NOTE ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC STUDY
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03 May 2019

The Central Committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star has decided to organize a socio-economic study at state level for evaluating the changes that has taken place in the socio economic sectors as a result of the neo-colonial/neoliberal policies pursued at an accelerated pace, so that an all India picture can be drafted for future course of action. This note prepared as a guideline for this Study is sent to all state committees of the Party and party friends who can give valuable inputs for it for suggestions if any and necessary follow up action – Editor, Red Star

The Resolution on Theoretical Offensive adopted by the 10th Congress of our Party among other things called for a deeper and comprehensive understanding of the ruling system in India. Under the present neo-colonial phase of imperialism, as elsewhere, India is also subject to rapid transformation. A scientific understanding of these changes is indispensable for searching out political solutions to the grave issues the country is confronting. That is, the correctness of our theory and the development of our political line are inseparably connected with the objective grasping of the concrete socio-economic situation and the relations thereof in India today.

We have a general understanding on the character of the state and on the specific caste-ridden social formation in the present neo-colonially dependent Indian situation. In this regard, our Party Program briefly says: “2.3.With the transfer of power, India which was a colonial and semi-feudal country was transformed in to a dependent country under neo-colonial domination with agrarian relations subjected to fast changes, as imperialism had abandoned its colonial policy of utilizing feudalism as its social base.” In relation to this, the Resolution on Theoretical Offensive also notes: “We have found that in India and in many other countries under neo-colonial domination, there has been an ever more capitalistic system being introduced in agriculture. We have understood the importance of the environmental question and given it the importance it deserves. Many more questions still face us, such as further studies on the nature of imperialism today, the meaning of a new paradigm of development and the building of socialism with greater democracy. We have to face such questions fearlessly and study them…”

Such an approach is essential for developing Marxist theory and ideological orientation based on which we have to organize the workers, peasants, women and all oppressed to build up the communist movement according to the concrete realities of India.  While capital-market relations backed by neo-colonial-neoliberal policies have their reach throughout India, being multinational and casteist in character, these relations are felt in varying degrees and at different levels. As a consequence, even as the mode of production is increasingly becoming capitalistic, uneven development and regional disparities and diversities are still persisting as the general rule than the exception. Therefore, a scientific study on the Indian socio-economic situation shall be in proper linkage with its region-state specificities based on the dialectical approach towards the general and the particular.

Based on data from various sources, we have a general understanding on the macro Indian situation. But we still lack relevant information on state-wise socio-economic condition which is also important for verifying our conceptualisation at the all India level. Therefore, it is essential that Party SCs should have to organize studies to arrive at an objective evaluation or understanding of the socio-economic situation of the respective states. However, this is a prolonged and time-consuming task. Hence, to start with, each SC can prepare a synopsis or an introductory note on the macro situation of the respective state which can be used as a baseline study or background for intensive and in-depth studies in the coming days. To make such a preliminary study, information and data pertaining to the following are useful:

  • Land ownership—caste, religion, gender, rural, urban-wise data; land held by government and public bodies, forest land, water bodies, estates, corporate firms, foreign companies and their benamies, religious and caste institutions, mutts and trusts, etc.
  • Landlessness or land destitution and the role of caste in it; number and growth of agricultural workers, trends in agriculture labour and wage pattern, number of days of employment, other sources of income, etc.
  • Details of farming- corporate farms, big landowners, rich farmers, cultivating peasants, tenancy (including oral, unregistered, and short-term tenancy), farming practices, sharecropping, role of family and hired labour, etc.
  • Movable and immovable property held by different categories of the population, information on distribution of rural assets
  • Land-use pattern, arable and non-arable land, food crops and cash crops, use of modern agricultural inputs, mechanisation, industrial and non-agricultural land use, land acquisition trends, eviction, displacement, deforestation, ground water use and depletion, details of the nature of emerging land market
  • Rural credit availability- commercial banks, money lenders and other informal sources
  • Extent and growth of informal sectors and unorganised workers-wages and living conditions
  • Socio-economic characteristics of rural population and proportion or percentage of people depending on agriculture/rural/informal sectors, share of agriculture and allied sectors in state’s annual income
  • Industrial structure-traditional and unorganised industries-employment pattern in them, small and medium and large industries in the public and private sectors, nature of industries- import dependent, export oriented, local market oriented- share of industry in state’s employment and income
  • Education, health, public distribution and other services-literacy rate, female literacy, infant mortality rate, role of government and private sectors in education and health, budgetary allocations for education and health
  • Structure of the budget and tax/ expenditures of the state government
  • Details on trade and transportation and related activities, role retail trade in employment and income, consumption pattern, state’s share of all India consumer market, public transport, per capita vehicle use
  • Information on banking and financial services
  • Proportion of the services sector in state’s income and employment
  • Urbanisation, migration and growth of slums, extent of rural urban divide
  • Data on unemployment, per capita income, poverty, inequality in income and wealth, asset (including land, movable and immovable property) concentration, etc.

Since it may not be possible for us at this stage to directly collect adequate and usable primary data from field level studies and surveys, the State Committees shall initiate steps for gathering required information on the socio-economic structure of respective states from already published relevant sources such as:

  1. Population and Agriculture Census, Land, Industry and Trade Records, Retail and Wholesale Reports, Financial Statements, Budgets, Surveys, etc. with government (central, state and local) and official agencies;
  2. Reports of various Commissions and Committees constituted by the central and state govts;
  3. Research-related documents and published texts by social science research institutions and universities;
  4. Reports and publications of Labour Bureaus, Commodity Boards, Trade Unions, Consumer Associations, Trade Bodies, Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Banks, Co-operatives, Stock Exchanges, etc;
  5. Newspapers and periodicals;
  6. Internet searches; and
  7. Other usable sources.

presently, our SCs may not have the expertise or the means to carry out this task on their own. A study team/committee can be constituted to seek reliable assistance from outside the party sources. This team can contact economists, social scientists, research scholars and progressive intellectuals and seek their help and cooperation for identifying the data sources, collecting the required information and processing the same in a compact form.  This can be discussed and analysed by the SCs from the perspective of our general understanding before adoption. n

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Kabeer Katlat

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.