This paper studies the state of agriculture and irrigation in Telangana, especially from the point of view of agricultural growth corresponding to growth in irrigation. There has been growth in irrigation levels in Telangana, during the past three decades, although the perception that the region suffers from insufficiency of irrigation resources may still be valid. Most of this growth however has come from expansion of well irrigation using private capital, which has adverse implications for groundwater levels and is also contributing to the immiserisation of small and marginal peasants. read more
This paper explores the political economy of growth and distribution in Andhra Pradesh by dividing the period since 1956 (when the state was formed) into four different regimes. AP has transformed from an agriculture-based economy at the time of its formation to a service-sector based economy today. A political economy narrative of the process is described with focus on three important cleavages – class, caste and region. It is argued that there has been a crisis for both the idea and materiality of AP for a while that has now led to an imminent dissolution of the “united state”. The development of a particular variety of capitalism in AP has happened through the successful wearing down of two major radical mobilisations (during the 1930s-50s and 1970s-90s) and through a counter-radical episode of primitive accumulation that began in the 1980s which continues till today. read more
Reviewing the manner in which tribal lands in the Araku Valley of Visakhapatnam district have been encroached upon by mining companies, this article argues that the various routes through which the commons are being eroded signal the urgent need for improving our models of the commons. This will help devise better vocabularies and strategies for a livelihoods-based approach to ecological conservation as opposed to an accumulation-based one. read more
Why would farmers keep their own land fallow as part of a voluntary “crop holiday protest movement” in a part of Andhra Pradesh is a question that has puzzled many. A field visit to the Konaseema region reveals that the dynamics of class contradictions in the area are also responsible for the nature of the movement that goes beyond the issue of remunerative prices. read more
The year 2014 marked the end of a contentious 60-year period when Telangana region of Hyderabad state and the Andhra state were united on a linguistic basis into one state, Andhra Pradesh. This unity produced some blending (e.g. films, language, the modified geography of Hyderabad) and a lot of contention (e.g. irrigation, state finances, employment, control of Hyderabad city). By the time the state was partitioned into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in 2014, there was a significant migration of capital, skilled labor, intellectual and political activity from the towns (small and large) of erstwhile Andhra state to the sprawling city of Hyderabad. In the immediate aftermath of this seemingly painless partition, the main imperative that has burst forth in “new” Andhra Pradesh is the construction of a new capital city, Amaravati, which is supposed to fill the gaping hole left by the loss of Hyderabad city. While this has attracted some media and scholarly attention, there are a lot of intellectual tasks that need to be defined and taken forward. How do we make sense of the history of this new emergence? How do we make sense of the new political economy of this state that is going to be the result of this partition with heavy influences from Hyderabad, the larger Indian context, and a global capitalism that is at crossroads after the global crisis of 2008, and a slowly emerging decline of the neoliberal doctrine? What are the defining cultural and socio-economic features of this new formation? The group associated with this institute intends to take on these tasks in order to explore possible pathways forward for this new formation. It will also explore the possibilities to imagine a more inclusive Andhra Pradesh.