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

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Bio-Safety Protocol Stumbling On

K Ravi Srinivas A global bio-safety protocol under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity would ensure that third world countries are not used as testing grounds, dumping sites or markets for unsafe bio-engineered products. But the bio-tech in industrial countries is stalling its finalisation.

Politics of Choice in Popular Policies

Feminification of Theory Veena Ravi Poonacha CONSTRUCTIVE criticism of a political philosophy which has radically changed our understanding of social reality is welcome. But Dipankar Gupta's critic of feminist theory and its affinity to postmodernism (March 25) smacks of male prejudice behind a thin veneer of sophistry. The article is smattered with stereotypes of women and men who attempt to transcend the limits of gender subjectivity. One marvels at the intellectual arrogance which dismisses an entire system of thought and a widespread movement, validated by women's lived experience, with only a cursory examination of a segment of its theories.

Power without Accountability-Draft Bill on Plant Breeders Rights

Draft Bill on Plant Breeders' Rights K Ravi Srinivas THE draft bill on Plant Varieties Protection is an attempt to define and operationalise the concept of Plant Breeders' Rights and to ensure the sovereign right over access to and utilisation of plant genetic resources. The bill has many nice words and rhetorical declarations, while in practice, it is an attempt to deny the rights of communities and farmers on various crucial issues. The very objective of the act, as defined in .clause 5, makes it clear that the act is primarily an act to protect the right of plant breeders and developers and to foster competitiveness and investment, in plant breeding in both private and public sectors. Although the bill talks of the innovations of farmers, the objective of the bill makes no mention of that nor considers that as a factor in developing new varieties and defines research and development as if they could be done only in private and public sectors. The act is built on a premise that, "the proposed protection will enable the country to realise the full benefits of its genetic resources by ensuring proper returns on the investment in research in public and private sectors".

Politics of Biosafety and Regulatory Mechanisms-Japanese Vaccine Trials in India

Mechanisms Japanese Vaccine Trials in India K Ravi Srinivas THE recent news item on vaccine trials by Japanese in India (Indian Express, June 26) raises many important questions on the functioning of regulatory mechanisms in India. There seem to be total failure on the part of department of environment and other concerned departments to regulate the trials. While department of biotechnology seems to be unaware of the trials, the department of environment has given permission for four trials with genetically engineered products.

Legal Protection of Software-Implications of Dunkel Draft for Third World

Implications of Dunkel Draft for Third World K Ravi Srinivas Attempts are being made to introduce a global regime of intellectual property rights for software. How will this affect the growing software industry.

Underclass, Hi-tech and Los Angeles Uprising

Underclass, Hi-tech and Los Angeles Uprising K Ravi Srinivas THE infamous verdict in the Rodney King beating case and the subsequent riots shook the world [see A T Callinicos, EPW, July 25]. Why such riots took place in that major hi-tech centre, where computers and hi-tech industries thrive rather tha n in other declining areas or in the 'rust belt' is a moot question that has gone almost unasked. Lenny Siegel, an alert analyst of hi-tech, particularly electronics industry provides some clues and poses many agonising questions.

Popular Culture and Pop Sociology

Popular Culture and Pop Sociology K Ravi Srinivas THIS is a comment on three articles that appeared R Srivatsan's meditations (pp 777-88) on Sridevi and her image, her caste' etc, arc amusing. Unfortunately I know (not from Eco, Foucault et al, but from popularmaga- zines) that Sridevi's caste (Naidu) is classified as a backward caste in Tamil Nadu. Her sister is married to Sanjay Ramaswamy (MLA of Virudhunagar constituency and son of justice V Ramaswamy) I am afraid that neither the viewers of films nor producers/ actresses are conscious of caste when it comes to films. Actresses assume different names while acting in different language films. For example Sudha Rani retains her original name while acting in Kannada films whereas in Tamil films her name is Shali and in Telugu films she is known as Gayathri. 'Kodaimazhai' Vidya is known as Sunita in Malayalam films whereas her name is Vidyasri in Tamil films. One can give many such examples. If one were to try to find out their caste from their looks and names it would be an attempt in vain. Kushboo, a Punjabi Muslim is a very popular film star in Tamil Nadu now and started her career as a child star in Hindi films. She has acted in Telugu films also but now she is more popular in Tamil Nadu, One is reminded of popular Hindi film actresses of the yester years who were Muslims (Waheeda Rahman, Zeenat -Amman, etc).

Introducing Norplant-Politics of Coercion

Politics of Coercion K Ravi Srinivas K Kanaka mala Norplant, a contraceptive device which is proposed to be introduced into the family planning programme in the country, is already being used by US courts as a means of 'punishing' women and controlling their fertility.

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