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

D BandyopadhyaySubscribe to D Bandyopadhyay

West Bengal : Enduring Status Quo

Bengalis, fond as they are of fish curry and rice, bones and all, have voted the trusted Left Front back to power, notwithstanding its non-performance in so many vital areas. Not that they had much of a choice, with Mamata Banerjee's unstable political behaviour.

Andhra Pradesh: Looking beyond Vision 2020

Where landlessness and exploitative informal tenancy relationships are the major causes of acute rural poverty and where the bureaucracy has a proven track-record of not reaching the lowest layers of the poor, without land reforms and empowerment of panchayats the best intentions of the Andhra Pradesh government will not give the desired results, leading to enormous investment in the rural sector yielding sub-optimal social returns.

West Bengal : Licence to Kill?

By giving the police force the licence to kill at will, West Bengal's new chief minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharyya, has transgressed the nation's Constitution and violated his oath of office.

Policing Public Expenditure

If one wanted to assess, through a single document, the state of governance in India, from the financial angle particularly, one would not find a better alternative than The Activity Report 1998-99 of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.

Can Sundarbans Be Saved?

The Sundarbans has lost much at the hands of the colonial rulers, the erstwhile zamindars and the latterday fishery mafias. But there is much that can and must be saved. Civil society's strong and determined intervention to save the Chilka Lake has shown the way. Environmentalists and social activists must join hands to mobilise public opinion to save the Sundarbans and its 3.5 million small farmers, fishermen, woodcutters, honey collectors, boatmen and the like.

South Africa: Impressions from Below

Uninformed first impressions often tend to be very subjective, not correctly reflecting the reality. On the other hand, through untrained eyes and an open mind one can observe many peculiarities which are liable to escape the more familiar watcher. What the author saw and heard on a group package tour of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Copenhagen Plus Five

'The Civil Society Response from India', a document issued at the end of a recent seminar in New Delhi to deliberate on the position India should take at the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly to review the aftermath of the UN Social Summit in Copenhagen in 1995, makes a number of recommendations which, though addressed to the General Assembly, are no less relevant to our own central and state governments.

Land Reform in West Bengal

It was a strange quirk of history that at each stage of West Bengal’s two-phase land reforms there was a stalwart to guide and lead the programme. One was Hare Krishna Konar, the other Benoy Chaudhury. No two persons could have been so similar in some ways and so dissimilar in others than Hare...

Constitution Eighty-Seventh Amendment Bill, 1999

The Constitution (Eighty-Seventh Amendment) Bill 1999 proposes in effect the abolition of elected panchayats at the intermediate level and in some cases of elected zilla parishads. In the same vein, the governor of Andhra Pradesh has promulgated an ordinance seeking to postpone elections to mandal parishads and zilla parishads and to appoint special officers-in-charge to replace the elected representatives of these institutions. What do these moves portend for the democratic structure of our polity?

Planning from Below

The Ninth Plan document deals with the central and state sector plans. But it takes no cognisance of the constitutionally mandated district plans prepared by the District Planning Committees which are constitutional entities. The Planning Commission's total lack of awareness and understanding of the change in the basic architecture of our polity brought about by the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution is astounding.

Predators in Dinner-Jackets

In ‘Weak Banks: A Strategy for Self- Renewal’ (January 29), D N Ghosh gives an excellent analysis of the weaknesses of the three nationalised banks and offers some valuable suggestions for self-renewal sans government support. A precondition of this strategy is that “government must keep out of the...

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