Prof. Pranab Bardhan at IIM Calcutta’s 13th Institute Lecture Series

IIM Calcutta held its 13th Institute Lecture Series on 21st July, 2014. As part of this series many eminent personalities from various walks of life have visited the campus and shared their experiences with the students and faculty. For this edition, Prof. Pranab Bardhan, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, delivered an informative lecture on the ‘Reform of our Land and Labour Laws’. Prof. Bardhan has done a lot of theoretical and field study research on the rural institutions in poor countries and a fraction of his work pertains to the interdisciplinary area of economics, political sciences and social anthropology. His lecture had a specific focus on the Land Reforms of 01st Jan, 2014. Prof. Bardhan detailed out the new acts pertaining to Labour and Land laws and gave his opinion and suggestions on their implementation.

Prof. Bardhan feels India needs massive labour-intensive industrialization. He stressed on the significance of the not so explicit causal relationship between industrial decline and labour militancy. The Chapter 5-B of the Industrial Disputes act about retrenchment brings in a fear that affects the hiring decisions of big employers thereby contributing to unemployment. The Professor championed the motive of labour reforms in reducing the rigidity of the current system.  He did feel that some considerations are ignored here and labour laws alone cannot be a constraint for less employment. His suggestion to this effect is to bring in a package deal about how an employer should treat the laid off employees by providing them some compensation. This kind of deal can form a healthy base on which the Retrenchment policy can be made more flexible.

With respect to the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), Prof. Bardhan felt this is a step in the right direction which is basically moving away from the colonial law. Land laws in his opinion have historically been a fight between farmers and others who want more and the State has always been a culprit in failing to efficiently take care of rehabilitation of the affected people. He said the whole matter of land transfer which includes administering compensation and resettlement should handed over to a quasi-judicial authority that is sufficiently insulated from political interference but subject to periodic legislative review. Coming to the new LAA, he felt the inclusion of not just the land-owners but also the livelihood losers in the compensation mechanism is a welcome step. The lecture concluded with Prof. Bardhan actively taking some questions from the audience and clearly stated his stance on the new reforms.

Be it the personal experiences or opinions on topics of relevance, the Institute Lecture Series of IIM Calcutta ensures students and faculty get a holistic view of various managerial aspects and life in general. Here’s to the next edition of the lecture series.

IIM Calcutta

IIM Calcutta External Relations Cell