ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Minority Rights versus Caste Claims

Dalit Christians have been agitating for scheduled caste status that will bring them on par with Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist dalits. Why was this claim not made when the Constitution was being framed? An exploration of the Constituent Assembly debates attempts to understand whether Christian castes were discussed and how fundamental religious liberties, which included crucial educational rights, were given importance over caste claims by the elite Christian representatives in the assembly. It draws a distinction between community rights and claims on the state. The implications of the cluster of rights known as "minority rights" are disentangled and the paper argues that the discriminatory clause in the Scheduled Castes Order of 1950 is part of the problem faced by dalit Christians. There is also a clash between the different kinds of entitlements at issue, which must be acknowledged to harmonise the justice of the state with fairness within the community.

Translating Watershed Guidelines on the Ground

While learning from the successes of Andhra Pradesh in implementing national watershed development programmes, this paper argues that national-level guidelines must provide incentives to state government machinery and allow for some context-specific modifications in order to achieve the larger goal of effective localised water management. The government needs to move away from a purely technocratic top-down approach to a more flexible and innovative implementation of policy.

Pawns In, Patrons Still Out

It is necessary to initiate a discussion on Hindutva terrorism which has managed to keep itself largely out of the spotlight. Even with the availability of evidence spread over the entire country and over many years, it remains unacknowledged in the public discourse. Given this situation, we are still unsure as to how it will unfold itself in the future and should remain worried over the fact that despite gaining visibility, the whole phenomenon of Hindutva terror has not yet evoked commensurate response from the state as well as what is popularly known as civil society. Yes, pawns have been caught, actual planters of bombs and explosives have been apprehended, cases have been filed; but the real masterminds of Hindutva terror remain free. Revised

Private Investment in Education

This article presents empirical evidence on educational investments by members of different castes and religion using household-level, cross-sectional data from West Bengal. It finds that scheduled caste households invest significantly less than other households in private coaching of children, even after controlling for all available socio-economic background variables. This result is posited to arise from two possible sources: from cultural factors and from positive discriminative practices. The article develops an empirical strategy to determine which type of factor is more significant and finds that cultural factors are more likely than positive discriminative practices to be the source of the lower spending.

Evaluating the Social Orientation of the Integrated Child Development Services Programme

Examining who the beneficiaries are of the Integrated Child Development Services programme, an spect that has been neglected, this paper presents econometric estimates regarding the relative strength of personal and household circumstances in determining the likelihood of utilising the programme's services. These estimates suggest that inter-group differences in utilisation rates have less to do with characteristics and much more to do with group identity. The paper also suggests a trade-off between quality and utilisation by hypothesising that the poor quality of services leads upper-caste mothers to exit the ICDS market and seek these services elsewhere.

Social Security Legislation in India

In this, the concluding part of her article, the author discusses the built-in weaknesses of the Employees State Insurance Scheme in India, and compares its operation with that of similar schemes abroad. Her conclusion is that the Indian scheme is eclectic only in its incorporation of those aspects of the foreign schemes which are least beneficial to labour.

Spatial Distribution of Public Services within States in India

Equitable distribution of public services with a local spatial reach poses a challenge where fiscal resource limitations permit universal coverage only as an eventual target. In a federal structure, where the allocation of local public services is devolved to subnational governments, the allocation pattern itself could vary between jurisdictions. This paper investigates the locational pattern of public service delivery points within states in India, using data from the Census Village Directory. Policy directions emerge from the empirical results.

Rabindranath Tagore and the Human Condition

It is only when we grasp Rabindranath Tagore's ceaseless quest for connectivity and creativity that we can understand, however imperfectly, how he could be at one and the same time intensely secular and profoundly religious, punctilious in his public performance, yet able to portray the nonconformist in so many ways, traditional in the bedrock of his knowledge and some of his philosophical perspectives and yet more modernist than most Indian litterateurs and artists of his century and ours.

Political Economy of India's Tertiary Education

Privatisation of tertiary education in liberalising India has taken place in the presence of a centralised regulatory regime. This phenomenon does not conform to explanations that understand privatisation as a direct consequence of withdrawal of the state from higher education and challenges the idea that liberalisation has minimal impact on state funding of higher education. This article seeks to understand the phenomenon through a comparative analysis of the tertiary education sector in pre- and post-liberalisation Karnataka which turned into a site of patronage and social management. Privatisation became the means by which the regulatory state placated powerful local groups which stood to lose from the reform process.

Social Security Legislation in India

In the first part of this article, which appeared last week, the author examined the working of the Employees' Provident Fund Scheme which, together with the Employees' State Insurance Scheme, constitutes the core of social security in India.

Changing Voting Patterns in Rural West Bengal

This paper uses two successive rounds of voter surveys in rural West Bengal in a household panel to find reasons for the recent decline in the Left Front's political popularity. It does not find evidence of any significant role of changes in voter age distribution, media exposure, private benefits received from development and welfare programmes administered by local governments, or the vote-generating effectiveness of such programmes. A more important role was played by voter dissatisfaction with local leaders on corruption and lack of involvement in the provision of education services, and with non-local leaders on attitudes towards women, the poor, and local communities.


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