ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

CommentarySubscribe to Commentary

Divide and Educate

Indian education is becoming increasingly divisive. Cuts in public funding for primary education and child welfare are laying the basis for new inequities in higher education. The funding of public universities is grossly unequal; the expansion of private universities is causing further imbalance. The class profile of the academic community is being redrawn. Social and human factors apart, these trends threaten the prospects of adequate human resource development for India’s economic growth.

Trump’s Toxic Announcement on Climate Change

President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will exit from the Paris Agreement betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the agreement works. It also goes against long-agreed climate principles, and is blind to emergent clean energy trends. In practical terms, the US had activated a rollback of mitigation policies and contributions to climate finance prior to this announcement. Until there are changes in domestic US climate politics—of which there are positive signs—the US cannot be regarded a reliable partner for global climate cooperation.

International Rhetoric, Domestic Evidence

Civil society reports on sexual and reproductive health provide a contrast to the claims and assurances made by the government’s report to an international human rights mechanism on its public health commitments and achievements, with information that is at gross variance to the official report. This discordance questions the credibility and accountability of the government to these international human rights processes and more so, its citizens.

What Do We Know about Remonetisation?

An analysis of publicly available data suggests that 98.8% of demonetised currency was returned to the Reserve Bank of India by 13 January 2017. The data suggests a sharp slowdown in the remonetisation process in mid-December 2016, which reached only 80% of what was demonetised by the end of April. Clearly, remonetisation has been far too slow, and its consequences on the informal economy, though invisible to official data, are a matter of serious economic, political and social concern.

‘Strategic Partners’ in Defence Production

The blatant sidelining of technologically-competent public sector undertakings in defence procurement and the promotion of select private sector companies as junior partners of foreign original equipment manufacturers are deepening the country’s technological dependence in the design, development and production of armaments.

The Case for a Parliamentary Budget Office in India

It remains notable that the quality and comprehensiveness of the budget scrutiny process through the debate and the standing committees is weak. Parliamentary scrutiny of public finance is a very important aspect for holding governments accountable to the people. Strengthening Parliament’s oversight apparatus calls for proper attention and requires a thorough overhaul. Establishing a Parliamentary Budget Office, an independent and impartial body linked directly to Parliament, is a fitting response to this concern.

National Health Accounts Estimates

The National Health Accounts is a global tool that provides a snapshot of the flow of funds in a country’s health system by financing sources, providers of healthcare and healthcare functions. The Indian government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the NHA estimates for 2013–14 in August 2016 providing details of these expenditures by health financing schemes, providers and functions. This article comments on some of the major advances and gaps in the latest NHA estimation methodology and in the presentation of results.

Of Pachyderms and Poop

While it is perceived that India has a healthy population of elephants, a coordinated and standardised estimation of elephant populations has never been attempted nationwide. The All India Synchronised Asian Elephant Population Estimation seeks to map both elephant numbers and distribution simultaneously across states.

Voter, Citizen, Enemy

The ruling party’s attempts to redefine citizenship seem intent on bringing popular notions of Indianness in line with its cultural sympathies, in time for the general elections in 2019. In a post-truth age of alternate facts, it may be trite to point out that the state can change entire narratives by controlling definitions. This article examines the Citizenship Bill, 2016 and the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2017 to find out if the erasure of the Muslim as “voter” dovetails with a radical refashioning of an “enemy” who is also a “citizen.”

Remembering Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi retained an enviable gift for belonging to the most marginalised people throughout her life. Through her writings, she exposed the trajectories of their oppression—the imperialist, the ethnic, the economic, and the gendered—as only a writer like her could do. She was also a singer, organiser, and human rights activist who always stood up for what she believed was correct for the cause of the downtrodden, regardless of who else agreed with her. It is difficult to believe that a year has gone by since she passed away.

Odisha Panchayat Elections

The success of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2017 panchayat elections in Odisha has led to predictions that the BJP will emerge as the largest party in the state in the 2019 elections. A closer analysis, however, suggests that the strength of the Biju Janata Dal cannot be underestimated. It may be premature to speculate on a Modi wave in Odisha.

Decoding Disruption

Today, large firms that employ between 1,00,000 and 3,00,000 software workers are in the process of being restructured. Changes in technology, geopolitics and cut-throat competition have unleashed a cost-cutting drive. With respect to lay-offs, companies are resorting to informal practices and coercion due to legal constraints and fear of public backlash.

Pages

Back to Top