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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.

William Baumol (1922–2017)

William Baumol made seminal contributions in many areas of economics, in understanding externalities, the economics of performing arts, entrepreneurship, and the notion of fairness, to name a few. He identified the “cost disease” of rising relative costs of services such as education, healthcare, and opera singing, where the human component is the key to the delivery of the service. Baumol had a profound understanding of the history of economic thought that sought to explain the real world.

Public Sector Bank Mergers

The slowdown in the economy and the resultant rise in bad loans have led to criticism of public sector banks and questioning of their raison d’être. While there is a rush to find a quick solution by merging PSBs, it would be wise to examine the ground realities closely. India needs a mix of efficiently run PSBs and aggressive private banks to achieve growth and development along with social justice.

Climate Change and the Significance of Religion

There is a growing sense that religion has a part to play in shaping our responses to climate change. Merely understanding climate science, or dealing with it through the frame of technology is clearly insufficient. Religious engagement with climate change is both necessary and inevitable. But there is much to discover about how religious beliefs, institutions and practices around the world engage with the idea of climate change, and to what effect, thereby offering rich research agendas with which religious scholars and others might profitably engage.

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