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Rethinking the Surrogacy Bill

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, introduced ostensibly to provide a legal framework for surrogacy in India, is a regressive legislation that seeks to control women’s bodies and reinforces heteronormative notions of what a family is. By limiting surrogacy to “altruistic surrogacy” only, it creates space for women being pressured to bear children for family members. The Rajya Sabha standing committee’s report, having heard a wide cross section of society on this matter, has rightly criticised this bill and called for its redrafting.

Modi’s Chale Jao vs Non-politics of the Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent appeal invoking the spirit of “quit India” is characteristic of his larger politics beyond merely electoral successes. The opposition, in contrast, is clueless about both electoral strategy and the politics to counter the new regime. Given the adverse effects the Modi regime is likely to have on democracy, the opposition’s lack of political instinct is all the more saddening.

Azadi Kooch: Towards a New Grammar of the Dalit Struggle

Non-Dalits in India would have considered July 2017 to be a month of glory for Dalits in general. A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-zealot and Dalit by caste, Ram Nath Kovind became the 14th President of India.

Rethinking India’s Federalism

Addressing the problems in local body governance requires a reimagining of federalism in India and moving away from the centre–state framework. Beholden to partisan politics and the state’s unwillingness to part with powers, local bodies have not been able to fulfil the potential envisaged for them in the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. The answer lies in locating their powers and functions in the Constitution itself.

Debts That Cannot Be Paid Will Not Be

Total global debt has increased, growth has been slowing down since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007 and has been rapidly decelerating after 2012. This may be a sign that the world has arrived at its debt carrying capacity or has even crossed it, meaning that capitalism is probably already insolvent.

One Nation, One Market

The goods and services tax presents several challenges from weak regulatory systems to prevent profiteering, to inadequate long-term provisions for the needs of states. Not much has been said about how this economic policy is also a confluence of neo-liberalism and Hindutva, and assists in the building of a Hindu rashtra.

Locating the Belt and Road in China’s Broader Policy Shifts

The Belt and Road initiative is part of a broader Chinese policy reorientation where its leaders are responding to the challenges and opportunities of a fraying United States–led international order. The B&R was envisaged to gain strategic depth in the inner Asian hinterland to counteract geostrategic pressure from the US–Japan alliance as well as to buy time to reform a highly imbalanced domestic political economy.

Defecting from the Law

The impunity with which legislators in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have ignored the anti-defection law points to certain weaknesses in the processes and norms laid down in it. What is required to remedy this, however, is not just a minor tweak, but a complete overhaul of the way the law works to adequately address the problem of defections by sitting legislators before it overwhelms India’s democracy.

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