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Workers of Alang-Sosiya

A detailed analysis of the working and living conditions at the Alang-Sosiya ship-breaking yard raises several questions about the Gujarat model of development. This paper aims to identify the major challenges in implementing rules for the protection and improvement of workers' rights at the micro level through an in-depth analysis of ship-breaking workers at Alang-Sosiya, and suggests measures to ensure the effective implementation of workers' rights in hazardous industries.

Boom and Bust?

India's post-reform growth experience can be separated into three distinct growth episodes. The first growth episode was from 1993 to 2002 and was characterised by a set of predictable informal relationships ("ordered deals") between political and economic elites, which were relatively open as well. The second episode was from 2002 to 2010, and deals in this period became increasingly closed, leading to negative feedback effects along with structural retrogression of the economy. The third episode, beginning in 2011, was one of an incipient growth deceleration, and was characterised by increasingly disordered deals. This paper argues that this deceleration is the outcome of two separate phenomena: (1) increasing political delegitimation of the growth process that was seen as highly predatory and corruption-intensive; and (2) the pushback from accountability institutions in the post-2010 period. For growth to return, more than economic reforms or infrastructure spending, it is necessary for a realignment of the relationships between political and economic elites and between elites and non-elites such that there is a return to "open ordered deals".

Changes in Transmission Channels of Monetary Policy in India

The introduction of the Liquidity Adjustment Facility as an operating procedure for monetary policy in the post-reform period is a landmark event for monetary policy. This paper finds a structural break in the post-reform period corresponding to the introduction of LAF in 2000. Using Vector Auto Regression techniques on monthly data from April 1993 to March 2012, the paper also assesses the changing importance of various transmission channels of monetary policy in the pre-LAF and post-LAF periods. It is found that the bank lending channel remains an important means of transmission of monetary policy in India, but it has weakened in the post-LAF period. The interest rate and asset price channels have become stronger and the exchange rate channel, although weak, shows a mild improvement in the post-LAF period.

Emergence of India as the World Leader in Computer and Information Services

The paper analyses the changing leadership in computer and information services exports in the world. Leadership, measured in terms of export shares, appears to have moved from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany to Ireland and then to India. India has been trying to maintain her leadership through improvements in technological capability and in the process has also become a base for multinationals to set up operations. These multinationals have been increasing their innovative ctivities in India as revealed through increased patenting, and domestic Indian enterprises have followed, although very slowly, in improving their technological capability. Two conclusions can be drawn. Leadership in CIS is basically a function of the availability of highly trained software engineers. But the sustainability of leadership depends on whether the industry is domestic or foreign owned. The paper analyses the changing leadership in computer and information services exports in the world. Leadership, measured in terms of export shares, appears to have moved from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany to Ireland and then to India. India has been trying to maintain her leadership through improvements in technological capability and in the process has also become a base for multinationals to set up operations. These multinationals have been increasing their innovative activities in India as revealed through increased patenting, and domestic Indian enterprises have followed, although very slowly, in improving their technological capability. Two conclusions can be drawn. Leadership in CIS is basically a function of the availability of highly trained software engineers. But the sustainability of leadership depends on whether the industry is domestic or foreign owned.

Negative Returns of Ambivalence

Social movements that succeed in mobilising the masses subsequently attempt to institutionalise themselves. Moving from the domain of civil society into the realm of state politics, the leadership can change its goals and transformative priorities. This paper examines what happened to the farmers' movement (Shetkari Sanghatana) in Maharashtra between 1980 and 2014, especially after it decided to enter electoral politics and set up its own Swatantra Bharat Party. Probing its electoral performance, the paper tries to find out what happened to the mass movement, and explains why the farmers' movement that succeeded in mass mobilisation failed to convert mass support into electoral votes.

Responding to Sexual Violence

This paper is based on the results of establishing a comprehensive health-sector response to sexual violence. Eliminating existing forensic biases to rape and the neglect of healthcare needs of survivors, the model uses gender-sensitive protocol for medico-legal documentation of sexual violence, which focuses on informed consent, documentation of the nature of sexual violence, and collection of relevant forensic evidence. It uses standard treatment guidelines for the provision of treatment, and ensures psychosocial support to the survivor. The results indicate that a sensitive response by health professionals can play a crucial role in healing from sexual abuse.

From Margins to Mainstream?

In 2009, the Government of India requested states to develop State Action Plans on Climate Change. Based on a detailed analysis of five state climate plans, this article finds that climate plans provide an important institutional platform to mainstream concerns of environmental sustainability into development planning but fail to update ideas of sustainability to include climate resilience. There are shortcomings in approach, process, formulation of outcomes, and implementation efforts. These shortcomings are united by a common thread - a tendency to prematurely view state climate plans as vehicles for generating implementable actions rather than an opportunity to redirect development towards climate resilience. However, if state plans are viewed as the beginning of a complex process of updating sustainable development planning rather than as an end in themselves, they provide a foundation upon which climate concerns can be more effectively mainstreamed in local development planning.

Has Microfinance Lost Its Moral Compass?

This paper argues that microfinance in south Asia, like mainstream finance in North America and Europe, "has lost its moral compass". Microfinance institutions have increasingly focused on financial performance and have neglected their declared social mission of poverty reduction and empowerment. Loan officers in the field are under enormous pressure to achieve individual financial targets and now routinely mistreat clients, especially poor women. The values of neo-liberal mainstream finance in the rich world have spread to microcredit in the villages of Bangladesh and India. This situation is hidden from western publics who are fed the lie of "the magic of microfinance" by their media, guided by the needs and interests of mainstream finance seeking to provide some "good news" about the financial sector as scandal after scandal unfold. Urgent action is needed, particularly from the leaders of the microfinance industry, to refocus their organisations and workforce on achieving both financial and social performance targets.

Measuring Progress towards Universal Health Coverage

This paper proposes an approach to periodically measure the extent of progress towards universal health coverage using a set of indicators that captures the essence of the factors to be considered in moving towards universalisation. It presents the rationale for the approach and demonstrates its use, based on a primary household survey carried out at the district level. Discussing the strengths and limitations of the approach, it points to how these measures could be further refined. The effort is to find a method of measurement that will apply to any of the alternative ways of progressing towards universal health coverage, however defined and implemented.

Masculine Spaces

In rural north India, there are thriving and exclusive all-male spaces in the villages which play an important role in constructing gender identities. These extend from the home to the public domain. Reserved and used almost exclusively by the male population, these are spaces where the power and legitimacy of masculinity are displayed and cemented and where men are at a distinct advantage in terms of deployment of power. Masculinisation of space means an access to and control over resources of various kinds - material, sociocultural, political and ideological. Signifying both the symbolic and the material dimension of male power, these spaces validate men's control at home, in the village, community, and wider society while asserting the caste and class hierarchies which are under attack in post-Independence India. Circulating ideals of gendered separateness, they make the presence of males and the absence of females seem "natural". This masculinisation of spaces goes totally unacknowledged and unchallenged even by those most affected. It has merited little comment, discussion or condemnation from any quarter.

Crisis in Female Employment

This paper, based on NSS employment and unemployment data for various rounds since 1999-2000, highlights the trends and patterns of inclusion and exclusion in female employment across social groups. It provides evidence of increasing social inequalities in female employment, alongside worsening gender-based segregations. It also shows how specific attention to social and cultural variables could overturn standard assumptions regarding women's employment, which indeed has relevance for more general discussions on employment in the country.

"Who Says We Do Not Work?"

Sex workers' organisations have argued against trafficking and see it not only as a human rights violation, but also as a threat to their own work and credibility. Often the debate is couched in terms of anti-trafficking lobbying/campaigns. The debate needs to be framed differently. Equating trafficking with sex work does a great disservice to both sex workers and to anti-trafficking campaigns, and only ends up infantilising women. The most powerful weapon to deny sex work the status of work is that of stigma. Stigmatising sex work has ensured keeping sex workers out of the legitimate political space and sections of the left and the women's movement seem to have acquiesced in that.

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