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

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‘It Has to Be Done Only at Night’

India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy and its flagship programme, the Swachh Bharat Mission, strongly recommend mechanical technologies for safe faecal sludge management. But, how do septic tank cleaners live and work, and why are their practices not “safe”? An evening spent in observation of their work and in conversation with cleaners and truck drivers in Bengaluru is recounted.

Reviewing the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015

The National Democratic Alliance government released an early draft of a bill attempting to codify the statutes dealing with industrial relations, that is, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders)Act, 1946. The Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, is one of the three labour codes the government is working on to consolidate all the important labour legislation. It is important to analyse the text of the 2015 bill when the ruling party’s own affiliate, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, protests against the proposed bill.

Reflections on Kalyan Sanyal’s Rethinking Capitalist Development

This article is based on a lecture delivered by the author to celebrate Kalyan Sanyal’s memory. It draws upon an email exchange between them on Sanyal’s book Rethinking Capitalist Development. It also dwells on the important issues that Sanyal raised with particular reference to India.

Speaking Truth to Power

A fellow economist reminisces about the personality traits and contributions of Ashok Mitra, a towering intellectual of his time, thereby revealing his powerful and multifaceted persona.

Cambridge Analytica and the Political Economy of Persuasion

Where do the financial interests of social media platforms and advertising firms align with the interests of political actors? Where might these interests conflict with constitutional values? What technologies aid such interests and why might these justify being thought of differently from similar conflicts offline? Part of this debate tends to overstate the impact of technological architecture on public opinion. As we approach the 2019 general elections in India, a framework to regulate political advertising and data privacy has become most urgent.

Is the Special Category Status Really Dead?

Though the Fourteenth Finance Commission report gives an impression that the special category status given to some states has de facto been abolished, the reality is that the benefi ts enjoyed by these states remain well protected. The biggest flaw of the special category mechanism is that the benefits flow in perpetuity without any accountability or performance monitoring of the states. This has made them overwhelmingly dependent on central funding. It is therefore imperative to bring in more accountability into the mechanism of such liberal transfer of funds and their end use.

Justice Rajindar Sachar (1923–2018)

Justice Rajindar Sachar was a man of unshakeable integrity. His erudition, humility, and warmth captivated everyone who came into contact with him. The report of the high level committee he chaired, which popularly came to be called the Sachar Committee, made him a household name throughout India. Till the very end of his life, he was deeply concerned about public matters, especially those that affected Muslim minorities.

Tamil Nadu’s Summer of Discontent

Not a day passes in Tamil Nadu without a protest by common people. In fact, some protests have been going on for months. Why is Tamil Nadu in ferment? Why are more and more people hitting the streets in anger? It is all because of a general distrust of the central government and the popular media. The people’s agitations crossed a certain line in the case of the demand to stop the Indian Premier League matches being played in Chennai, thus creating a divide in Tamil Nadu.

Renaissance Man

A tribute by a close friend and associate of Ashok Mitra reveals the academician, politician, columnist, littérateur, and the affectionate friend he was. Having an equal flair for academia and policymaking, the notable economist and inimitable columnist was also perfectly at home in the world of arts and letters

A Life of Rare Richness

A fellow economist and friend looks back at Ashok Mitra's intellectual contributions and the wide range of his experiences, associations, and interests.

Death in the Midst of Plenty

There remain misconceptions regarding farmer suicides. There is a need to set right these erroneous ideas based on scientific studies that have been conducted seeking to devise solutions to address the prevailing crisis of the peasantry in Punjab.

Last Lap of the Karnataka Elections

Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah faces no severe criticism for his tenure, but there are constituents of Karnataka that are unhappy with the incumbent government. Sections of the Lingayats firmly back the Bharatiya Janata Party in parts of central and northern Karnataka, which challenges the Congress’s prospects of a second term. The Janata Dal (Secular) is also a force to reckon with in south Karnataka. However, overall, the contest will probably be a close one, primarily between the Congress and the BJP.

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