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

Articles By Indrajit Roy

Precarious Transitions: Mobility and Citizenship in a Rising Power

Over the summer of 2020, millions of migrants streamed out of Indian cities in the wake of the ill-planned lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March 2020. The most conservative estimates suggest 30 million internal migrants in India (Ministry of Finance, Government of India 2018: 267). More realistic estimates peg the numbers at 140 million (Rajan et al 2020). If even half the most conservative figures are trekking back home, we are likely to be witness to the forced migration of at least 15 million people criss-crossing the country to get back to their homes. These numbers most likely dwarf the migrations wrought by the partition, estimated between 10 and 12 million people. At a time, millions have been cut adrift by the Indian state, we need to urgently reflect on what it means to be a citizen.

Ashis Nandy's Critics and India's Thriving Democracy

Ashis Nandy’s colleagues and well-wishers ought to have publicly questioned the caste-centered comments he made at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Instead, they have turned the issue into one of academic freedom, freedom of speech and the like. India’s self-styled progressives have to learn to treat dissenters with more respect. They may think of themselves as being champions of India’s marginalised. But if the marginalised do not agree with this assumption, they cannot be threatened that they will be “losing their friends”. This attitude that ‘the intellectual’ knows best has to be eschewed and replaced by one of greater humility. They have to stop attributing rationality and reasonableness to themselves and irrationality, emotion, passion and sentiment to the dissenting subalterns.

'New' Lists for 'Old': (Re-) constructing the Poor in the BPL Census

This paper aims to understand the implications of implementing the Saxena Committee's recommendations in respect of identifying the poor in India. Relative to the one currently in use, the application of the proposed methodology appears to be more beneficial in general to social groups such as scheduled tribes, most backward classes and mahadalits, as well as those landowning households that might suffer from specific debilitating conditions. However, in some cases it is less sensitive to Muslims, non-mahadalit scheduled castes and agricultural labourers. These observations are based on the results of a census survey covering 4,500 households in 18 rural wards of Bihar and West Bengal. By comparing the subset of households classified as poor according to the 2002 and the 2009 methodologies, the paper analyses "moving in" and "moving out" of poverty lists according to occupational categories, caste groups and landowning profile of the poor.

Representation and Development in Urban Peripheries

Pro-poor and democratic development processes demand, among other things, the integration of revenue appropriating and fund expending institutions. Experience from the metropolis of Ahmedabad, recently ravaged by inter-religious civil strife, indicates that a number of village and town councils continue to exist within urban limits, saddled with functions that they are not authorised to execute. Moreover, urban development agencies compete with these bodies to provide services to citizens. Having neither representative membership nor tax based income, these agencies implement programmes with the support of the state government, thereby consistently limiting the scope for local bodies to emerge as institutions of self-governance.