ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Contested Religion, Media, and Culture in India

This paper deals with the contested nature of religion, media, and culture in India. Beginning with an analysis of structural functionalist accounts of an unchanging and essentialised Hindu culture, it explores a key rupture-- the cultural politics of the anti-Brahmin movements in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Turning to accounts of mediated Hindu nationalism, which have provided the bulk of writings on contested religion in India, it argues that the lack of a comparative literature on mediations in minority religions remains a major gap. It concludes with an assessment of new writings on the contested nature of media, religion, and culture in relation to Islam and Christianity in India.

Ageing in India

India has low pension coverage, and the pension system is unable to fulfil its purpose. A non-contributory, basic pension can guarantee a regular income in old age to all residents of the country, regardless of earning or occupation. The feasibility of introducing such a pension in India is explored in this paper. It is argued that a properly crafted universal pension scheme will increase the coverage of pension without putting stress on the fisc.

Stated and Unstated Aims of NCERT Social Science Textbooks

Social science textbooks are not and cannot be objective or unbiased. What is included and what is excluded in a textbook indicates the ideology and the aims of the textbooks, whether the aims are stated or unstated. The questions are: Which ideology? Which aims? Some excerpts from the present NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) textbooks indicate unstated aims of facilitating students' conformation and integration into the present social system. This is indicated by the use--and absence--of terms and concepts such as "capitalism" in these textbooks. Apparently the unstated aim is that if capitalism remains un-understood and unanalysed, it may not be questioned, and students will not realise that there is any alternative to capitalism. In the present circumstances, what can a textbook maker who stands on the left do?

Macro Stress Testing of Indian Banking System Focused on the Tails

This paper investigates system-wide macro stress testing for credit risk. This paper uses two multivariate regressions, namely, ordinary least square and quantile regression to establish a stochastic relationship between credit quality indicators such as the non-performing advances ratio or the slippage ratio and macro-variables. This paper confirms that a slowdown in the economy along with a firming-up of the interest rate structure is likely to have an adverse impact on the performance of the banking sector in terms of the slippage ratio.

Draft National Health Policy 2015

This paper contributes to the debate on the Draft National Health Policy 2015 by analysing and critiquing some of its key recommendations within the prevailing social, economic, and political context of the country. This policy seems to suggest that strategic purchasing of curative health services from both the public and private sectors can enable India to achieve the goal of "universal healthcare." The draft policy is based on two assumptions. One, policy interventions since the National Health Policy 2002 have been largely successful and two, there is harmony of purpose between public and private healthcare delivery systems which allows the private sector to be used for achieving public health goals. This article argues that these assumptions are flawed, highlights the various contradictions in the policy and cautions against over-optimism on publicly-financed health insurance schemes.

Estimating Agricultural Productivity in Mysore and South Canara from Buchanan's Journey (1800-01)

In 1800 and 1801 Francis Buchanan conducted one of the first agricultural surveys in the erstwhile Mysore state and its adjoining regions. By subjecting data contained in his survey to rigorous analytical study, estimates of agricultural productivity in terms of per capita grain output for two regions in Southern India; the erstwhile Mysore state and South Canara district can be obtained. Given that reliable estimates of agricultural productivity for the pre-1800 period outside of North-West Europe are relatively sparse, the present study adds to the archive of known estimates of agricultural productivity so as to enable comparative studies of economic performance. Moreover, since agricultural productivity had a direct bearing on the standard of living in medieval and early modern economies, the findings of this paper have important implications for India's position in the Great Divergence debate.

Capitalisation of Nature

Trading in environmental commodities like various forms of "offsets" has started with its questionable premise that any loss or damage to environment at a particular space-time can be offset by a supposedly pro-environmental action in another space-time through the mediation of capital and market. In India, a rather disguised offset process known as compensatory afforestation has taken off under state and judicial patronage quite some time ago. Besides, India also has the strong credential of having hosted a more common form of offset trading in the Clean Development Mechanism. Referring briefly to both but discussing mainly the philosophy and practices of various forms of offset markets in vogue, this article tries to show that this concept is in sync with the evolution of capital and capitalism in history.

Democracy and Identity Politics in India: Is It a Snake or a Rope?

The politics of recognition has dual effects while empowering marginal communities during democratic participation in India. On the one hand, identity politics provides democratic empowerment to a few communities or specific sections of communities, while, on the other, it disempowers people of the same communities who are not yet able to understand the language of democratic state and lag behind in creating group visibility. Thus, identity politics in democracy includes a few and excludes some others, while it is fuelled by tendencies of inclusive exclusion. Through a case study of Chamars in Uttar Pradesh, a low Dalit caste that has now been politically empowered, this paper shows how identity politics alone cannot handle horizontal inequalities among marginal groups.

Fetishism of Hinduism and Its Secret Thereof

With the emergence of right-wing Hindutva forces backed by corporate monopoly capitalists and the media industry, and legitimised by the general culture of liberal democracy, a fresh understanding of fascism in India is necessary. This new understanding of fascism in India links the politics of Hindutva to Hinduism proper and claims that Hindutva, whilst being influenced by European fascism, also emerges from the general contradictions of Hinduism and uses caste-based, alienated social divisions to demonise Muslims and construct its authoritarian politics. The liberals imagine a secular opposition to Hindutva fascism from within the parliamentary system and the established left posits mere economism accompanied by parliamentary tactics. In opposition to them, this essay argues for an "Indian Fanonism" where the radical subaltern critique of Hinduism of B R Ambedkar, helped by Walter Benjamin's critique of culture in the era of late imperialism, takes the role of the Marxist weapons of critique.

Silver Lining in Odisha's Organised Manufacturing Sector

Odisha's industry sector began a phase of high growth in 2002-03. It contributed just 24% to the gross state domestic product in 1980-81, but 38% in 2007-08, before declining to 33% in 2012-13. This paper points out that organised manufacturing, especially in basic metal and alloys, has been the driver of growth in the last decade. The average productivity of labour in organised manufacturing increased during 1981-90, peaked in 1989-90, declined in 1991-2002, and has been rising again from 2002-03. Labour productivity has grown the most in basic metal and alloys, and capital accumulation in paper and paper products. Capital productivity shows a negative trend overall. Total factor productivity fell in manufacturing as a whole and three major sub-sectors, barring basic metal and alloys, and chemical and chemical products.

The Economic Legacies of Colonial Rule in India

The essay reinterprets the British colonial empire in India (the Raj, for short) as a state. Based on that reinterpretation it offers fresh assessments on three issues: how its policies shaped the economy of India, what lessons the postcolonial state drew from history, and the gains and costs of the postcolonial development strategy.

From Policy to Practice

A survey in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh—sstates that have extended social pension coverage beyond "below poverty line" families and increased pension amounts—sprovides a window into the challenges of scaling up such programmes. The survey reveals that increased coverage and higher pension amounts do not render the social pension regressive in its distribution; levels of leakage remain low and tractable. Yet, in practice, the schemes are unable to reach all of their target populations. A major challenge in expanding the pension net lies in ensuring entry for the poor. If pension programmes are to be scaled up, entry needs to be facilitated through stricter monitoring of inclusion errors, proactive identification, enrolment camps or other means.

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