The Semi-Feudal Character of Indian Agriculture

By Guruprasad Kar

[Translated by Ipsita Samanta from article, ‘Bharatiya Krishir Adhasamantatantrik charitra’ published in Aneek, 2012.]

There have been over 2.5 lakh farmers’ suicide over the last fifteen years in India. This started from the middle of 1990’s when neo-liberal policy was aggressively implemented in India. From available data we can say the objective bases of these suicides are the changes in government policy, invasion of monopoly capital in agricultural sector along with other factors of globalization and it created unbearable situation for farmers.  Nevertheless Indian government wants to toe the same line of open door policy with new vigor. In this context, the characterization of social production relation in Indian society especially that in Indian agriculture becomes important.

Historically the various Communist Parties characterized social production relation in India to be semi feudal though all of them do not assign same meaning to it. For instance, some groups insists India to be a backward capitalist country with few remnants of feudalism in its base while others consider semi feudalism as a relatively permanent mode of productions in a underdeveloped country under the hegemony of imperialist system.  It is to be mentioned that after Naxalbari movement, the newly formed CPI(ML) clearly formulated that India is a semi-feudal semi-colonial society and agrarian revolution is the axis of the unfinished democratic revolution. From then on a part of intelligentsia has also been involved in research regarding the social production relation in India and there had been many interesting debates among them. Anyway, when the communists are involved in understanding the social production relation, the aim is to find the strategy of the social revolution i.e. to indentify the reactionary and progressive classes and to devise political as well as military strategy to overthrow the most reactionary class or classes who hinder the development of productive force.

It is not a question of debate whether in our country there exist feudal production relations along with penetration of capitalist relation. But there are different opinions regarding the role of existing feudal relations and all those opinions can broadly be divided into two;

  1.  There exist feudal relations in the society but it is in the process of decay either through the natural capitalistic development or through penetration of imperialist capital. Still there may be some anti-feudal democratic tasks in social revolution but at present this is not principal.
  2. Through penetration of imperialist capital, commercialization and various reforms from the colonial time itself, the feudal relation transformed into semi feudal relation and along with it a deformed capitalist relation in certain areas has also arisen and this deformed capitalist relation stands in the way of free capitalist development. Hence through natural economic development the society would not be transformed into a capitalist society. Only thorough democratic revolution, Indian society can get rid of these production relations and move forward.

 

The Path of Capitalist Development in Pre-Imperialist Era

In the course of development of society, at a certain phase the feudal production relation becomes obstacle to the further development of productive force of the society. At this phase, in certain European countries, the bourgeoisie born in the womb of feudalism led rebellion of workers, farmers and toiling masses against feudalism. As a result of the rebellion, capitalist class captured the political power and capitalist production relation became the principal mode of production. But later as the participation of newly born proletariat class increased in the democratic revolution as an independent force, the bourgeoisie in various countries took reformist position and even started compromising with feudal forces to suppress workers struggle. From the middle of nineteenth century European bourgeoisie began to compromise with feudalism and lost the revolutionary potential. Historically the baton of democratic revolution was passed to the proletariat from a definite phase of bourgeoisie development. This political compromise of the capitalist had also its consequence in the arena of economics. The programme of uprooting feudal ownership of the land and establish the right of the actual producers in its place, was replaced by reform from above so that the feudal class can adjust with the developing system retaining various forms of feudal oppression. Consequently the countries like Germany, Russia where bourgeoisie development occurred late, the reformist program was even stronger than others. This process is generally called the Prussian path. But we should also remember that the Prussian path could ultimately lead to development of capitalism in various degrees in those countries.

 

Transformation of capitalism into Imperialism and pre-capitalist relations

In today’s world capitalism rules the system. Around the end of nineteenth century capitalism entered into monopolistic phase from its free competition era in developed countries.  Lenin on the basis of some characteristics signified this stage of capitalism as imperialism and asserted that capitalism has entered into the period of degeneration internationally. Among the various symptoms of this period one of the most significant features is the export of surplus capital to under developed countries. Surplus capital is the capital generated in developed countries which cannot find profitable reinvestment within the national boundary. Relentless investment of capital in these developed countries results into increase in constant capital compared to variable capital and consequently the rate of profit also falls. The existence of surplus capital is in no way, an isolated incident. Rather it is natural result of development of productive force within the narrow boundary of capitalist relation. But due to uneven development of production relation over the globe, this surplus capital finds its investment opportunity in vast underdeveloped regions where capital is scarce, labour is cheap and raw materials are abundant. The imperialist forces could plunder underdeveloped region’s raw materials, cheap labor and natural resources to gain super profit to check the decreasing rate of profit.

Now the relevant question is the following; what role this exported capital plays, in general, in the underdeveloped countries? Does it undermine the feudal and semi-feudal relations in those countries?  It is undoubtedly true that from eighteenth century onward feudal production relation is in the position of decay. Therefore one may be tempted to think that this process of decay will be even faster in the presence of exported capital from the developed countries. Without judging the concrete world production relations in the era of imperialist stage, this way of thinking is not correct approach and it may not correspond to reality. Firstly, we should remember that capitalism as a world system is also in the process of decay and plays a reactionary role in the overall development of the productive force. In fact, history proved that rulers of the imperialist countries alley with most reactionary forces in the underdeveloped countries and support them in suppressing the progressive force including the national capitalist class. Had it not been the case, in general, world capitalist relation could still play a progressive role in the overall development of the productive force of the globe. And this goes against Lenin’s characterization of imperialism. Lenin characterized imperialism as regressive and reactionary on the basis of objective analysis of its economic and political role not only at its own base but in global perspective. There are numerous examples in the past as well as in present day world where imperialist capital makes alliance with the pre capitalist forces to resist independent capitalist development in those countries. Imperialist capital continues to extracts super profit from these countries and thus obstructs the process of accumulation of national capital. In this way it guarantees the backwardness which is conducive to perpetuate the export of surplus capital.

 

Imperialist System and Indian Agriculture

For two hundred years India remained a British colony. We know that British rulers did not break the feudal relations but they brought forth a super exploitative neo feudal system of their choice. On the other hand they cruelly destroyed the then developing native industries. In agriculture they introduced certain commercial crops and started to collect tax in cash. This resulted in commoditization of agricultural products and investment of capital in agricultural sector to some extent. The overall effect was the transformation of feudal system into a semi feudal system. Those, who constructively want to understand Indian economy and want a healthy debate, agree that no important measures had been taken by the post 1947 rulers to ensure the process through which Indian agriculture could move to capitalist mode of production. The law of abolition of land lord system and land reform was a complete failure.

Anyway, two things that have been constantly agitating Indian rural society since British rules are the following;

  1. Revolutionary agrarian movement whose main motive is to perform thorough land reform and thereby changing the existing production relation in agricultural.
  2. The various reforms dictated by the imperialist forces.

We know that the big bourgeoisie in India had developed hatred towards agrarian revolution in British India itself and they wholeheartedly supported the brutal suppression of any such movements by British rulers. The same class after having power in 1947 did not at all change their attitude towards the revolutionary agrarian movements which have been hitting the feudal and semi-feudal system in various parts of India. But all these movements, though agitated the poor and landless peasants to a significant degree, could not be victorious in changing the production relation qualitatively.

On the other hand, the state of India in lieu with imperialist forces has been continuously implementing various reforms in the interest of mainly foreign monopoly capital and the following two are significant in providing the orientation of the agricultural sector in that direction;

  1. The plan of green revolution adopted in 60’s of the earlier century. This was a policy almost forcibly introduced by US led monopoly capital.
  2. The infrastructural reforms in the period of globalization dictated by World Bank and International Monetary Fund mainly adopted from the 90’s of the last century.

After implementation of green revolution there had occurred some changes in Indian agriculture. We saw cultivation of some particular crop in a bulk, irrigation infrastructure based on water under the land built by government, usage of developed technology and large scale use of fertilizer and pesticides imported mainly from US. The reform initially implemented in Punjab later proliferated to some extent in other regions also. On the basis of this changes, a part of intelligentsia started claiming Indian agriculture system to be capitalist from seventies onwards. On the other hand, some people saw the agricultural production relations as basically semi feudal with some scattered capitalist reforms implemented from above.

Generally one can argue that imperialist system implies degeneration of capitalist production relations and hence it does not help facilitate the progressive production relations in any part of the world by its own act of reform. This logical framework is very strong although the argument by itself cannot solve the problem of determining the production relations in a particular country. Even under imperialist world order, depending upon various factors like the stage of class struggle in a definite country, its correlation with inter imperialist struggle, balance of power at that particular juncture, one cannot refute, at least theoretically, as an exception, the possibility of democratic reform led by non-proletarian nationalist force. So in a particular country or region, we need to analyze the concrete class relations and on the basis of this class analysis we have to determine the mode of production. We think that Indian agriculture still remains semi feudal and to understand this we first go through the arguments presented elsewhere to negate this assertion.

 

Arguments to prove Indian agriculture to be Capitalist

To prove that capitalist relation has been established in Indian agriculture G. Omvedt in 1981 claimed the followings;

  1. 65% of the rural population are proletariat or in the process of being so.
  2. A large part of the agricultural crop is sold in market.
  3. The trend shows that investment of capital is increasing which is manifested by the increased use of chemical fertilizer, insecticide etc.
  4. Technologies that are bought are being used for exploiting labor.
  5. The tenancy system is continuously decreasing and in the remaining part of it, the capitalist form of exploitation is predominant.

Very recently Amit Basole and Deepankar Basu have claimed the same in their recent article in EPW dated 9th april , 2011.  In our discussion we use the data given in the just mentioned article and those given in Aspects of Indian Economy, no. 46, 2008 which were mostly supplanted from NSSO.

When discussing production relation, we should remember that according to Lenin it is incorrect to put much emphasis on consumption, investment of capital, proliferation of business etc. in an abstract way. All these factors may be indicators of certain production relations but they don’t define the relationship by themselves. In political economy the goal is to search for the social relationship among masses participating in production rather than production itself. That’s why quantitative use of fertilizers, insecticides, high yielding seeds and commercialization of crops cannot be determining factor, the determining factors are the relations of production through which these things become operational.

On the basis of data we delineate the following features of agriculture in India.

  1. The landlord classes, by evicting the tenant farmers, are using high-end technology to till the farm to some extent.
  2. According to official data, the tenancy system is declining.
  3. There is dominance of small and marginal farm lands and fragmentation of land is on rise.
  4. The number of landless farmers is rising.

 

Relation between landlord Cultivation and Indian Industry

From data it can be seen that for the upper 9.5% families acquire 56.6% of the total agricultural land whereas for the remaining there exists 43.4%. Clearly landlords hold a big portion of land till now. But from 1955 after enactment of act of abolition of Jamindari system, many landlords uprooted the tenant farmers from their land and started investment of capital to some extent to till their land. Historically, one cannot refute the possibility of developing capitalist relation from such development. But one also cannot conclude that this development would certainly lead to capitalist relation.

Karl Marx himself had discussed about this kind of development and concluded that in the absence of capitalist motion and absence of capitalist outlook on the part of the landlords, the difference between rent (both absolute and differential) and profit do not become operational which is otherwise a distinctive feature of capitalist market. On the face, it may seem capitalist but the whole surplus labor gets transformed into land rent and the limit of this rent is not actually limited by the operation of capitalist market. Therefore this surplus is not surplus value of the capitalist system but remains feudal rent based on the production relation of landlord and producer. The basis of this exploitation is not capital but feudal ownership of land. The following two are necessary conditions for the development of capitalism in agriculture;

  1. The uprooted tenant farmers have to be transformed into agricultural proletariat.
  2. Reinvestment of the surplus through which increased reproduction becomes possible.

In those countries where capitalism had been established either through revolutionary upheaval or through reform by pro-capitalist ruling elites, the motive force came from the qualitative development of industry which developed the productive power of the society as a whole and as a result could absorb the surplus labour of agriculture and also enhance the overall purchasing power. But for India those two conditions were basically absent due to the absence of such indigenous development of industry.

Historically the colonial rulers destroyed the potential for development of industry in India. In the later part of the colonial rule, the industry that emerged through direct or indirect intervention of imperialistic capital was characteristically monopolistic in nature. The technology that was imported had no organic relation with the development in this region. The goal was to serve imperialist capital through extracting high profit. Hence it did not cater employment rather it destroyed the indigenous small scale industrial production and thereby put tremendous pressure on agriculture. In this context we should mention here that even today, the monopolistic industries only employ 2% of total employment. Unorganized sectors, though provide employment to large number of people, are continuously discriminated in terms of various facilities provided by the government like bank loans and hence these sectors are forced to remain in the state of simple commodity production without any scope to further progress. In the absence of any alternative, the uprooted farmers are transformed into pauperized farmer rather than being transformed into industrial or agriculture proletariat. Naturally they nurture the dream of having a piece of land in their life rather than being involved in working class movement. The powerful existence of pauperized farmers creates favourable condition for employment of non-free wage labourer and historically the existing caste system, peculiar to India, reinstate this process. Again the surplus that is created by the employment of these non-free agricultural workers and appropriated by landlords mostly goes to the non-productive usury and mercantile sector because these remain the most profitable sector in the present condition. In this way the process of reinvestment of surplus for increased reproduction is obstructed.

Other significant information to be noted is that in India the big farm only means big in size, it does not imply farming by using disciplined social division of labour and improved technology. Also per acre production is lesser in big farm than that in small farm. Consequently one cannot say that the big farm represents capitalist development in Indian agriculture. On other hand as a characteristic feature of capitalism, as Lenin taught, there is no process of accumulation and concentration of capital through which concentration of land could occur by the pauperization of small farmers and their transformation into agricultural labourer through market operation. Historically, through such process isolated labours are also socialized giving rise to further development of productive force and this process is clearly absent in India.

 

Small land, Wage labor and Capitalist relation

According to NSSO data, 11.7% of the rural population was landless in 1961-62 and in the year 2002-03 the figure is 10%. Here those are considered landless whose land is below 0.05 acres. And if we measure landlessness by an amount less than one acre, then the corresponding figures are 44% and 62% in 1961-62 and 2002-03 respectively.  Again the numbers of marginal farmers who possesses land below 2.5 acres and the landless rural population taken together increases to 80% in 2003 from 66% in 1961.

On the other side land lords and big farmers whose lands are greater than 10 acres have decreased to 3.6% in 2002-03 from 12% in 1961.  Small and middle farmers whose lands are between 2.5 acres and 10 acres have decreased slightly to 17% in 2003 from 23% in 1961. In terms of ownership of land, it is seen that landlords and big farmers have lost a significant amount of lands, middle farmers have gained a little, small farmers have gained considerably and marginal farmers also gained to some extent.

Presently 96% of the rural population comprises of landless, marginal, small and middle farmers. Recent data shows that they are not in a position to accumulate capital, and more strikingly they cannot sustain their family throughout the year by the income from the agriculture. Consequently not only landless, marginal or small farmers are forced to work on other’s fields, even middle farmers have to do the same. On the other hand it is also seen that small and marginal farmers deploy wage labor in cultivation at certain time of the year. From these descriptions, Basole and Basu have reached to the conclusion that in agricultural sector wage labor exploitation has been the main feature of extracting surplus from the direct producer which is characteristic of capitalism.

Nevertheless this generalization regarding the employment of wage labour  may be an exaggeration as recent survey of NSSO has shown that the percentage of employed wage labor in total agricultural labor has decreased and household labor has increased proportionally. Now the percentage of total family labor in total agricultural labor is around 64.2% which is greater than that in 1983. The reason behind this seems to be cost cutting measure as the operation of market for agricultural outputs and inputs is working heavily against the interest of the farmers.

Now the question is the following; if the livelihood of most of the rural population depends on wage labor then where are the capitalist classes that are appropriating the surplus value created in production? How this surplus value is reinvested for expanded reproduction? Basole and Basu have not tried to give answer to these decisive questions although the main features of production relations could be found from the answers of these questions.

 

Classes that appropriate the surplus

Part of the surplus is amassed by landlords and big farmers who possess land greater than 10 acres. However only a small portion of this surplus is reinvested. On average only 10.5% of the surplus is invested in production. Though, in Punjab reinvestment in production is comparatively higher hovering around 23%, still not consistent with capitalist production.

In our earlier discussion we have seen that small farm dominates the Indian agricultural scenario and this section cannot sustain his family throughout the year by the income from this farm. Moreover the prices of agricultural of agricultural inputs have been continuously increasing and at the same time government investment and subsidy are also falling at the dictate of imperialistic forces. In recent phase it is very difficult for small and marginal farmers to get bank loans. On the other hand historically usury has been prevalent along with crop traders who provide subsistence loan and the loan for production with unbearable condition like exorbitant interest rate or compulsion to sell agricultural crop at very low price. As a result seasonal fluctuation in crop prices is regular phenomena and this definitely works against interest of farmers.

So it is clear that the surplus produced by marginal, small and middle farmers do not remain with them. It is being appropriated by money lenders and crop traders through the aforementioned process. Again the chances of reinvestments of this surplus in production are bleak as usury and crop trading remain a profitable investment within the overall rural class relation. To retain this kind of production relation the mercantile capital establishes its grip on produced crop not on organizing the production in a capitalist way. Consequently the whole operations keep small farmer as small producer only, suck out the surplus but neither proletarianise them by establishing control over their labor power nor does it provide the opportunity of being transformed into capitalist class by accumulation of surplus. Had it been a capitalist mode of production the process hitherto would have been opposite i.e. the capital involved in production would have exercised it control over mercantile and usury capital and gradually the usury would have withered away.

Now let us see some of the data.  On average, only 35% of the family expenditure is met by the total amount of income from farming. Agricultural work, wage, other works, livestock and non agricultural business beget a family of farmer Rs. 2,115 per month on average. On the other hand the monthly expenditure of an average family is Rs. 2770 where the per capita daily expenditure is taken to be Rs. 17 only.

From NSSO data, we can see 49% families of farmers of the country are debt ridden although it is not uniform throughout the states. Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu scores higher in this respect. Let us now have look at the amount of money that is spent to repay the debt. According to data Rs.12,585 are amount of average debt of a family, where 30.5% of this amount comes from money lenders and crop traders and the rest comes from  various sources including  institutional one. The total agricultural debt is Rs. 112,000 crore. The institutional interest rate varies between 12-15% and 15-20%. In case of 40% of non institutional debt services, interest rate is greater than 30%. Safely we take the average interest rate as 24% without going into controversy and then the total expenditure to repay the debt is Rs. 20,000 crore.

But according to Aspects of India’s economy, no. 46 this calculation is not enough. As from NSSO data we can see most of the farmers can not eke out year’s expenditure by their income from farming and they also can get a very meager amount of institutional loan, it is difficult to explain how the cost of the total agriculture is met from NSSO’s data.  This clearly suggests that non-institutional loan would be far higher. If we assume that non-institution debt is double of the institutional debt, then in the year 2006, total agricultural debt becomes Rs.1,95,000 crore and if the average interest rate is taken to be 21% then the total interest to be paid by the farmers is Rs. 41,000 crore. In the year 2002-03, the total investment was of the amount of Rs. 33,508 crore and net investment was just Rs.7,784 crore. All these show how the vast amount of surplus in agriculture is being appropriated by money lenders and traders and the accumulation of capital is being obstructed in the production sector. Thus in the presence of such complicated web of semi feudal exploitation, in spite of the use of developed technology and high yielding seeds, the condition of expanded reproduction is interrupted and the production, in essence, remain within the boundary of simple commodity production. Consequently the process of capitalist development in Indian agriculture from below is absent or is very weak.

 

Seasonal fluctuation in crop prices is a result of pre-capitalist production relation

There are some people who try to establish capitalist nature of Indian agriculture by showing the prevalence market for agricultural produce. But we should remember that from the British era itself, farmers have been forced to till for the market but in this process neither they could accumulate capital nor they could leave the agricultural sector.

Seasonal fluctuation in prices of crop is a general phenomenon in Indian agricultural market. But there are many who consider it to be a general rule of the market based on the balance between demand and supply. Mostly they don’t bother to think that this fluctuation may be deeply related to the prevalent social production relation. It should not be taken for granted that the prices fall because the supply is higher after the collection of the crop. This is not consistent with law of price and value in capitalist market. Marx himself showed that depending on different natures or production in various sectors like difference between organic compositions of capital, duration of production etc, the market value does not correspond to value but price of production. And due to peculiar nature of agricultural production (existence of differential and absolute rent due to monopoly ownership of land), the market price of agricultural produce may correspond to value which is generally higher than price of production. Not only that even in Punjab wheat prices do not vary much in the harvesting season. Under the dominance of feudal relations market has developed in such a way that the producers do not have any control over it.

From British era there exists seasonal variation in crop prices. It is well known that the landlord system initiated by British and the collection of land rent in cash had strengthened the usury system. The conditions on the loan from usurer are such that the farmers are forced to sell off the crop once it matures. And the crop traders and money lender take opportunity of this situation. There may be many changes in Indian agriculture but this phenomenon is still at large. In new situation the traders of seeds, insecticide, and agricultural tools have substituted money lenders and crop traders in some areas. In this context, we should mention that Subhra Ketan Basu in his contribution in Marxist Intellection Magazine, 2010 has surprisingly rejected this role of the new kind of traders mentioned above to be pre-capitalist just because they are trader of high-end technology!! But the question is whether trading with these high-end technologies by itself satisfies the condition of expanded reproduction in agriculture? He probably forgets that we are trying to evaluate their economic role as a class in agriculture. But his lack of understanding regarding production relation becomes obvious when he refutes even to accept subsistence loan as a sign of pre-capitalist feature.

 

Increased commercialization and usury

We should remember indebtedness of farmers and the usury system have been dominating the scenario of Indian agriculture for long. The question that arises rightfully is; why so many farmers committed suicide in last 15 years? Actually this is deeply related to neo liberal economy sponsored commercialization of agriculture and the prevalent production relation in rural area. We should note that this huge indebtedness of farmers is not correlated with the degree of development of agricultural production. Rather the suicides are more rampant in the areas where commercialization is wide spread. We can see suicides in agriculturally developed Punjab, Haryana and in underdeveloped regions like Maharashtra, and Karnataka as well. So the increasing penetration of imperialistic capital and the operation of money lenders and crop traders did not work against each other, rather they complement each other and their united attack pushed the farmers at the brink of destruction.

Let us now see the position of our government towards this prevalent usury system. Firstly, in the era of liberalization, government investment and agricultural loan have drastically fallen down which has generated further encouragement among money lenders. In 2007, in the context of huge number of farmer suicides, a technical committee was formed for reviewing the condition of the rural debt under S.C. Gupta. The report that is submitted to the Reserve Bank of India by this committee, while proposing to maintain collaboration of rural money lenders with bank, suggested that ‘Bank should not be given more responsibility as money lenders would not be satisfied at that.’ In fact the motive of the government is not to extirpate the usury system but to modernize them by linking with banks so that by using the deep network of this usury system, foreign banks in collaboration with national banks can make exorbiont profit.

 

The intervention of corporate capital and semi feudal relation

In lieu of neo liberal reform there had been intervention of national and international corporate capital in agricultural sector and in eastern region the same thing is going to happen in a big way under the programme of second green revolution. But is it true that this would help to get rid of the miserable condition of agriculture? Would there be a process of accumulation of capital in agriculture and proletarianisation of landless tillers through reinvestment of surplus?

Let us see what these corporate capital intends to do.

  1. By keeping the sole responsibility of production on farmers they want to run contract farming. Through this they would control the supply of seeds, tools, selection of crops, commercialization etc.
  2. Big Seed Company would provide genetically modified seeds and thus assure their hold on seed.
  3. Big monopoly capital like Wal-Mart would control retail and wholesale business.
  4. With all these purposes, they would control agricultural education, research, food processing, and irrigation and through this they would constitute an educated section who will work to perpetuate this control.

We should also note that corporate capital would penetrate the regions where there exists developed infrastructure. On the other hand this penetration would, in no way, eliminate semi feudal relations as it has nothing to do with either land reform or increased proletarianization of poor farmers. More importantly a large part of the surplus produced would find its way outside the country. In terms of production relations, the reactionary forces in agricultural sector would ally with corporate sector and they would ensure super profit for the corporate capital in exchange of miniscule part of it.

 

Development in service sector is not index of development.

Firstly, one should note that the quantity of agricultural land is decreasing in this era of liberalization and the production of food crop is diminishing as well. Though we were self-sufficient in cooking oil and other food item, presently, thanks to the liberalization, we need to import them now. The average intake of food of our countrymen has fallen down, public distribution system for food has, in the main, been destroyed and also the process of procuring crops from direct producers by government has declined considerably. Keeping track with these, the number of food-starved people has been increasing day by day.

On the other side in the period from 1983 to 2004-05 there has been sufficient decrease of the proportion of agricultural income in the gross national income and gross national production and industry has advanced a little but service sector has been so predominant that it can be compared with developed countries. It contributes 53% in gross national income and 43% in gross national production. What we mean by service sector is that of commerce, hotel, transportation, money exchange, insurance, real estate, social and personal service etc. Actually this sector can be divided into two which are pole apart. In one pole there exists money exchange, insurance, real estate business and business concerned services. And all these sectors combined can employ only 2% of total work force but its contribution in national income is 13.5%. These are linked with outsourcing of service and market of rich; it does not bear any connection with ordinary people and their livelihoods. On the other pole there lie millions of people whom we cannot literally call employed. They sustain themselves by doing small retailing, hawking in trains, footpaths, doing household chores in exchange of money in affluent people’s house. Can we call it a proper alternative employment to agriculture? Backward country like ours where 77% people earn below 20 rupees daily, the development in service sector means mere consumerism and parasitic activities of the affluent.

 

Democracy cannot be established without the overthrow of semi feudal production relations

Historically it is true that imperialist capital and its ally big comprador bourgeoisie would not take progressive role in changing production relation in backward countries like ours, they only strive to make some reforms to change the appearance. If they weaken the semi feudal relation in one form, they resurrect it in other form. India is no exception. Moreover the caste and creed system in India embraces semi feudal relationship economically, politically, culturally. Especially while dealing with adivasi people, the state itself stands as feudal lord through its complicated web of bureaucracy. In our country initiation of any big industrial projects means eviction of tribes and other oppressed lower castes from their home land and in this way the number of pauperized farmers flares up. In the era of liberalization, this trend has become even more prevalent. In totality we can say Indian monopoly comprador bureaucratic capital is working in the service of world imperialist capital and semi feudal relations provide the social basis of this function.

Politics is condensed form of economic relationship and therefore the endeavour to retain this semi feudal relation by the ruler is expressed in arena of politics in a more concentrated way. Any revolutionary land reform movement is challenged by all the forces of the state. In the recent phase, the various struggles to save water – forestry – land is facing such a huge resistance from the state and the government in its act of suppression get so much support from imperialist rulers in the name of uprooting terrorism, the symbiotic relationship among foreign imperialist capital, national big capital and feudalism is completely exposed. Hence in near future while fighting for democracy people will not face any problem in indentifying the enemies of democracy.

 

References:

‘Adha samantatantra o bharater krishi orthaniti, by Ratan Khasnabish, Peoples Book Society, 1986.

‘Bharater Adhasamantatantra o samrajyabadi lunthan’ Radical Publications, 2007.

Basole, A, and Basu, D (2011a) “Relation of Production and mode of surplus extraction in India: Part I – Agriculture”, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. XLVI, No 14, pp 41-58.

Basole, A, and Basu, D(2011b) “Relation of Production and mode of surplus extraction in India: Part II – Informal Industry”, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. XLVI, No 15, pp 63-79.

Omvedt, G. (1981) Capitalist Agriculture and Rural Classes in India, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. XVI, No 52

“India’s Runaway Growth”, Aspects of India’s Economy no.46, 2008.