ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Policy Studies, Policymaking, and Knowledge-driven Governance

The academic and policy worlds have drifted apart since the early years of the Indian Republic. Can a new Public Policy field help reconnect academia to policymaking? The genesis and evolution of Public Policy in the United States holds important learning lessons. The raison d'être of Public Policy, the academic discipline, is to aid and inform public policy, the process; sans state imprimatur, cross-institutional coordination and demand-scoping, discrete supply-driven initiatives are unlikely to have substantive impact. Public Policy has considerable scope in India, provided academia and government join hands to create a policy ecosystem for meeting the specific challenges of Indian governance.

Transformations in Sinhala Nationalism

This examination of the formations and transformations of the Sinhala national movement in Sri Lanka from the Buddhist revival in the mid-19th century to modern times focuses on the changes in the ideology and the varied political manifestations of Sinhala nationalism. It asks whether there is a way of understanding nations and nationalisms that does not reject the "desire for belongingness" as "fascism in disguise."

Adjudicating 'Litigotiation'

How does litigation fare in Indian courts? How long do cases last and how are they disposed? Do men and women litigate equally and do they receive equal justice? This paper offers a statistical "snapshot" of litigation in Mumbai's family court in the period between 2010 and 2014. The data presented herein indicates that family courts today largely serve as venues for what Marc Galanter termed "Litigotiation." The data also reveals latent patterns of discrimination in the adjudication of women's economic rights.

On Incidence of Diarrhoea among Children in India

Drinking water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour, referred to as the WASH variables by the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, are acknowledged as the three main determinants of diarrhoeal diseases. But the impact of their complementarities on disease incidence remains understudied. This study uses state and household level data to examine the determinants of child diarrhoeal incidence. It introduces indicators of WASH quality and combined presence, both at the household and state levels. It combines them in a novel analysis to understand their roles. In the Indian states, with the worst WASH infrastructure, these variables are strategic substitutes, but as WASH infrastructure improves, they become strategic complements. Thus, resource allocation to lower diarrhoea incidence must take into account the complementary rather than individual presence of these focal variables. Further, the quality of WASH also matters. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, targeting universal sanitation coverage, is unlikely to be effective unless it breaks the Gordian knot of complementarities and WASH quality holding up the burden of childhood diarrhoea.

Trade Liberalisation and Income Convergence

This paper analyses the effect of liberalisation on per capita income convergence between countries. The 1980s and 1990s saw many developing countries open up their economies. Some of these economies continued to lag behind; however, most of them saw rapid growth post liberalisation. To identify the effect of trade on convergence rates, a single difference approach is followed, comparing convergence patterns pre- and post-liberalisation. The convergence measure is estimated between a set of developing countries and their most active trading partners. The results do not reflect any significant change in the rates of convergence for the developing countries pre- and post-liberalisation.

Off-grid Energy Development in India

A critical evaluation of existing approaches to the off-grid development in India suggests that successful decentralised interventions are contingent upon the combined influence of three key determinants, that is, strength of policy support, community participation, and productive linkages. Technology, source of finance and plant size are other key determinants. Contrary to the established wisdom on role of communities, it is suggested that, in practice, the reality of capacity constraints among communities, local-level conflicts and elite capture subvert community participation.

Bodies in Search of Freedom

One of the significant transformations in the political economy of rural Nepal is the gradual weakening of traditional forms of attached and caste-based division of labour. Not only has there been a diversification of rural livelihoods from land- and agriculture-based to non-agricultural- and non-land-based sources, there is also a growing and widespread mobility of labour within and outside the country. Research findings show that mobility of labour has not necessarily meant more freedom for poorer migrants, although the idea of freedom appears to be driving much of the out-migration from rural Nepal. For marginal migrants, the circulatory nature of migration does not appear to be as transformative as might have been expected: while life in the destination may well be urban and modern, their identity remains marginal, reflecting their liminal position. Despite known risks and suffering attached to work, a large number of migrants continue to be attracted to work in exploitative working conditions within Nepal or across the border in India.

The Making of South Asia's Minorities

In April 1950, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan met in Delhi to sign the landmark inter-dominion agreement known as the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, according to which India and Pakistan would be accountable to one another for the treatment of minorities in their countries. This agreement was the outcome of a mutual necessity for both governments to regulate the unchecked movement of minority population across the border, which led them into an unlikely--though nonetheless structurally integral--position of compromise and dialogue. In order to grapple with the phenomenon of cross-border movement of minorities, the two governments had to enter into a series of bilateral dialogues about how this could be regulated, and synchronised for both sides.

What Causes Agglomeration— Policy or Infrastructure?

How significant are industrial dispersal policy incentives for agglomeration of organised manufacturing in India? Using plant-level data for 1997-98, the locational choices of 66 manufacturing industries in 21 Indian states are investigated. First, the degree of agglomeration (Ellison-Glaeser index) is calculated in each of these industries to ascertain in which states they are clustered, followed by an econometric investigation of industrial dispersal policy after controlling for different factors that affect agglomeration. The analysis yields that the dispersal policy has not been successful in most specifications. Factors like presence of infrastructure, coastlines, and labour market pooling determine agglomeration. The results also indicate that the nature of the product, high electricity tariff, and per capita energy gap have induced several industries to disperse.

Twentieth Century Socialism

The 20th century brand of socialism, following the Bolshevik victory as the prototype of socialisms, has nothing to do with socialism as envisaged by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It can be considered only as one among different varieties of socialism such as guild socialism, anarchist socialism, market socialism, and so on. The Marxian socialism, as a portrait of an alternative society after capital, is based on the "associated mode of production." The fundamental characteristic which separates socialism envisaged by Marx from the prevailing socialism is that Marx's socialism, conceived as an association of free individuals, is a completely de-alienated society with no commodity, no money, no waged/salaried labour, no state, all of which are considered as instruments of exploitation and repression of a class society used to put down the immense majority of the humans. The 20th century socialism is quite aptly recognised as a system of party-state, two avatars. Characteristically, and in total opposition to it, in no discussion of the nature of the society after capital-- that is, socialism--by Marx and Engels we find these two avatars. They disappear along with capital, the last class society.

Does Political Reservation Affect Voting Behaviour?

An empirical examination of the impact of political reservation for disadvantaged groups on voting behaviour, using microdata from the National Election Study 2004, shows that in a reserved constituency, where only members of the disadvantaged castes can stand for election, voters of the disadvantaged castes are encouraged to vote. On the other hand, the system of constituency reservation does not have any impact on turnout of voters belonging to other groups, including relatively upper-caste voters. This finding suggests that political reservation does not crowd out electoral participation of other groups. These voters, however, tend to vote for the right-wing political party in reserved constituencies, implying a possibility that political reservation might provoke a social cleavage along caste lines in Indian politics.

Revisiting Capital Gains Tax on Securities in India

India has one of lowest tax-gross domestic product ratios in the world. There is a need to utilise every tax instrument, including the capital gains tax on securities, to broaden the tax base. Comparing tax-GDP ratio and capital gains tax on securities across G-20 countries, the paper argues for eliminating the distinction of long-term and short-term capital gains classification and move towards progressive taxation of both. Estimates for revenue potential of the desired capital gains tax regime further substantiate the argument. Revenue loss estimates, on account of Double Tax Avoidance Agreement with respect to capital gains, with low tax jurisdictions like Mauritius and Singapore, are provided to give a comprehensive view with respect to capital gains tax policy in India.


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