Social Scientist. v 11, no. 125 (Oct 1983) p. 58.


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58 SOCIAL SCIENTIST

above, becomes relevant. An excellent illustration of this type of work is provided by G T Kurien in his work on the dynamics of rural transformation in Tamil Nadu.

Kurien begins by highlighting the need for a multi-dimentional approach to the study of the rural economy in contrast to the uni-dimensional approach inherent in analysing the rural economy <( ... envisaged as a flow to be measured in terms of the national income apparatus" in which case <( ...the dynamics of the system turns out to be simply the changes in the flow over time, or 'growth5 in the familiar terminology" (p 2).

He argues that such a multi-dimensional approach requites new frames of analysis which do not presently exist, and which "...perhaps... can be evolved, only through many experimental efforts" (p 2). In the meantime, Kurien argues, "...there is a legitimate role for what may be described as an 'empirical groping" which will result in at least some kind of a first information report about a complex phenomenon" (p 3). The book under review, constituting such an attempt, " ...consists essentially of empirical documentation and analysis of a variety of aspects of the changes in the rural economy of Tamil Nadu during approximately the quarter century from 1950 to 1975" (p 3). The study examines in succession the distribution of land and other assets, the agrarian transformation in terms of cropping pattern, production and productivity, irrigation, techniques etc, the relationship between the new technology and farm size, and prices, wage and consumption patterns. The study concludes with an interpretation of rural change in Tamil Nadu.

Land and Assets

Basing himself mainly on the 8th, 16th, 17th and 26th rounds of the National Sample Survey, Kurien finds that the overall degree of concentration of land ownership has changed only marginally; even this marginal change is not statistically significant. While some reduction in inequality has taken place, the position of the bottom groups has not improved significantly. Those owning between 15 and 50 acres have been the major beneficiaries, while the share of land held by those owning more than 50 acres has come down. There is a close correspondence between ownership and operational holdings. The significant changes in respect of operational holdings are a sharp increase in the percentage of rural households owning but not operating land, from 18.1 per cent in 1961-62 to 27.86 per cent in 1971-72; a sharp decline in the percentage of households neither owning nor operating from 21.88 per cent to 14.09 per cent over the same period; and an increase in leasing out operations in terms of number of households leasing out (24.39 per cent), area leased out (43.11 per cent) and proportion of owned area leased out (38.10 per cent) between the 16th and 26th rounds of NSS. A comparison of leasing-in patterns is only possible between



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