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Coastal Ballads and Conservation Ironic

The gap which is created due to state failure in acting as a custodian of "environmental resources" has placed the judiciary in a powerful position and given it colossal freedom while interpreting the coastal zone regulations. This has weakened the spirit of law and reduced the scope and effectiveness of regular administrative agencies expected to implement the law and conservation requirements. This paper highlights that any wavering in implementing the coastal regulation zone law will make areas in the vicinity of waterbodies vulnerable to disasters.


This paper examines a long-running debate over Marathi shuddhalekhan, or orthography. Efforts to standardise spelling conventions for Marathi words began in the colonial period and continued through the 1950s. In 1962, the new state of Maharashtra authorised a set of rules for public use. Critics of these revised rules persist, keeping the debate perennial in the public sphere. This paper locates these orthographic debates within colonial-era transformations in Marathi print culture and grammar, and examines the idea of the social and the popular within grammar discourse to examine how and why orthography became a persistent, and controversial issue within Marathi language reform. It explores how seemingly trivial questions at first glance of vowel signs and dots gradually emerge as part of larger ones about literacy, historicity, community and the public sphere.

Eliminating Poverty in Bihar

A close examination of Bihar's recent growth experience reveals several paradoxes. These are paradoxes only with reference to certain orthodox positions widely held in development economics. Resolving these paradoxes helps formulate a more incisive understanding of what bottlenecks lie in the way of eliminating poverty in Bihar and opens the way for working out solutions to the problem.

Kerala Migration Study 2014

Ever since the Centre for Development Studies started its research on Gulf migration through what has now come to be known as the Kerala Migration Study, emigration from Kerala has been on the increase. The number of emigrants from Kerala according to the KMS 2014 is larger than what was estimated in the 2011 study. Kerala's economy is largely sustained by the emigrants' remittances. This article looks at the impact of migration on Kerala's economy and society.

Regulation of Doctors and Private Hospitals in India

The issue of regulation of doctors and private hospitals is one that is increasingly becoming important for the citizen. The attempts by professional medical associations to scuttle the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act of 2010 is the context for this essay on the issues that afflict the provision of private healthcare. After a critical discussion of all the major issues, the essay outlines what needs to be done to prevent and address the malpractices and abuses that are widely prevalent in the country.

Was Gandhi a Racist?

This is a chronological account of Gandhi's writings with a view to assess whether or not his outlook towards African blacks can be considered racist. This article also attempts to understand the immediate context in which Gandhi makes his comments on black Africans and argues that the absence of such an understanding might lead to a dubious or inappropriate conclusion.

The Quintile Income Statistic, Money-metric Poverty, and Disequalising Growth in India: 1983 to 2011-12

On the record of poverty and growth in India over the last 30 or so years, the general scholarly view seems to be that there have been substantial declines in money-metric poverty and that the growth in per capita consumption expenditure has not been marked by any discernible evidence of non-inclusiveness. It is argued in this paper that inferences of this nature are largely a consequence of the particular approaches to the measurement of poverty and inclusiveness that have been generally adopted in the literature. Alternative, and arguably more plausible, protocols of measurement suggest a picture of money-metric deprivation and growing disparity in India which shares little in common with received wisdom on the subject.

Small Farms in a Fertile Tract

From late colonial rent reliefs and agricultural researches to the recent land acquisition bill and the "second green revolution," Indian agriculture has seen several transitions. This paper tracks detailed quantitative and qualitative evidence on long-term shifts in agricultural practices, yields and land relations in Dhantala, a village in western Uttar Pradesh, from the 1930s to 2012. This is done with the help of family and kutcherry records, elders' recall and surveys as well as the interviews conducted personally in three revisits since 1989. This study combines anthropological and oral history methods to reconstruct agrarian change. Located in a well-irrigated, fertile tract and having experienced land redistribution prior to economic liberalisation, this village helps in grasping the limits and scope of agricultural growth in a predominantly small and marginal farm structure supported by favourable soil.

The Space of Street-side Religiosity

There are two competing theorisations of street-side religiosity in India. One is process-centric; the other is event-centric. While the former approach conceptualises artefacts such as street-side shrines as offering resistance to the dominant ideological spaces, the latter seeks to understand the "event" of their construction and demolition within the "multiple modernities" framework. However, both the approaches take an instrumental view of these shrines. This view is reinforced by dualisms such as modernity and religiosity, local and global, space and place. These shrines co-construct and constitute an interconnected, open-ended, autonomous space. This space is shaped by practices and does not exist prior to the identities. Both space and identities are perennially under construction. The autonomy of the space is derived from its contingent nature.

Continuing the Forest Conservation Debate

The National Mission for a Green India proposal, released under the aegis of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, is a significant attempt to integrate the mechanism of ecosystem services in the overall framework of forest conservation in India. It suggests a series of strategies for improving the quality of forests and proposes reforms for strengthening joint forest management. This paper discusses the likely impact of these reforms on current forest use practice. It does so by analysing the various provisions of the mission and how they support or contradict ongoing forest uses. It also explores whether the institutional reforms proposed in the Green India Mission have adequately addressed the current limitations of JFM.

Religion, Caste and Conversion

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the two amendments of 1956 and 1990 posit a direct correlation between religion and caste. Only a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist, according to these acts, can be a member of a Scheduled Caste; caste thus is assumed to exist and survive only within the specified religious communities. This assumption has been a source of litigations often involving those Christian converts and their descendants whose membership of a Scheduled Caste was disputed on account of a change in their religion. The Supreme Court had upheld the assumption that the presence of caste was contingent on religion. However, its understanding of the relationship of caste with religion in the subsequent decades witnessed major shifts. The influence of this new understanding was reflected in its recent judgments when it adjudicated on the pleas of those descendants who were trying to recover the membership of castes which their ancestors had seemingly lost following their conversion to Christianity.

Role of Private Sector in Medical Education and Human Resource Development for Health in India

This paper examines the growth and regional spread of medical education in India, particularly in the private sector. An important feature of the considerable growth of medical education, especially after the 1990s, has been the setting up of numerous private medical colleges in the country. Interestingly, this growth has occurred primarily in the more developed states with better health outcomes, while the low-income states with poor health indicators have lagged behind. This unequal distribution of medical colleges has had an impact on the availability of medical services and has resulted in regional differences in access to doctors in the country.


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