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'Match-fixing in Hyderabad'

In matchmaking, the traditional conditionalities such as caste, sub-caste and horoscope compatibility continue with the same fervour. However, newer, equally stringent conditions are getting superimposed such as educational preferences and of living or working in the US. This paper shows how the educational and migratory aspirations of a young, mobile generation have given rise to newer behavioural patterns that pulsate in matrimonial alliances. By examining the profiles of Telugu brahmin brides and grooms, we explore the meanings of a new, coded vocabulary that has come into vogue to communicate partner preferences and the nuances therein. Through this we try to decipher the changes taking place in the matrimonial space of present-day India.

Feminist Vocabularies in Time and Space

This paper situates the trajectories of feminism and women's rights in a history of thought spanning the 19th century to the present. It offers an alternate mode of engagement with the perceived problem of the dependency of the "East" on "Western" epistemologies and theories. Allowing for power-laden relationships between places and peoples, it argues that attention should focus on the modes in which concepts are made to work and provide insight, rather than on their "purity" in relation to an ascribed point of origin. This is demonstrated through the three epistemes that have broadly characterised the "women's question" in a comparative frame - the colonial, the national and the post-national. Feminism in India is thus mobilised for generating conceptual frames that are good to think with, whether within the nation or beyond.

The Dissolution of 'United' Andhra Pradesh

This paper explores the political economy of growth and distribution in Andhra Pradesh by dividing the period since 1956 (when the state was formed) into four different regimes. AP has transformed from an agriculture-based economy at the time of its formation to a service-sector based economy today. A political economy narrative of the process is described with focus on three important cleavages - class, caste and region. It is argued that there has been a crisis for both the idea and materiality of AP for a while that has now led to an imminent dissolution of the "united state". The development of a particular variety of capitalism in AP has happened through the successful wearing down of two major radical mobilisations (during the 1930s-50s and 1970s-90s) and through a counter-radical episode of primitive accumulation that began in the 1980s which continues till today.

Small Hydropower Development in Himachal Pradesh

This article tries to understand Himachal Pradesh's experience with promoting privatised small hydropower development. Based on field research conducted in 2012 on all completed small hydropower projects in the state, it examines the implementation of Himachal Pradesh's small hydropower policy and highlights the local social and environmental impacts of small hydropower development. The vast majority of small hydropower projects have generated unmitigated negative effects; employment generation, while significant, is mostly temporary, and uncompensated deaths from construction-related accidents are especially worrying. Insights from this study provide the basis for proposing concrete steps that together could help small run-of-the-river hydropower projects realise their purported, but not realised, benefits.

Gender Wage Discrimination across Social and Religious Groups in India

This paper focuses on gender wage discrimination across different social and religious groups by addressing the fact that the observed productivity differences between women and men are not only responsible for the huge gender wage gap in India, but for the same levels of productivity, women have been paid lower wages than men. Gender discrimination, superimposed on caste and religious discrimination, accentuates the social exclusion of women belonging to certain castes and religions. We try to reveal how the incidence of the gender pay gap among different religious and social groups changed during the first decade of economic reforms. The presence of substantial wage differentials between men and women workers in the Indian labour market cannot be explained simply by the gender gap of human capital. Discrimination was more severe for women workers in the backward ethnic groups as compared to other women workers.

Revival of Rural Public Distribution System

This paper quantifies the improvements in the public distribution system in rural India after 2004-05 using data from three rounds of surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey. It finds that Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh continue to be the leading performers, but early movers such as Odisha saw improvements in the functioning of the PDS between 2004-05 and 2009-10. In late movers such as Bihar and Jharkhand, improvement was evident between 2009-10 and 2011-12. The paper also estimates a seemingly unrelated regression model to quantify changes in the shares of consumption from the market, the PDS and home produce across states over the three rounds. The share of the PDS as a source of rice and wheat has increased over time, suggesting an improvement in its outreach.

Impact of Colonial Anthropology on Identity Politics and Conflicts in Assam

The assertion of ethnocentric identity by different groups or communities in heterogeneous Assam demands that one look back at the genesis of such a situation. The present ethnocentric crisis in Assam is so volatile that most of the "tribes" have already rejected the proposal to become part of an "Assamese" identity. One finds that colonial ethnography and anthropological approaches in postcolonial Assam play a very crucial role in the present unresolved crisis.

Disappearing Strands of Historicity

This paper critically looks at the 2012-13 Kochi-Muziris Biennale and a few important exhibits against the background of the controversies they created. In order to problematise the biennale's ideology of cosmopolitanism, through which the organisers tried to surpass the existing institutions of art and democracy, this essay dwells upon the issues of spectatorship and the discursivity of art practices. It argues that there is a shift away from the principles of dissent and radical egalitarianism in the course of contemporary Indian art and that the biennale is an exemplary case of this turn.

Reforming Rural Drinking Water Schemes

This paper analyses the ground-level impact of the national rural drinking water policy in Maharashtra. It observes that compared to what is reflected in the national rural drinking water programme database, the drinking water coverage status is poorer on the ground and scheme failures are more widespread. The case studies show that the causes of scheme failures have largely remained unchanged in spite of the changes in policy regimes. Poor capacity and expertise of state agencies are the main cause of poor outcomes and improving them will require infusion of new knowledge and practices. National policy can assist state agencies by creating avenues for educational and research institutions to work with the latter in various monitoring, evaluation, design and validation roles.

Asiatic Mode of Production, Caste and the Indian Left

The study of Marxism in India has consciously underestimated Karl Marx's concept of the "Asiatic mode of production" which has led it to a number of errors. The place of casteism in the larger matrix of the "Asiatic mode of production" can only be understood if the Eurocentric reasoning and the search for a fictitious "Indian feudalism" are avoided. This would also end the consequent illusory search for the transition from feudalism to capitalism, which has rendered the project of socialism in India to be a mirage.

Refinancing West Bengal

With a debt burden at around 37% of the state gross domestic product, which is almost twice the average of other states, West Bengal's finances are in a precarious situation. The primary reason for this is the state's inability to realise its own revenue potential - West Bengal's own tax revenue to state domestic product ratio is the lowest among all Indian states. The state also uses borrowings to finance its non-plan expenditure. The state government now wants the centre to restructure its debt and suspend its interest payments for three years. Analysing different scenarios, this paper evaluates whether such a relief package is necessary, or even the best way of avoiding a debt trap.

Appointment of Arbitrators by the Designate under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act: A Critique

Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 provides for appointment of arbitrators by the Chief Justice on failure of party-agreed procedure or the lack of consensus between the parties regarding the arbitrator. Numerous applications are filed every year in the Supreme Court and the high courts for appointment of arbitrators. This paper argues that (1) the judiciary has virtually created a monopoly by institutionalising appointment of retired judges as arbitrators; (2) courts have eliminated competition from other potentially capable professionals for appointment as arbitrators; and (3) there is lack of transparency in the process of appointment of arbitrators. Information to gauge the level of transparency in the appointment process has been obtained from 10 high courts and the Supreme Court through the Right to Information Act, 2005.


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