ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Punjab Politics

Punjab's political dynamics is characterised by a spectrum within which there is a movement from contesting identities resulting in confrontations to these identities, through mutual accommodations and forging coalitions. It is not a linear process; it also faces reversals back to confrontations, and then moves forward again to coalitions. The identities of religion, nation, language, class and caste have been particularly at play in this dynamic arena of Punjab politics.

Sustainability Crisis

In recent years, Punjab is attempting to move towards a more sustainable development trajectory, with a leading role in the bioenergy sector. This is a response to the deep sustainability crisis in the state, as a result of green revolution-based agrarian development strategy. This article attempts a critical evaluation of these bioenergy imperatives through a stakeholder perspective to analyse how far green energy can provide a sustainable energy future for the state.

Casteism amongst Punjabis in Britain

Despite clear evidence of caste-based discrimination, harassment and victimisation, Punjabis in Britain stand divided on identifying with the victims of casteism. In the context of legislative, religious and academic contestations on caste discrimination in Britain, this article argues for acknowledging casteism where it exists.

Evaluation of SAD–BJP Government (2007–17)

Regarding the performance of the Shiromani Akali Dal–Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government since February 2007, available trends suggest that there exists a gap between the claims made by the government and the actual work done. The perceptions of the people, based on empirical evidence and ground-level reality, suggest tough times ahead for the ruling alliance.

Economic Reforms and Manufacturing Sector Growth

Manufacturing output grew 7%–8% annually since 1991, with a marked improvement in the variety and quality of goods produced. Yet, its share in gross domestic product has practically stagnated, with a sharp rise in import intensity. Liberal (or market-friendly) policies were expected to boost labour intensive exports and industrial growth. Why did the manufacturing sector fail to realise these goals? It is widely believed that India needs to “complete” the reform agenda to realise its potential. Critically examining such a view, it is suggested that the long-term constraints on industrialisation perhaps lie in poor agricultural productivity and inadequate public infrastructure. Further, there is a need to re-imagine the role of the development state to realise goals, as the experience of all successful industrialising nations suggests.

Markets, Growth and Social Opportunity

Since 1991, there has been an acceleration of economic growth accompanied by a widening of the range of consumer goods produced, together with improvement in the quality of services available. Furthermore, the economy has passed through the longest period since 1947 without facing balance-of-payments stress. However, not all sectors of the economy have shown the same dynamism, with the performance of agriculture actually becoming a cause for concern. The unequal distribution of social opportunity has meant that this shortcoming has left a significant section of the population in a low-income trap. What underlies this outcome is examined and what is needed to correct the imbalance is proposed.

Economic Liberalisation in India

Even if adjustment and reform in 1991 were driven by economic compulsions, it was the political process that made these possible. However, liberalisation was shaped largely by the economic problems of the government rather than by the economic priorities of the people or by long-term development objectives. Thus, there were limitations in conception and design which have been subsequently validated by experience. Jobless growth, persistent poverty and rising inequality have mounted as problems since economic liberalisation began. And, 25 years later, four quiet crises confront the economy, in agriculture, infrastructure, industrialisation and education as constraints on the country’s future prospects. These problems must be resolved if economic growth has to be sustained and transformed into meaningful development. In this quest, India needs a developmental state for its market economy to improve the living conditions of her people.

‘Fiscal Federalism’ in India since 1991

The “reforms” in 1991 laid out a new trajectory in which federalism was dichotomised into two parts—political and fiscal. The fiscal was privileged and used to undermine the political. Fiscal federalism in India since 1991 rests on the contradictions generated by the theoretical infirmities of the sound finance paradigm along with a concerted undermining of federal provisions. This political drive is in keeping with the agenda since 1991, eroding the relative autonomy of the state to turn it into a facilitator of a macroeconomic expansion process in which the wage–surplus distribution becomes more and more favourable to capital.

The Demand for Division of Uttar Pradesh and Its Implications

Significant interregional development disparities plaguing Uttar Pradesh today are often attributed to its large and unwieldy size. There is a strong prima facie case for the division of the state into smaller units to improve governance and development. But the demand for the state’s division, raised from time to time by all major parties except the Samajwadi Party, has presently receded into the background in the absence of mass support for it from any region. In the political discourse surrounding the 2017 UP assembly elections, it appears unlikely that restructuring of the state into manageable units will emerge as a significant issue.

Identity Equations and Electoral Politics

The changes in landownership pattern, educational mobility, and occupational diversification among socio-religious groups in Uttar Pradesh provide crucial insights into the contemporary nature of political mobilisation in UP. Based on a survey of over 7,000 households, representing all socio-religious groups in 14 districts of the state, the article assesses these changes and points to the disparities between the various groups and, more importantly, to the intra-group inequalities that exist within each group. To effectively mobilise support, political parties will have to look beyond the numbers and recognise the acute differences existing within castes.

The Time of Youth

Drawing on long-term multisite ethnographic fieldwork in Allahabad and Meerut, this article examines how educated unemployed young men, from different socio-economic backgrounds, struggle for employment and engage with politics and religion in the age of neo-liberalism.

Facts and Fiction about How Muslims Vote in India

There is a widely held belief that Muslims in India vote en bloc and strategically to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party. This misconception has given rise to several wild theories about how Muslims participate in electoral arena—that they vote in large numbers, their decision of whom to vote for is influenced by clerics, they are more concerned about religious issues while voting, and are less supportive of India’s political institutions. This article presents a body of evidence using public opinion and election returns data from Uttar Pradesh to show that the political and electoral behaviour of Muslims is no different from that of any other major community in the state.

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