rural and urban. Even the country has its duality element of being an industrial andagricultural country (Richardson, 2002); India still being greatly independent into its agrarianconventional ways cannot neglect its agricultural aspect. Its focus merely on its technologicaland industrial aspect, has make India less effective in delivering its function that are requisite to
  3. 3. its full development, including the large divide in rural and urban because of stagnation onconventional ways in rural areas and over advancement in rural areas – creating disparity. Aswell as it created a large gap between the poor and the rich. Still the lack of infrastructures mostespecially secondary schools in deprived areas has lead to greater illiteracy proportion (Berrebi,n.d.) It shows that its focus on being globally competitive has resulted to the stagnation in itsagrarian aspect. India after its independence has experienced a lot of pressure both internally andexternally in order to address the dilemmas left to it as a newly free country. The country startedin a closed economy, an autarky one, without the externalities and outside pressure. Its nationaleconomy has cut its ties with the world economy. Slanted against agriculture and exports, thisresulted to a “command and control economy” where its economy has been stagnant and itsshare to the rest of the world has significantly declined. (Nayar, 2006) Being in an unhealthystate, India has made its act in reconciling itself to the global realm. India‟s reconciliation to the world has been marked by the globalization in the country. Itopened up its economy to direct investments from the international realm and removing barriersand obstructions to the entry of multinational and transnational companies in India. Along with itare major shift from quantitative restrictions to tariffs and import duties which entails majorimport liberalisation programs. Thus, globalization with these policy reforms has been identifiedto bloom in the year of 1991. The process of globalizing India has generated substantial gains forthe country. “It has a favourable impact on the overall growth of the economy”; from the 8thposition in the 1990s to 4th place in 2001 (Goyal, 2006). However, globalization and neoliberalpolicies is a double edged sword in the country. Preponderantly, India has an economy withagrarian in nature and more than 56% of its population has its livelihood dependent in agricultureand other associated occupation. Certain development and welfare projects were mandated bythe constitution to improve the lives of these people in the most deprived sections in the countrybut its gains are just marginal. As the economic reforms in 1980s, weaker sections became worseoff. With the entry of machineries and more skilled labor force, unskilled and semi-skilledlabourers have become irregular employers and fewer days were given to them. In general,people of India led to “miserable conditions” most especially to the farmers. Liberalization asencompassed in globalization resulted to decline in agriculture public investment. From 3.5%
  4. 4. food grain production on pre-globalization it went down to 1.7% (post-globalization) primarilybecause of the diminution in subsidies of farmers. Along with it, income of a common man didnot increase hence it significantly decrease from 193 points average national income to just 122points. The turnout resulted quite opposite to the expected globalized India. As a domino effectto low subsidy to Indian farmers and imposition of low tariffs on imports, it resulted to labormigration from agriculture to industrial occupation. Primarily, this is also due to tightcompetitiveness of markets internationally that domestic farmers cannot withstand to the highstandards of the global realm (Muralidhar, 2011). Faced by economic crisis on the same year,1991, major shifts were made – into a neoliberal capitalist reform. Balance of payment crisis,large budget deficit and fiscal overload has pressured to this paradigm shift. (Singh, 2011) Theshift is made possible by IMF‟s granting of „structural adjustment loan to India. However,attached on it are major economic reforms for the country. Chiefly these reforms has its objectiveto gradually eliminate government intervention to the market, as well as to privatize governmentowned corporations and to lessen barriers of imports which eventually will enable for free tradeand reduce export subsidies – “ a dramatic departure from the protectionist, socialist nature of theIndian economy up until then” (Muralidhar, 2011). But on the contrary, agrarian reforms werenot deliberately accepted by all as the agricultural growth has significantly drop from 4.69%(1991) to 2.06% in 1997. For an instance, Andhra Pradesh‟s farmers before liberalization had an access to seedsfrom government institutions and had its own seeds produced with assured high quality. But withliberalization, country‟s seed markets were opened to international agricultural enterprises likeMonsanto and Cargill and following IMF‟s preconditions of adopting deregulation terminatedthe seed processing in 24 to just 14 units. This has lead to increase seed prices as well asunregulated market. Anticipating higher yields, the farmers invested much on seeds that aregenetically modified because of its promising gains. Opposite to the expectation it has yieldlower than promised. Production has not been proportion to heavy investment in seeds that hasleft the farmers in greater debt. Deregulation and infusing competition through fewer barriers toentry in seed markets had allowed for less quality and abundant availability of fake seeds that ledto crop failures. In addition of IMF‟s precondition is the devaluation of Rupee – India‟scurrency. It has led to cheaper agricultural products of India to the world therefore making itlook attractive to global market. This has encouraged farmers to grow a mix of traditional crops
  5. 5. and cash crops that are export oriented. Thus, it needs more inputs than traditional crops requirelike insecticides, fertilizers and water. Policies had lessened subsidies on pesticides thereforeinflation on pesticide and fertilizer prices. Along with it is the increase in electricity tariff whichoriginally is also subsidized. A need for faster harvest and production has increased cost ofproduction – needed more water and water pumps therefore higher consumption of electricity.Opening India‟s market and entirely getting rid of import restrictions has allowed for surplus inimports which pressured prices of domestic products to lower (even with higher production cost)(Muralidhar, 2011). Evidently, globalizing India has made the country a service oriented one and hasneglected its agricultural aspect. Low cost and skilled labourers had made India competitiveworldwide. (Business, Investment, Sourcing and Manufacturing in India, 2012). Indeed, aservice oriented country that gives focus on the outsourcing, software and call centres industryhas helped in the booming of its own economy (EconomyWatch Content, 2010). However,many believe that process of globalization in India has contributed to the rising disparity betweenthe poor and the rich– those who only benefits are the skilled and educated citizens(Globalization and Poverty, 2012). Widening gap between the poor and rich as just one of the many offshoots of socialchanges occurring in India has resulted to the rising movements against LPG (Liberalization,Privatization and Globalization) in the country. Save the Nation, Build the Nation Campaign(Desh Bachao, Desh Banao Abhiyan) has been advocated by the National Alliance of People‟sMovement (Nilsen, 2007). It is one specific manifestation of citizens‟ greater politicalparticipation. The movement‟s campaign aims to fight for the right of the marginalized anddeprived people. It desires for a new set of policies that will promote alternative developmentwith “equality, justice and sustainability as value goals and suitable technology, democraticplanning and cooperative enterprises as the means” (National Alliance of Peoples Movements,2003). NAPM is a continuous battle of the people versus corruption, suppressed rights, castesystem and communalism. It adheres for social equity and secularism. It fights against anti-people politics and economy wherein citizens‟ needs and demands are not articulated or isopposed to. The National Alliance of People‟s Movement is composed of two hundred differentkinds of movements in the country. It unifies struggles of different marginalized sections
  6. 6. affirming “people‟s right to life and livelihood and primacy to community ownership of naturalresources” (National Alliance of Peoples Movement [NAPM], 2003). The campaign “Save the Nation, Build the Nation Campaign” started in Kerala to protestagainst the factory of Coca-Cola in the place. This protest symbolizes a struggle againstglobalization. The campaign crossed through 19 states and concluded in Ayodhya. Women,children, farmers and workers in marginalized sectors originally had to defend and support theirlives and livelihood on their own but with the establishment of the movement; it had empoweredthe marginalized sectors of the country. It had allowed the masses to challenge the government,its processes and acts. As they are supported by artists, intellectuals and professionals that arevoluntarily willing to be part of a transformative movement – towards a casteless decentralizedsystem as well as the use of appropriate technology. The social movement had given power tothe people. Farmers, farm labourers, fisher folks, Dalits (the untouchables) had fought for theirright to land, water, forest and other resources (National Alliance of Peoples Movement[NAPM], 2003). In conclusion, indeed, globalization entwined in it is the neoliberal policies have madeIndia competitive worldwide. However, being competitive to the rest of the world is not enoughin order to claim that a country is better off than yesterday. The rise of new social movements(NSMs) had allowed the citizens as part of the civil society to be watchdogs of the activities ofthe government. Likewise, all the concerns and demands of the citizens will be heard as well asthey can perform their task of checks and balances. Indeed, India owned one of the world‟sfastest growing economies nevertheless its progress as country per se cannot be concluded ifinternal issues are still the major barrier or hinder in its true development.Bibliography:AZAD India Foundation. (2010). Poverty in India. Retrieved September 19, 2012, from AZADIndia Foundation : http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/poverty-in-india.html
  7. 7. Berrebi, D. (n.d.). Tackling poverty in India. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from Poverties.org:http://www.poverties.org/poverty-in-india.htmlBusiness, Investment, Sourcing and Manufacturing in India. (2012). Retrieved September 25,2012, from INDIA - BUSINESS GUIDELINES: http://www.business-in-asia.com/countries/india3.htmlEconomyWatch Content. (2010, April 5). India Economic Development. Retrieved September25, 2012, from Economy watch: follow the money:http://www.economywatch.com/indianeconomy/india-development.htmlGlobalization and Poverty. (2012, May 18). Retrieved September 25, 2012, from Business mapsof India: http://business.mapsofindia.com/globalization/poverty.htmlGoyal, K. (2006). Impact of Globalization on Developing Countries (with special reference toIndia). Retrieved September 23, 2012, fromhttp://www.eurojournals.com/IRJFE%206%20goyal.pdfHeyzer, N. (2008, March 28). Addressing the neglect of agriculture in Asia and the Pacific.Retrieved September 21, 2012, from United Nations ESCAP:http://www.unescap.org/oes/opeds/2008/Agriculture-in-Asia.htmlMuralidhar, B. M. (2011, December). Globalization and Its Impact on Indian Agriculture: Astudy of farmers suicides in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Retrieved September 23, 2012, fromhttp://pactu.edu.np/downloads/njpg/dec-2011/2__b_v_muralidhar_d_m_mamatha_g_stanley_jayakumar_roseline_mary__globalization_and_its_impact_on_indian_agricu.pdfNational Alliance of Peoples Movement [NAPM]. (2003, March 30). Ayodhya Declaration -National Peoples Agenda. Retrieved September 25, 2012, from http://www.napm-india.org/sites/default/files/Ayodhya_Declaration_FINAL.pdfNational Alliance of Peoples Movements. (2003, January 25). Desh Bachao Desh BanaoAbhiyan. Retrieved September 25, 2012, from Friends of River Narmada (Save the Nation, Build
  8. 8. the Nation Campaign): http://www.narmada.org/nba-press-releases/january-2003/invitedbdb.htmlNayar, B. R. (2006). Indias Globalization: Evaluating the Economic Consequences. RetrievedSeptember 23, 2012, fromhttp://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/handle/10125/3523/PS022.pdf?sequence=1Nilsen, A. G. (2007, December). On New Social Movements and Reinvention of India.Retrieved September 26, 2012, from Academia.edu:http://uib.academia.edu/AlfGunvaldNilsen/Papers/381160/On_New_Social_Movements_and_the_Reinvention_of_IndiaRichardson, P. (2002, June). New Science, Technology and Innovation Developments in India .Retrieved September 19, 2012, fromftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/improving/docs/sstp_strata_workshop_session1_richardson.pdfSingh, M. S. (2011, August 27). IMPACT OF NEOLIBERALISM ON INDIAN POLITY.Retrieved September 23, 2012, from SocialSciences.in:http://www.socialsciences.in/article/impact-neoliberalism-indian-polityTaylor, G. (2010). Complex Powers: Beyond the Panopticon? In G. Taylor, The New PoliticalSociology (p. 47). UK: Palgrave Macmillian.Verma, Shilp. (2007, May). Rethinking tribal development:Water Management Strategies forRevitalizing tribal agriculture in Central India . Retrieved September 21, 2012, from WaterPolicy Briefing: http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/publications/Water_Policy_Briefs/PDF/WPB27.pdf

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