The UGC Directive on Autonomous Colleges Prabhat Patnaik

Higher education in India is facing a twin danger today. One is its commoditization, by which is meant not just the fact that higher education itself is becoming a commodity but also that the products of higher education, i.e. those in whom higher education is “embodied”, are also becoming commodities, in the sense of simply having their worth assessed both by themselves and by others in terms equivalence to a certain sum of money, the amount that they can command on the market. Commoditization makes the products of higher education self-centred individuals without any social sensitivity, and prepares them only…

Strangulating the Informal Economy Prabhat Patnaik

The fact that there has been a slowdown of late in the rate of growth of the Indian economy is accepted by all, including even Narendra Modi in his all-over-the-place diatribe against critics on October 4. The government however sees it as remediable since the economy, it believes, “is on the right track”. The first question to ask however is: why should it matter if the year-on-year quarterly GDP growth-rate has been slowing down for the last six consecutive quarters and is now down to 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017-18 (which is the lowest for any quarter…

The Class Content of the Goods and Services Tax Prabhat Patnaik

The discussion on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) until now has focused almost exclusively on the distribution of its burden across commodities, on the difficulties of meeting its stringent bureaucratic demands, and on the delays in obtaining claims for refunds. Even the view that it is pushing the economy into a recession has attributed this looming recession merely to its stringent procedural demands which supposedly have tied most sellers in knots. In all this however the class content of this new tax regime has been missed. Indeed many would even ask: if one kind of indirect tax regime which…

A Dangerous Analogy Prabhat Patnaik

Narendra Modi’s attempt to imitate Jawaharlal Nehru by giving a mid-night speech on July 1 at the Central Hall of parliament, while inaugurating the Goods and Services Tax, could perhaps be passed off as a merely laughable idiosyncrasy. His equating, or even putting on a parallel footing, a mere tax-reform with the grand historic event of India’s attaining independence, could perhaps be shrugged off as just harmless self-promotion by one who prides himself as the author of the tax-reform. But the speech he gave on this occasion invoked an analogy that is extremely dangerous and that cannot go unchallenged, for…