ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farmer Suicides in India

In an effort to understand the trends of farmer suicides, this article uses data from the National Crime Records Bureau to estimate the suicide mortality rate of farmers and non-farmers for India and its states. The methodology used corrects for an error present in previous studies and alters some commonly held views about the level and trend of farmer suicides in India.

Natco-Bayer Verdict

Bayer has lost its case challenging the grant of India's first-ever compulsory licence to Natco Pharma to manufacture an affordable generic version of an anti-cancer drug, but the celebratory air has to be tempered. The issue of what constitutes "local working" of a patent in India remains, in general, unsettled. This article looks at the legality of local working requirements under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. It also analyses the interpretations of "working" by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, and the Bombay High Court, and considers their broader implications.

Surviving on the Brink

An ecosystem helps or hinders the livelihood of the people depending on it. Satabhaya is a village in the coastal belt of Odisha of Bhitarkanika National Park which depends heavily on the forest ecosystem for survival and at the same time the ecosystem is engulfing the village to the point of extinction. This article describes how they struggle to survive in this fragile ecosystem.

Communal Politics in Assam

The formation and continuous electoral success of the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF, which is now known as the All India United Democratic Front) has made the state a playground of communal politics. Its success has broken down the traditional Muslim vote bank of the Congress Party. As a result, since the 2006 Assam assembly elections, the Congress Party has adopted a soft Hindutva approach to polarise the non-Muslim voters against the AIUDF. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party's open Hindutva line appeared more attractive to non-Muslims of Assam in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Whatever Happened to Women's Studies

More and more women's studies centres and courses in gender studies are being introduced in India but the academic relevance, recognition and role for women's/gender issues within the broader space for social sciences are still very marginalised. One major challenge is posed by the dominant patriarchal thinking within academic institutions and their administrative wings, which interfere or control the functioning of these centres while being mostly unaware of the thoughts and developments within the discipline.

Demographic and Health Trends in India (2005-06--2015-16)

A brief exposition of the trends in health, fertility, status of women, nutrition and child mortality between 2005-06 and 2015-16 as have emerged from the National Family Health Survey in 17 states.

Public Policy Research in South Asia

Evidence-based, rigorous, relevant and up-to-date research is vital to the public policymaking process; it enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of policy decisions. This article reflects on the nature of demand for such research in the South Asian region and contends that though the quantity and quality of evidence and knowledge for policy research is important, it is equally important to assess the factors that affect its demand. Hence, the preferences and requirements of the policymaking community should be taken cognisance of, otherwise the uptake and use of evidence and knowledge in policymaking would be impeded.

The Environment Caught in Combat

This note traces environmentalism enmeshed in the Cold War politics of the 1970s and discusses its growing relevance in India. Moving away from military strategies and elite political leadership, it examines the environmental movements that had taken off, not only in the Western world, but significantly, in the many colonies of the Empire. The disruption of the relationship between local societies and the natural environment is also critiqued in the context of the expansion of the modern Indian state; arguably one of the foremost legacies of colonialism.

Reversing the Twin Ideals of Right to Education

The Right to Education Act mandates no detention and continuous and comprehensive evaluation at the elementary school stage. These twin provisions aim to address the problems of high dropout rates, inequity, educational load, and lack of democratic educational environments for children. Ever since they were implemented in 2010, the two mandates have been criticised by many stakeholders as neither practicable nor desirable given the realities in India. These claims are not researched and yet, there are moves towards overturning the no-detention provision. Extreme positions for and against the provisions have been taken, without adequate discussion and thinking on implications, especially on schoolgoing children.

Combating Dengue in India

The limited official data available on dengue in India fails to define its epidemiological profiles. However, it reveals how little has been done in the surveillance of this disease at the level of the states, and gives an idea of the quantum of effort required to fight dengue. The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme faces some classic pitfalls in India with its implementation not mandatory in the states. Arguments about the number of cases and hospitalisation, both with wide ranges, persist. Applying integrated action plans at the district level in the states would have helped. Improvement of the system of public health services, strengthening skills of medical personnel, active surveillance components with a well-functioning surveillance system, enhancement or creation of suitable water distribution network and garbage collection are critical components of an integrated plan.

High Returns from Higher Education

Education has been a key government policy to drive economic empowerment in rural India. However, evidence on returns to education has been mixed. Research has measured education as school enrolments while overlooking completed education.

Higher Education and the Scheduled Castes in Maharashtra

This article, based on a study conducted in fi ve Maharashtra districts, examines the factors that are signifi cant in Scheduled Caste students' access to higher education. It looks at the problems they face during the admission process and takes stock of the diffi culties they confront after securing admission. The article fi nds that SC students strongly feel the absence of guidance and support in academics and in making career choices.

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