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Private Corporations in Defence Production

With the National Democratic Alliance government pushing the entry of private corporations into the military sector, there are anumber of ongoing tie-ups between Indian corporate oligarchs and foreign original equipment manufacturers. The former are saddled with huge debts and have a sullied record, while the latter are reluctant to part with their proprietary technologies. Concurrently, the public defence sector is being hollowed out and is shedding jobs. How do these developments advance India’s strategic interests?

Fairness of Minimum Wages for MGNREGA

Since 2009, wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme have been delinked from the Minimum Wages Act and have not changed from their real value in that year. As a result, MGNREGA workers have been victims of stagnating real wages. In some states, they are paid even less than the minimum wage. This raises serious questions of legality and fairness.

The Supreme Court’s Right to Privacy Judgment

The decision of the nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Puttaswamy v Union of India , handed down in late August 2017, affirmed the existence of the fundamental right to privacy under the Constitution. This article examines some of the underlying themes and implications of the judgment: in particular, its affirmation of the individual as the basic normative unit of the Constitution, its elaboration of privacy in terms of bodily integrity, informational self-determination, and decisional autonomy, and the narrow framework within which the state may impose limitations upon it.

‘Mathiness’ and the Production Function

Paul Romer’s critique of modern growth theory, though important, errs in holding Joan Robinson as an early proponent of flawed methodological practices which he believes affects economics even today. This note argues that Robinson’s work on aggregate production functions highlights much of the problems that Romer calls attention to in the present. In neglecting her contributions, the discipline of economics has emerged poorer.

Debt Targets Built on Quicksand

Despite being an improvement on the ad hoc and restrictive Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management framework, the N K Singh Committee report suffers from some shortcomings. A short critique of the report’s framing is presented, suggesting that the report is insufficiently attentive to the considerations of macroeconomic coordination. There is a case for increased fiscal spending that runs counterto the recommendations of the committee.

Ajmer Singh Aulakh

Ajmer Singh Aulakh, the notable Punjabi playwright, passed away on 15 June. He left behind a legacy of revolutionary plays that stand testament to his progressive ideals. His funeral, much like his life, was a celebration of literature, music, and progressive values. He is survived by his wife and three daughters who continue the work he had begun.

Deepening Crisis of Governance in University of Mumbai

The arbitrary decision and flawed implementation of the transition to the On-screen Marking System in the University of Mumbai has jeopardised the futures of lakhs of students due to inordinate delays and discrepancies in examination results. This is one in a series of instances where established norms and statutes have been set aside in the university to cultivate an undemocratic, non-transparent and unaccountable coterie culture under the garb of structural reforms.

Enabling the Great Goan Land Grab

The Goa Requisition and Acquisition of Property Bill, 2017 and the Goa Compensation to the Project Affected Persons and Vesting of Land in the Government Bill, 2017 are the latest additions to the state government’s arsenal of legal tools to facilitate acquisition and conversion of land within the state, while insulating itself from any consequence of “environmental justice.” This follows a national trend of deploying legal language and institutions to support an aggressive approach towards appropriation of land assets.

POSCO Exit

POSCO’s announcement of its withdrawal from Odisha is a major victory for the small farmers, forest dwellers and fisherfolk who have opposed the steel project since 2005. The victory celebrations of the local communities, however, have been muted because their struggle against corporate greed, and the destruction of land and habitats has left them with over 2,000 warrants for arrest, 400 police cases, lives lost, livelihoods disrupted, communities fractured, and the constant memory of violence and repression.

Options and the Commodity Market

The necessity of options in commodity markets in India has been discussed for a long time. It aids in improving market liquidity, information transmission, and acts as a risk transfer mechanism. However, given the nature of farm and non-farm commodity markets, fi nancial investors may be attracted more towards non-farm commodity options. This would eventually lead to illiquidity in farm commodities. The regulator and exchanges should therefore work in unison to launch options in a prudent manner, especially in farm commodities, to benefi t the concerned stakeholders, including producer groups and processors.

Air Quality Data Dissemination

Comprehensive air quality monitoring and its data dissemination remain the key factors that determine our ability to understand the quality of the environment in which we live. The Supreme Court’s dictum of the right to a clean environment and healthy living under Article 21 of the Constitution could also include in its ambit the right to have knowledge of the quality of air we breathe. The Central Pollution Control Board should also consider multiple policy and technological options, including adopting low-cost AQM towards better implementation of national air quality standards.

Five Years of Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s five-year term (from 2012 to 2017) has been action-packed with new initiatives and ambitious plans. He has also received a lot of international media attention. This article looks at trends and issues in the light of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that will be held in Beijing on 18 October.

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