ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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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.

New Assumptions, New Estimates

The report of the Ministry of Finance Committee, headed by the chief economic adviser, on revenue neutral rates for the goods and services tax provides a new set of estimates. Based on a different set of assumptions, the report suggests that moderate rates of tax are feasible. While this is an attractive conclusion, it is important to scrutinise the assumptions it rests on.

Wages and Non-wage Benefits in Organised Manufacturing

It is conventionally claimed that protected by “pro-worker” labour laws, organised sector workers receive a disproportionate share of the fruits of economic growth. And these “rigid” labour laws are believed to hinder output and employment. An evaluation of wages and earnings data (1981–82—2011–12) suggests that organised sector workers’ real wages have grown slower (0.82% per annum) than per capita income growth (3.6% pa) in India— despite high productivity growth— while their non-wage benefi ts have declined at (-)0.18% pa.

Strident Politics and Grey Economics

The politics over the neutrality principle revolves around issues of freedom of expression, right to equal access, innovation, and monopoly power exercised by some players in the internet market. Supporting net neutrality has become a matter of political correctness. Even actors who have been found trying to violate neutrality have vowed to protect the principle. Here, three areas in economics of the internet are explored: market structure sustainability of good networks, impact of neutrality on consumer, and investment in network infrastructure. A number of grey areas in economics are found, which show that the neutrality principle may not always be good, or effective, or may even be redundant.

Multi-ethnic Malaysia in the Era of Najib

Malaysia has long been regarded as an embodiment of tolerant Islam living in peaceful coexistence within a multicultural and multi-ethnic religious society. Tensions between the Malay majority and other religious groups have been rising especially in the last few years. This descriptive analysis provides explanations regarding the rise of ethnocentrism in Malaysia and the ability of the ruling regime to remain relevant in contemporary times. It also provides a timely analysis of the Najib administration and its chosen trajectories to gain legitimacy.

Deepening Regional Integration

In a major bid to facilitate cross-border transportation and trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal signed the landmark Motor Vehicle Agreement in June 2015. Is this agreement capable of unlocking the huge trade potential of these countries and deepening regional integration in a region known to be the least integrated in the world? This note attempts to address some of these questions, reviews the salient features of the agreement and discusses the challenges involved in its implementation.

Muslim Women's Views on Muslim Personal Law

A survey of Muslim women and their views on Muslim personal law reveals that the women feel the rights enshrined in the Quran have not reached them; an overwhelming number of the women want personal law to be reformed. As it exists today, Muslim family law is piecemeal and disjointed and neither the community nor the government has tried to make it comprehensive.

A Note on the Elementary Macroeconomics of Austerity

When austerity as a means for dealing with a recession is counterproductive, why is it recommended to deal with a defi ciency in aggregate demand? Or can it be justifi ed as a way to reduce the current account defi cit by lowering domestic absorption? A critical analysis of the macroeconomics underlying austerity policies.

Does Computerisation Reduce PDS Leakage?

The idea that end-to-end computerisation can reduce public distribution system leakage has been theorised, but not yet examined in practice. This note tries to fill the gap by conducting a case study of the information technology system for PDS in Karnataka, which includes back-end software as well as a front-end interface. It reveals three drawbacks: machines can be tampered, there is limited monitoring of the early stages of the supply chain, and policy shifts cannot be achieved by technology alone. It concludes by drawing lessons for other states computerising their PDS.

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