ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fiscal Federalism

What lessons can economic and political theories and contemporary experiences offer to Nepal in designing a federal system? While political aspects are very important, the focus in this article is on fiscal federalism or efficient organisation of the multilevel system.

A Decade of Disaster Risk Management in India

Natural Disasters are set to increase in the coming years. Climate change, coupled with a growth in population and insufficient enforcement of building codes in high-risk zones, has not only heightened India's vulnerability to the impact of disasters but also created new challenges to risk management. Approaching a decade after the implementation of the Disaster Management Act of 2005, how far have we been able to manage risk; how far are we resilient as a country? As the Disaster Management Act goes under review, this article suggests recommendations based on the experiences in Uttarakhand and Odisha.

A Tale of Two Commissions and the Missing Links

There have been several missing links in the recent debate on the future of the Planning and Finance Commissions. First, it is not clear whether the debate was more about the future of planning or about the future of the Planning Commission. How do the proposals for institutional reform fix the problems relating to the process of planning and implementation? Second, there are emerging new realities of economic management that the new institution has to grasp and address, requiring new skills and, perhaps, a new set of instruments. Third, both the commissions operate in a multilevel context, namely, union, states and local bodies. Institutional reform has to be contextualised to multilevel processes.

Rethinking Assessments in Schools

This article examines the nature of two varied forms of assessments like the continuous comprehensive evaluation and end-of-the-year exams, studies the variations in the principles underlying them and presents a case for an assessment that is more suited to the varied contexts, needs and educational levels of a large majority of Indian children.

Kerala and the Rest of India

Kerala has shown that it is possible to improve the quality of life of a people even at low levels of per capita income through efficient provisioning of public services in health and education. At the national level there has been a dramatic alteration of production possibilities achieved by intelligent public policy intervention supported by determined resource mobilisation. We now see that what is needed across India's states is a greater synergy between these two approaches.

Knowledge and the Politics of Education

In the wake of our national education policy again preparing for a political right swing, it is important to examine the implications of the Ministry of Human Resource Development's emphasis on ancient knowledge for contemporary education. This article points out that knowledge plays a significant role in shaping the consciousness of individuals and societies. Its legitimising function has been used by status quoist political forces and its liberating potential by people's political struggles. The role of knowledge in contemporary education needs in-depth examination and debate to usher in a system that includes all those who are now marginalised.

Implementing Intergenerational Equity in Goa

Hartwick's rule says that as mineral resources are extracted from the ground, investments in productive assets need to be made to leave future generations with as much assets as the present generation. This article examines whether mining in Goa meets Hartwick's rule, and finds that the state government captures only a small fraction of the value of the iron ore extracted from mines it has leased out. It also finds that most of the value of the iron ore is cornered by mining leaseholders, resulting in a significant redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. It points to national and sub-national entities that follow Hartwick's rule, and says there are many best practices that can be easily adopted by India.

To Question or Not to Question? That Is the Question

Public intellectuals are not absent in Indian society, nor are they alien imports. But where there should be voices, there is now often silence. Are we all being co-opted too easily by the comforts of conforming? Are we fearful of the retribution that questioning may and often does bring?

Should Muslims Fear the Kiss?

This article questions the ways in which certain Muslim/Islamist groups engaged with the "Kiss of Love" protests in Kerala. These protests openly challenged certain dominant perspectives about the "body", sex and morality, apart from expressly resisting the penetration of Hindutva into Kerala. The author argues that Muslim/Islamist organisations that conducted counter-protests against the "Kiss of Love" failed to comprehend the trajectory of Hindutva's urbanspatial intervention, and have misread Islam's own engagements with the "body".

World-class Universities

Recent developments in the University of Delhi suggest that, while there is no coherent national policy on higher education, Indian industry certainly does have a detailed operational blueprint. The university has been targeted for inclusion in the second tier within the corporate framework of a differentiated academic system and, consequently, high quality academic output is no longer required from it.

Jawaharlal Nehru's Radical Cosmopolitanism

Nehruviannon-alignment is finished, South-South solidarity remains a dream, and anti-imperialism appears today as a quaint remnant of a past, even though imperialism is alive and kicking. In the process we have lost out on something that is rather important, teaching our children that our imaginations and our energies have to be harnessed to the cause of the oppressed all over the world, that closed-in societies lead to stagnation if not to certain death, and that societies that turn their back on Nehru's radical cosmopolitanism circumscribe imaginings and truncate visions of their members. We have, perhaps, become lesser human beings.

Minorities at the Crossroads

The Constitution confers a fundamental right on India's minorities, giving them the freedom to conserve their religion, language, script and culture, and to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Courts, including the Supreme Court, in India showed a special solicitude for the minorities till the 1990s, but this has been watered down in recent years. At the same time, the National Commission for Minorities shows few signs of actively protecting the rights of the minorities.

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