ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reforming Labour Markets in States

Presenting a critical review of the issues in labour market reforms in India, this article places them against the backdrop of trends in labour force participation and formal/informal employment in the organised/unorganised sectors. Critically assessing the theoretical literature on labour market flexibility in the advanced economies, discussions in the Government of India's Economic Survey and the evidence in India, it asks if the reforms aimed at making the labour market more flexible will succeed in raising the economic growth rate and generating more employment, as advocates of labour market reform would have us believe.

Can the Chinese Connection Speed India's Development?

China and India are the world's second largest and third largest economies, respectively. Yet, the engagement between their economies remains modest at best and people-to-people contact is minuscule. Will the various Silk Roads proposed by China including the Bangladesh-China- India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and the Maritime Silk Road offer India benefi cial ways to engage with China and the world? How could Sino-Indian economic connectivity help India in achieving its goals of rapid, equitable, balanced, and sustainable development? This essay outlines how the complementary capabilities of India and China can unleash innovation and creativity in both countries, addressing common people's concerns as well as rejuvenating the economies of countries in the neighbourhood.

Scrapping the UGC

This article argues that none of the reasons and objectives stated by way of justification for the replacement of the University Grants Commission by the National Higher Education Authority are genuine. There is no compatibility between the nature of problems identified and the functional capability of the institutional solution proposed. This proposal exhibits a lack of comprehension and analysis of the fundamental problems of higher education. It is a poorly disguised cover to turn this sector into a handmaiden of the corporate sector.

Is Feminism about 'Women'?

Feminism requires us to recognise that "women" is neither a stable nor a homogeneous category. Does intersectionality as a universal framework help us to capture this complexity? This paper argues that it does not. It addresses this question through the intricacies of the terrain that feminist politics must negotiate, using the Indian experience to set up conversations with feminist debates and experiences globally. Feminism is heterogeneous and internally differentiated. We need to pay attention to challenges to the stability of given identities-- including those of "individual" and "woman." These challenges constitute the radically subversive moments that are likely to be most productive for feminism in the 21st century.

Jawaharlal Nehru and the Indian Working Class

There is surprisingly little work by historians on Jawaharlal Nehru's relations with India's labour movements. This historical survey of his positions, actions and relations vis-à-vis working class politics identifies a clear break in 1947; the earlier Nehru was far more actively engaged with labour issues than the Prime Minister Nehru. The article ends by suggesting possible ways to understand Nehru's engagement with working class issues both before and after independence.

Nehru's Legacy

Nehru may not have succeeded in achieving all that he set out to do, but his contributions have been foundational in building India as a secular, democratic republic which would have a socialistic "common sense." Today the Nehruvian ideals and institutions are under threat. A survey of Nehru's life and work argues for the centrality of his contribution to making India the only postcolonial state which experienced democratic development.

Ambedkar and Gandhi

B R Ambedkar and M K Gandhi thought through different paradigms and spoke in different frameworks. As the study of ideas and political thinking in India departs from a simplistic straitjacketing based on literal accounts, we do not have to fall into the trap of sitting in judgment on key figures. This article points out that it might be much more rewarding if ideas and thinkers are studied through interpretative lenses. Such exercises will allow us to make a choice between a conversation and a closure of ideas.

Independence and Social Justice

Taking exception to Arundhati Roy's "The Doctor and the Saint," this article seeks to add to our understanding of the B R Ambedkar-M K Gandhi debate. It does not attempt to analyse or assess the debate as such, disavowing any desire to confront either Gandhi or Ambedkar. But it makes no secret of the fact that it disagrees with Roy, going so far as to insinuate that the chief purpose of "The Doctor and the Saint" was to demolish Gandhi.

Reading Fürer-Haimendorf in North-East India

Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf's works on North-East India grew out of an interest in the so-called remote pre-contact primitive societies. To him and his contemporaries in the West it was self-evident that the "primitive" or the "savage" are located outside modernity. No one today would use those categories. But this does not mean that we have broken away from intellectual habits which privilege the social imaginary of the modern. In certain parts of the world the politics of indigeneity is associated with powerful critiques of capitalist modernity. But that is not the case in North-East India. Whether or not such a critical sensibility becomes part of the political imagination will depend partly on the epistemological standpoint of those who study the region today.

Trading Places

Media professionals have an important responsibility to society since they are in a position to mould public opinion. But the recent exposures of journalists taking favours from corporate groups have only highlighted once again an old phenomenon in India--codes of conduct are observed in their breach and Chinese walls are usually non-existent in media organisations. Since the 1980s, groups of journalists have tried to straddle the worlds of the media, business and politics, and in the process have damaged the functioning of democracy in the country.

Branding Bill

Situating William Shakespeare within the study of brands, this article examines the process and results of Shakespeare-as-brand, which mediates the supply and demand of Shakespearean products whether about his life, his loves, his texts, his editors, and his readers or consumers. Shakespeare as a commons continues to gather cultural capital because of the iterability of the brand in mass/popular forms and media that now possess the maximum cultural legibility (like the graphic novel or Hollywood romance). This is possible even more in the digital age because the Shakespearean page, stage, and image are all available simultaneously on a screen, making Shakespeare an interactive, global archive.

Quantitative Easing and the Helicopter Drop

Over the last few decades economists and policymakers came to regard macroeconomic policies as the holy grail that could smoothen business cycles. This confidence has been badly shaken in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Aggressive and unconventional monetary policies have been unable to put Humpty Dumpty back on the wall again. This article examines the working and possible implications of quantitative easing and the helicopter drop, the two unconventional monetary policies beyond the prevailing zero bound policy rates in advanced economies.

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