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Notes

Land Acquisition Act and the Ordinance

Some Issues

This note tries to capture what has been attempted in the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 and the ordinance to amend it that has been hitherto promulgated thrice. It discusses in detail the provisions on public purpose, social impact assessment, compensation, and rehabilitation and resettlement.

Tamil Nadus Electronics Industry

Lessons for ‘Make in India’

India's information technology hardware segment is heavily dependent on imports of components and fi nished goods. After surveying Tamil Nadu's hardware electronics sector, this article argues that the stagnation of the electronics hardware sectors stems from a failure to create backward linkages, a liberal import regime and a foreign direct investment policy that has focused on employment generation instead of capability building. The study highlights the import-intensive nature of the industry, identifi es skill gaps and infrastructural constraints faced especially by medium- and small-scale manufacturers.

Redressing Teachers' Grievances

A Study of Eight States

The process of redressing grievances of public sector employees has received little systematic attention, despite the large volume of such litigation. This article attempts to address this gap through an analysis of the role courts play in redressing grievances of teachers in government and government-aided schools. The possibility of alternative grievance redressal forums that could serve as more effi cient and accessible alternatives to high courts is also explored.

After the Dividend

Caring for a Greying India

As in any other society, in India too, the economic security of the aged is based on three main sources: their own income and savings, support from the extended family, particularly children, and support from the state. As India moves rapidly towards a demographic future in which the elderly form a large part of the population, this article examines trends in each of the three supports. While doing so it identifies the policy challenges and lists suggestions to deal with them.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

Development Practice at the Crossroads

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme--despite its failings and dismissals by prominent economists as a "dole"--is in consonance with the idea of sustainable development whose important cardinal components are economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Mystery of Private Corporate Sector Saving

In the revised series of National Accounts (base year 2011-12), the sectoral coverage of the private corporate sector has been widened to include quasi-corporations, while the Central Statistics Office has begun compiling an estimate of the private corporate sector using the Ministry of Corporate Affairs' MCA-21 database. This is a radical departure from the practice followed so far, and the MCA-21 database and the other sources of data as also the methodological details are examined here to suggest improvements for refining the estimates.

When Technology Trumps Labour

Trade Union Leadership and Banks

The capacity of trade unions to bargain or challenge technological change in the workplace has been a crucial aspect of the debate around machine-worker dialectics, which is a neglected area of research in India. Studying bank unions' struggles over technological choice and their implications on work routines, this note seeks to revise the otherwise optimistic narrative about Indian trade unions and their relationship with technology.

Saffronising 'Jatland'

Mapping Shifts in the Electoral Landscape in Haryana

The sweeping victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2014 assembly elections in Haryana raises important questions about the changing nature of identity politics. This article traces the historical contours of identity formation in Haryana in light of the unprecedented victory of the Hindu majoritarian party.

BJP's Unprecedented Victory in Jammu

A detailed look at the Bharatiya Janata Party's electoral sweep of the Jammu region unpacks the victory and provides clues to understanding its political roots.

Jharkhand Assembly Election

BJP Wins with Some Help from Opponents

The Jharkhand assembly election saw the Bharatiya Janata Party and its poll partner, the All Jharkhand Students Union Party, secure an absolute majority by winning 42 seats. The absence of a united opposition; a lukewarm Congress; the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha ceding ground in Santhal Parganas; large-scale defections of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha legislators; and a record voter turnout ensured that the result went the BJP way. The party also benefi ted from its urban popularity, the consolidation of the Hindu vote and being in power at the centre.

Are BIMARU States Still Bimaru?

Ashish Bose coined the acronym BIMARU in the early 1980s to describe the backwardness of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh relative to the best-performing states in terms of demographic indicators. This article extends Bose's analysis to recent years to ascertain if the proposition is still valid. To retain the integrity of the original exercise, the same indicators examined by Bose have been analysed, as far as possible. It fi nds that the BIMARU states have made a lot of progress, yet they continue to be bimaru as the gap between them and the national average persists in a majority of indicators.

Measurement Issues in State-Level Income from Registered Manufacturing: Case of Gujarat

This article discusses some important issues involved in the estimation of state income originating in the registered manufacturing sector with illustrations drawn from Gujarat. It critically discusses the present practices in preparing quick estimates when results from the regular data source of the Annual Survey of Industries have not as yet been fi nalised. The article points to the serious fl aw of gathering information in ASI without updating regularly the census sector frame at the state level, which results in ignoring new large and medium manufacturing units.

Tribal Migrant Women as Domestic Workers in Mumbai

Focusing on female migrant domestic workers from Jharkhand, this article looks at their lives before and after migration. Jharkhand witnesses heavy migration and mobility to cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, especially female migration. Girls and young women coming from marginalised communities migrate through different means and organisations like placement agencies, religious institutions or with the help of friends or relatives. Most of them get into the unorganised sector such as domestic work. Lack of social security measures continues to be a major challenge and a source of distress for these workers.

Agrarian Class and Caste Relations in 'United' Andhra Pradesh, 1956-2014

This article traces the trajectory of agrarian relations in terms of class and caste in Andhra Pradesh from 1956 to 2014. The analysis shows that land remained in the control of upper castes in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, in Telangana landownership came into the hands of Other Backward Classes primarily due to peasant movements. The contradictions of agricultural workers, tenants, and the landless with the rich peasant class led to intense caste confl icts in coastal Andhra, factional violence in Rayalaseema, and struggles against the state and propertied classes in Telangana.

Richard Goodwin

The Indian Connection

From the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, the well-known economist Richard Goodwin worked on India and began a lifelong association with the country. A description and discussion.

New Census Towns in West Bengal

‘Census Activism’ or Sectoral Diversifi cation?

West Bengal's agrarian distress-driven increase of rural non-farm activities in the 1990s caused the unprecedented emergence of new census towns in the 2011 Census. However, because of the huge increase of agricultural labourers (in 2011), many new census towns might be reclassifi ed as villages for the next census in 2021.

Reflections on Inclusion of Men in Women's Rights Programmes

There is growing consensus that the "crisis of masculinity" needs to be addressed and the focus of interventions on issues of gender and sexuality has to broaden beyond women to include men and other genders.

An Invisible Disaster

Endosulfan Tragedy of Kerala

The rationality of science and economics, and the politics of development often silence the struggles of individuals and communities exposed to the risks of indiscriminate use of pesticides. This article highlights the aftermath of aerially spraying endosulfan, a toxic pesticide, in Kasaragod District of Kerala. It analyses the economic and political forces that have come together to push aside the struggles of affected individuals and communities whose experiences contradict the science-dominant public discourse in the state. Though endosulfan has been banned, those suffering from serious disabilities due to its use are still to receive adequate help.

Industrial Growth in Two Border Cities of the Punjab

Did the Sikh militancy, beginning in the late 1970s and ending in the late 1990s, have a negative effect on the industrial sector of the Indian Punjab, especially in its northern districts? This note discusses and compares the industrial growth of Batala (in Gurdaspur District of the Indian Punjab) and Sialkot (a border city in the Pakistani Punjab), as both these cities had similar colonial origins of their industries, and these industries were shattered by partition. In the post-independence period, like in Sialkot, industry in Batala might have achieved an impressive growth if the Sikh militancy had not interceded. Batala and Sialkot had a similar industrial past, but they have a dissimilar industrial present. The comparison suggests that the argument for a special industrial package for Punjab is not without substance.

Immigrants and Immigration in India

A Fresh Approach

India has been receiving large numbers of immigrants, mostly from the neighbouring countries of South Asia, and some from other parts of the world, and hence she needs to be seen as a major immigration country. The article provides a detailed discussion of the problems and concerns of cross-border migrants, and India's policy stance in dealing with immigration. It argues that India needs to differentiate between the stocks and the flows of its immigrant population. Also, it would no doubt be in the larger interests of the country to control the unabated flows of migrants from across the borders and minimise their negative effects, but one must not lose sight of the components of a humane migration policy, including investment in the human capital of the migrant population.

Spectators or Participants?

Effects of Social Auditsin Andhra Pradesh

How does a hierarchical, top-down state respond to efforts to become directly accountable towards its citizens? This article analyses this question through India's experience with implementing social audits for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Andhra Pradesh. Drawing on an intensive survey with MGNREGA wage-seekers, it examines the role of social audits in providing a platform for citizens to engage with the state; the state's ability to respond to grievances raised through the audit; and the effects of the audit on the local corruption market.

Informal Employment Statistics

Some Issues

This article discusses issues of measurement of informal employment. It briefly traces the evolution of the conceptual framework on the informal sector, what defines the sector and informal employment, and the new questions that have been introduced in surveys to help capture informality. A snapshot of the findings on informal employment from National Sample Survey Office reports of the 61st (2004-05), 66th (2009-10) and 68th (2011-12) rounds is presented in the article.

Conflict of Kashmir and the Problem of Disappearance

The disappearance of young men without any trace in Kashmir over the last three decades of conflict is a reason for anguish and agitation in the region. For families and close relatives of the disappeared, the issue goes beyond the politics of freedom. In the context of the worldwide phenomenon of "enforced disappearances" this article looks at the problem of disappearances in a conflict region of India and the challenges faced by the families as well as those for a democratic society.

BJP's Youth Vote Dividend

An examination of age-wise voting and preferences in the 2014 elections reveals that the Bharatiya Janata Party benefi ted from youth and first-time voters showing a high preference for the party relative to other age groups.

Lake Fisheries in Kashmir

A Case More Undone Than Done

The Dal and Wular lakes produce 70% of the total fish production in Jammu and Kashmir. In addition to introduction of carps, negative externalities of tourism, excessive fertilisation of vegetable crops on floating gardens leading to algal blooms have all led to a consistent decline and destruction of the breeding grounds of the local fish species schizothorax. Though fish production in absolute terms may be increasing in the Dal lake, the rate of growth of even carp fish production is declining. The restoration of schizothorax fishery in the lakes of Kashmir on an even keel will ensure growth in socio-economic-cultural terms and the sustainability of fishery.

Regulating Air Pollution from Coal-Fired Power Plants in India

Coal remains the main fossil fuel for power generation in India. The health impacts of air pollution from these coal-fired power plants include numerous premature deaths and frequent asthma attacks. In the future, the amount of power generated from coal will remain high, at least through 2030, and unless we fi nd a better way to manage these power plants, the environmental effects of growing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the cost to human health will all be high.

NREGA in Kashmir

Opportunity for Social Protection Derailed

The research on the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act across India has bypassed Kashmir and what little analysis there is, is limited to official statistics. This article looks at how the official figures correlate with the impact of the policy on the socio-economic vulnerabilities in the state. The outcomes in the sample area are primarily rooted in the weak contextual design and a venal institutional apparatus, which are not captured by official figures. A comprehensive understanding of the outcomes of such schemes thus depends on analysis of ground-level data rather than offi cial figures alone.

Safety of Healthcare Workers from Occupational Exposure to Infections

As India's healthcare industry has expanded continuously, the risk of nosocomial infections has increased proportionately. Measures to prevent it and put in place a mechanism to control the injuries are needed urgently, especially when there is not only an increase in domestic demand but also an impetus in health tourism. The protection of the country's skilled health workforce is a national need.

Academic Performance Indicators

Straitjacketing Higher Education

The Academic Performance Indicator, the University Grants Commission's method of assessing teacher performance, curtails academic freedom, reduces all academic engagement to time spent, and has created an academic environment that is driven by competition for points.

Open Defecation in India

This study identifies 11 issues that have inhibited the spread of a comprehensive sanitation programme. It emphasises the complexity of issues and helps avoid the facile targeting of the poor as deficient citizens, whose latrine practices are viewed as a "primitive" source of social disorder and disease. Recognition that many factors are involved and interrelated might also serve as a warning against patchwork policies that disregard local context in their haste to proclaim another district an "open defecation free zone".

BJP's Victory in Haryana

Riding on the Modi Wave or a Smart Social Coalition?

The Bharatiya Janata Party pulled off a win in Haryana despite never having had a significant support base in the state or projecting a specifi c leader as its chief ministerial candidate. Aided by infighting in the Congress and the ineptness of the Indian National Lok Dal, the BJP's strategy was to sell the benefit of having the same party in power at the centre and in the state. Barring Jat-dominated west Haryana, the Narendra Modi factor and a social coalition of brahmins, other upper castes and dalits saw it win support in all regions, especially in urban constituencies and among educated and upper-class voters. Yet, it is still early days, and the Congress could prove worrisome if the BJP does not make good on its promises.

Is the Recent Reduction in India's Poverty Inclusive?

It is said that reduction in poverty has been the highest ever in India between 2004-05 and 2009-10. But evaluating the data across various population subgroups, it turns out that this reduction is not inclusive. It entirely excludes some groups with very high incidence of poverty, while there has been an increase in relative deprivation in some states.

The Poverty Line

Getting It Wrong Again…and Again

This brief note is a critique of (solely) the money-metric poverty identifi cation procedure recommended by the Rangarajan Committee on measurement of poverty. The contention in this note is that apart from some changes in matters of detail, the analytical basis of the identifi cation methodology proposed in the report displays an essential (and unfortunate) loyalty to the flawed methodology advanced in the reports of its distinguished predecessor committees and expert groups. This is a particular pity, in view of (a) the critiques of extant procedures which are numerously available in the literature; (b) the fundamental importance of the problem of poverty in our society; and (c) the fact of yet another missed opportunity to lend some useful direction to the assessment of money-metric deprivation in India.

Cultivating Communal Hatred in Bengal

Blasts in Khagragarh in Bardhaman district in West Bengal on 2 October 2014 have led to growing anti-Muslim propaganda in the state. Such incidents related to political violence have their roots in the political-economic structure of central Bengal where rural surplus has led to uneven economic growth, paving the way to political domination of one class over another. This can be seen from the class structure of the rice belt of Bardhaman, Hooghly and part of Birbhum districts, where the proportion of agricultural labour is still very high, between 40% and 50%. There is an urgent need to separate such instances of criminal activities, related to the political economy, from those of the purported Islamic jihad.

Lady Tata Memorial Trust and Leukaemia Research in Europe, 1932-53

The Lady Tata Memorial Trust, established in 1932 in Bombay, was among the earliest philanthropic foundations created to support leukaemia research globally. Very little was known about leukaemia, a major mystery in medical science, at the time. The trust provided fellowships and grants to some of the leading international researchers and contributed signifi cantly to the advancement of knowledge about leukaemia. This article presents an account of its work during the first two decades and throws light on a little known aspect in the history of international and Indian medical philanthropy as also leukaemia and cancer research.

Nationalism, Ideology and Consensual Democracy

A Study of the Kuki Zale’n-gam

Since its inception, the Kuki National Organization's objective was the creation of a state, Zale'n-gam, in India and Myanmar. The KNO advocated a liberal democratic political system. However, in the course of the movement, the KNO evidently departs from this ideology. From 2013 it advocates what it calls "consensual democracy" as a new political ideology. These contours of Kuki nationalism, the KNO's political ideology and the changing political landscape post-2013 are analysed here.

Reorganisation of States

A Different Approach

State reorganisation as an exercise needs to be pursued from a scientific perspective that looks at physiographic regions, natural resource distribution, agroclimate and river basins in addition to population distribution and cultural characteristics of the proposed new states. A new analytical framework suggests a limit on population size of a state, resulting in the creation of up to 50 states for better governance.

Silence of the Bengali Dalits of Barak Valley

A Marxist Interpretation

This article explores the nature and attributes of caste in the Barak Valley, situated in south Assam. It draws upon the Gramscian concept of hegemony and ideological domination to illustrate the silence of the Bengali dalits there. While caste as an institution of domination shows a direct pattern in other parts of India, in the Barak Valley it shows varied patterns - domination that is well accepted by the dalits.

Trade Facilitation and 'Hollowing-out' of Indian Manufacturing

Since the early 2000s, India's manufacturing sector has been showing signs of "hollowing-out" - domestic value addition in total output has been steadily declining, both in the aggregate manufacturing as well as disaggregated manufacturing industries. This has also been accompanied by falling domestic value addition in exports, even in traditional export-oriented industries. In this context, the article discusses the likely implications of the new WTO (World Trade Organization) Trade Facilitation Agreement on India's manufacturing sector.

Reading between the Poverty Lines

The proposed Rangarajan method on measurement of poverty in India borrows elements from three earlier methods - those of Alagh, Lakdawala and Tendulkar. An important departure in the Rangarajan method is to compute the poverty line commodity basket by combining items from two fractile groups to address the relatively higher expenses for some essential non-food items. This, while being statistically plausible, poses a behavioural dilemma, as there will be no fractile group that will satisfy both. As an alternative, we suggest dual poverty lines where the fi rst is computed on the basis of average calorie, protein and fat requirements which are region- and state-specifi c and the second uses the combined median fractile group after adjusting the distribution with price differentials.

Multitude, Living Labour and Dead Labour

Mediatised Labour and AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party's recent fight with the media has inaugurated and deepened the idea of the mediatised labour as expounded by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt in their manifesto Declaration written in the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement and Arab Spring, events that used the media and yet did not collude with the logic of global capital. AAP has not just opened a new space and vocabulary in Indian politics but its tirades against local exploitation and global capital have changed the grammar of political and social ideology in spite of its recent defeats.

Lessons from Science: Need for a Rethink of Concepts in Economics

The recognition of two important concepts in science, namely, the assimilative capacity of nature (resilience) and the entropy law of thermodynamics enables the formulation of an alternative framework for factor utilisation in economics. This framework, which explicitly includes environmental capital as a factor, enables the llustration of the entropy law being the driver of diminishing marginal returns and the limited ranges of substitutability between factors. Such revisions have profound implications for policy formulation. Stabilising environmental capital becomes an important instrument of policy at all levels.

Legalising Defamation of Delinquent Borrowers

Disregarding the Constitution and the Law

In their attempt to ensure speedy recovery of loans, banks in India have begun publishing photographs and details of defaulting borrowers. It has proven to be an effective method of putting social pressure on defaulting borrowers. However, it is argued that the act of publishing details and photographs of borrowers in public fora is not only extrajudicial, but that it fundamentally violates the rights of borrowers.

International Comparison Program of the World Bank

How Meaningful Is the Exercise for India?

Are the purchasing power parities estimated by the International Comparison Program all that meaningful for large countries such as India and China? The article provides empirical evidence from India that suggests that the ICP practice of providing economy-wide PPPs that treat all countries (large and small) as single entities severely limits its usefulness. It also provides evidence that questions the usefulness of multilaterally determined PPPs in the context of bilateral comparisons between countries far removed from the numeraire country, namely, the United States. This note also argues that the lack of price information that is relevant for the poor severely limits the usefulness of the ICP PPPs in the poverty comparisons. Some suggestions are provided for improving the relevance and usefulness of the ICP.

An Identity Card on the Wall

Identities in Flux and Ethics of Technology Change

This article raises and deals with a set of questions and reflections on identity construction, projection and interpretation of a particular context in rural India. It revolves around the story of V Venkataswamy, a cotton handloom weaver in Adilabad in Telangana. It is also based on a particular narrative about this individual and a photograph of an identity he projected of himself. The article pleads for an engagement with the ethics involved in technology change and the impact it is having on millions of people across the length and breadth of the country.

A Poet and a Landlord

The Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Rabindranath Tagore in 1913 included a prize money of £8,000. It is commonly assumed that Tagore spent this entire sum on the asrama school in Santiniketan, and later for setting up his dream project – the Visva-Bharati University. The truth, however, is quite different. This note attempts to revisit the “will” of the poet, arguing that his decision regarding the investment of the substantial sum reveals a complex story in which the need of the peasants of his zamindari and that of the community in Visva-Bharati were held in a delicate ethical balance.

Sector and Cluster Effects of FDI in R&D in India

Emerging Trends

India has been attracting foreign direct investment in research and development over the past decade. This article provides a quantitative assessment of the FDI in flow for R&D from 2003 to 2009, and the sector and cluster preferences of multinational corporations investing in R&D in India. FDI in R&D is limited to the information technology, pharma/ biotechnology, and automotive sectors. This infl ow of FDI has not caused growth, but rather has chased growth-oriented sectors.

Western Ghats Conservation

Experts’ Reports and a View from the Ground

While no one can disagree with the Gadgil Committee on the Western Ghats that we need to "develop sustainably - conserve thoughtfully", we must disagree with them that the strategy adopted so far has been to "conserve thoughtlessly", at least as far as the forests and wildlife are concerned. We need not fear that the Western Ghats will vanish if the expert panel recommendations are not accepted in toto: the forest area is still in safe hands, and the people's organisations (the village forest committees) are fully aware of the importance of conservation to their own survival and for serving global interests. The government has to set up workable arrangements that have the acquiescence of the population at large, so they need not feel rattled by the hard stance adopted by the environmentalists in public.

Cost and Benefit of Disinflation Policy in India

The Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy stance is based on assertions that there is no trade-off between inflation and growth and that disinflation will result in more growth. This note examines recent empirical evidence on the direction of causality for growth and infl ation, and the short-run costs and long-run benefits of a deliberate policy of disinflation. There is no support for the first assertion because a regular trade-off does exist in India, imposing substantial short-run costs for deliberate disinflation. There is strong evidence for causality from growth to inflation, but the reverse cannot be ruled out. Under such conditions, the RBI should hold nominal growth of money supply and allow supply-side policies by the government to bring down inflation.