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Other Days, Other Times

T T Vijayaraghavan (TTV), who passed away recently, was a member of the core group of journalists that launched the Economic Times (ET) in 1961. TTV joined the paper as assistant editor and served it with distinction for two decades.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national! Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism, Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive.

B B Bhattacharya (1945–2017)

Barid Baran Bhattacharya, BB to his colleagues and friends, passed away on 14 February 2017. His sad and untimely demise has been painful to those of us who had worked closely with him over the years.

Messages, Mathematics and Silences in BJP’s UP Win

The Bharatiya Janata Party consolidated the support of the “leftover” castes such as the Gujjar, Tyagi, Brahmin, Saini and Kashyap who are not counted in the typical matrix fashioned for years on the basis of the “dominant” groupings like the Jats, Muslims and Dalits. Accompanying the mathematics were a slew of ideas about Muslims and Yadavs as oppressors, and a strategic silence so as to not polarise all Muslim votes to benefit the BSP.

BJP Snatches Victory from Defeat in Manipur

Even if it has scored convincingly in the short run, there is no guarantee that the new government’s problems are over. It will have to keep its own members of legislative assembly happy when a majority of the cabinet ministers are from the smaller parties that are supporting it.

Punjab’s Voters Settle for Change of the Familiar Kind

Winning in Punjab provides the Congress, which is desperately looking for a national revival, the best opportunity. However, the Badals have left Chief Minister Amarinder Singh with empty coffers. He has a strong enough mandate and nothing to lose if he decides to strike out for bold policy reforms that will put Punjab back on the right path. But he needs to make a clean break from the coteries that came to define his first government. As for Aam Aadmi Party, it is now the main opposition in the assembly but it must ponder over why it failed to do as well as it and its opponents, expected.

Carrying on a Dubious Game in Goa?

Once again at the superficial level, Goa seems to be going back to having its politics dominated by the two big national parties. Both have leaders hopping across party lines and who seem well disposed to lobbies ranging from those advocating casinos to destructive strip-mining, especially once they are in power. Neither of these parties seems to be able to go beyond conservative and divisive politics to create a vision for the future of one of India’s most affluent, best educated and outmigration-oriented states.

BRICS and the New Financial Architecture

The BRICS summit held in October 2016 suggested the possible use of local currency in intra-BRICS trade to lower costs. This article extends this idea and proposes a scheme for setting up a clearing account in local currencies of the BRICS countries. It contends that such a step will provide avenues for generating additional demand within the region while cushioning the member countries against shocks from exchange rate volatility.

Is PAC Going beyond Its Remit by Examining Monetary Policy?

In order to assess, analyse and lay responsibility for a policy decision, whether the benefits or losses are immediately felt or not, a multi-institutional process is required. It is the basic foundation of the principles of oversight, accountability and transparency that institutional complementarities would provide a more holistic and exact picture of the implementation of policy and the performance of those responsible for it. In the case of demonetisation, to assess and lay responsibility for the policy’s shortcomings requires such an approach.

Kenneth Joseph Arrow(1921–2017)

In contemporary societies, a pre-eminent position is held by democracy in the political domain and by the market in the economic domain. Kenneth Joseph Arrow’s contributions regarding both democracy and the market are of such fundamental importance that any worthwhile academic discourse would be impossible on either without referring to his works.

Update on Trends in Sex Ratio at Birth in India

With additional data available at more regular intervals on sex ratio at birth, it is easier to track changes without depending on the decennial censuses. However, the diversity of sources also means differences in trends across sources and regions. A brief analysis of the latest available data is presented to identify the most recent trends and concerns in states that need attention, like north-western and eastern states of India.

Employees’ State Insurance Scheme for Domestic Workers

The recent move of the government to extend the Employees’ State Insurance Scheme for domestic workers clearly shows the callousness of the initiative and the non-committal approach of the state to the concerns of domestic workers. For the first time, a discriminatory approach within the ESI scheme to a specific category of workers is noticeable.

 

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