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Rabi Ray (1926–2017)

Rabi Ray, a prominent socialist leader and former speaker of the Lok Sabha, was also a public intellectual remembered for his tradition of gosti bichar.

The Curious Case of Justice Karnan

The actions against Justice C S Karnan of the Calcutta High Court by the Supreme Court, since contempt proceedings were initiated against him, appear to be a case of misplaced importance. The case raises questions regarding the disciplinary authority of the apex court over individual judges and the range of contempt jurisdiction.

University Grants Commission and Jawaharlal Nehru University

The Jawaharlal Nehru University was conceived as a “different” university 52 years ago when a bill on it was introduced in Parliament. By the early 1970s itself, it was clear that the university was fulfilling its objectives. Even today, the university is as rural as urban, has more women than men, with socially and economically backward students forming the overwhelming majority. It is also a place of excellence, not as conveyed by ranking systems, but by the value its research holds for its peers across the world.

Applying for Furlough in Maharashtra

Against the backdrop of the Government of Maharashtra’s amendment to narrow down the circumstances under which prisoners can apply for furlough, this article focuses on the provisions of the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959 and outlines three problematic aspects of the amendment

Happy Days Are ‘Not’ Here!

The interest to create happiness in a gloomy world riddled with crises and turmoil appears to be the new agenda of international organisations. The artificial creation and representation of happiness from sample surveys could be problematic as it may not lead to genuine expression, but could lead to ignoring the larger structural and social determinants of health, well-being and happiness.

Politics of Counter-narratives and Appropriation

India’s North East too has not evaded the Bharatiya Janata Party’s political strategies of appropriation of publicfigures and construction ofcounter-narratives. While the BJP is engaged in the process of appropriating Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarma Manikya Bahadur into the Hindu fold in Tripura, in Nagaland, the party’s attempt is to glorify Naga spiritual leader and freedom fighter “Rani” Gaidinliu and construct a counter-narrative to Christianity to strengthen its base. In short, politics is the ultimate goal.

Misuse of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

The Gadchiroli Sessions Court judgment sentencing G N Saibaba, Prashant Rahi, Hem Mishra, Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote to life imprisonment and Vijay Tirki to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment is flawed and shows clearly to what extent the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act can be misused. Apart from citing irrelevant documents, it has ignored valid evidence and arguments presented by the defence, and accepted dubious versions of the same presented by the prosecution.

Impact of Demonetisation in Kerala

The report by the committee constituted by the Kerala State Planning Board to study the impact of demonetisation clearly delineates its effects on state revenues, capacity of the government to intervene in the social sector, and the hardship faced by the cooperatives and the traditional and service sectors.

Demonetisation and the Delusion of GDP Growth

Whilst demonetisation (combined with other measures aimed at crunching the size of the black economy) will yield benefits in the long term, we highlight the fact that the move undeniably affected the gross domestic product growth rate adversely in the short term. Moreover, increased tax compliance and the advent of the Goods and Services Tax regime could make a host of informal sector businesses unviable in the future.

How Much Transparency?

A financial regulatory system, based on proper disclosure of information to the public, not only contributes to democratic accountability, but also enhances the trust of end users in the market. However, in cases where the regulators have confidential information about the entities under them, releasing such information in the public domain can be a complicated issue. Should all the information held by the regulator be released to the public? Or should such information be provided selectively? This article explores the Reserve Bank of India’s accountability and disclosures to the public in the light of these questions and the Supreme Court’s “RTI judgment.”

Why New Delhi Must Withdraw from the Rampal Power Plants

 The joint decision of Indian and Bangladeshi governments to build coal-fired thermal power plants in Rampal upzila close to the ecologically rich and sensitive Sundarbans will undo whatever gains that may have been made in the bilateral relations between the two nations under the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government.

Bringing Money Back

Estimate of illicit financial outflows and the demand to repatriate these are fraught with issues. First, there can be reversals in direction of flows of illicit money thereby making it tough to ascertain undeclared wealth held abroad. Second, even if the money is traced by the authorities of country, institutional impediments may prevent repatriation. Third, once such money is repatriated it may be more useful to employ these to set up trade transparency units.

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