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Majuli and the Tragedy of Hazard Identification

Since the 1950 earthquake in Assam and Tibet, the island of Majuli on the Brahmaputra River in Assam has been facing soil erosion at an alarming rate. Thousands of islanders have lost their homes as well as agricultural lands, and many of them have become migrants in their own land. There have been no compensations from the National Disaster Response Fund or the State Disaster Response Fund as the guidelines of the NDRF and SDRF do not consider riverbank erosion as a natural disaster. This article argues for a more rational classification of hazards based on their causation factors.

Right to Education

Despite a few glaring shortcomings, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 proved to be a landmark. It provided a justiciable legal framework that entitled all children (6–14 years) to education and established basic parameters for quality education. Several provisions are, however, still not in place, which brings the efficacy of its features and implementation into question. This article considers the progress and shortcomings of the implementation of the act.

Need to Redo the Draft National Energy Policy

NITI Aayog’s Draft National Energy Policy has numerous suggestions to make but has not underlined those of critical importance. In recent years, the cost of solar and wind energy has fallen dramatically. The focus on peak oil supply has been replaced by peak oil demand. The end of the coal era has already begun. DNEP’s energy mix does not reflect these developments. Hence, NITI Aayog should redo its draft energy policy with a well-developed road map.

Rivers as Legal Persons

The recent decision by the Uttarakhand High Court to declare the Ganga and Yamuna rivers as “juristic persons” is skewed and based on flawed legal reasoning. The judgment threatens to undermine years of progress made in environmental jurisprudence and fails to serve the purposes of environmental conservation and sustainable use of river water.

Politics of Punjab’s ‘Law of Historical Memory’

A number of places named by India’s colonial rulers have been renamed since independence. The Punjab government has proposed introducing a bill that aims at erasing memories of British rule by renaming places that have English names. The proposed bill and the politics of renaming are rooted in the “nationalisation” of heritage. It misses the complex ways in which the British were actively engaged in fashioning what is now considered “national heritage.”

Remembering Justice P N Bhagwati

Justice P N Bhagwati’s efforts to address the rights of prisoners, bonded labour, child labour, conditions of inmates of various asylums, the right of the poor to education, shelter and other essential amenities, and protecting and improving the environment with an additional emphasis on social justice continue to influence the legal minds of the country.

Quasi-magisterial Power of ‘Madams’

The “Noida case” in Delhi, whereindomestic workers protesting the torture of one of their ranks were booked by the police for rioting, showcases the exploitation at different levels that these workers and their families suffer. Not only do their employers virtually treat them like slaves but the police and lawyers also take advantage of their helplessness and ignorance to foist false charges and fleece them of their hard-earned money. In this particular incident, a union minister who is also the local MP gave the entire incident a communal colour by insinuating that hard-pressed employers were forced to employ “Bangladeshis” in their homes.

Effective Tax Rates for Indian Companies Post-liberalisation

This article studies the effective tax rate for Indian companies from 1990 to 2010, covering the period just before liberalisation of the economy and tax reforms in 1991 and later. It examines the effect of a declining corporate tax rate on the gap between book profit and taxable profit. A narrowing gap between statutory tax rates and effective tax rates after liberalisation indicates increased voluntary compliance.

A Cartographic Mess

Population and area are the two most essential statistics describing any jurisdiction. Area is the more fundamental of the two because population is defined for a given area. The anomalies in estimates of Nagaland’s area are examined.

Anomaly of Exchange Rates

Based on the analysis of the economic performance of India during 2014–16, the economic indicators suggest that the rupee should have appreciated, not depreciated. The depreciation of the rupee before January 2017 was an outcome of non-fundamental factors, such as speculation in the currency market.

A Multitude of ‘Risks’

Kerala has witnessed bitter inter-party violence between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh–Bharatiya Janata Party workers and Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadre over the last decade, resulting in over 60 deaths. This intensifying violence needs to be viewed in the context of the rise of the RSS, its political inroads into the Thiyya community in the state, and structural changes in the composition of and employmentamong Kerala’s lower-middle class.

Climate Change after the G-20 Summit

Global climate policy should now move away from its sole focus on reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide, which is a symptom of the problem, to discussing its causes and strategies. This article argues that, with the largest emitter opting out, the key issue is the broader response from the late developers, in particular India, reframing both the design and implementation of the climate regime.

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