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Special Articles

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.

Primary Completion Rates across Socio-Religious Communities in West Bengal

Primary completion rates of Muslims in West Bengal are substantially lower than that of upper caste communities as well as backward castes, scheduled castes and tribes. Further, analysis of age-specific pcr indicates that differences in pcr between Muslims and other communities may have actually increased in recent years. An econometric analysis reveals that age, gender, household size and expenditure levels, education and gender of decision-maker, etc, are important determinants of these differences in pcr. But use of Census data and District Information System for Education statistics indicates that deficiencies in infrastructural facilities in Muslim-concentrated districts also have a significant role in the low pcrs of Muslim children.

Macro Policy Reform and Sub-National Finance: Why Is the Fiscal Space of the States Shrinking?

In the post-economic liberalisation era, financial sector and fiscal reforms by the central government have adversely affected sub-national finances. The centre's fiscal consolidation measures have contributed to the sharp decline in vertical transfers and the financial liberalisation-induced increase in interest rates has widened the resource gap of the states through an increase in the interest outgo on the stock of debt. This paper examines the effect of the fiscal imbalance on the sub-national fiscal space. Econometric estimates reveal that though the effect of the cost of debt on total expenditure is expansionary, it is negative with respect to the fiscal space. As the sub-national fiscal space has been shrinking, corrective measures are required to increase the states' ability to fulfil developmental fiscal needs.

Maraimalai Atigal and the Genealogy of the Tamilian Creed

Contrary to later day perceptions, the Tamil-Saivite movement of the early 1900s played a major role in preparing the groundwork for the mobilisation by the radical self-respect movement of the Tamil vernacular public. Led by Maraimalai Atigal who recast, secularised and rationalised earlier forms of Saivism and Saiva- Siddhanta, the movement helped frame a new language of Tamil modernity and nationalism.

The Project of Provincialising Europe: Reading Dipesh Chakrabarty

This essay explores the distinctive way in which Dipesh Chakrabarty's writings, especially Provincialising Europe, have engaged in both questioning "European thought" (its Eurocentrism) and seeking to renew it.

A Contemporary Perspective on the Informal Labour Market: Theory, Policy and the Indian Experience

This article looks at the substantial literature that has emerged in recent times on the impact of globalisation, reform and deregulation on the informal labour market, in terms of theory and accompanying empirical evidence. Growth of real informal wage and productivity across all states in India since the early 1990s is an interesting starting point. While it is not a foregone conclusion that a liberal economic environment necessarily benefits such sectors, marketfriendly policies can improve the real income of informal workers and thus can have a substantial effect on urban poverty. Some supportive evidence to this effect has led to analytical models that investigate these issues closely. The analysis here shows that deregulated economies may benefit the informal workers, by raising both wages and employment under certain conditions that depend on inter-sectoral capital mobility. In the process, agriculture and formal manufacturing may suffer. Labour and commodity market reform may have different and contradictory impact on informal labour. Organisational changes in production in a more open economy increase the degree of specialisation, help informal entrepreneurs, and promote exports. Lower tariffs and lower interest rates have opposite impacts on the informal segment of import competitive industries.

Child Labour in Industrial Outworker Households in India

Child labour is widespread in home-based manufacturing activities in the informal sector in most developing countries. However, very little is known of child labour in industrial outwork. The aim of this paper is twofold: on the one hand, to understand whether children in home-based work households are more likely to work than other children and, if so, how this impacts their capabilities; and, on the other, to outline policy implications for India. This paper draws on ad hoc surveys and a country study carried out in India. It examines the incidence of child work in such households, the child's schooling, and reasons why children are working, their work conditions, and gender issues. Econometric analysis is applied to analyse the determinants of child activity status. Policy implications are spelled out at the end.

Tragic Widows or Cunning Witches? Reflections on Representations of Women in Tamil Myths and Legends

This article looks at some of the broad paradigms within which women-oriented Tamil myths and legends have operated. Besides presenting contrasting images that cut through the frozen iconisation of women encountered in classical or so- called "high tradition" texts, the article also focuses on the transformational qualities of folk legends as they move between texts and contexts.

Rural Non-Farm Economy: A Note on the Impact of Crop-Diversification and Land-Conversion in India

Crop-diversification under the integrated institutional set-up of corporate contract farming - processing, packaging and retailing - may displace the petty manufacturing and services that have matured over the years in different parts of rural India as a constituent of an endogenous process driven by agricultural growth and changing land-relations. As local availability of basic food items and other agro-raw materials form the basis of rural employment diversification by farmer as well as landless households, diversification towards high value commercial crops leading to squeezing of these supplies may destroy the very foundation of the rural non-farm economy that is engaged in petty production.

Gandhi - The 'Angel of History': Reading Hind Swaraj Today

Gandhi's Hind Swaraj is more than a political text. It is an ontological drama staged by Gandhi, reflected in his treatises against "modern civilisation", and his critique of "modernity".

Nature Lovers, Picnickers and Bourgeois Environmentalism

India's middle class visitors to the country's wildlife sanctuaries and protected areas are ignored in policy formulation as well as academic analyses of wildlife conservation. Traditionally, the conservation discourse has focused on the face-off between elite conservation institutions and the marginalised social groups, with domestic tourists being overlooked. At best, the latter are looked upon by the scientific-administrative elite as frivolous picnickers. But this neglect of an everincreasing constituency is an opportunity lost to gain its support for conservation policies and practices. It also means that the considerable investment and planning needed to promote environmental education as part of a visit to a protected area is missing.

The Cost of Ruling: Anti-Incumbency in Elections

"Anti-incumbency" is the most frequently cited reason for why ruling parties face poor odds of getting re-elected in India. Drawing on the comparative politics literature and using electoral data from 1977 to 2005, this paper analyses the performance of ruling parties in national and state elections in India. The findings are that incumbent members of Parliament from national ruling parties and legislative assembly members from state ruling parties are less likely to win than incumbents from the opposition when they come up for re-election. The paper also measures the "honeymoon period" effect, namely, the advantage that candidates from the state ruling party enjoy in national elections that are held early in the state government's term and candidates from the national ruling party enjoy in state elections. India's patronage-based democratic system and federal structure creates incentives for voters to favour the same party for national and state office and coordinate their votes. However, the honeymoon period is short-lived, and the positive effect turns into a negative penalty within two years of a party's term in office.

Cultivation of Medicinal Plants in Uttarakhand

Due to excessive extraction of medicinal plant species in high altitude areas, Uttarakhand has seen a serious depletion of its biological resources. The state government has introduced policies to promote the conservation of these species and encourage farmers to cultivate them and supplement their incomes. This paper examines the impact of the Uttarakhand government's promotional policies and also looks at a project that has built a supply chain to cultivate these plants for export to Europe.

Growth sans Employment: A Quarter Century of Jobless Growth in India's Organised Manufacturing

There has been considerable debate in India about the impact of growth on employment especially in the organised manufacturing sector for different periods since the early 1980s. However, changes in the coverage of the Annual Survey of Industries demand a fresh look at the issue over a longer period. This paper attempts such an analysis for 1981-82 to 2004-05. For the period as a whole as well as for two separate periods - the pre- and post-reform phases - the picture that emerges is one of "jobless growth", due to the combined effect of two trends that have cancelled each other out. One set of industries was characterised by employment-creating growth while another set by employment-displacing growth. Over this period, there has been acceleration in capital intensification at the expense of creating employment. A good part of the resultant increase in labour productivity was retained by the employers as the product wage did not increase in proportion to output growth. The workers as a class thus lost in terms of both additional employment and real wages in organised manufacturing sector.

Levels of Living and Poverty Patterns: A District-Wise Analysis for India

Most of the contemporary studies of level of living and poverty concentrate only on state-level averages. In view of the growing divergence both between and within the states, disaggregated studies are necessary for accurate identification of the critical areas calling for policy intervention. In the National Sample Survey Organisation's Consumer Expenditure Survey held in 2004-05, the sample design had taken districts as strata in both the rural and urban sectors, which makes it possible to get unbiased estimates of parameters at the district level. This paper presents a profile of levels of living, poverty and inequality for all the districts of the 20 major states of India. An attempt has also been made to map poverty in the districts to examine their spatial disparity within and across the states.

Gender Differentials in Education: Exploring the Capabilities Approach

Motivation and freedom of choice are mediated through the institutions of caste and religion, which restrict freedom, particularly of women. This paper discusses whether the capabilities approach provides any advantage in addressing questions of inequality that may be also mediated through such institutions. With the help of empirical data, the capabilities approach is used to identify "conversion factors" that are not typically addressed in the utility approach. A comparison is made between knowledge generated through the use of traditional data sources to measure access and returns to education with the knowledge about the dynamics of capabilities formation generated through the use of a mixture of data within the capabilities approach. This has the potential to help public policy decisions to improve education design and outcomes for girls from disadvantaged sections.

SAARC: The Political Challenge for South Asia and Beyond

This article deals with the overtly unspoken political role of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It elucidates, first, how saarc has bridged its institutional endowment-deficit as an apolitical organisation with the complex reality of the region - that is, the many ways regional cooperation has tackled political issues in the subcontinent. One of the hypotheses developed here is that either occurring on the side or even in opposition to the association's formal workings, the informal and quasi-official political dimension of the organisation is in fact essential to its functioning. A second one is that beyond serving as a political platform for traditional diplomacy, it is offering south Asian leaders and people a new understanding of the region and its politics. Finally, this paper argues that on the basis of sound empirical evidence and the shortcomings of the theoretical frameworks embraced to date, saarc cannot be dismissed as being only an "empty forum".

Passages from Nature to Nationalism: Sunderlal Bahuguna and Tehri Dam Opposition in Garhwal

This paper focuses on the shifting contours of the anti-Tehri dam movement in the past three decades. It examines the changing declarations of environmentalists, especially Sunderlal Bahuguna and other leaders of the movement on the one hand, and the involvement of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the anti-dam politics on the other. Exploring the evocations of nature, religion and nation in different phases by these two groups of actors, it argues that through a regular use of certain mythical beliefs and simplified dichotomies, there was an inadvertent collaboration between green and saffron. The Tehri dam became a means of combining sacredness with impulse, gravity of high politics with solemnity of daily worship, and nature with nationalism.

Strategic Flexible Planning and Real Options for Airport Development in India

With market liberalisation, established airports have regularly faced greater uncertainties regarding their planned investments. However, airport authorities as well as private stakeholders (through international consortia) continue to invest in ever larger and more capital-intensive infrastructures. Major uncertainties arise regarding these long-term investments since traffic forecasts have a legacy of being grossly inaccurate. In contrast to such practice, both literature and empirical evidence suggest that airport development should be undertaken in incremental steps, avoiding over-commitment of funds and being able to adapt to a changed environment, including altered patterns of competition. This paper highlights scenarios that characterise paths of airport development in India. A decision-tree analysis provides a helpful tool to identify those paths for airport development that will minimise uncertainty and prove more effective in fostering robust and efficient growth for the Indian air traffic system as a whole.

Resource Federalism in India: The Case of Minerals

While natural resources are spatially located, their development is of a wider national interest. Gains from their development accrue to a large common market though the process affects local lives and environments. The distribution of powers and functions across levels of government and the way they play out determine the effectiveness with which various policy goals are met. The need to examine these becomes important given the increased demands from resource-bearing states for a more "fair" distribution of resource rents in buoyant commodity markets, and from local people in resource regions for greater recognition of their rights and compensation for the effects of resource development. This paper examines the federal structure in India in the context of minerals, and suggests ways in which this can be strengthened through expanding the space and institutional capacity for local governance and by improving compensation and the sharing of resource revenues.

Food and Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations

This paper reviews recent evidence on food intake and nutrition in India. It attempts to make sense of various puzzles, particularly the decline of average calorie intake during the last 25 years. This decline has occurred across the distribution of real per capita expenditure, in spite of increases in real income and no long-term increase in the relative price of food. One hypothesis is that calorie requirements have declined due to lower levels of physical activity or improvements in the health environment. If correct, this does not imply that there are no calorie deficits in the Indian population - nothing could be further from the truth. These deficits are reflected in some of the worst anthropometric indicators in the world, and the sluggish rate of improvement of these indicators is of major concern. Yet recent trends remain confused and there is an urgent need for better nutrition monitoring.

Understanding the Distribution of BPL Cards: All-India and Selected States

Using the recent National Family and Health Survey-3 data, this paper examines the distribution of below poverty line cards. The possession of bpl cards by the households in various economic and social settings index is analysed. The findings suggest that about two-fifths of the bpl cards in India are with the non-poor households. On the other hand, in many of the states a majority of households in abject deprived groups do not possess a bpl card. The extent of misuse is higher in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, while it is lower in Tamil Nadu. In economically weaker states like Orissa and Bihar, a higher proportion of non-poor households possess a bpl card.

Principal State Level Contests and Derivative National Choices: Electoral Trends in 2004-09

Political choices in a national election increasingly derive from the competitive format, electoral cycle, political agenda, participatory pattern and social cleavages defined in state politics. In this sense, the political choices made at the state level are mostly "principal" and those made at the national level are increasingly "derivative". But state level politics shapes and filters rather than pre-determines the national outcome. Using this framework and the trends in 2004-09, this study attempts to understand the structure of contestation that will shape the final outcome in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The complex pattern of principal outcomes and timing in the political calendar shows that neither of the two major national alliances can sweep the polls nor be swept away in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. In all probability, we are going to witness one more election in which no single party or pre-poll alliance is likely to get a clear majority and one where the smallest of changes in individual states is likely to have a major impact on government formation in New Delhi.

Regional Disparity in Agricultural Development of Maharashtra

Agricultural development in Maharashtra over the last three decades has been unequal across regions with western Maharashtra much ahead of other regions in terms of major developmental indicators. The rapid agricultural development in western Maharashtra is attributed to the rise of Maratha-Kunbi peasants as a unified political class, who dominated state politics through caste and kinship networks during the colonial as well as post-colonial periods. The inability of Marathwada and Vidarbha regions to compete effectively for a larger share of the state's resources is mainly due to the absence of a well-articulated structure of groups and alliances in these regions.

Kosi Embankment Breach in Nepal: Need for a Paradigm Shift in Responding to Floods

The breach of the Kosi embankment in Nepal in August 2008 marked the failure of conventional ways of controlling floods. After discussing the physical characteristics of the Kosi River and the Kosi barrage project, this paper suggests that the high sediment content of the Kosi River implies a major risk to the proposed Kosi high dam and its ability to control floods in Bihar. It concludes by proposing the need for a paradigm shift in dealing with the risks of floods.

Is Services Sector Output Overestimated? An Inquiry

India's services sector-led growth since the 1990s remains a puzzle - it has taken place at a low level of per capita income, without a proportionate transformation in the workforce, and amidst a deceleration in agriculture and a stagnation in industry. This paper argues that the output of services is perhaps overestimated since computing value added in services and finding suitable price deflators for them is difficult even in the best of circumstances. The answer to the puzzle, therefore, lies (at least partially) in the deterioration in economic statistics, and the use of a widely acknowledged faulty methodology. More specifically, services output seems overestimated due to (i) the inflated estimate of the growth of the private corporate sector, (ii) a slower rise in the services deflator, and in particular (iii) of an overstatement of the decline in the prices of communications services.

Sri Lanka at Sixty: A Legacy of Ethnocentrism and Degeneration

When Sri Lanka celebrated independence in 1948 many considered it the post-colonial country most likely to succeed economically and democratically. Sixty years later the island represents illiberalism, political decay, and ethnocentrism. Not only has the country retrogressed on nearly all important indicators representing secularism, liberalism, pluralism, ethnic coexistence, and good governance, it is also poised to degenerate further towards dictatorship.

Mobilising Non-Tax Revenue: An Empirical Analysis of Trends in States

This paper analyses the structure of non-tax sources of the states. The major thrust is on presenting a detailed analysis of six select services drawn from social and economic services. While education, sports, arts and culture; medical and public health; and water supply and sanitation have been selected from social services, major and medium irrigation; minor irrigation; and roads and bridges have been chosen from economic services. The analysis of user charges at the disaggregated level for each of the services provided in different states is based on the data drawn from the state budget documents. A comparative analysis of the recovery rate over time is based on the results for two points of time, i e, 1993-94 to 1995-96 and 2001-02 to 2003-04.

Growth of Rural Non-Farm Employment in Uttar Pradesh: Reflections from Recent Data

The study investigates whether the employment shift from the farm to the non-farm sector in Uttar Pradesh arises out of prosperity-induced or distress-induced factors. The examination of employment patterns at various levels leads to conclusive evidence that distress-induced push factors have been predominant in driving workers to non-farm employment. The paper also records the link with rural non-farm employment, of various factors such as landownership, education and caste affiliation. Low levels of education and their status as landless earners devoid of capital resources suggest broad distress-induced circumstances of non-farm workers.

China and India: Convergence in Economic Growth and Social Tensions?

Do the economic policies or the "business model" adopted by China and India necessarily aggravate inequalities in income and wealth distribution, and thus exacerbate social contradictions? While not providing a definitive answer, the article examines the rising concentration of income and wealth, the trends in poverty, employment and unemployment, the nature and extent of social unrest, and how the rich are getting richer, aided by fiscal sops, and outlines a feasible alternative centred on development with equity.

New Insights into the Debates on Rural Indebtedness in 19th Century Deccan

The peasantry in the Deccan suffered from widespread indebtedness during the 19th century. In March 1881, after touring the rural areas of Poona and Ahmadnagar districts, which were still recovering from the devastations caused by famine and the credit crunch followed by the peasant revolt of 1876-79, Mahadev Govind Ranade proposed the establishment of agricultural-shetkari banks. The nationalists led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak opposed the proposal. This article explores the debates on peasant indebtedness and the intervention of nationalists on behalf of the moneylenders to oppose even limited measures to assist peasants in the rural economy.

The Post-September 11 Crisis in International Relations and the State of Multicultural Societies

The "scourge" of cultural wars are but the progeny of the vicissitudes of the capitalist system. If Islamic fundamentalism is the aggrieved prey and a reaction to a brazen capitalist system represented by neoliberalism, Hindu fundamentalism, represented by Hindutva, is an effervescent by-product of the same order. The weaknesses of alternate movements against capitalism and their inability to achieve a more equitable and fair order have seen the continuation of a system that has only furthered decadence and strife. That is notwithstanding the message of triumphalism and trumpeting of the western conception of multiculturalism by those who defend the order.

Tamil Nadu and the Diagonal Divide in Sex Ratios

Between 1961 and 2001, India's 0-6 sex ratio has steadily declined. Despite evidence to the contrary, this ratio is often characterised in terms of a diagonal divide with low 0-6 sex ratios in northern and western India and normal 0-6 sex ratios in eastern and southern India. While unexpectedly high rates of female infant mortality have been reported in Tamil Nadu, it is still regarded as lying outside the ambit of states with unusually low 0-6 sex ratios. Based on an analysis of patterns in sex ratio at birth, infant mortality rates and under-5 mortality rates for Tamil Nadu, this paper traces the development of daughter deficit in the state and examines the validity of the diagonal divide in sex ratios across India. We find evidence of daughter deficit in more than half the state's districts with a majority of the shortfall arising before birth. The evidence presented here, combined with earlier work on declining 0-6 sex ratios outside northwestern India, suggests that the diagonal divide is no longer an appropriate distinction.

The Making of Indian Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the US

the Making of indian immigrant entrepreneurs in the Us Roli Varma, Daya R Varma In 1867, Karl Marx proposed his thesis of m.c.m

Sectoral Labour Flows and Agricultural Wages in India, 1983-2004: Has Growth Trickled Down?

This paper examines the evolution of poverty in India through the prism of agricultural wages and employment. It links the movement in wages (and hence poverty) to the fundamental process of sectoral labour flow that underlies economic development. It finds that despite the rapid growth of the non-farm sector, its success in drawing labour from land has been limited. Yet agricultural earnings have increased, demonstrating the pivotal role of agricultural productivity. The stock of the labour force already locked into agriculture is large and the best way to improve living standards would be to boost farm productivity.

New Evidence on Child Mortality in Iraq

This paper examines new evidence on the level and trend of child mortality in Iraq. Until recently, it has generally been thought that there was a sharp rise in the level of child mortality in the country during the early 1990s as a result of the first Gulf war and the accompanying United Nations economic sanctions. The main basis for this view was a survey conducted in 1999. However, estimates of the level and trend in child mortality are now available from two additional surveys. Neither of the new sets of estimates show any sign of a sharp increase in child mortality in the early 1990s. Therefore it seems probable that, as was suggested by a report in 2005, the 1999 survey data were deliberately manipulated by the then government of Iraq.

Export-oriented Industrialisation, Female Employment and Gender Wage Equity in East Asia

This paper investigates if export growth in manufacturing in east Asia led to a removal of labour market rigidities and the institutional biases of gender-based discrimination as commonly argued. It challenges the orthodox perspective by looking more closely at industrial employment in the region by gender. Gender discrimination in the region's labour markets seems to have survived economic liberalisation, with the large gender wage gaps characteristic of the region not closing despite rapid growth and full employment, and sometimes even becoming larger in some of the more developed economies in the region.

What Has Economics Got to Do With It? Cultures of Consumption in Global Markets

Within the aegis of cultures going global, this paper explores two interrelated questions. How does economics matter to the global spread of culture? How does the culture of a particular commodity shape the economics of it? This paper probes the channels for the global spread of material culture and argues that the underlying forces are as much economic as they are cultural. It is about the role that economists have in cultural studies, considering that economic frameworks can either bar or facilitate the movement of consumption cultures.

Collection Trends, Classification of Expense Heads and Avoidance of Fringe Benefits Tax

The government claims that the Fringe Benefits Tax has been introduced to tax those kinds of fringe benefits which are collectively enjoyed by employees in the form of facilities/amenities and therefore difficult to identify, segregate and apportion among beneficiaries for taxation. Accordingly, the tax liability has been fixed on employers, and not on the employees. fbt collection data for first two years (2005-06 and 2006-07) have been analysed to gain a deeper insight for fine-tuning. Some statistical tests have been conducted. The test of equality of two proportions for a large sample shows that the proportion of fbt collection under different heads has remained the same over the two years. The chi-square test for equality of proportion shows that this proportion has remained the same for most sectors. However, the chi-square test for homogeneity of sample data for each sector and each head indicates that sample data are not homogeneous. It points towards arbitrary booking of expenses under different heads, perhaps to avoid fbt.

The Economy of West Bengal

Even after 30 years of Left Front rule in West Bengal, the state has lagged behind in a few economic indicators, this, despite better performance in agriculture. Agricultural growth rates have however declined in the last decade or so, the reasons for which have been elaborated upon. A gradual movement towards unorganised labour has characterised working patterns in the state and the phenomenon is studied, along with the conditions of living. In this context, the new economic policy of the Left Front government is critiqued. It is suggested that a policy that favours inclusive growth with greater emphasis on small enterprises should be followed by the government if it wants to sustain the gains made and address the shortcomings in the state.

India's Master Plan for Groundwater Recharge: An Assessment and Some Suggestions for Revision

The government's Groundwater Recharge Master Plan reflects belated recognition of the growing criticality of groundwater for the Indian economy. The plan aims to raise post-monsoon groundwater levels to three metres below ground level through annual "managed artificial recharge" of 36.4 km3 by constructing some four million spreading-type recharge structures at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore. While this is a step in the right direction, the revised master plan under preparation needs to incorporate socio-economic, institutional and administrative parameters that underpin the implementation of any major change intervention. This paper provides an assessment of the existing plan and offers suggestions for revision.

Charting the Transformation in Poland's Feminist Movement

A significant change occurred in the Polish feminist movement in 2006-07. Until then, the major women's groups concentrated almost exclusively on fighting sexual stereotypes and ignored all political and economic issues. This restricted their appeal to middle class women since it was economic issues that were more important for women from the lower classes. It was only when the groups began taking up the latter issues, aligning with left trade unions in some cases and acknowledging political differences among themselves, did they start attracting women from different socio-economic, ethnic and religious categories.

Ex-Criminal Tribes of Punjab

Numerous tribes in Punjab that were proclaimed "criminal" by the British were declared as scheduled castes in 1952. These groups, living in miserable conditions in an otherwise prosperous state, have been asking for tribal status as they are placed at a disadvantage in the present caste-based reservation system. A number of suggestions have been made to the government to consider the anomalies in identifying and characterising these groups. Their condition is worsening, occasionally breaking out into open protest, the Meena-Gujjar conflict in Rajasthan being an example. The 27 per cent reservation to the Other Backward Classes is likely to intensify the demands of these communities.

A Tale of Two Novels from the Global South

This article examines the realist styles of the shared politics and representational tactics of Fakir Mohan Senapati's Six Acres and a Third and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the 19th century context of British rule in India and in the 20th century Latin American context of banana republics, respectively, both writers critique the dependence of the local economy on an exploitative foreign economic power. Firmly based in their respective local cultures and world views and using the form of narrative transculturation, these two novels from the global South help develop a critical consciousness of colonial and neocolonial modernity. The

Two Classic Tales of Village India

Reading Fakir Mohan Senapati's Six Acres and a Third and Premchand's Godaan from a comparative perspective, this paper shows how some stories write the world in a more realistic way than others by providing a better "epistemic access" to it. Godaan presents a moving human document and social panorama but Six Acres considerably deepens the "referential" function of its own discourse by rewriting reference as "epistemic access" to the structures of domination. The novel of a tyrant and of a tyrannical system thus becomes the product of a complicit social ideology and discourse, encouraging scepticism about what is given. It problematises the real so that the rules of this world can be rewritten, unlike Godaan, which settles for the familiar reality of psychodrama.

Tata Motors in Singur: A Step towards Industrialisation or Pauperisation?

The Singur "model" of industrialisation as represented by the now abandoned Tata Motors project in West Bengal has a number of regressive features. The Left Front government in West Bengal, in competition with other states for the location of Tata Motors' Nano automobile complex, fell overboard in offering subsidies to the company. Further, the government did not scrutinise the quantum of land demanded by the company, blundered by offering highly fertile land in Singur, and compounded its mistake by invoking the Land Acquisition Act, thereby compelling landowners to surrender their land at a low price. Its compensation formula was biased in favour of non-cultivating absentee landowners, and grossly unfair to the actual cultivators, bargadars and agricultural labourers, giving rise to concerted opposition from peasants and their supporters.

Gender Hierarchies and Inequalities: Taking Stock of Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health

Following the United Nations conferences on women in Cairo and Beijing, which established the importance of gender as a critical dimension of reproductive and women's health, India initiated several changes in its family welfare programmes in a phased manner. However, despite these changes, the sexual and reproductive health of women continues to be an area of concern. This paper examines the socio-cultural determinants to women's health in Rajasthan in the light of the National Family Health Survey-3 data as well as the current policies and programmes affecting women's health. It asserts that in the present context, women's bodies, health and sexuality are being grossly neglected and abused in Rajasthan and there is a dire need for reform in the state's attitude towards women's health needs.

Early Warnings of Inflation in India

In India, year-on-year percentage changes of price indexes are widely used as the measure of inflation. In terms of monthly data, each observation of a one-year change in inflation is the sum of 12 one-month changes. This suggests that better information about inflationary pressures can be obtained using point-on-point monthly changes. This requires seasonal adjustment. We apply standard seasonal adjustment procedures in order to obtain a point-on-point seasonally adjusted monthly time-series of inflation in India. In three interesting high inflation episodes - 1994-95, 2007 and 2008 - we find that this data yields a faster and better understanding of inflationary pressures.

Investment and Growth in India under Liberalisation: Asymmetries and Instabilities

This paper makes the case that the growth trajectory of the Indian economy in the post-1991 liberalisation period is characterised by an inherent source of instability in manufacturing and industrial growth that distinguishes this period from the 1980s. This instability is a result of an investment-growth asymmetry that flows from a combination of a services-intensive growth pattern and a manufacturing-intensive investment pattern, which reflects the pattern of demand expansion within the domestic economy as well as in external markets, as also reliance on private corporate investment as the driver of the economy's investment process. In such circumstances, maintaining the balance between capacity creation and demand expansion in the manufacturing sector becomes impossible. Investment is thus prone to a high degree of instability, which, via its effects on demand, makes industrial growth too highly unstable. The services-intensive growth trajectory after 1991 is therefore more correctly viewed as one which is unable to fully utilise the capital accumulation potential of the economy rather than as a trajectory that is cheap in the use of capital. Correcting this problem however requires measures that are inconsistent with a liberalised economic policy regime.

Regional Trade Agreements and Improved Market Access in Developed Countries: The Evidence

The United States and the European Union have in recent years initiated negotiations on a large number of bilateral and regional trade agreements. These agreements tend to push trade liberalisation much further than is possible under the multilateral trade regime. These rtas also include rules which are likely to reduce the policy space for developing countries. This paper investigates whether signing of an rta with a developed country necessarily leads to increased market access in that country. The findings suggest that this is not always so. But, on the other hand, developing countries face stricter intellectual property regimes, aggressive environment and labour clauses and extremely restrictive bilateral investment treaties, which impose some obvious and serious costs on the industrialisation process of developing countries. It concludes that the gains from north-south rtas are doubtful while there will be some obvious costs.