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Old-Age Pension Scheme in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh

A survey of the functioning of the National Old-Age Pension Scheme in two districts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh reveals that beneficiaries have difficulties in accessing the banking system and face inordinate delays in receiving their meagre pensions. Yet, the scheme functions as an important provider of social security to the elderly. The findings suggest that a reasonable increase in the amount of the pension and streamlining the delivery mechanism would significantly help reduce old-age vulnerabilities in the two states.

Politics of Terror: The Mecca Masjid Blast Case

This article looks at the way the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case in Hyderabad was dealt with by the state, and the way the investigations, trials as well as the political discourse surrounding it have unfolded. It locates the legal and non-legal proceedings in the case within the "war on terror" that is being fought in Hyderabad. All legal documents like first information reports and trial proceedings as well as non-legal documents like fact-finding reports and reports in the media have been used for the study. The article is also based on interviews with some of the accused, the lawyers who defended them, as well as civil rights workers who worked on the case.

Reinvention of Communal Identities and Implications for Democracy

This paper places communal identities in the context of representative politics in India's plural democracy. It seeks to understand how social groups become politicised entities and what the implications are for democracy. It also attempts to move beyond the conception of community-based identity to encompass the multiplicity of identities that emerged in the past few decades and began to alter political agendas.

Politics of Linguistic, Cultural Recovery and Reassertion

This paper is a study of the particular challenges posed by the speakers of dominated or submerged mother tongues to the hegemony of the officially recognised Hindi language in North India. It deals with the subversion of Hindi language in the cow-belt through the medium of cinema, particularly popular Bhojpuri cinema, which is also linked to the processes of internal migration and formation of identity. It does so by analysing two popular Bhojpuri films - Deshdrohi and Ek Bihari Sau Pe Bhari.

The Multiple Displacements of Mangalore Special Economic Zone

This paper analyses three different types of displacement - social, cultural and economic - in the lives of three women and their families which have been affected by the creation of the Mangalore special economic zone. Conceptualising the displacements in rhythmic terms, it first details the subversion of progressive land reforms and the reassertion of caste-based oppression, followed by the clash between the dharma of the spirits of the land and the neo-liberal dharma of capitalistic development. Finally, it looks at life in a resettlement colony where families that have been uprooted from the agricultural production cycle are closed off from the urban life they are expected to adopt.

A Comparison of Victim-Reported and Police-Recorded Crime in India

The principal source of crime statistics in India are police records. It is reasonable to expect that these understate the prevalence of crime, since victims may choose not to report crime to the police, and when they do, police may choose not to record crime. In this article, police-recorded crime is compared with victim-reported crime and an estimate of the magnitude of under-recording is developed. Even if understated, police statistics could still be informative of crime patterns if regions with high victim-reported crime also have high police-recorded crime. This article explores whether victim-reported crime is a predictor of police-recorded crime and finds that police records do contain valuable information about actual crime.

Marginal Occupations and Modernising Cities

On 29 October 2009, the Supreme Court of India passed a judgment ordering the final closure of the 95-year-old Idgah abattoir in Delhi. The abattoir was shifted to a mechanised modern plant in the eastern fringes of the city. Using the issue of relocation and modernisation as a starting point, this essay addresses the impact of planning and transformation of urban spaces on traditional and marginal occupations. Located in a multi-sited ethnography of the working lives of people in the meat sector, it emphasises the complexities of understanding an entangled reality. Butchers live and work in an intricate web of social, spatial and occupational relations. Hence, spatial and technologicalrelocation is not only about losing skill sets and livelihoods. It challenges the very access to labour and uproots people from social and emotional spaces critical for stigmatised and marginal occupations who draw strength and support from familiar landscapes.

Stereotypical Occupational Segregation and Gender Inequality

This paper attempts to distinguish "trust in cooperation" and "trust in ability" with respect to gender in an experimental trust game. "Trust in ability" with respect to gender is explored in the context of hands-on mechanical ability where females are stereotypically believed to be inefficient. Such stereotypes govern, directly or indirectly, women's access to education and employment, resulting in occupational segregation of the labour market. All this further intensifies gender inequality. We observed higher probability of exhibiting stereotype among men and women paired with other women, despite a statistically insignificant gender gap in actual mechanical performances. This indicates that "trust in ability" can be governed by such stereotypes and affect economic outcomes. We seek causes of the prevalence of gender stereotype in evolutionary psychology. We also describe the demotivating psychological process women suffered from, due to endorsement of such stereotypes by society.

Strange Defeat

Macroeconomics in the United States today appears to be a site of intense controversy between supporters of more aggressive stimulus measures and supporters of austerity. These policy debates, while important, tend to obscure the strong methodological and theoretical consensus in the economics profession today. All major schools of mainstream macroeconomics are committed to a vision of the economy in which rational agents choose the optimal path over time, and in which any sources of instability are fully offset by a benevolent central bank, at least in normal times. These core intellectual commitments of modern economics have contributed to the weakness of efforts to reduce unemployment in the US and Europe. This paper first describes the intellectual failure of the most prominent arguments for austerity, and then argues that the deeper consensus in macroeconomics has nonetheless made it difficult to make consistent arguments for sustained deficit spending or for making lower unemployment a high priority relative to other macroeconomic goals.

Stairway to Death

This article explores the non-medical causes of maternal deaths to understand if these deaths could have been prevented with timely care. It is based on a study of maternal deaths in two blocks of Godda district of Jharkhand over a period of one year. These deaths were concentrated among young women from poor, marginalised households. Delays at different levels owing to improper and multiple referrals by facilities, absence of easily accessible and quality emergency obstetric care, lack of transport facilities and high out-of-pocket expenditure seem to be the main non-medical factors for the high maternal mortality rate.

Missing Labour or Consistent "De-Feminisation"?

"Missing labour force in India" - the recent fluctuations in the labour participation of women - is probably due to short-term shifts in activities responding to favourable economic conditions. Such fluctuations need to be placed in the context of a structural change in labour participation wherein the share of women in the labour force as well as labour participation rate of women has been declining for the last quarter of a century. Upward social mobility in Indian patriarchal society in the wake of growing incomes is probably symbolised by women's withdrawal from paid labour and their confinement to unpaid domestic activities. Even under such adverse conditions employment growth of women is not stagnant. Those who do enter and remain in the labour market are women from the most vulnerable households, as marginalised informal paid labour, thus feminising the most precarious forms of labour in the country.

India's Comprehensive Trade Agreements

India's recent overlapping comprehensive trade agreements, which combine accelerated goods trade liberalisation with deeper and wider liberalisation in agriculture, "investment" and services, have wide ramifications on her development despite the extent of liberalisation that the country has undertaken over the last two decades. It is argued that the growing trade deficit and the changed nature of recent foreign direct investment inflows already throw up industrial policy and financial regulatory challenges before India for developing dynamic competitiveness and reducing financial fragility in the economy. The investment provisions in the recent comprehensive trade agreements compound the dissonance between India's development needs and industrial and macroeconomic policies by putting World Trade Organisation-plus constraints on the country's regulatory ability.

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