ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Design of Regulatory Institutions

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was first created by promulgating an ordinance; it was also restructured using the ordinance route. Reluctance of the executive branch to establish a truly independent regulator is palpable in the statute governing the telecom regulator. While this had adverse impacts on both the substance and structure of regulation in the sector, this paper examines specifically the nature of institutional design of TRAI in Chapter II of the TRAI Act, 1997, and the inefficiencies inherent in the structural imbalance between regulator and licensor.

Forest Rights Act

This paper, based on an empirical study in Chhattisgarh and Gujarat, attempts to examine the land and livelihood facets of forest dependent people following the claims made by them under the Forest Rights Act. It also touches upon factors influencing livelihoods such as source of irrigation, crop yield, forest produce collection, and livestock holdings to examine the respondents' socio-economic conditions. The findings revealed that the land received by the beneficiaries was very meagre in proportion to what they claimed. Besides, the study once again reiterates that forest cover was not disturbed as feared by those opposing this Act simply because no new land in the forest was given to the claimants. The land in fact was just recognised legally with the help of documents as proof that they have been occupants for long or at least from 2005 onwards. However, for those who got legal recognition over their land, it has boosted their confidence. They now feel the real ownership of their plots which led to investing in their lands without any fear about secure livelihoods.

India's Failed Transition to a Gold Currency in the 1860s

Recent historical research on the emergence of the classical gold standard tends to omit India's failed attempt at moving to a gold currency in the 1860s. Though this was extensively deliberated upon in contemporary studies and in the works of the late 19th and early 20th century economists and historians, it finds almost no mention in the more recent debate. Revisiting this episode from history, this paper aims to draw attention anew to the important role India played in the evolution of the world monetary system.

Forty Years After

Even as one of the most distinctive aspects of the Great Railway Strike of 1974 was the autonomy of the rank and file, the significance of the struggle had much to do with the nature of the times. The country was in the midst of a general political crisis; even sections of the peasantry were in revolt. Despite these favourable circumstances, and the expression of solidarity from the industrial working class, the National Coordination Committee for Railwaymen's Struggle was not resolute and decisive enough, as much as the situation demanded, and in this respect it failed the rank and file. In the absence of a political vanguard, the uprising was left without a determined subject.

Karpoori Thakur: A Socialist Leader in the Hindi Belt

Born in a poor Nai (barber) family, Karpoori Thakur, a committed socialist, played an important role in politics of Bihar for more than four decades between the 1950s and 1980s. He introduced controversial policies of reservation (the "Karpoori Thakur Formula") and on language and employment, when he was chief minister of Bihar twice and deputy chief minister once during the 1970s. His political career passed through three phases: in the first he enjoyed support from most caste groups, in the second he got identified as a leader of the Other Backward Classes, in the third he was in search of a support base, especially among the most backward classes, dalits and the poor, as a section of the dominant OBCs had turned away from him. The politics of Bihar since the 1990s cannot be delinked from the legacy of Karpoori Thakur.

Assessing Bihar's Coupon-Based PDS

The public distribution system remains the bedrock of India's food security system and the Food Security Act (2013) has only increased its importance. At the same time, the PDS administration has been subject to reform, change and experimentation. States have been experimenting ways to reduce leakages and maladministration. Since 2007, Bihar has used coupons to administer the PDS in order to curb leakages at the fair price shops. How effective has this reform been? Drawing on a primary survey of 350 households from 10 villages in a western district of Bihar, this article suggests that while the coupon system is a potentially effective operational reform, setting the PDS right requires reforms that take into consideration the local politics of resources and rights.

Industrial Conflict in India in the Post-Reform Period

The processes of liberalisation, globalisation, and privatisation were expected to weaken the bargaining power of workers vis-à-vis employers and lead to a reduction in the number and frequency of industrial conflicts. However, the reform measures were in some cases successfully opposed by trade unions, and in some cases they also led to aggressive labour market practices by employers. This has resulted in tensions, work stoppages, and even violence. Even unorganised workers have participated in these agitations in a big way. This paper examines the features of industrial conflict using both official data and qualitative information as official statistics do not adequately capture the variety and dynamics of industrial conflicts.

Returning to the Histories of the Late 19th and Early 20th Century Immigration

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a period of globalisation when migration controls were put in place. As at present, then too, control of migrant labour was not the concern of governments alone. Employers, recruitment agents, labour brokers in sending and receiving countries, lawyers, courts, training institutes, moneylenders and other credit agencies, smugglers and a wide variety of intermediaries sought to gain from the transnational flow of workers. If the earlier period of globalisation marked by industrial capitalism called for massive supply of labour forming its underbelly, the present globalisation marked by unprecedented financialisation of capital and other resources calls for similar supply of labour forming the underbelly of the beast today.

Has Globalisation Flattened the Phillips Curve?

This paper seeks, theoretically as well as empirically, to argue that one of the most important effects of globalisation has been on the working class of the advanced capitalist countries. While the workers in the South have always had a vulnerable position due to their weak bargaining position, the process of globalisation has weakened the working class of the North as their incomes get tethered to their comrades in the South. The reserve armies of labour cannot anymore be considered just "national", they should instead be seen as part of a "global" reserve army of labour.

Growth, Structural Change and Wage Rates in Rural India

Examining the structural transformation in India and its developed states to know whether they have passed the Lewis turning point, this paper finds that there was slow structural change in labour markets at the national level. But states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are on the verge of the Lewis turning point with faster non-farm sector growth, high per capita income, urbanisation, higher agricultural labour productivity, and higher wage rates. On the other hand, states with rapid economic growth such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra have lower wage rates and higher rural poverty. But they too have the potential to pass the Lewis turning point if structural change occurs soon.

The Audacity of Method

The dominant theories, methods or epistemologies in sociological or social anthropological work, or even in the wider human sciences, seem inadequate. In response to that challenge, and written from the “South” with due recognition of the cognitive injustices of knowledge production, this article proposes that hemispheric or other binaries need to be laid to rest. Instead, it attempts to see how encounters among a diversity of locations, expressive lives and experiences connect in messy, non-hierarchical, uncharted but resonant and associative ways, such that they insist on destabilising dominant concept or modes of theorising. The article attempts a politics which liberates straitjacketed epistemologies (like binaries) that stifle attempts at knowing or in articulating knowledges. Illustrations, broadly following a “politics of life”, are discussed to propose an alternate, inclusive and cognitively ethical mode of theorising.

The Audacity of Method

The dominant theories, methods or epistemologies in sociological or social anthropological work, or even in the wider human sciences, seem inadequate. In response to that challenge, and written from the “South” with due recognition of the cognitive injustices of knowledge production, this article proposes that hemispheric or other binaries need to be laid to rest. Instead, it attempts to see how encounters among a diversity of locations, expressive lives and experiences connect in messy, non-hierarchical, uncharted but resonant and associative ways, such that they insist on destabilising dominant concept or modes of theorising. The article attempts a politics which liberates straitjacketed epistemologies (like binaries) that stifle attempts at knowing or in articulating knowledges. Illustrations, broadly following a “politics of life”, are discussed to propose an alternate, inclusive and cognitively ethical mode of theorising.

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