The School of Economics, University of Hyderabad (UoH) organized a Distinguished Lecture titled “The Persistence of Distress in the Indian Countryside” by Prof. Utsa Patnaik, eminent Economist and former faculty at the the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on 5th April 2013 at Sir C V Raman Auditorium.
Professor Utsa Patnaik in her lecture said that the economic reforms introduced after 1991 brought about two major charges: one was opening of the economy and the other is reduction of grant expenditure through physical contradictions. Prof. Patnaik said that these two policies led to a sudden escalation and agrarian distress. These policies as well as agrarian distress have persisted till date, added Prof. Patnaik. These policies have also created a paradox of excess food grains amidst growing hunger and malnutrition levels, she further added. Prof. Patnaik also criticized the Planning Commission for introducing spurious methodology for estimating and showing that poverty has declined while, in reality, the poverty levels have increased sharply over the last two decades.
Prof. G. Nanchariah, Dean, School of Economics welcomed the gathering while Dr. Vamsi faculty, School of Economics introduced the speaker. Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, UoH presided over the lecture.
Professor Utsa Patnaik obtained her doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford, UK before returning to India to join JNU. Her main areas of research interest are the problems of transition from agriculture and peasant predominant societies to industrial society, both in a historical context and at present in relation to India; and questions relating to food security and poverty. These issues have been discussed in more than 110 papers published as chapters in books and in journals. She has authored several books, including Peasant Class Differentiation – A Study in Method (1987), The Long Transition (1999) and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007). She has also edited and co-edited several volumes including Chains of Servitude – Bondage and Slavery in India (1985), Agrarian Relations and Accumulation – the Mode of Production Debate in India (1991), The Making of History – Essays presented to Irfan Habib (2000) and The Agrarian Question in Marx and his Successors in two volumes (2007, 2011). For her outstanding contribution to labour studies, she has been conferred the V.V. Giri Memorial Award for the year 2011.