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

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Contested Coasts

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has proposed to replace the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification (2011) with an overhauled coastal regulatory framework. The process and the contents of this proposed draft indicate a top–down approach favouring limited interests. It writes out large sections of vulnerable populations facing uncertainties of livelihood, climate change, and extreme weather events. The proposed framework fails to address the weaknesses of the 2011 notification. Rather, it threatens to weaken existing safeguards and further entrench the vulnerability of coastal populations.

Special Economic Zones Face the WTO Test

Analysing the cause of the recent dispute between the United States and India, and its implications for the incentives provided to special economic zones, the need for a change in strategy regarding the existing pattern of export incentive schemes is emphasised.

Stiffer Challenges Await the New Banks Board Bureau

Though it will benefit from the preparatory work done by its predecessor, the new Banks Board Bureau has a tough task ahead of it. The operational state of public sector banks has deteriorated, asset quality woes have increased, and employee morale is sagging. While many of these issues are beyond its mandate, it may need to account for and address them in order to meet its core objective of fixing the governance of public sector banks.

‘When You Start Doing This Work, It Is Hard to Eat Dal’

In 2013, manual scavenging, or the cleaning of “dry” latrines with unprotected hands, was abolished in India. Yet, millions of dry latrines are still manually serviced by Dalit labour. The Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission has put little effort into the health and dignity of sanitation workers relative to its efforts on subsidising and encouraging latrine-building. A few days spent with the Valmiki community in Lucknow are recounted.

A Struggle Far from Over

The kisan long march, which took place in March 2018, is the most noteworthy agitation by farmers in Maharashtra in recent times. However, beyond the demands of complete loan waivers and fair prices for farm produce, the march is the manifestation of deep-seated and burgeoning structural problems within the agricultural sector that successive governments have failed to address.

Measuring Catastrophic Healthcare Expenditure

Catastrophic household healthcare expenditure is a prominent policy concern. The National Health Policy 2017 takes explicit cognisance of this issue and presents an empirical formulation to examine its incidence and patterns. However, the policy needs to account for household size variations to counter an implicit bias that tilts the estimates to reflect a higher concentration of catastrophic expenditure among the rich. This concern is illustrated using health data from the 71st round of the National Sample Survey. Further, a minor modification to unravel the socio-economic gradient in catastrophic healthcare expenditure has also been discussed.

Naga Tribal Councils

The Naga tribal organisations’ opposition to reservations for women in urban local bodies had drawn condemnation from many quarters. But their hold on modern Naga society remains exceptional. Who are these Naga tribal bodies? And what makes them formidable in the Naga political arena? The social processes that contribute to the predominance of tribal bodies in Naga society, and the unresolved women reservation issue from the perspective of the civil society are examined.

Football Fandom, Nationalism, and Patriotism

Is the act of supporting a national sports team necessarily a nationalistic endeavour? Can someone who supports the national team of another country be considered a foreigner? The #MeriDoosriCountry campaign, which promoted telecasts of the recently concluded FIFA World Cup by invoking Indian football fans’ affiliations to foreign teams, provokes several pertinent questions about the relationship between fandom and patriotism.

‘Pathological Normalcy’ and Mob Violence

The application of the “pathological normalcy” perspective is used to examine the ongoing violence by cow vigilante groups and recent lynching incidents. These are not just isolated “aberrations” arising among scattered small groups, but could be viewed as morbid manifestations of much deeper disturbances in society as a whole. There is a need to recognise the underlying dynamic of these incidents—the cultivated shift towards a pathological culture of insecurity, hatred of the marginalised, and violence—without which effective prevention may be impossible.

Indian Foreign Policy

India’s foreign policy management and delivery critically need improvement. Going beyond incremental improvements, straightforward and clearly delineated foreign policy objectives should be developed. Coordinating with non-state actors, nurturing relations with neighbouring nations, and a diplomatic overhaul should be the key elements of India’s foreign policy.

Uncertainty in Climate Science

In May 2018, multiple extreme weather events claimed scores of lives, damaged property and brought public life to a standstill in parts of India. In the aftermath of these events, a blame game ensued with some assigning responsibility to scientific and state agencies, and others calling for more research and accurate weather forecasts. It is important to recognise the uncertainties in climate science and embrace them in order to channel resources appropriately, attribute causality, build public trust, and improve policy effectiveness.

Defining Citizenship

The imminent publication of the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam is unlikely to resolve the controversy over illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which spans over four decades.

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