ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

ColumnsSubscribe to Columns

Big Data, Bigger Lies

The claim that the government will use big data analytics to trace those who illegitimately deposited old currency notes, is just another instance of using lies to score political points. Notwithstanding this hollow posturing, the way this government is talking about the power of big data and its uses, only confirms the worst fears of the misuse of Aadhaar and other public data entrusted to the state.

India’s Opposition to China–Pakistan Economic Corridor Is Flawed

China is opening up its land borders in Xinjiang to interact more freely with Central Asia and Europe. China and Pakistan are jointly building the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India views this as a violation of its sovereignty. Geopolitics rather than geoeconomics predominates India’s thinking on possibilities offered by the revival of the old Silk Road by the Chinese.

Surrogacy and the Laws on Maternity Benefits

Five high courts across India have uniformly held that women employees who have children through surrogacy would be entitled to maternity benefits in accordance with the rules. How they have arrived at this conclusion is quite different in each case, and each judgment presents different approaches to address this legal question. Beyond the legal question, the approaches must also be closely examined for class biases and paternalistic assumptions about motherhood.

India’s Marie Antoinette Moment

Narendra Modi’s promotion of a “cashless society” shows the government’s disconnect from ground realities, and harks back to Marie Antoinette’s famous “let them eat cake” response to learning that peasants had no bread to eat. Clearly, a cashless or less-cash economy will not be achievable in the near future, and may also not be desirable.

Debating Contempt of Court

By issuing a contempt notice to Justice Markandey Katju for his over-the-top criticism of its judgment, in the manner that it did, the Supreme Court has only diminished its institutional dignity. While Katju’s behaviour post retirement is not in keeping with the nature of the office he held, the contempt jurisdiction was not meant to be used like this.

Strange and Worrying International Market Liquidity

There seems to be a rise in illusory liquidity in international markets, which appears to be plentiful in quiet times, but vanishes at other times. “Flash crashes” are more frequent. Reforms that have made banks safer have contributed to this, leading to a withdrawal of short-term market participants, and causing long-term investors to act short term. There seems to be a trade-off between day-to-day liquidity and what I call “systemic liquidity.”

Demonetisation — Modi Digs a Ditch for the BJP

The demonetisation move has boomeranged on the Bharatiya Janata Party badly. The unprecedented hardship it caused people has surely paved the way to the BJPs Waterloo in the forthcoming assembly elections in some crucial states.

Revisiting the Rationale for Reservations

The demand for reservations in jobs and education being made by agitating "middle castes" overturns the logic of affirmative action on its head. Instead of addressing historic discrimination, it is articulated as a means to "capture" public employment and education to maintain caste hierarchies. Accepting these demands, as the high courts have held, would be unconstitutional, but that will not stop governments from trying.

Fire of Una Ignites Saffron Udupi

For the first time in a long time Dalits have mobilised enmasse for issues concerning their livelihoods. The uprising in Una has shaken the political establishment in Gujarat and has spread to other parts of India as well, including saffronised Udupi in Karnataka.

Behind the Ire of the Marathas

Maharashtra has seen strange developments over the last two months. Marathas, the most populous community, considered to be dominant in the state in every sphere, have come out on the streets in unprecedented numbers and with unusual calm to present their grievances.

Supreme Court's Schizophrenic Approach to Land Acquisition

The Supreme Court's judgment in the Singur land acquisition case reflects two parallel strands of thinking that have informed its land acquisition jurisprudence: the state's model of "development" versus farmers' livelihoods. It has not been able to properly weave the two into a coherent jurisprudence on eminent domain. The same dichotomy is written into the latest land acquisition laws as well, but procedural protections may mean fewer Singur-like situations in the future.

Pages

Back to Top