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Special Articles

Intellectual Property Rights: Excluding Other Rights of Other People

This article interrogates the claims of intellectual property to be a right. Drawing on the political theory of rights, it argues that information, ideas and knowledge fail to meet the basic test of rights and intellectual property right prevents those who do not own it from accessing and exercising their own diverse rights. Thus, it violates the very idea of individual autonomy on which it bases its claims. The article further looks at the contested areas of traditional knowledge, farmers' rights and health rights to illustrate the unsolved contradiction intellectual property rights poses to the liberal doctrine of rights.

Gandhi and the Standardisation of Gujarati

The process of linguistic standardisation usually sets up one dialect as the yardstick to judge the correctness of a language. It not only relegates other dialects to the periphery but also actively produces and reproduces structures of inequalities. Gandhi initiated a systematic effort to standardise the Gujarati language in the 1920s through the Gujarat Vidyapith which published a dictionary with a set of rules for correct Gujarati writing. It is this form of Gujarati that has been recognised by the state government as the standard language. This article explores the notion of language standardisation and the inherent inequalities within that process, the context of Gujarati standardisation, Gandhi's role in it, and the problems and contestations involved in the linguistic standardisation in Gujarat.

Government Spending on Public Goods: Evidence on Growth and Poverty

Using panel data from 14 Indian states between 1990 and 2002, this paper empirically examines how the share of government spending on public goods such as health, education and basic infrastructure affects per capita gross domestic product growth and poverty reduction at the state level. Consistent with similar studies based on national-level data sets, the findings from this study show that the share of public goods expenditures in total government spending has a large, positive and significant impact on per capita gdp growth, and that the share of spending on social public goods such as education and health contributes significantly to poverty reduction. Especially, reallocation of expenditures to raise the share of public goods spending could on average increase per capita gdp growth rate by up to 2.7 percentage points, and reallocation of funds to increase the share of social public goods expenditures could on average reduce poverty headcount index by up to 6.6 percentage points.

Rabindranath's Gora and the Intractable Problem of Indian Patriotism

For various reasons, in modern India, patriotism has found it very hard to establish a convincing locus for itself. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Indian patriotism was projected as Hindu nationalism. Rabindranath Tagore's Gora, published in 1909 in the immediate aftermath of the anti-partition Swadeshi movement of 1903-08, overcomes the ethnocentricities that led to such a distortion, but, in it, the particular comes too close to the universal - patriotism dissolves into love for all the helpless peoples of the world, offering a radically new way of being an Indian patriot.

Production of the South: Incongruities and Loss of Meaning

The half century after the second world war was marked by the division of the world into North and South, with the latter often taking on the politically charged selfidentification of third world. This was paralleled by the divisions of "civilised" and "barbarian" and of development and poverty. This article argues that such division of geopolitical space is no longer valid and there has been a dissolution and blurring of lines which identified one with the other. Through a review of different countries in the South, this article shows how both objective criteria and self-identification often do not follow the North-South binary. Rather, there is now a "South" in the developed world while solvent consumers of the South are increasingly indistinguishable from the North.

Fertility Decline in India: Contributions by Uneducated Women Using Contraception

India's fertility transition is driven by major fertility declines among women who are illiterate. Consequently, the earlier emphasis on women's education and socio-economic conditions as determinants of fertility decline is shifting to research on the study of reciprocally initiated positive contributions of fertility decline to the improvement of the health of women and children. This analysis indicates that illiterate women and their children are the greatest recipients of the benefits of health and socio-economic advancement. The standardised percentages of women without education who received three antenatal care check-ups and whose children received full immunisation are sharply higher for women with two children and less than for those with more than two children. Child mortality reductions for women of lower parities are steeply higher for uneducated women compared with educated women. These cumulative benefits of low fertility, in effect, have speeded up the health improvement and socio-economic advancement of the states.

The Market in Higher Education: Concern for Equity and Quality

This paper brings to the fore problems associated with application of market logic to higher education, which is poised to play an important role in India's pursuit of inclusive growth. In a context where marketisation of higher education continues unabated and the government is keen to encourage private sector involvement, it is necessary to analyse their impact on the three stated objectives of expansion, inclusion and excellence. It is therefore crucial to understand how the market for higher education works and to critically examine the actual impact of the market on education in India. This paper argues that the market logic seriously compromises value and quality of higher education and this weakens our ability to build an inclusive society.

Gandhi's Hinduism and Savarkar's Hindutva

The present national crisis of violently conflicting communal identities represents a choice between the inclusiveness of Gandhi and the exclusions of Savarkar. Gandhi did not separate religion from politics. He brought a religious ethic to politics rather than political militancy into religious communities. Meanwhile, Savarkar's Hindutva ideology was narrow and exclusivist in its conflation of janma bhoomi (motherland) and punya bhoomi (holy land). In spite of its pretensions to be nationalist and modern, its militant chauvinism and authoritarian fundamentalism make Savarkar's Hindutva the antithesis of Gandhi's Hinduism. Hindutva defines India as Hindu and wants all Indians to be Hindus. In contrast, Gandhi's Hinduism gives space to all. This paper argues that the future of our multicultural, pluri-religious people can only be even bloodier with the preclusions of Savarkar's Hindutva. Only Gandhi's sarva-dharmasamabhava can possibly be an effective basis for a tolerance on which to premise a just inter-religious peace and harmony.

Fan Bhakti and Subaltern Sovereignty: Enthusiasm as a Political Factor

The problem of popular sovereignty has to be investigated beyond the confines of the republican institutions themselves, in fields where supplementary, virtual formations of sovereignty create community effects that compensate for their lack in the political structure proper. In this essay, the emergence of sovereignty formations around film stars is discussed with particular reference to Rajnikanth, in the context of the challenge posed to such formations by a newly triumphant commodity logic. Far from solving the problem of sovereignty, however, the corrosive power of the economic logic may be expected to create new political crises. An

Fuel Pricing Policy Reform in India: Implications and Way Forward

This paper undertakes an examination of the differential impact of international oil prices on domestic inflation and output growth in India under two alternative scenarios. One scenario is, when domestic fuel prices are allowed a formula-based automatic alignment with international oil prices and the second, when as per current policy, fuel prices have evolved as a consequence of revisions specified periodically by the government. The differential impact analysis has been undertaken in a structural Vector Autoregressive framework using the technique of innovation accounting.

Gendered Mobility: Women Migrants and Work in Urban India

This article focuses on the changing work profile of migrant women and the avenues available to them. The central question posed is whether women's posturban continuation in the workforce as well as fresh work status destabilises any of the established stereotypical gendered codes woven around familial and domestic responsibilities and if caste, class and accessibility to human resources (education in particular) intersect with such codes.

Terrorism and Human Rights: Indian Experience with Repressive Laws

Terrorism is growing and no amount of power in terms of the use of force and severity of punishment has been helpful in containing it. This paper examines the ways that the Indian State has been responding to these challenges and scrutinises the experience over six decades of the use of repressive laws and their impact on the very notion of unrestrained freedom which a liberal state is supposed to guarantee.

Hindu Triumphalism and the Clash of Civilisations

This essay examines the emergence of Hindu triumphalism which openly and unapologetically celebrates its conception of "superiority of Hinduism over the alleged depravity of Semitic monotheistic religions", namely, Islam and Christianity. It focuses on the publishing house called Voice of India which has emerged as the most vocal source of Hindu triumphalism. It takes a closer look at who the VOI ideologues are, what they are saying, how they are making connections with the European New Right and how they are influencing the political culture of India.

The Twilight of 'Chimerica'? China and the Collapse of the American Model

"Chimerica" illustrates the interactions between a Chinese model of high savings, over-investment and export-led growth and the us model of leveraged investment, credit consumption and finance-led growth. The collapse of the us model, linked with the unregulated derivatives market, has driven China to redirect its growth towards domestic consumption, despite the strengthening of regionalisation in east Asia. Yet, China's stimulus plan, based on investment, is limited by both income disparities and the underdevelopment of social protection. Land reform, or the collective redistribution of the remaining state assets, could stimulate domestic consumption. But the first solution deprives the local state of financial resources, and the second solution collides with the interests of the state-party system. However, stronger social movements could lead to a better income distribution. Like two faces of the same coin, credit consumption and a high savings rate reflect the crisis of a global accumulation regime, tailored for a financial oligarchy in the us, or for a party-state oligarchy in China.

China's Reforms: The Wuxi Story

Based on a 30-year micro-study of economic reforms in Wuxi city and Hela township, this paper points out that development through political urbanisation the Wuxi way may achieve fast economic growth but has its social, environmental and political costs. It traces the three phases of reforms the region has passed through, attaining a spectacular rise in gross domestic product and household incomes. But later developments have negated some of the achievements of the earlier stages of reform. It proposes that the authorities initiate genuine grass roots democracy so that local people will have the power to decide on matters that affect them.

Urban Spaces, Disney-Divinity and Moral Middle Classes in Delhi

A presentation of an ethnography of the relationship between urban spaces, new cultures of consumption, the state, and the making of middle class identities in India. Firstly, the discussion explores the making of new urban spaces by focusing upon the Akshardham Temple complex on the banks of the Yamuna river in Delhi. Surrounded by a network of flyovers, highways, toll-ways, and residential developments, the complex is designed as a hi-tech religious and nationalist theme park. The Delhi government-sponsored bhagidari (sharing) scheme that brings together representatives of the Residents' Welfare Associations, Market Traders Associations, and key government officials at periodically organised workshops forms the second site of focus.

The Politics of Civil Society: Neighbourhood Associationism in Chennai

Scholarly work portrays Residents Welfare Associations as constituting an exclusively middle class "civil society" in urban polities structured overwhelmingly by class. In this view, rwas belong to a new politics representing an emerging partnership between civil society, the reforming state and private capital, aimed at reclaiming urban governance from the messy dealings of electoral democracy. The urban poor, meanwhile, are perceived as organised predominantly through the sphere of politics. This paper, using survey and ethnographic data on neighbourhood associations in Chennai, argues that these accounts are over-schematised. There are considerable overlaps between civil and political society: the urban poor increasingly resort to civil associational forms to claim urban citizenship, and middle class associations are more deeply engaged with the sphere of formal politics than their own or scholarly accounts convey.

Limits and Possibilities of Middle Class Associations as Urban Collective Actors

Studies on Resident Welfare Associations draw attention to their predominantly middle class and exclusive character. Based on survey and ethnographic data on such associations across diverse neighbourhoods in Bangalore, this paper reveals the fractured, often contradictory, nature of claims made by different sections of middle class. The category urban "middle class" is too homogeneous to account for the multiple locations, interests, and varied access to power of different sections. Homogenising the middle class produces a "middle class-urban poor" dualism which elides critical factors shaping middle class mobilisation, internal conflicts, and local histories and geographies of development of specific neighbourhoods that are integrally linked to land values. This mapping of middle class action also contributes to our understanding of the process of structuration of urban spaces as new strategies are deployed to transform Indian cities.

Women's Mobilisation in the Jammu Agitation: Religion, Caste, Community and Gender

The widespread protests in 2008 in the Hindudominated Dogra belt of Jammu on the subject of land for the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board saw protestors asserting their "Hindu" identity. The most striking factor of the demonstration was the massive participation of women in a region where they had so far been politically passive. But the liberation of women from purely domestic chores and their elevation to a political level under the communal Hindutva banner did not emancipate them.

Bourgeois Categories Made Global: Utopian and Actual Lives of Historical Documents in India

When the state acts as a mechanism that abstracts documents from their points of origin and make them into the signifiers of an abstract entity called "history", and the market performs this function of abstraction, we have the processes, respectively, of reification and commodification of documents. The process of creating "unfettered" access to historical information can be seen as the prying open of information that was otherwise accessible only to a "privileged" community. This is a tension that is central to the very idea of the public sphere: it can act simultaneously both as a utopia of "bourgeois" equality and as an ideology of domination. It can be simultaneously democratic and undemocratic. The agents and advocates of the public sphere are often the bearers of this tension for we never find a society where all its members, inspired by the social value of what we call "history", volunteer to convert willingly all "private" documents into "public" records. The rendering of private papers into public documents must remain, in the end, a political question. This paper illustrates this proposition by looking at a fragment of the history of history in colonial India in the 20th century. At the centre of the story is the historian Jadunath Sarkar who may be regarded as one of the earliest proponents in the subcontinent of the Rankean ideals of "scientific" history.

The Fiscal Situation and a Reform Agenda for the New Government

The fiscal situation of the central government is worrisome. The problem is largely structural and not cyclical. Indeed, the slowdown of the economy has only partly contributed to the deterioration in 2008-09. The new government at the centre is faced with the formidable challenge of containing the worrisome fiscal deficit, while continuing to provide a stimulus necessary to revive the economy. It also has to institute a restructuring programme towards achieving fiscal consolidation in the medium term. Such a programme should draw lessons from the past and design a plan for the centre as well as the states.

Octroi - A Tax in a Time Warp: What Does Its Removal Imply for Greater Mumbai?

Vestigial octroi posts can now be found in the country only in a few cities of Maharashtra. These "legendary customs walls" yielded an easy finance for the city and town development and thus, many local bodies continued with this tax despite its debilities. The fiscal composure of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai can be singularly attributed to the contribution of octroi, which serves around half of its total revenue income. This paper discusses the fiscal significance of this tax in Greater Mumbai and deliberates on various alternative sources of revenue.

The Ravi Dasis of Punjab: Global Contours of Caste and Religious Strife

The attack in May on two visiting religious leaders of Ravi Dasis in Vienna, presumably by a group of local militant Sikhs, sparked off widespread violence in Punjab. Though most of the violence by Ravi Dasi dalits was directed against public property and reflected their general anger at the Vienna incident, the mainstream media was quick to interpret it as yet another instance of caste conflict within Sikhism, viz, between dalit Sikhs and upper caste Sikhs. Such misrepresentations of caste and religious realities of Punjab today could lead to a communal divide between dalits and mainstream Sikhism. Based on an empirical study of the Punjabi Ravi Dasis, the paper tries to provide a historical perspective on caste and religion in Punjab today.

Contextualising Muslim Identity: Ansaris, Deobandis, Barelwis

This paper argues against a monolithic, essentialised reading of the Indian Muslim identity. Drawing from research in Mubarakpur, Azamgarh, it highlights the various schisms within the Muslim identity. Telling the story of identity through the eyes of lower caste Muslims, the paper shows that caste, class and maslaki affiliations remain important markers of identity within Muslim society. The very notion of "Islamic identity" is itself a matter of fierce interpretative debate among the Muslims. Drawing on evidence from madrasas, the paper argues that the "other" within the madrasa is not a Hindu but a fellow Muslim from another maslak.

Globalisation and Regionalisation: Mapping the New Continental Drift

How far have regional organisations in the south been successful in struggling against neoliberal policies initiated in the northern countries, and actively aided by the international financial institutions? How far have they succeeded in establishing an alternative global regime of development? An assessment of these regional formations in Asia, Africa and Latin America is undertaken to find whether they could fulfil the aspirations for an alternative and just globalisation.

Understanding the Education System: An Eco-Behavioural Approach

The eco-behavioural approach to the study of education suggests that the achievements of students would depend on the expectations placed on them, and the support they receive from other participants in various behavioural settings. The approach is theoretically constructed and empirically verified in this paper. Using the methodology of such an approach, one can debate the reasoning behind the policy of reservation in higher education. Such an exercise is attempted in this essay.

The Giants Awake: Higher Education Systems in China and India

With India and China aiming to build more sophisticated economies, both countries are giving priority to higher education to produce highly educated personnel and high quality research. This paper makes a comparative assessment of the development of the higher education system in the two countries, the challenges being faced and what the future holds for both countries. China has made considerable progress with its top institutions and India has illustrated with the Indian Institutes of Technology and a few other institutions that high standards are possible. Yet, the problem of quality, and the related issues of whether the graduates are qualified for the labour market, remain. It seems that China and India will, at the least, not see significant reform in the overall academic quality of higher education. An effective quality-assurance system can help to ensure standards, but neither country has such a system in place currently capable of overall supervision. The systems will probably become more stratified, with a small number of research universities at the top and very large numbers of fairly unselective colleges and universities at the bottom.

Conflict and Coexistence in a National Park

The aim of this paper is to trace the emergence of a subculture of resistance following a strict management regime of the state institution of forestry in Kanha national park of Madhya Pradesh. It illustrates how the state as an institution has been limited in its capacity to protect these enclosed spaces simply through the policy of "fences and fines". The main tenet of the national park model was the complete removal of humans resident within the park area and to preserve the area in its pristine form in order to protect wildlife. This case study of Kanha examines how relatively powerless groups unite in their hopelessness to protest against a system or institution that has its own agendas in conservation.

Neoliberalising the 'Urban': New Geographies of Power and Injustice in Indian Cities

An adequate understanding of the contemporary neoliberal urban process requires a grasp of its politico-economic ideological framework, multi-scalar institutional forms, diverse socio-political links and multiple contradictions. This paper examines the active engagement of neoliberalism that is not only moulding the concept of "urban", but is simultaneously intensifying unevenness in inter-urban and intra-urban development. It focuses on the National Urban Renewal Mission, the official carrier of neoliberal urbanism, and its various implications. The paper illustrates the process of restructuring in a few cities in different states, most importantly, in Mumbai, the country's budding "international financial centre", with a focus on specific "development" projects.

Market Integration, Transaction Costs and the Indian Wheat Market: A Systematic Study

This paper examines whether the wheat market is integrated across states in India, and concludes that the market is integrated in the long run. This long run integration, however, does not come from the free flow of goods across states in the country, but from the sharing of similar production technologies by farmers across states. The paper also shows that the market for wheat is not integrated in the short run. This implies that at a given time period there exist two prices for the same commodity, since transaction costs are the main barriers to market integration. The paper also estimates such transaction costs using transport and communication infrastructure indices across states, and concludes that there exist large variations resulting in high transaction costs.

The Making of the Middle Class in Western India: Age at Marriage for Brahmin Women (1900-50)

In spite of the recognition of the importance of the middle class, its historical fashioning has not so far been empirically studied. This study is a part of a project that examines the factors that influenced the behaviour of the contemporary middle class in western India using time series data constructed from unpublished sources. A substantially higher age at marriage, which was reached much earlier than other classes, is one of the distinguishing features of the middle class. The current paper examines reasons behind the rapid increase in the marriage age over 1900-50 among the Chitpavan brahmins of Maharashtra. In particular, the project of fashioning the emerging nation, an ideology widely shared, is highlighted as an important factor behind the increase in the age at marriage for middle class women in western India.

Dalits, Praja Rajyam Party and Caste Politics in Andhra Pradesh

The formation of the Praja Rajyam Party in Andhra Pradesh has been received with conflicting attitudes and expectations by the two major dalit castes in the state. While the Malas embraced the party as the champion of social justice, the Madigas opposed it as the party of the Kapus. Rather than seeing the prp in these binary and oppositional lenses, it is necessary to view the party as a new choice for dalits. A brief history of caste politics in Andhra Pradesh is also undertaken in this essay.

Adjustment of Pricing: Evidence from Indian Manufacturing

This paper analyses the pricing behaviour in the Indian manufacturing sector, considering both domestic and external variables. Price adjustment models are developed based on industrial organisation literature and are examined with 28 manufacturing industries at the 3-digit level over the period from 1963 to 2001. Domestic structural factors are found to be important in determining the speed of price adjustment.

Kosambi the Mathematician

Apart from his more popular work on numismatics and genetics, D D Kosambi worked on path geometry, exploring the foundations of general relativity. He also worked on statistics in infinite dimensions, computing, and probabilistic number theory. His whole mathematical career appears as one long clash of values. A rejection of the value of specialisation saw him leave Harvard. The high value he placed on research saw his exit from Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University. His attempt to impart real knowledge of mathematics saw him sacked from Fergusson College, Pune. His insistence on ethical and relevant research led to his exit from the Tata Institue of Fundamental Research where, too, the diversity of his interests was portrayed negatively, though he continued his mathematical research till the end of his life. His mathematical career raises a number of questions regarding science management in post-independence India. These questions are vital today when the state is again making huge investments in science and technology.

An Index to Assess the Stance of Monetary Policy in India in the Post-Reform Period

The Reserve Bank of India has formally adopted the "multiple indicator approach" in the conduct of monetary policy since April 1998. During this period, sole reliance on traditional indicators of monetary aggregates or policy rates is not adequate to reflect the stance of monetary policy. This paper develops a monetary policy index by synthesising the extracted signals from the policy documents and quantitative information embedded in key indicators. The mpi so constructed was used to assess the impact of monetary policy on macroeconomic variables such as interest rates, bank credit, inflation, and output growth during the post-reform period. It was observed that while monetary policy has an instant influence on interest rates, the impact on inflation and output was realised with a lag of around 6 to 18 months.

The Logic of Community Participation: Experimental Evidence from West Bengal

Social capital has been defined as a set of informal norms that promotes cooperation among the members of the community. Where there is repeated interaction, the members are able to get better information about the activities and intentions of other members in the community than outsiders, thereby promoting collective action or community participation supported by peer monitoring and social sanctions. In order to verify the logic of community participation, three sessions of a public goods classroom experiment were conducted with students and villagers at Kolkata and South 24 Parganas in West Bengal. The results show that even though the group contributions have in all cases been above 50% of the initial endowment, the contributions by the villagers who were members of the same community-based organisation were always higher than those by the students. This may be attributed to the fact that the villagers, being members of the same cbo have a common history of social interaction leading to better group cohesiveness.

How to Identify the Poor? A Proposal

The Census of 2002 to identify the poor in rural areas of India was the third in a quinquennial series. However, it has been appropriately criticised. This paper elaborates on the criticisms, and proposes an alternative set of criteria and methodology for conducting the next (now overdue) census of the rural population to identify the poor

Labour Market Flexibility: An Empirical Inquiry into Neoliberal Propositions

There have been proposals to make the Indian labour market more flexible by amending the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and Contract Labour Act, 1970. But the Indian labour market has already achieved a substantial degree of flexibility by the contractualisation of factory workers. This paper critically investigates the claims made in favour of introducing greater flexibility in the labour market. The analysis is done through an empirical inquiry into the proposition that casualisation of labour leads to higher output and employment growth. We find that employment and output growth do not have a statistically significant dependence on labour market flexibility in Indian organised manufacturing.

On Women Surviving Farmer Suicides in Punjab

How have women been coping in the aftermath of farmer suicides in Punjab? This article is based on detailed interviews with 32 women in three districts of the state. Accosting the reality of women caught in the vortex of the agrarian crisis, one painfully comes to terms with the newer hardships that the structures of marriage and family pose for them. Their reality and struggle compels the framing of new questions for the women's movement and the seeking of novel forms of redress and strategies to overcome their plight.

Primitive Accumulation and Some Aspects of Work and Life in India

How is labour to be conceptualised in the present context? On the one hand, there are the claims of the new economy that old forms of labour are being transformed and reformed; on the other, there is the reality of informalisation, casualisation and dispossession. This article looks at the various forms of labour in the new economy and argues that the process of informalisation of labour can only be understood in terms of the concept of primitive accumulation. From this point it moves on to discuss the implications of such accumulation for democracy and citizenship.

Atlantic Gandhi, Caribbean Gandhian

Gandhi used his experience with the scattered migrants of the Indian diaspora in South Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere to partly construct the nationalist doctrine that he later brought to India. The forging of what has been called the "revolutionary Atlantic" proletariat where Indians could have bonded with other exploited races in a militant consciousness across ethnic and national divisions was not part of Gandhi's resistance, indeed it was impeded by it. However, Gandhi's focus on the diaspora had an impact on Caribbean societies, through the agency of another migrant transnational from the other side of the fence, the English clergyman, C F Andrews.

Evolving an Effective Management Information System to Monitor Co-Management of Forests

The failure of the Joint Forest Management programme since 2000 to sustain the growth in afforestation achieved during the 1990s is a cause for concern. This paper looks at the necessity of developing an effective management information system that can contribute meaningfully to the resilience of a jfm system. Identifying four scenarios that differ in terms of the relative contribution of the community and the State in the management process, it offers a schematic structure of an mis.

The Fragmented Lok Sabha: A Case for Electoral Engineering

Where there are numerous small political parties, as in India, the electoral system neither reflects the true views and opinions on important social and economic issues nor does it incorporate "social inclusiveness" . The fragmentation in our legislature can be corrected through appropriate electoral engineering. This study is an attempt to do so. It describes how the composition of the Lok Sabha has changed since 1967, paying particular attention to the trends in indices of fragmentation. It also discusses issues relating to the "ideal" composition of a legislature and of a government.

Women's Property Rights and HIV/AIAIDS in India

Gender inequities are one of the key drivers of the hiv epidemic, globally and in India. Women's limited ability to access, own, and control property such as land and housing is one manifestation of gender inequity that has serious implications for women and their families in the context of hiv and aids. Property grabbing, dispossession, or eviction of women after their husbands' death or due to their hiv positive status is slowly emerging as a problem in India. However, there are few interventions that have addressed the intersection of property and hiv/aids. This study locates women's experiences of property conflicts within the larger context of being hiv affected. It describes a range of organisational responses addressing the interaction between property and hiv and highlights the challenges that need to be addressed to shape a meaningful and comprehensive response.

Nature of Employment in the Food Processing Sector

An attempt to assess the employment potential of the food processing sector, while examining the nature of employment and the quality of work. A field study conducted to detail the wages, conditions of workers, employment security, social security, gender bias, etc, in mango jelly and pickle making in the unorganised segment and fish processing and cashew processing in the factory sector in Andhra Pradesh brings out several problems in the quality of employment. The average wage of these workers is only 48% of the statutory minimum. Women, who are the major victims, working under poor conditions without any social security, earn only half of what their male counterparts do. Meanwhile, it is also found out that some of the food processing jobs are denied to the scheduled castes, which suggests discrimination on the basis of caste.

Regional and Global Nuclear Disarmament: Going Beyond the NPT

The accession of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States is an opportune time to revisit the issue of global and regional nuclear disarmament. What are the options open to civil society? The two routes to global and regional disarmament are obviously connected but not in a manner whereby movement along the latter is made conditional on forward movement along the former where the us has always been the biggest obstacle, the pace-setter in creating and deepening the global nuclear mess. This article is about where we stand today and what future directions in the cause of nuclear disarmament may be worth pursuing.

On the Margins: Muslims in West Bengal

The marginalisation of dalits and backward Muslims in West Bengal has brought into focus the issue of affirmative action for Muslims in the state. Despite indicators pointing towards backwardness, as many as 56 different castes, communities, and occupational groups are included in the Other Backward Classes list in the state, while deserving dalit and backward Muslims have been excluded. There has also been a change in the contours of local level politics in the state, resulting in more community-centric mobilisations of Muslims, which has prevented the continued mainstreaming of the community in West Bengal.

Employment Growth in Rural India: Distress-Driven?

The 61st round (2004-05) of the National Sample Survey showed that there was a turnaround in employment growth in rural India after a phase of jobless growth during the 1990s. Paradoxically, this employment growth occurred during a period of widespread distress in the agricultural sector with low productivity, price instability and stagnation leading to indebtedness. This paper reveals that employment growth in the rural areas was probably a response to the income crisis that is gripping farming. Under conditions of distress, when income levels fall below sustenance, then the normally non-working population is forced to enter the labour market to supplement household income. The decline of the agricultural sector has also probably created forced sectoral and regional mobility of the working population, with the non-working population complementing them.

Productivity and Unit Labour Cost in Indian Manufacturing: A Comparative Perspective

Up to date results on prices, labour productivity and unit labour costs for Indian manufacturing in comparison with some advanced and developing countries are presented here. The results indicate that the labour productivity levels in Indian manufacturing are much lower than those of Germany, the us, South Korea, Hungary and Poland, but higher than those of Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico. The unit labour cost in Indian manufacturing is the lowest among the countries in our sample, indicating strong cost competitiveness of Indian manufacturing vis-à-vis these countries. However, a comparison with China reveals a fast erosion of Indian manufacturing competitiveness in the recent period.

Peasant Classes under Neoliberalism: A Class Analysis of Two States

While declining real product prices faced by primary commodity producers was one of the central causes of rising farm indebtedness, the gradual shrinkage of formal credit institutions in rural areas has simultaneously caused increasing dominance of private players in the credit market, rendering producers all the more vulnerable. A class analysis of householdlevel farm production data from two states reveals the pattern of income depression and rising indebtedness in rural areas. The deleterious implications these processes have for future agrarian development call for effective price stabilisation operations and a comprehensive debt-relief policy in the short run.