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

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Inter-Sectoral Water Allocation and Conflicts

The law and policy frameworks for allocation or reallocation of water to different uses, or within a category of use, remain underdeveloped in India. This paper intends providing a starting point for a conversation on the law and policy dimensions of inter-sectoral water allocation. Focusing on a specific inter-sectoral water allocation conflict in Rajsamand District, Rajasthan, it illustrates gaps in the existing law and policy frameworks and highlights multiple issues that need to be addressed. It argues that the law must go beyond just prioritising water uses and water allocation to understand the issue in a comprehensive manner.

Long on Announcements, Short on Intent

The first full-year budget of the National Democratic Alliance government announced a sharp focus on investment, growth and social security. In addition, Budget 2015-16 claims to have given a boost to cooperative federalism. The budget indeed makes numerous impressive-sounding announcements, but stumbles in the details. This article focuses on the attention-grabbing push for investments and finds that the target of Rs 70,000 crore investment may be over-ambitious. As far as devolution of funds to states is concerned, the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission have been diluted and the states may find themselves short-changed.

Corporate Capitalism in the Name of Social Security

The many schemes that have been announced in the name of social security are limited in scope and the quantum of security they prefer. The promotional schemes will also be linked to the market and will benefit the insurance companies. In the meanwhile, basic social security programmes are either ignored or provided limited funding

Finance Commission's Recommendations and Restructured Fiscal Space

Since it is neither feasible nor desirable to reduce central grants to the states equivalent to the increase in tax devolution, the award of the Fourteenth Finance Commission is certainly not revenue neutral for the union government. But the larger question is not of arithmetic but of a shift in policy towards greater fiscal autonomy to the states by ensuring more than 70% of the fund flow through the Finance Commission route and also preserving the fiscal space for the union for its own functions. It is about getting expenditure priorities right at each level of government.

Corporate Taxes and Exemptions

In the Budget Speech the finance minister announced a phased reduction in the rate of corporate tax alongside a removal of exemptions. What is likely to be the differential impact on large and small companies, those reporting large profi ts and those recording small profits? Will this be an opportunity to address concerns which make firms seek exemptions? That apart, Budget 2015-16 has announced a bunch of more incentives and concessions.

Gold Monetisation Scheme for India

Currently India is the largest consumer and importer of gold in the world. Monetising the gold within the country is, therefore, important for macroeconomic stability, and requires a credible scheme for valuing, storing, and tracking the metal.

Peeling the Onion

Afghanistan's hope that market-driven agriculture will ensure its economic transformation demonstrates a wilful disregard of the links between the economic and political marketplaces in the country, and the pervasive rent-seeking practices of informal and formal power holders. This paper, based on a study of the onion markets in Nangarhar, a south-eastern province, reports on how an agricultural commodity market works in practice, and the ways in which social relationships regulate access to it. It is not access to credit and market information that constrains growth, as aid agencies seem to believe, but the practices of a trade elite that largely operates on informal credit and relationships of trust based on close personal networks.

Making Pickles during a Ceasefire

Development projects in the North East are packaged as economic interventions to improve the lives of people, but are detached from militarised ground realities. These initiatives to rebuild post-conflict societies mainly focus on training entrepreneurs and promoting livelihood schemes while overlooking how violence has transformed the very foundation of these societies. Generalising from the example of a workshop on food preservation in Nagaland that had no participants, this paper points out that governance should be rooted in the political and social history of a place - it should not be categorised as a time-bound crisis management project.

Myanmar: Conflicts over Land in a Time of Transition

Secure and just land tenure, and sound management of land and natural resources are crucial to easing conflicts between farmers, the State, and extractive industries. This paper underlines that Myanmar cannot hope to achieve inclusive social and economic development without a just and comprehensive framework that protects the land rights of small farmers, ethnic minorities, and the poor. A lack of participation and transparency in land management, coupled with legal and institutional weaknesses that work in favour of big capital rather than small farmers and the rural poor, poses a major challenge to the country's social and economic reform programme.

Contradictions of the Sri Lankan State

The policies of the Sri Lankan state since the late 1970s have seen a widening gap between its neo-liberal foundations and its attempts to claim popular legitimacy, and this structure of politics seems set to persist. This paper argues that the tension between neo-liberalism and populism is articulated in the disparity between the island's urban and rural areas, and vice versa. This defines contradictory aspects of the Sri Lankan state as we understand its appeal to different constituencies, both the new urban middle classes and increasingly impoverished small farmers. Instead of looking at how neo-liberalism deploys populism to garner mass support, the study examines the messy consequences of the ways in which populism attempts to manage the effects of neo-liberalism, manifest primarily in the increasing immiseration of the masses.

The Reintegration of Maoist Ex-Combatants in Nepal

In Nepal, a decade-long insurgency, led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) continued till 2006, claimed more than 13,000 lives, and displaced thousands of people. Arguing that Nepal has moved forward in reintegrating its former combatants, this paper points out that this is a task that many other countries have failed to carry out successfully. It demonstrates that the country's approach to reintegration was unique and unorthodox, but, in some ways, effective. Nevertheless, there were problems and some of them persist, especially to do with social reintegration, in particular, gender and caste relations. The process of reintegration is far from complete, given that the former combatants left their cantonments only in 2012.

War, Conflict and Development

These articles on the challenges of development in post-war or post-conflict societies offer an opportunity to engage critically with the issue from a viewpoint that embraces politically contextualised and non-paradigmatic approaches to war and conflict. At the same time, they underline the importance of exceeding it to enable the recovery of other political, economic and social problematics. Such an approach is a necessary first step in reimagining dominant approaches to development in the context of war and transitions and setting really transformative agendas.

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