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BAB-103: Economic Throught of B.R. Ambedkar

BAB-103: Economic Throught of B.R. Ambedkar

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BAB -103/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BAB -103

Assignment Name: Economic Thought of B.R. Ambedkar

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor




Marks: 100

Weightage - 30%


Note: Attempt any Five Questions. All Questions carry equal marks (20x5).


1. Discuss Ambedkar’s critique on monetary economy in colonial India.

Ans) Both the silver standard and the gold standard were in use at the time. It was challenging to determine the amount of gold that was equivalent to the amount of silver due to fluctuations in the global exchange rate. Prior to 1873, the exchange rate between the rupee and the pound was constant at 1 Rupee = 1 shilling and 10-1/2 pence, and it reflected a 1 to 15-1/2 exchange rate between gold and silver. The rupee sterling parity was upset after 1873, though, which stopped the growth of the gold-silver exchange ratio.


Since India, a silver standard nation, was bound to a gold standard nation, the relative values of gold and silver, which governed the rupee-sterling exchange, in fact-controlled India's economic and financial life. It was clear that India would have to shoulder the cost of the rising price of gold if it were required to pay England in gold. These were some of the payments:

  1. interest on debt and stock of guaranteed railway companies

  2. expenses on European troops maintained in India

  3. pension and non-effective allowances payable in England

  4. cost of home administration

  5. supplies purchased in England for use or consumption in India.


To make up for the rise in the price of sterling due to the appreciation of gold's value, a high tax and rigid financial system were imposed. Due to the decline in the gold value of both silver and rupee securities, the English investor decided against investing in Indian rupee securities. The decline in the value of the rupee had an impact on even Indian trade and industry; however, foreign trade, not Indian trade, ultimately experienced significant growth.


The loss from exchange was reducing the central government's treasury. Both the exchange's decline and the volatility of silver had an impact on fixed income groups, including a sizable portion of Indians, the government, and Europeans. Therefore, the restoration of a common standard of value was required to create stable monetary conditions.


Ambedkar supported the gold standard and berated Keynes for supporting the gold exchange standard because it lacked the stability of the gold standard. Because increases in the money supply are so negligible under the gold standard, the stability of the standard is unaffected. The supply of money, on the other hand, is based on the intentions of the issuer in the case of the gold exchange standard, making its stability more vulnerable. This was particularly clear in India where the gold exchange standard resulted in much smaller price variations.


2. What were the Ambedkar’s view on state socialism? Discuss.

Ans) One of the alternative strategies for the development of all facets of society is state socialism. It can serve as a remedy for the issues that capitalism and socialism have at their core. Ambedkar was adamant that government involvement was necessary for economic growth. He thought that the government should be actively involved in development so that the weak and the underprivileged can benefit.


State socialism improves community opportunities while also reducing racial disparities and mass exploitation. Ambedkar thought that the main reason for the exploitation and division of the masses was division and unequal resource distribution. The development would be impractical and a pipe dream as long as there is still exploitation in the system. Only the state, through state socialism, could lessen this exploitation.


According to Ambedkar, the state has a responsibility to "plan the economic life of the people on lines that would lead to the highest point of productivity without closing every avenue to private enterprises and also provide for the equitable distribution of wealth." Ambedkar consequently proposed an economic policy framework aimed at protecting the weaker members of society from economic exploitation.


This strategy is described in detail in Clause 4 of Article 2 of his Memorandum to the Constituent Assembly as follows:

  1. Agriculture would be State industry.

  2. Key industries would be owned and run by the State.

  3. A life insurance policy would be compulsory for every adult citizen

  4. The key and basic industries, the insurance sector, and any existing rights in agricultural land held by private individuals as owners, tenants, or mortgage holders would be acquired by the State, which would then pay the owners through the issuance of debentures.

  5. The newly acquired agricultural land would be divided into farms of uniform size and leased to village residents as tenants without regard to caste or creed.

In the current stage of development, industry and agriculture should coexist. With the advancement of various forces, labour productivity has been declining and is currently at a low level in the agriculture sector. The agricultural industry and small business are at risk as a result of the development of technology and the emergence of market forces. Sustainability and profitability are now issues. Ambedkar correctly argued that the government should deal with these problems. While addressing the needs of the underprivileged and marginalised, the state must take the lead in allocating basic resources. Therefore, it can be argued that state socialism is one of the alternate strategies for ensuring that the general populace receives an equal distribution of wealth and welfare.


3. Discuss the contribution of Ambedkar in introducing land reform.

Ans) Ambedkar educated the world about the mistreatment and suffering of Indian farmers through his speeches and writings. A Bill for the abolition of agricultural tenants and securing occupancy rights to the tenants, who were the real cultivators, was first introduced by Ambedkar in the first popular provincial assembly.


Landlordism should be abolished because it is both economically wasteful and oppressive on society, according to Ambedkar. I concur that the state should own the land after landlordism is abolished, not the landowner or the peasant, he added. Collective or cooperative farming must be the inevitable result of the end of landlordism. But we tend to be too individualistic. The peasant views cooperative farming as an attack on our system even though it is beneficial and increases production. This is a result of our farmers' tendency toward individualism. Even though we did away with landlordism, we couldn't establish a strong foundation for our economy using these techniques.


Landlordism could only be eradicated in the current environment by significantly lowering the cap on land holdings. In order to lessen landlord resistance to land transfers, the bill also provided for the payment of fair compensation to khots for the loss of their ownership rights. Let's learn more about the khoti system. The khoti system governed tax collection and owner-tenant disputes in the agricultural sector in Maharashtra's Konkan region. For the government, Khotis was in charge of tax collection.


Abolition of Watan System

The inferior watan holders were the Mahar’s of Maharashtra. The Watan Act defined watan holders as employees of the government. For all departments, they had to put in day and night hours. They received a plot of land as a reward for their labour as watan. The Mahar’s lost their self-respect as a result of this practise. Ambedkar spoke out against the watan system, which required the Mahar’s to perform menial labour and other miscellaneous tasks. He demanded that those who held watan positions receive watan lands with land revenue assessments and be released from performing menial labour. He asserted vehemently:


I can assure the house that the Mahar people are adamant about getting the bill, and I can assure my honourable friends that if the government refuses to release these people due to financial concerns, practical considerations, or any other reason, there will be war between the Mahar’s and the revenue department. I will spend the remainder of my time making sure that the Mahar’s organise a general strike and convincing the honourable revenue members that the principles of this bill are absolutely necessary for the welfare of the Mahar people if it does not pass. If it does not, I, for one, will no longer serve in the council.


4. Explain Ambedkar’s ideas on population problem and population management.

Ans) B. R. Ambedkar had a multifaceted mind and many admirable traits. He was an economist, a noted lawyer, a social scientist, and a statesman, but at his core, he was a social reformer who worked tirelessly to address both historical and contemporary social issues in the nation in addition to developing new theories.


In a speech he gave to the Assembly of Bombay Province on November 10, 1938, he expressed his deep concern for the pre-Independence India's population problem and offered some solutions. This Assembly recommends to Government that in light of the urgent need to limit family units, Government should continue an intensive campaign in support of birth control among the masses of this Province and should provide adequate facilities for the practise of birth control, according to Ambedkar, who began his speech.


Ambedkar had serious doubts about the effectiveness of birth control methods like continence or erasing sexual thoughts from one's mind when procreation is not necessary. He claims that birth control methods such as exercising restraint or suppressing sexual thoughts are completely ineffective because it is difficult for people to put them into practise in everyday life. In this context, he said: It is important to keep in mind that just as each person's appetite for food is unique, so is each person's level of sexual appetite.


So, rather than imposing birth control on himself spiritually, he strongly advised modern contraceptive methods. Ambedkar was well aware that some people might object to modern methods of birth control on the grounds that they would result in a decline in the membership of specific racial and religious groups and weaken the military might of the nation. He provided evidence to support his claims in order to:


If the opposing army is not as well-equipped, one that is well-equipped with contemporary weapons and combat equipment can easily defeat one that is much larger in size. Low birth-rate nations defeated high birth-rate nations during the first world war. The world is home to numerous small-scale societies that stand out due to their wealth, culture, etc. The Parsee community in our nation serves as an example of this.


Therefore, Ambedkar not only supported modern birth control methods but also made a concerted effort to rationally defend them against those who were opposed to the movement. Ambedkar's modernist perspective on birth control using contemporary contraceptives is significant and still applicable today. Modern contraceptive methods have some drawbacks, but their potential to help with the population problem should not be disregarded. It is a promising method of population control that is widely used in modern India across all social classes.


Ambedkar insisted that the best way to slow population growth was to educate the public and use modern contraceptives as a birth control method. He thinks that education can transform society and bring about change. Education not only imparts knowledge but also instils moral awareness in a person. The general standard of living of the Indian population has been impacted by widespread illiteracy, ignorance, and traditional belief systems. People will be able to distinguish between things that are good and bad for their existence if they receive education.


5. Discuss Ambedkar’s view on small holdings.

Ans) In India, owning land is seen as a sign of status. Small holdings make up the majority of agricultural holdings in India. A large portion of the land in India is owned by upper caste Hindus and other higher castes, according to patterns in land ownership distribution. State governments have developed and put into effect a number of land reform laws to achieve a just and sensible distribution of land holdings.


However, the agrarian structure has not sufficiently changed as a result of these laws. Ambedkar researched the issues with small holdings in India and made recommendations that are still highly applicable today. His opinions on land ownership were published in the September 1918 issue of Journal of the Indian Economic Society, Vol. 1 article "Small Holdings in India and their Remedies." He noted in the aforementioned paper that the average holding size ranges from 25.9 acres in the Bombay Presidency to a few acres in Pimpla Saudagar, close to Pune.


He wanted to combine the various holdings' scattered parcels, but he also believed that the landless people needed access to land in order to survive. Ambedkar attempted to analyse the effects of small holdings on agriculture because he saw agriculture as an industry. His view was that "the existence of holdings is uneconomic, not in the sense that they are too small, but rather that they are too large.". It is crucial to remember that a study by Thangaraj M titled "Land use Pattern in Tamil Nadu" shows that farmers with larger holdings leave proportionately more land uncultivated than those with smaller holdings. This suggests that the cap on land holdings needs to be lowered.


Dr. Ambedkar made a connection between economic growth, agricultural productivity, and farmer well-being and land consolidation. As a result, increasing holdings was not the primary solution to India's agricultural problems; rather, the solution lay in increasing capital and capital goods.


He criticised the widely held belief that a holding can only be considered economically sound if it gives a man a chance to produce enough after paying his necessary expenses to support himself and his family. Ambedkar believed that the concept of economic holding should be understood from both the production and consumption points of view.


Since money and actual capital in the form of capital goods are necessary to increase production, this is the correct perspective and still holds true for the situation in India today. His subsequent opinion was that size should not be a major consideration when treating agriculture as an economic enterprise. Depending on the availability and application of other factors at his disposal, a holding may be small or large. The idea that a large holding is economically advantageous, and a small holding is un-financially advantageous is false because the use of other factors of production in the proper or improper ratios along with land determines whether a holding is profitable or unprofitable.

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