Political Economy Conference Concludes in JU: Experts Warn of Crisis Ahead

JAMMU: The two-day 22nd Annual Conference of the Indian Political Economy Association hosted by the Department of Economics, University of Jammu as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the University concluded today with the Valedictory Session being held in the Brigadier Rajinder Singh Auditorium.

Speaking on the occasion, the keynote speaker, Prof Chanchal Chauhan the noted litterateur cautioned against undue optimism about exploitative systems collapsing soon. He said systems like capitalism have tremendous adaptive capacity and are capable of reforming themselves to sustain longer.

He spoke about ideologies supported by the ruling class directly or indirectly thorough literature or religion where Man was advised to know his limits. The Chief Guest Prof Keshav Sharma, Dean Academic Affairs, University of Jammu pointed about the increasing number of debates taking place in the country especially surrounding the economy and said that this bode well for the economy.

Earlier, Prof Baljinder Singh Tiwana of the Panjabi University and a functionary of the Indian Political Science Association welcomed the delegates and commended the University and the Department for hosting the conference. Dr Sunita Sharma Associate Professor in the Department of Economics read out the Report of the Conference while Prof Falendra Kumar Sudan of the same Department proposed the vote of thanks. The proceeding were conducted by Dr Shallu Sehgal of the Department of Economics.

The second day of the conference commenced with the plenary session moderated by Prof Ramanna Murthy of the Hyderabad Central University where speakers argued for a more nuanced view of imperialism as opposed to the "crude views" that have dominated the discourse. Prof V.B. Upadhyay of IIT New Delhi argued that the terms "capitalism" and "imperialism" are often used together when in fact they are distinguishable. Prof Murthy argued that Marx's prediction about falling profit rates were bourne out by various studies where a clear downward trajectory could be discerned and a period for the demise of capitalism could be approximated.

Prof D.M. Diwakar of the A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna commented on the increasing de-coupling of agricultural growth with overall GDP growth and pointed out how the a scheme like the MNREGA was sought to be de-legitimized. Prof S.P. Singh of IIT Roorkee spoke on the issue of water and the impending water crisis.

He highlighted the paradox in government policies that sought to control water use in agriculture the biggest water consumer but without rewarding anything to the cultivator whose cooperation was a must for water consumption to fall. He suggested the use of water credits to solve this problem.

Dr Gopal Krishna drew the attention of the delegates to the changes in the Indian Companies Act of 2013, which he claimed enabled Corporates to influence politics and the political discourse legally but without transparency. He pointed out that this move had bi-partisan support in India as both the major parties were guilty of FCRA violations and thus needed this legal cover to whitewash their violations with retrospective effect.

The plenary session was conducted by Dr Virender Kaundal of the Department of Economics. There were also three technical sessions where about 20 papers were read. The areas covered included climate change, water management issues, labour issues as well as internal migration.


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