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In Search of Ashe

It has been almost a century since Robert William D'Escourt Ashe, acting collector of Tirunelveli, Madras Presidency, was killed by R Vanchi Aiyar, an ex-forest guard on 17 June 1911. In 1908 Ashe was stationed in Tuticorin where the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company led by V O Chidambaram Pillai was giving its British rival a run for its money. Workers, merchants and the middle class enthusiastically supported the swadeshis. Ashe was seen as playing a leading part in the government's repression of the swadeshi company and the uprising that followed made national headlines. Vanchi Aiyar who killed himself after shooting Ashe is a patriotic martyr in Tamil Nadu and many radical characters in Tamil fiction and cinema have been named after him.

Institutional Dysfunction and Challenges in Flood Control: A Case Study of the Kosi Flood 2008

The Kosi flood disaster of 2008 in Bihar and also in Nepal highlights two key issues relating to flood control. The first is the failure of the structural approach to flood control on the Kosi and the second is institutional dysfunction with respect to trans-boundary flood management. This article discusses the key reasons for the failure of flood management in the Kosi, through stakeholder interviews and observations in the aftermath of the flood. The institutional context comprises several challenges such as trans-boundary politics between Nepal and India, the internal politics of Nepal, intra-state politics in India, the inherent weaknesses of the Kosi treaty, structural flood control strategy and the lack of connection between governmental decision-making bodies, implementation agencies and civil society.

Resolution of Weak Banks: The Indian Experience

This paper analyses the theoretical framework for bank resolution, general methods of br and relevant crosscountry experience. The primary objective, however, is to estimate the cost of br in India based on three recent compulsory mergers and two voluntary mergers. Evidence suggests that barring one compulsory merger, all other mergers yielded value. Compulsory mergers were found to be costlier than voluntary mergers, though the overall cost of the three compulsory merger cases was, by and large, neutral.

A Scrutiny of the MP-LALADS in India: Who Is It For?

This paper attempts to analyse the pattern and determinants of fund utilisation under the Members of Parliament-Local Area Development Scheme by the Lok Sabha mps. It indicates that there are political business cycles in spending by mps. Moreover, it shows that the degree of competition faced by an mp in the last election, his/her age, and political affiliation significantly affect fund utilisation. It also concludes that a higher level of awareness of general citizens and better law and order conditions in states restrict the mps from misusing funds to gain political mileage.

Towards New Poverty Lines for India

This paper presents the result of an exercise prepared for the Planning Commission's Expert Group to Review the Methodology for Estimation of Poverty to draw up new poverty lines and, correspondingly, new poverty estimates based on the National Sample Survey consumption data. The exercise begins by accepting the official all-India urban poverty estimate of 25.7% for 2004-05, then derives the all-India urban poverty line that corresponds to this head count ratio by using the multiple rather than uniform reference period distribution from the nss data. It then recalculates, based on this modified poverty line, new state-wise urban and rural poverty lines that reflect spatial variations in the cost of living in 2004-05. The resulting estimates of the incidence of rural poverty show a head count ratio of 41.8% for 2004-05 as against the official estimate of 28.3%. The estimates reveal much larger rural-urban differences but less concentration of either rural or urban poverty in a few states. Although the new poverty lines preserve the official estimate of all-India urban poverty in 2004-05, there are significant changes at the state level.

Goods and Services Tax in India:An Assessment of the Base

One of the most contentious issues in the discussions surrounding goods and services tax is the likely and feasible rates at which the new regime can be implemented. There have been a number of attempts at estimating the size of the tax base and the corresponding revenue neutral rate. The latest in the series is the report of the Task Force on gst of the Thirteenth Finance Commission. Most of these exercises throw up incredibly low revenue neutral rates resulting in apprehensions about the validity of these estimates and the consequent revenue risk. This paper seeks to estimate the base for the proposed gst on conservative assumptions to arrive at a more realistic estimate of the revenue neutral rates across states.

Is There a Twist in the Tale? Reinterpreting Economic Ascendancies through a Geographic Lens

Should the study of economic ascendancies be restricted to a sequencing of the rise of nations over time? Such a chronological emphasis sidelines the geographies involved, and the spaces integral to a nation during its ascent. This paper argues that the geographic dimension is the key to understanding the "individual" and "collective" rise of nations; a differentiation that gets blurred when spaces are assumed constant. It seeks to establish how geographies create the very paradigms in which ascendancies have emerged. For this purpose, the paper creates an alternative framework that factors in the impact of global spatial rearrangements on ascendancies. The temporal-historical sequence of the rise of nations remains the same. But using geography as a tool, it tries to deduce the logic behind such a sequence. In other words, why did it happen the way it happened?

Indian Labour Movement: Colonial Era to the Global Age

This paper attempts to situate labour movements of 20th century India - agrarian and industrial - in the context of the changing contours of the country. Many scholars have focused exclusively on industrial labour, ignoring the fact that the overwhelming proportion of labour in India is predominantly agrarian. The prospect of a unified labour movement is unlikely because of the many categories and internal differences within each. This, however, does not mean that labour mobilisation and struggles will cease. Sectoral mobilisation against deprivations specific to each group will continue, and along with equity, identity, security and dignity will be important for the labour movement(s).

Alien Construct and Tribal Contestation in Colonial Chhotanagpur: The Medium of Christianity

Taking the case of the Mundas and Uraons of Chhotanagpur, this essay looks at the encounter between the colonial state and the tribals of India. It first examines how the term "tribe" evolved to designate a set of negative traits, shaped under colonialism's response to escalating tribal resistance to their rule. It then studies Christianity in its dual role of providing support to colonial rule as well as succour to the "tribals". The paper argues that the colonial state merely transformed pre-colonial prejudices of brahmanical texts and gave them a social Darwinian twist. Unfortunately, the view of tribals as a lower evolutionary form of civilisation continues in nationalist India.

FDI Spillovers and Export Performance of Indian Manufacturing Firms after Liberalisation

The spillovers from foreign direct investment through multinational enterprises have attracted considerable attention in recent times. Existing empirical studies on fdi spillovers largely look at the productivity enhancing effects and horizontal spillovers of foreign firms in the same industry sector ignoring the possibility of spillovers through buyer-supplier or backward linkages. The present study examines the impact of horizontal as well as backward spillovers from the presence of foreign firms, on the export performance of domestic firms in the Indian manufacturing industry during 1993-2008. Increased competition in the domestic market post-liberalisation through sales of foreign firms is forcing domestic firms to look for export markets. The results indicate that domestic firms are not benefited in improving their export performance through any buyer-supplier linkages with the mnes.

Value, Enchantment, and the Mentality of Democracy: Some Distant Perspectives from Gandhi

This essay integrates metaphysics, science, politics, political economy, and moral philosophy in order to explore the ways in which some Gandhian ideas, when given a genealogical reading in the dissenting thought of Early Modernity in Europe, might provide a deep basis for (a) diagnosing the religiosity of our own time, (b) making our secular ideals grounded in a more democratic mentality and culture towards such religiosity than modern liberalism permits, and (c) more generally, theorising a much more radical set of Enlightenment ideas than is found in the widespread and dominant liberal orthodoxies of the last 200-300 years of political theory.

Displacement in Singrauli Region: Entitlements and Rehabilitation

Loss of livelihood and displacement has become a recurring feature for the people of Singrauli, on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, due to the construction of dams and power and mining projects over the last five decades. These communities are again in the process of being displaced with private players setting up five super thermal power and three mining projects in the area. This time, however, the project-affected people seem to be in an advantageous position with project managements competing to offer them better rehabilitation and resettlement packages. This is a change brought about by the sustained struggle of oustees and civil society groups all over the country for a better deal.

Public Distribution of Rice in Andhra Pradesh: Efficiency and Reform Options

This paper explores various efficiency aspects of the Rs 2 a kg rice scheme, which has been relaunched in Andhra Pradesh. The statistical analysis suggests a substitution of demand between the open market and public distribution system purchase in response to changes in the open market price of rice in the state. An examination of the consumer benefit and subsidy burden involved in the rice scheme during 1983-2007 indicates that the gap between the two typically remained small. In the light of the central government's pds reform package, the paper suggests strategies for a cost-effective pds management in Andhra Pradesh.

Ghadar Movement and Its Anarchist Genealogy

The Ghadar movement virtually came out of nowhere and rapidly took over the consciousness of an entire Indian diaspora. What was so compelling in its message that it could uproot an entire project of migration and settlement and turn it upside down? Why would thousands of migrants, from different regions of India, but predominantly the Sikhs from the Punjab, suddenly become interested in waging an armed struggle against British colonialism? These questions can be better addressed if we switch the Ghadar movement from the cultural register of Indian nationalism to the revolutionary theories and practices of the Russian anarchists. What is also striking about the Ghadar Party was that unlike many contemporary militant organisations, it was actively hostile to religion.

New Policy Framework for Rural Drinking Water Supply: Swajaldhara Guidelines

This article discusses the central government policy for drinking water supply in rural areas. It examines its evolution from the 1970s onwards and focuses, in particular, on the reforms of the past decade, looking more specifically at the Swajaldhara Guidelines. These reforms are of capital importance because they seek to completely change the rural drinking water supply policy framework.

Social and Economic Inequalities: Contemporary Significance of Caste in India


Social and Economic Inequalities: Contemporary Significance of Caste in India Rajnish Kumar, Satendra Kumar, Arup Mitra In an attempt to revisit the caste issue in the Indian context this paper analyses a sample of households from the slums of four cities. Vulnerability conceptualised in terms of several socio-economic and demographic indicators exists among most of the social categories though the relative size of deprivation varies across social groups. In a binomial logit framework, based on the pooled sample, the extent of decline in the probability of experiencing well-being beyond a threshold limit is sharper for the socially backward classes than the others. However, in individual cities such a pattern is not so conspicuous implying that all the social categories are equally vulnerable. These findings have important policy implications, indicating that policy initiatives for deprived areas irrespective of caste factor are more important than the caste-based support measures.

Displacement and Relocation of Protected Areas: A Synthesis and Analysis of Case Studies

Relocation of human populations from the protected areas results in a host of socio-economic impacts. In India, in many cases, especially relating to tribal communities that have been relatively isolated from the outside world, the displacement is traumatic from both economic and cultural points of view. This paper provides brief case studies of displacement (past, ongoing, or proposed) from protected areas, number of villages/families displaced, the place where these villages/families were relocated to, governance of the relocation process, and the kind or nature of relocation (voluntary, induced or forced). It finds that not even a single study shows the ecological costs and benefits of relocation, comparing what happens at the old site to what happens at the rehabilitation site. This is a shocking gap, given that relocation is always justified from the point of view of reducing pressures and securing wildlife habitats.

Nehru and the Nagas: Minority Nationalism and the Post-Colonial State

The Naga problem presented the first major crisis of understanding and the understanding of crisis that confronted the post-colonial Indian state. Nehru believed that maximum autonomy could neutralise sovereignty aspirations but the Naga insistence on independence combined with armed opposition to the Indian state compelled him to send the army and hardened his stance. The non-resolution of the Naga issue made him introspect as to why he was unable to "win them over" and he admitted that he may have erred in his approach. Yet, despite his failure, Nehru's model of dealing with the Nagas has become the standard mode for dealing with minority nationalisms in south Asia.

Mainstreaming Time Use Surveys in National Statistical System in India

Time use surveys are emerging as an important data set at the global level. It is now widely recognised that these data help in understanding the different socio-economic problems faced by economies, and are important, particularly for developing countries, as some of their major concerns can be understood well only through time use statistics. The pilot time use survey, conducted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in 1998-99, has paved the way for mainstreaming this survey in our national statistical system. This paper discusses why and how the process started in 1998-99 needs to be carried forward.

Exclusionary Urbanisation in Asia: A Macro Overview

Studies on internal migration are constrained by the fact that no international organisation systematically collects or tabulates even the basic demographic information on internal migration in a cross-sectionally and temporally comparable manner. Researchers have surprisingly concluded that internal migration within Asian countries is high and increasing over time. This alarmist perspective could be attributed to the projection of urban population made by the Population Division of the United Nations and other national and international agencies. This has guided governments of several countries, leading to measures to control inflow of people for security concerns or to reduce pressure on limited amenities in the destination regions. In this context, the paper examines the proposition that rural-urban migration has accelerated over the recent decades in the Asian countries, particularly during the 1990s, incorporating the history, social fabric and political environment in the explanatory framework.

Through the Magnifying Glass: Women's Work and Labour Force Participation in Urban Delhi

A study conducted in urban Delhi through a household survey between September and November 2006 estimates a greater female workforce participation rate than recorded in the National Sample Survey. It indicates undercounting and reflects the informality that surrounds women's work. This paper seeks to explore the nature of women's workforce participation and attempts to identify key factors influencing women's decision to work, the type of work they do, the constraints they face, and the perceived benefits and costs of engaging in paid work outside the home. In doing so, issues surrounding the methodology and underestimation of women's work within the urban context are also tackled. The study also suggests the need to understand the familial and household context within which labour market decisions are made. The role of family and kinship structures to determine women's work-life choices emerge as an important area for further study.

Playing with Numbers: Critical Evaluation of Quantitative Assessments of South Asian Regional Integration

Quantification of gains and losses of South Asian Regional Integration has become a visible contribution to the literature on South Asian trade policy. Two main empirical techniques - the gravity model and the computable general equilibrium model - have been used in the growing number of empirical studies, which have generated numbers related to very large welfare gains and a three or four times increase in intra-regional trade. In this paper, I critically evaluate such quantitative studies by comparing and contrasting the results systematically. The evaluation demonstrates that there is considerable uncertainty about the reliability of empirical assessments. The diversity of the results suggests that these studies are not capable of convincing policymakers and negotiators about the impact of preferential trading within the region. Therefore, repeating similar exercises is not worthwhile without improving the reliability of empirical analysis by addressing the limitations of previous studies.

Political Architecture of India's Technology System for Solar Energy

This essay makes a case for embedding the analysis of institutions for technological change in an understanding of the politics of markets. In turn, this needs knowledge of institutions and of their relations. The first stage that is needed to explain the retarded development of apparently appropriate solar energy technology in India is developed; and the implications for technology theory, analysis and policy are outlined. India's technology system was created precociously early to facilitate research and development. Technology is available. It is not obstructed by intellectual property rights so much as by the structure of domestic energy subsidies and support measures, the risk aversion of banks and the coordination failures of the system of market- and state-institutions for renewable energy technology. As a result, the state is seriously hampered from acting in the long-term public interest. In general, policy reform may require institutional destruction as well as creation, adaptation and persistence.

Writing 'Realism' in Bombay Cinema: Tracing the Figure of the 'Urdu Writer' through Khoya Khoya Chand

In the years following independence, Bombay's popular films sought to create a unified, seamless nation where ruptures like Partition were made invisible and the hero figure remained Hindu and upper caste. Realism remained at the margins of this celluloid text since it did not fit this dominant discourse. Urdu writers, many of them Muslims, who were often part of the leftist progressive writers' movement, questioned these seamless narratives. This paper tries to reopen the history of realism in Bombay's popular cinema by exploring the role of the Urdu writer of this period by engaging with a recent film, Khoya Khoya Chand and its protagonist who appears to have been moulded on Saadat Hasan Manto.

Regional Sources of Growth Acceleration in India

Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were the major contributors to the growth acceleration in India after 1991-92. Although regional disparity may increase temporarily, the causality test provides support to the hypothesis about spread effects. The regional growth targets assigned by the Eleventh Plan in India seem to rely on the spread effects of economic growth acceleration in the better-off states to achieve its 9% growth target and reduce regional disparity in the long run. To strengthen the spread effects, the domestic economy should be further integrated and interlinked with free flow of goods, services and factors of production.

Is India Becoming More Innovative since 1991? Some Disquieting Features

India is variously described as a knowledge-based economy in the making, thanks essentially due to her high economic growth and the role played by knowledge-intensive sectors such as information technology in spurring and maintaining this growth performance. This paper looks at the empirical evidence on whether this is indeed the case since the reform process began in 1991. A variety of conventional indicators are analysed and their movements over the last two decades or so are charted to draw some firm conclusions. The results show that instances of innovation are restricted to a few areas such as the pharmaceutical industry. Further, increasingly most of the innovations in industry are contributed by foreign firms operating in the country.

Rethinking India's Coal-Power Technology Trajectory

The key challenges faced by the coal-power sector in India - significantly enhancing generation to meet the needs of a growing economy and to increase energy access while looking ahead at the climate mitigation issue - require a rethink of the country's coal-power technology trajectory. An explicitly "bifurcated" technology strategy, wherein using imported coal with high-efficiency global technologies (adapted to Indian operating conditions), will serve as a complement to the existing pathway of adapting such technologies for Indian coals. A successful deal between Annex I countries and India for increase in coal imports and expanding technological options may set a model for constructive North-South collaboration on climate change.

Does Not India Need a Default Option in the New Pension System?

Pension reform modules that take care of the changing demographic profile of a population have put forth a number of suggestions. The accepted defined benefit pension system, which was the broader goal of a welfare state, is slowly giving way to the defined contribution system where risk is borne by the final beneficiaries. This paper, bringing out the many shortcomings of the New Pension System in India, examines the need to include the default option in the scheme. The default option is a necessity to make the dc system more acceptable and successful. A number of countries have this option but not India. A model portfolio is also proposed.

Michael Madhusudan Datta and the Marxist Understanding of the Real Renaissance in Bengal

Michael Madhusudan Datta who began writing in Bengali, when he realised the "impossibility of being European", was not, in fact, ahead of his time, but very much of it. Madhusudan had, till 1940, been feted by middle class Bengalis across the spectrum as a legendary poet. However, the brilliant aura around him began to be muddied by critics whose modernist provenance was an even more powerful impulse than the Marxist. This paper recontextualises strategies of reading and representation, which change historically in response to evolving and shifting cultural paradigms. It shows how readings of a particular writer or a period are orchestrated through a multiplicity of exchanges in politically charged situations. It neither redeems Madhusudan nor resurrects the idea of the Bengal Renaissance.

A Climate Agreement beyond 2012

As the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol comes to a close in 2012, the world faces another decision point at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen in December. It is clear that total world emissions of greenhouse gases need to decrease sometime during the coming decade, and fall sharply thereafter, if we are to avoid disastrous and irreversible climate change. While industrialised countries generally emit much more per capita than developing countries, some of the latter have per capita emissions approaching the world average. This paper proposes that these advanced developing countries take on commitments to limit future emissions increase to improvements in the gross domestic product or, better yet, the Human Development Index, noting that some countries have achieved much more emission-efficient development than others. Recognising differences in the accuracy of greenhouse gas emissions accounting, we propose separate treatment for energy-related co2 emissions, forestry, agriculture, and fluorinated gases.

Holistic Engineering and Hydro-Diplomacy in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin

The worldwide paradigm shift in river basin management has not affected policymakers in south Asia. Hydro-diplomacy in the Ganges-Brahmaputra- Meghna basin is still based on reductionist engineering, and looks at marginal economic benefits, without showing any concern for the long-run implications for livelihoods and ecosystem. The governments in the river basin are already facing the challenge of extreme poverty, despite the countries experiencing high levels of precipitation. This paper discusses the lacunae of the reductionist engineering paradigm, and stresses the need for a holistic framework in ecological engineering and for hydro-diplomacy in the basin. This framework is based on a new transdisciplinary knowledge base created by the emerging science of eco-hydrology, economics, and new institutional theories.

Civil Society in Conflict Cities

A vibrant civil society is one of the essential preconditions of democracy, but it can fulfil its mandate only when the preconditions for its existence have been met. This demands shared engagement in political struggle and social interaction in shared neighbourhoods. This paper seeks explanations for the failure of civil society in Ahmedabad, which has experienced many riots in the past, to raise a collective voice of protest against deliberate acts of violence by the State, and also in battling undemocratic groups within its own sphere. A historical exploration of the segmentation of residential spaces in the city and its subsequent intensification has led to a weakening of the scope of civil society engagement. However, the translation of prejudice, discrimination and communal sentiments into brutal acts of violence demanded a trigger - provided by the Sangh parivar, which came to command state politics since the mid-1990s, and has rendered the civil society helpless.

Examining the Decoupling Hypothesis for India

This paper examines the decoupling hypothesis for India. It analyses business cycle synchronisation between India and a set of industrial economies, particularly the United States, over the period 1992 to 2008. The evidence suggests that the Indian business cycle exhibits increasing co-movement with business cycles in industrial economies over this period. Indian business cycle synchronisation is stronger with industrial countries as a whole as opposed to the co-movement found with the us.

Coal Mining and Rural Livelihoods: Case of the Ib Valley Coalfield, Orissa

This study analyses the diverse positive and negative impacts that coal mining has on the livelihoods of local communities of the Ib valley coalfield in Orissa. Using the sustainable livelihoods framework, it shows that coal mining, which is a form of physical capital, contributes to the enhancement of financial capital. It has a mixed impact on physical and social capital and a negative impact on human and natural capital. In this situation while the benefits seem to be for the short term, the costs are borne over the long run.

D D Kosambi: The Historian as Writer

This essay looks at D D Kosambi as a historian steeped in things literary, and the ways in which Kosambi's literary sensibility influenced the subjects, the structure, and the character of his history writing. Why should a reader who is interested in Indian writing in English read Kosambi? What would he find in his writings that he is unlikely to find in the historical writings of his contemporaries? How do his narratives reveal his interests, whose range extended far beyond the narrow specialisation of "Ancient India"? How did Marxism develop and hinder his insights and his writings? These are some questions that the essay tries to answer. It examines Kosambi's work and life together. Many elements of Kosambi's life figure in his historical works, and help in giving material substance to his writings.

Women Workers and Perceptions of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which entitles rural households to 100 days of casual employment on public works at the statutory minimum wage, contains special provisions to ensure full participation of women. This paper, based on fieldwork in six states in 2008, examines the socio-economic consequences of the nrega for women workers. In spite of the drawbacks in the implementation of the legislation, significant benefits have already started accruing to women through better access to local employment, at minimum wages, with relatively decent and safe work conditions. The paper also discusses barriers to women's participation.

Changing Contours of Capital Flows to India

The Indian experience with capital flows during the period 1950s to the first decade of this century reveals a paradigm shift from a prolonged period of capital scarcity to one of surplus, however characterised by a volatile pattern of inflows. The key structural aspects include a significant shift from official to private capital flows and from debt to non-debt flows. Non-resident Indian deposits show considerable sensitivity to interest and exchange rate fluctuations. The corporate preference for overseas borrowings is predominantly influenced by domestic activity; but the persistence of interest rate arbitrage and global credit market shocks also have a significant impact. Foreign institutional investment inflows and stock prices have a bidirectional causal relationship with a time varying nature of the stock price volatility. Volatile capital flows rather than trade flows seem to drive real exchange rate movements with consequences for the real economy.

How Much 'Carbon Space' Do We Have? Physical Constraints on India's Climate Policy and Its Implications

It is necessary to determine the role of various nations, including India, China and the other major developing countries in keeping the total atmospheric stock of greenhouse gases below 450 ppm (carbon dioxide equivalent) which, in turn, would provide a 50% probability of keeping the global temperature increase below 2°c. An analysis of future emissions of co2 in Annex I countries, large developing nations and other nations is done using a gams-based emission model. This analysis underlines sharply the historical responsibility of the developed nations for global warming and their duty to cut emissions drastically to mitigate climate change. Also large developing nations like China and India also need to contribute strongly to mitigation. It is argued that this necessity makes evident that carbon offsets will act as "double burden" on developing nations, as also a major disincentive to innovation in critical migration technologies in the industrialised world. The analysis implies that India needs an alternative climate policy that recognises proactive action for climate change mitigation while ensuring that the developed nations do not pass on their burden to the global South, which would otherwise seriously

Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises: The Case of BSNL

A missing element in the reform process in India is the restructuring of the incumbent state-controlled monopoly operator prior to or simultaneously with the opening up of the sector to competition. This places the state-owned operator at a serious disadvantage relative to competitors. This has been the case with Air India/ Indian Airlines with adverse consequences. This paper argues that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited/Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited may be headed in the same direction. The restructuring of the state-owned enterprises must begin at the top with a complete reorientation of the corporate governance mechanism which establishes the relationship between the government and the enterprise. With the growth of private operators in these sectors the state-owned enterprises are no longer of strategic importance to the government for sector development or providing "universal service". To the extent privatisation is not feasible or desirable at least in the short run, the corporate governance mechanism should be designed around the objective of growth and efficiency as in the case of private enterprises.

Kerala's Education System: From Inclusion to Exclusion?

The paper examines the recent shifts in Kerala's education system from an inclusive to an exclusive one. The pendulum seems to be swinging from one extreme to the other, from a highly subsidised and a largely state-sponsored and state-supported system to a mostly self-financing system, a euphemism for a student-financed commercial system. This paper examines the economic, social and political forces that led to this shift, almost tectonic in scale. It also examines the long-term consequences of such a shift to Kerala's economy and society.

Disability Law in India: Paradigm Shift or Evolving Discourse?

The inclusion of disability as a subject matter of law and policy is a relatively recent development in India. An analysis of some landmark judgments delivered by the appellate courts between 1996 and 2007 under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act highlights the central characteristics of disability jurisprudence. This analysis provides an insight into the violations faced by persons with disabilities and the nature of litigation coming under the disability laws. It draws attention to the changing understandings of the notions of disability and personhood in society.

Amchya Jalmachi Chittarkatha (The Bioscope of Our Lives): Who Is My Ally?

This paper questions the commonly-held view by mainstream feminists and some dalit men that dalit women are somehow more "liberated" than high caste women. I argue that dalit women also face patriarchal oppression, though it has a specific quality. Under such circumstances, who is a dalit woman's ally? The essay focuses on the penumbra of debilitating circumstances, which call for a further understanding of the particular context of dalit femininity and oppressed sexuality.

Shooting the Sun: A Study of Death and Protest in Manipur

Contemporary Manipur is often treated by scholars as a war zone and a state under siege. But that situation cannot be understood only by alluding to the militarisation of Manipur or by viewing it as a struggle among ethnic groups over resources. The power to let live and take life defines sovereignty not only for the state but also for insurgent groups aspiring for statehood. An analysis of Manipur's present condition should not deny intelligibility to the social life of the people. It is necessary to understand how people deal with the multiple forms in which death visits them every so often and how they try to exorcise the violence in their midst.

Deepening Health Insecurity in India: Evidence from National Sample Surveys since 1980s

Drawing on evidence from the past morbidity and health surveys (1986-87 to 2004) and consumer expenditure surveys (1993-94 to 2004-05) of the National Sample Survey Organisation, this paper argues that public provisions of healthcare in India has dwindled to new lows. Outpatient and hospitalisation care in India in the past 20 years has declined drastically, leading to the emergence of private care players in a predominant way. While healthcare costs have shot up manifold in private provisioning, government health facilities are increasingly compelling patients to look for private outlets for procuring drugs and diagnostics. Due to these developments, millions of households are incurring catastrophic payments and are being pushed below poverty lines every year.

A Conspicuous Absence: Teaching and Research on India in Pakistan

A detailed survey in Pakistan of social science research and teaching on India shows that there is a conspicuous silence on India in Pakistan's research and teaching institutions. The little research that is done is skewed in favour of strategic and defence studies. Even books and research emanating from India are not part of the curricula. Among the reasons for this dismal state are constraints of ideology, politics, state paranoia and lack of infrastructure. This absence of research and teaching on India also reflects the generally poor state of social sciences in Pakistan. The article ends by questioning the lack of social science interest in India on Pakistan.

China and India: Idiosyncratic Paths to High Growth

If the Chinese economy had failed, mainstream economics would have described this as completely predictable, given the extent and nature of involvement of the Chinese state in the functioning of markets and the economy. The fact that China has succeeded therefore should lead us to question our textbook doctrines of development. Much of this paper is presented as a comparative study of India, China and, briefly, other Asian nations. It is shown that the mainsprings of development in these nations are widely different, even though their trajectories of growth are converging. The paper argues that social and political priming plays a major role in determining which economic policies will work. In the case of China, while the liberalisation from 1978 onwards was important, the social preconditioning achieved during the high-noon of the Maoist period, up to 1978, was no less significant. In judging the sustainability of growth in Asia it is essential to keep these social and political factors in mind.

Phenomenology of Untouchability

This paper explores the philosophical foundations of untouchability through an analysis of the phenomenology of "touch". The sense of touch is unique in many ways; one such is the essential relation between touch and "untouch". Drawing on both Indian and western traditions, the paper begins by analysing the meaning of touch and then goes on to explore some meanings of "untouchable". It then concludes by pointing out the importance of untouchability within the brahmin tradition and attempts to understand the process of supplementation which makes untouchability a positive virtue for the brahmins and a negative fact for the dalits.

Archaeology of Untouchability

Untouchability as a dynamic reality is bound to produce experience which is always in excess of its description. Hence, the available description is often inadequate to capture the totality of the meaning of the experience. To capture the full experience of untouchability, one requires to invoke other perspectives and methods. This paper argues that at the moment there could be two such frameworks - the philosophical and the archaeological - that could open to us much richer and nuanced meanings of the phenomenon of untouchability.

Persistence of Fiscal Irresponsibility: Looking Deeper into Provisions of the FRBM Act

While the 2009-10 budget was branded as a lacklustre budget, there seems to be near consensus that it rightly pushed aside the issue of fiscal rules, as growth is the top-most priority at this moment and all else can follow. This paper argues that even if we were to accept this position, the direction and structure of expenditures since the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act has been far from "responsible" even when macro caps were being met. The structure of expenditure allocations in the 2009-10 budget appears to be inadequate for a "fiscal stimulus". The time is thus opportune to chalk out a set of "Second Generation Fiscal Rules", which will address the inadequacies that have surfaced during the four-year experience with fiscal rules at the central government level. Prioritising these second generation rules - thus following the gradualist approach - and strengthening enforcement via greater power to the Comptroller and Auditor General, which could play the role of a Fiscal Council, would facilitate greater success of the new rules.

Climate Crisis? The Politics of Emergency Framing

Groups opposing climate change have been springing up in many countries, constituting a climate change movement. Several writers and movement leaders argue that climate change is an emergency that requires urgent action by governments to bring the problem under control. However, framing climate change as an emergency has several potential disadvantages. It may implicitly prioritise climate change over other important social issues. It can orient the movement towards government-led solutions rather than build popular support for long-term efforts. Finally, emergency framing may be counterproductive: it can disempower citizens because the problem seems too big, whereas providing practical opportunities for action is a better long-term approach.