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

Articles By H S Shylendra

God as a Litigant: Examining the Contradictions and Biases of the Ayodhya Verdict

The Supreme Court of India’s judgment on the Ayodhya dispute enables the triumph of a majoritarian claim—backed by a long, venomous communal campaign—over minority rights. The fact that the majority Hindu community managed to successfully claim a minority religion's sacred place purely based on faith and belief comes out luridly in the judgment. While the god or deity as a juridical person may have legal validity, filing a suit in god’s name and projecting god as a litigant has the potential to bring in biases and conflicts.

 

Have Economic Reforms Trumped Democratic Decentralisation?

Can economic reforms and democratic devolution go together? Can the prevailing political-economy ensure a balance between the two forms of decentralisation? The paper attempts to examine these questions with reference to Gujarat in western India. Based on a critical analysis of the interrelationship between the nature of devolution and economic reforms, it is argued that the latter seems to have triumphed over democratic decentralisation. A minimum guaranteed devolution to local governments in the constitution is suggested as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of state-level politics. 

Work Conditions and Employment for Women in Slums

Women residing in slums and slum-like settlements of Bhuj are majorly employed in traditional activities such as bandhani, embroidery, fall beading, etc, and only to a much lesser extent in emerging opportunities, including non-farm casual labour and jobs in the private and public sectors. Women’s preference is overwhelmingly tilted towards the former employment opportunities as compared to the latter, due to flexibility of work and possibility of working from home, given certain sociocultural constraints and poor working conditions in other sectors. Moreover, limited access to capital for women’s own enterprises ensures that the chances for expansion and formalisation of their small enterprises are minimal.

Land Acquisition

This rejoinder to Dhanmanjiri Sathe’s article “Land Acquisition: Need for a Shift in Discourse?” (EPW, 17 December 2016) points to the mistaken logic of viewing land as a commodity and farmers as economic agents willing to give up their land for fair compensation, arguing that a settlement of the land question purely in market terms would be disastrous for a developing society struggling to address agrarian distress.

NABARD's Untenable Step on Primary Agricultural Credit Societies

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development's advice to District Central Cooperative Banks and State Cooperative Banks to convert Primary Agricultural Credit Societies into business correspondents is high-handed. If such guidance is followed through, it will adversely affect farmers' access to credit.

Microfinance Institutions in Andhra Pradesh

District authorities in Andhra Pradesh recently closed down 50 branches of two major microfinance institutions in the state following allegations that they were charging usurious interest rates and indulging in forced loan practices. The crisis can be seen as a conflict between state and civil society organisations vying to capture the popular space on one hand, and the structural problems of MFIs on the other.