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

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Kakarapalli: Another Blot on India's Democratic Systems

Two people were killed in police firing on 28 February in Kakarapalli in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh when they were protesting against the location of a 2,64o mega watt power plant in a wetland that provides livelihood for fishing and salt-producing communities and that in law should not have been diverted to industrial use. The story of Kakarapalli is a familiar one: rules are twisted to suit corporate interests, government officials ignore the law and the concerns of local people are given short shrift. How many more Kakarapallis have to happen before the State realises where its responsibilities actually lie?

S R Sankaran: In Memoriam

S R Sankaran, the retired IAS officer, who died on 7 October was an extraordinary person who directly touched the lives of perhaps tens of thousands of people. As a civil servant he was deeply involved over the decades in the abolition of bonded labour and empowerment of the adivasis of Andhra Pradesh. He was also chief secretary of Tripura and at the centre he was involved with some major policy issues such as the nationalisation of coal in the 1970s. Position and power did not matter to Sankaran, the rights of the poor did. Post retirement, Sankaran remained as active as before: he was involved with a number of people's organisations, he headed a committee of concerned citizens to mediate between the government and the Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh, he worked with safai karmacharis to abolish this antediluvian practice and he was generally concerned with the threat to democratic rights. Two tributes.

The Saga of Sompeta: Public Deception, Private Gains

On 14 July, two persons were shot dead by the police in Sompeta village in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh when hundreds were protesting against an attempt to forcibly take possession of land for a private 1,980 megawatt coal power plant that was planned in the area. On 15 July, the National Environment Appellate Authority quashed the environmental clearance that had been given to the project. The saga of Sompeta is one of many arms of the central and state governments colluding with the promoters to turn fact into fi ction and give clearance to a polluting project in a fragile ecological area, disrupting thousands of livelihoods.

Condemnation of Maoist Violence

As co-petitioners in a public interest litigation before the Supreme Court (WP 250/2007) urging the end of civil strife in Chhattisgarh, we write to express our shock and horror at the detonation of a bus in Dantewada district by Maoists on 17 May, killing around 50 innocent civilians. We condemn...

Regulating Electricity in India

The Practice and Politics of Regulation: Regulatory Governance in Indian Electricity by Navroz K Dubash and D Narasimha Rao;

Help the Rich, Hurt the Poor

Recent twists and turns in the special economic zone policies which benefit the rich at the expense of the poor expose the utter ignorance of ground realities by both the central and state governments.

Aftershocks of Dabhol Power Project

The ruling political and bureaucratic elite seem to believe that the ghost of Enron project and the monumental failure of governance in its approval can be exorcised by reviving it at any cost. The settlement reached with the two foreign equity holders and the international banks and financial institutions is far too generous. In addition there are the large subsidies (estimated at Rs 10,000 crore) doled out at the cost of the unsuspecting taxpayer to hide from public scrutiny how totally unviable this project was.

Maoist Attack

Letters Maoist Attack T he Independent Citizens’ Initiative, which studied Salwa Judum in May 2006, strongly condemns the Maoist attack on Errabor camp in Dantewada district on July 17, 2006, in which more than 40 adivasis were killed or seriously injured. Even small children were not spared in...

Loose Ends of Oil Pricing

This article reviews the pricing of petroleum products in the light of the reports of the parliamentary committee on petroleum and natural gas and the Rangarajan Committee on pricing and taxation of petroleum products. It provides a critical insight into the considerations that have guided pricing policies over the years, and highlights areas of concern, with suggestions as to the future course of action.

The Adivasi, the State and the Naxalite

The state's attitude towards the adivasis since independence has ranged from neglect to a disregard of constitutional obligations. The growth of Naxalite activity in the adivasi tracts has brought down the heavy hand of the state and the tribals are caught between the Naxalites and the government. The exploitation of adivasis in Andhra Pradesh is illustrative of the experience elsewhere in the country. The imminent execution of the Polavaram project on the Godavari is yet another example of the state's attitude towards adivasis.

How Useful Is New Tax Expenditure Statement?

The tax expenditure statement or the statement of revenue foregone presented for the first time in the 2006-07 union budget deserves to be welcomed for its efforts to impart greater transparency to the budget. There are, however, some methodological deficiencies and gaps in the coverage which need special attention of the tax policy planners in the future. Unless a more rational definition is found for benchmark tax rates, the credibility and usefulness of TES would remain in doubt.

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