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

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Interrogating Some Interpretations

To interpret the results of the West Bengal assembly elections in terms of a verdict of the contest between development and democracy or as an endorsement of Mamata Banerjee's authoritarian style of governance is wrong. But to announce that the restoration of democracy and integrity in public service are issues of the upper classes and non-issues for the subalterns is not only wrong, it is retrogressive.

Caste in West Bengal Politics

It is difficult to agree with Praskanva Sinharay’s argument (“West Bengal’s Election Story: The Caste Question”,EPW, 26 April 2014) that “caste” is emerging as a “determinant” factor in West Bengal’s political scene. The association of some “Matua” leaders with dominant parties like the Trinamool...

No 'Precedence' in Bengal Elections

A part of the article (“West BengalPanchayat Elections: What Does It Mean for the Left?” by Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya and Kumar Rana,, 14 September 2013) comes dangerously close to the writings on Bengal which tend to look at the anti-democratic practices of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) as the...

What Made the 'Unwilling Farmers' Unwilling?

An examination of the landholdings of those farmers who were unwilling to sell their holdings to facilitate the Tata car factory in Singur suggests that only a very small number among them had substantial holdings and livelihoods tied to them. What then was the real reason for the protests in Singur led by many "unwilling farmers"?

Decentralisation: A Constitutional Mandate or Rhetoric?

The implementation of decentralisation reform as embodied in the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution has suffered from complete negligence. The two recent articles by Oommen and Sivaramakrishnan have highlighted the inexplicable attitudes of the fi nance commissions and the judiciary towards decentralisation.

Who Supported the Left in West Bengal?

The article on West Bengal by Jyotiprasad Chatterjee and Suprio Basu in the National Election Study (NES) 2009, published in your journal does not throw much light on what caused the debacle of the Left in the 2009 elections. It is claimed that historically the “agricultural workers, the poor...

The Subaltern and Politics at the Grassroots

Dayabati Roy's ethnographic study establishes an autonomous domain for subalterns in a village in West Bengal. But when seen in perspective, elite constructions of politics still predominate subaltern responses.

Reassessing Transaction Costs of Trade at the India-Bangladesh Border

In recent years, south Asia has received growing attention as a region that has successfully begun the process of regional integration. The opening of free trade in the region has led to countries in south Asia experiencing high trade costs due to inadequacy in trade and transport facilitation. South Asia's trade is constrained by poor infrastructure condition, congestion, high costs, and lengthy delays. These problems are particularly severe at border crossings, many of which pose significant barriers to trade. This paper supplements the findings of previous studies on this subject and reassesses the transaction costs for India's overland exports to Bangladesh. It finds that transaction costs of India's exports to Bangladesh have increased despite simplification of documentations at border. The paper concludes that the rent-seeking informal economy is very much deep-rooted and making the trade transaction expensive at border.

How Do Different Categories of Infrastructure Affect Development?

This paper explores the role played by infrastructure in determining the level of economic development across the states over different time spans during the past quarter century. A comparative static framework is developed in order to test the movement of the development trajectory of the states in the infrastructure-income plane. The findings of the paper are statistically significant and have serious implications for future regional policies. It shows that, interstate disparities in physical, social and economic infrastructure facilities have remained at an alarmingly high level. There are also indications that interstate differences in infrastructure are responsible for a growing regional income disparities.

Dependency versus Autonomy

This essay tries to analyse historically the roots of the basic contradictions which have haunted the rural self-governing institutions of India. These contradictions have been further sharpened by the 73rd constitutional amendment. Though the concept of self-government at the local level has been guaranteed by the Constitution, it has been given a go by in practice by the ruling establishment. Institutional changes brought about by the 73rd amendment have helped create a space at the grass roots level for these contradictions to be challenged by disadvantaged sections. This might create a ground swell demanding autonomy of panchayats to ensure responsive and accountable governance at the local level.

Indian Ports and Globalisation

Grounding Economics in Geography This paper is concerned with the economics of Indian ports as one important phenomenon in Indian economic geography, and its relationship with regional development under the free market economy. A port performance index derived with the help of principal component analysis of eight individual port performance indicators shows that overseas traffic intensity is the most significant determinant of performance. With increasing openness of the economy and absence of an integrated policy toward export transport network, there is a decline in export intensity and rising domestic coastal traffic in Indian ports.

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