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‘Timepass’ Development

​Significant empirical gaps between the technocratic discourse and the grass-roots experiences of technology are exemplified by the growing usage of social and digital media in rural areas where Information and Communications Technologies for Development and e-governance pilot projects have failed to meet their goals. Based on an ethnographic study of information and communication technologies in two villages of Rajasthan, the paper aims to situate social and digital media in the complex rural society and media ecology using co-constructivist approaches. Focusing on context-sensitive meaning-making of icts, the paper seeks to contribute to an empirically sound discourse on media, technology and rural society in India.

On the Importance of Triangulating Data Sets to Examine Indians on the Move

A chapter dedicated to migration in the Economic Survey 2016–17 signals the willingness on the part of Indian policymakers to address the linkages between migration, labour markets, and economic development. This paper attempts to take forward this discussion. We comment on the salient mobility trends in India gleaned from existing data sets, and then compare and critique estimates of the Economic Survey with traditional data sets. After highlighting the data and resultant knowledge gaps, the article comments on the possibility of using innovative data sources and methods to understand migration and human mobility. It also offers ideas on how an enhanced understanding of mobility is important for policy interventions for those individuals who change locations permanently and those who move seasonally.

Kayasthas of Bengal

A study of the legendary migration of five Brahmins, accompanied by five Kayasthas, from Kannauj in North India to Bengal to form an elite subgroup in the caste hierarchy of Bengal, combines genetic analysis with a reappraisal of historical and genealogical works. This combination of historical and genetic analysis creates a new research tool for assessing the evolution of social identities through migration across regions, and points to the potential for interdisciplinary research that combines the humanities and genetic science.

Efficiency of Healthcare Sector in Bihar

In this article, we focus on the efficiency of the healthcare system at the district level for Bihar. Although relatively an economically and socially disadvantaged state, the infant mortality rate in Bihar is very close to the all-India average. We explore the reasons for the differential performance of different districts by using data envelopment analysis. The efficiency rankings from our results indicate a mix of inefficiency, inadequacy of inputs, and the presence of an optimal targeting of funds under the National Rural Health Mission to low-performing districts.

Use of Technology in Engineering Education

Using the functions of an innovations systems approach, the use of the satellite and the Internet in engineering education is compared, by analysing the experience of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s distance education network and the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning. Theiit Bombay network was unable to provide connectivity quickly enough for rapidly growing demand.nptel has been able to cater to the huge demand for quality content. A policy intervention that aims to use technology for better delivery of services should keep in focus the capabilities of the actors involved, and strive for mechanisms based on the opportunities and incentives of these actors.

Deploying the Power of Social Protection to Improve Nutrition

The nutritional status of women and children in India continues to be poor. In this paper, we discuss how three major flagship social protection government programmes—the Targeted Public Distribution System, the Mid-day Meal Scheme, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act—can be made more nutrition sensitive. We discuss three potential approaches to making these programmes deliver better nutrition outcomes. These are strengthening governance and operations so that the programmes achieve their basic goals of improving food security and poverty; integrating nutrition goals and actions for each of these programmes; and leveraging the reach and scale of these programmes to also deliver specific nutrition interventions via these programmes, especially the tpds.

Taming the Fishing Blues

Against the backdrop of a dwindling marine fisheries resource base, declining catch rates, and escalating conflicts about securing rights over oceanic resources, this paper emphasises the need to relook at the marine fisheries regulatory regime in the country with a view to better align it to address outstanding issues and emerging challenges. It proposes a number of interventions that include revisiting the marine fisheries regulatory acts, expanding regulation to areas beyond territorial waters, carrying out commensurate institutional reforms, harnessing technological advancements, facilitating co-governance along with relevant stakeholders, operationalising the fao Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and garnering multilateral cooperation.

India and the Proposed Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations

This paper analyses key provisions of the Proposed Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations, considered at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights’ 33rd Session. The key question is whether (and on what terms) India needs the Broadcasters Treaty. Existing digital divides make traditional broadcasting the primary means of mass communication in India. Rampant signal piracy hampers the programming output of traditional broadcasters. As India progresses in its unrelenting pursuit of becoming an information society, it cannot afford its traditional broadcasters withering.

Investing in Health

The publication of “Investing in Health,” the World Bank’s highly influential 1993 World Development Report, has guided structural adjustment policies and health sector reforms in many developing countries. This study looks at how investment in health has since taken place in India with the withdrawal of the state from healthcare, transformation of healthcare into a commodity, and promotion of the private healthcare sector by the state. This has led to an unregulated industry that is aggressively seeking expansion and profits from the provision of healthcare, and attracting investments by global finance capital.

Mediating Matrimonial Disputes in India

Dispute resolution through negotiation has long been a part of the Indian legal tradition, though the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, was only amended in 1999 to include different mechanisms for out-of-court dispute resolution. This amendment brought mediation into focus as a key form of alternate dispute resolution. Data from Bangalore Mediation Centre points to issues in the mediation framework that must be addressed before mediation can be seen as an effective mechanism to resolve matrimonial disputes. These include inadequate training of mediators, judges giving mediation referrals without proper consideration, gendered power imbalances, and prioritising the institution of marriage over individuals’ interests. This paper argues for an evidence-based approach to studying matrimonial cases and mediation.

Democracy in Jail

Based on data from the Prison Statistics India, this article demonstrates an over-representation of minorities such as Muslims, Adivasis, and Dalits in Indian jails. It offers an anthropological and sociological analysis of this over-representation. The authors connect it to structural–political factors, a connection the scant Indian literature rarely makes. They relate the data to literature on over-representation of minorities in jails in Western democracies, about which scholars use terms such as “penal democracy” and “punishing democracy.” The authors then draw on recent memoirs of imprisoned Indian “terrorists,” and argue that their imprisonment generates a notion of democracy that is conceivably an alternative. At its heart is the identification imprisonment generates amongst fellow humans through a shared vocabulary of injustice, pain, human finitude, and vulnerability.

Rags to Riches? Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in India

The paper examines intergenerational occupational mobility in India among males. This analysis differs from previous work in three important respects. First, a finer-grained categorisation that takes into account differences in skill levels across occupations as well as India’s social hierarchy of labour is used. Second, both large and moderate ascents and descents are examined. Third, the situation in India with mobility patterns at other times and in other countries is compared. The results show vast differences in the upward and downward mobility prospects of urban and rural residents and upper-caste Hindus versus Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The findings also reveal that downward mobility risks loom large in India and that mobility patterns in India and China appear remarkably similar.

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