As part of Inaugural lecture series to be delivered by newly appointed Professors of University of Hyderabad, Professor R Vijay from School of Economic spoke about ‘Evolving Agrarian Structures and Changing Agrarian Relations: Some Reflections’ on 28th August 2014 at the School of Social Sciences.
Professor R Vijay teaches a course in ‘New Institutional Economics’. His Research interests are analyzing structures, relations and problems of agrarian transformation. He primarily uses village studies as a tool of analysis. He has undertaken many village surveys and currently is also involved in villages survey projects primarily based in the state.
Professor E Haribabu, the acting Vice-Chancellor for the day, inaugurated the lecture expressing in few words the importance of research on issues under discussion. These Lectures provide an opportunity for colloquia on the research interests of these faculties for the benefit of colleagues and students from all disciplines. The lecture was attained by students and faculties from various discipline besides economics, such as sociology, political science, anthropology, etc. Professor R Vijay also said that such lectures will help solve the ‘information asymmetry’ among colleagues regarding their current research.
Prof R Vijay said that continuing his interest in research on Agrarian Relation and Agrarian Question his current research focused on the issue of generation of Non-Cultivating Peasant Households (NCPH), refereeing to households previously engaged cultivators but now, though still own lands, have moved out of farm sector. He argued that such category of household is rising in rural areas and the movement is surplus driven rather than distress driven. As it was observed by him that they tend to be from higher asset class groups and such phenomena is more prevalent in agriculturally developed states like Punjab or areas with better facilities for agriculture, like irrigation. He attributes it to opportunities created by green revolution post 1970 for non-farm sector in these areas. The evidence he presented was from National Sample Survey data and from village survey conducted by him in the villages of the state.
He further stated that Land prices are downward rigid due to excess demand for land and thus considered secured investment. Non-farm sector not only have higher returns but also have higher uncertainties. Thus holding to land despite moving out of farm sector seems to be a portfolio diversification strategy. On the other side, instead of rise of capitalist farmers, it is the poor labour supplying households who are competing to lease in land, willing to pay high rents, instead of participating in labour market.
Against the description of Lewis model of growth, it is the cultivators who are moving out of agriculture; agriculture labour is restricted to seasonal migrations, where tenancy emerges as survival strategy. He was of the opinion that such evolving structures, describe by him, to be restrictive in nature and is due to the structural factors rather than transitional in nature.
The lecture was followed by some illuminating and long, and sometimes passionate discussions by the students and faculty. It concluded with remarks from the Prof. G. Nancharaiah, Dean, School of Economics.
-Hemant Khachi, Research Scholar, School of Economics