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Title: Class interest shapes political decisions : a case-study of agricultural policies in post-liberalisation Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Karnataka
Author: Das Gupta, Sejuti
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5197
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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The objective of the thesis is to comprehend the nature of agricultural policies in three Indian states - Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Karnataka, by analysing through class-state interactions how classes influence agricultural policy decisions and policies' impact upon class-formation and consolidation. Mainstream literature in politics has seldom focused on agricultural policy. In economics, the focus has been on the assessment of the impact of policies; there are few who view the policy through a liberalisation lens which makes the global dynamics explicit but does not enter the intricacies within a nation-state, thus assuming a uniformity. Numerous class analyses of Indian society have been undertaken which are either reductionist or enmeshed with caste to make sense of Indian social structures. My objective was to explore the operating political settlement in each state, focusing on the ruling classes/dominant classes and their relation to the State. The particular period under scrutiny is 2004 - when Bharatiya Janata Party faced defeat at the centre for neglecting the rural interests. Based on an inductive research method, it explored cases from literature, field-interviews and newspapers across cities and district headquarters, drawing inferences for each state. It entailed district-wise understanding of how classes are situated, if their means of accumulation have undergone a change in last decade and whether they use individual or organisations to influence state institutions. It is related to land acquisition policy and practice in each state. A variety of stakeholders, academics, bureaucrats, political activists, development-sector workers, farmers, and farmer organisations were interviewed. The main conclusions are that capitalist, political class (politicians and bureaucracy) and big/capitalist farmers form the political settlement in the three states. Secondly, there is growing difference between big farmers and marginal farmers, where former maintain relation with state institutions at different levels and have also been presented with opportunities in new policy regime of 2000s. Thirdly, a foray into the policies post-2000 shows the differentiated impact of policies on different classes, the main gainers being capitalist and big farmers. It has transformed them into petty bourgeoisie or merchant capital class. It has been concluded that political connections foster economic accumulation thereby bringing the proprietary classes closer. The political class has gained in this era, particularly from land transactions. Liberalisation has benefitted the proprietary classes and its fractions which includes the rural capitalist class, particularly after 2004. Even in era of globalisation, internal factors like class alliances play a significant role in politics and policy making.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral