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

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Real versus Fictitious

The COVID-19 pandemic is stretching the contradictions of the present economic arrangements to the limits. The system survived inflating financial assets and feeding on inequalities. The divide between the real economy and the sphere of finance cannot be left unchecked without risking an economic catastrophe. Wealth and income inequalities cannot be pushed anymore without irretrievably damaging the underlying social contract. The virus is making change inevitable.

A Passionate Teacher and Activist

Ilina Sen, teacher, author and activist has left behind a rich legacy of work and warmth that will continue to inspire women’s and human rights activists and students

Pioneering Psephologist and Scholar Extraordinaire

Ramashray Roy (1927–2020) was an eminent political scientist who had served as director of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi. Among his well-remembered works are the studies on the 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections. He was also intensely interested in Mithila culture and had set up an intellectual centre in Ranti village in Madhubani district of Bihar.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and Agriculture

In this short note, we critically examine two proposals specific to agriculture announced as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and the subsequent ordinances. We argue that while the investment in infrastructure is a welcome step, market reforms proposed are inadequate to improve the prospects of smallholder farmers. An enabling ecosystem that enhances the market power of farmers must be created for smallholders to take advantage of the reform measures.

COVID-19 and Women Informal Sector Workers in India

The precarious nature of employment of women informal workers is examined using data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2018–19). To capture the gendered experiences of informal workers during the lockdown period, data from a series of rapid assessment studies is used. It was found that the unequal gendered division of domestic chores existed even before the onset of the pandemic, but the COVID-19- induced lockdowns have further worsened the situation. In terms of paid employment, women tend to work in risky, hazardous and stigmatised jobs as front-line health workers, waste-pickers, domestic workers, but do not receive the minimum wages as specified by the government.

Higher Disease Burden in India’s Elderly

The disease burden among the elderly population is significantly higher compared to the younger population, according to the data from the 75th round National Sample Survey, 2017–18, which increases their vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic. The footprint of elderly population in public facilities for inpatient and outpatient care has increased over the years. Financially, the elderly face far less burden in public facilities than in private facilities.

The ‘Memory’ of a Historian

A scholar extraordinaire in the fields of Russian and European history, Hari Shankar Vasudevan had been associated, in and outside the subcontinent, with numerous academic institutions and research centres apart from the University of Calcutta where he taught for nearly four decades. One of his students reminisces about a great teacher, whose untimely demise on account of Covid-19 on 10 May 2020 meant a great loss to the world of humanities and social sciences.

A Donkey’s Wisdom

The recent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley has unleashed a new wave of anti-China sentiment and violent rhetoric in India. Can literature help us respond to the China–India border clash more ethically. Krishan Chander’s 1964 novel Ek Gadha Nefa Mein (A Donkey in NEFA), based on the 1962 China–India border conflict, offers a way of denouncing the destruction of war without leaving unquestioned the inherently violent task of drawing and defending national borders. The satirical novel tells the story of its protagonist, a talking donkey, caught in the front-lines of Tawang, and bearing witness to the atrocities of war. Through his witty and wise donkey, Chander challenges us to shift the terms of our outrage beyond national categories and to stand instead on the side of a humanism that knows no national borders.

National Education Policy, 2020

The National Education Policy, approved by the union cabinet on 29 July 2020, is the third education policy document of the country, coming after a gap of 34 years since the last one. This article is a brief commentary on some of the relevant concerns around the question of provisioning for good quality universal education, equitable access to education, and the increasing push to wards privatisation.

Some Methodological Issues in India’s SDG Index Report 2019

The second edition (2019) of the Sustainable Development Goals Index India Report released by the NITI Aayog is an enhanced version that builds on the baseline report of 2018. However, the second edition could not address the methodological issues sufficiently. The justifications and coverage on several aspects, such as proxy indicator identification, target setting, state categorisation, imputation of indicators, data gaps are found to be weak. This commentary highlights some of the problems identified in the report and suggests possible solutions, which can bring more credibility and statistical acceptance to the future SDG index reports.

Reverse Migration of Labourers amidst COVID-19

Migrant workers returning to native places in COVID-19 times were the host for urban to rural transmission of cases as the migrant-receiving states witnessed over five times increase in the number of districts having a more significant concentration of COVID-19 cases from 1 May to 31 May 2020. There is an urgent need for the skill mapping of the migrant workforce and creating social security schemes to protect them under any socio-economic or health emergency.

Intrusions and Violation of LAC in India–China Border

The lack of a clearly defined borderline and a mutually accepted actual line of control is the major reason for continuous tension and clashes between India and China. The political leadership of both the countries should see the present crisis as an opportunity to find an everlasting resolution to the border question.

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