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

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Open Defecation in Rural India, 2015–16

The Government of India’s NFHS–4 offers the best new data on open defecation in rural India to be eleased in over a decade. Although open defecation has become less common than it was 10 years ago, it is still highly prevalent, with more than half of rural households reporting open defecation. On average, change has been slow, even during the period of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Carsten Niebuhr in Bombay and Surat

The lone surviving member of an ill-fated Danish expedition to Arabia, Carsten Niebuhr, wrote one of the earliest accounts of the two entwined trade cities—Bombay and Surat—by a western traveller.

Economic Revival or Dead Cat Bounce?

Although growing at rates that are globally enviable, the Indian economy has been unstable over the last several years. False dawns, shifting time series, and the selective use of data has provided fodder for scoring political brownie points. Citing near-term data, the Economic Survey 2017–18 argues that the Indian economy is on the path of recovery even as it raises some red flags. What does a comprehensive appraisal of the data show? Is this “recovery” sustainable or is this yet another case of a dead cat bounce?

Assessing ASER 2017

The publication of the Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2017 titled “Beyond Basics” has resulted in predictable outcry over the state of education in the country. Using the report as a case in point, the complexities in reading and interpreting data presented by such large-scale assessments on learning are highlighted.

Preserving Cultural Heritage

The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 has failed to curb the illicit trafficking of Indian antiquities. Will the draft Antiquities and Art Treasures Regulation, Export and Import Control Bill, 2017, with its blinkered focus on the buying and selling of antiques, end up facilitating the free trade of our valuable material heritage instead of protecting it?

Political Destiny of Immigrants in Assam

Updated under the close scrutiny of the Supreme Court, the release of the first part of the draft National Register of Citizens for Assam has been long-awaited by the indigenous people in the state. The process, however, has been plagued by constitutional and legal hurdles that have questioned the validity of citizenship and heightened political differences on the issue. Amidst this larger debate, the fate of illegal migrants remains undetermined.

Doubling Farmers’ Incomes

The government’s initiative to increase farmers’ incomes is welcome as it is central to dealing with the agrarian crisis in India. Various mechanisms for increasing farmers’ incomes from the perspective of small farmers and farm workers are critically examined. The article proposes a focus on high-value crops and rain-fed areas, non-farm occupations, agro-industrialisation, and strengthening and innovating producer and worker institutions in India. It also presents insights from China’s proposed strategy for doubling farmers’ incomes there.

Bhima Koregaon and Politics of the Subaltern

Historical events that hold symbolic value are important in constructing an alternative identity for the subaltern. The Brahminical upper caste feels threatened by such assertions of the subaltern and thus, tries to marginalise them. The violence at Bhima Koregaon is a reflection of this tension between divisive Hindutva nationalism and resilient subaltern politics that seeks justice.

Epidemic of Urban Floods

Apart from meteorological and hydrological factors, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of India considers encroachment of the natural streams and watercourses due to rapid urbanisation as a major factor contributing to urban flooding (NDMA 2010). The encroachment, here, is a planning...

Problematising Hindi as the ‘Self’ and English as the ‘Other’

In the light of the ongoing prioritisation of Hindi by the central government, the projection of Hindi as the “self” is problematic for several reasons. Three “self–other” binaries are discussed in this regard: Hindi–Hindu as “self,” Urdu–Muslim as “other”; Sanskrit-laden Hindi favouring upper caste Hindus as “self,” vernacular Hindi dialects often represented by the lower castes and classes as “other”; and fi nally Hindi as the epitome of “desi self,” English as “foreign other.”

Taming the Monetary Beast

As the momentous monetary policy measures by the United States Federal Reserve—the decade-long quantitative easing and balance sheet expansion programme—inch closer to an end, this article captures some of the lessons learnt and, more particularly, the ones unlearnt in the last decade. The pivotal role of central bank communication, the impact of monetary policy spillovers, and the changing nature of central bank mandates are perhaps the most important takeaways from a decade of financial turmoil and monetary policy interventions.

The Professor Goes to Moscow

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis has long been accused of maintaining close ties with the Soviet Union. However, his communist links are mostly asserted without documentary evidence. Using new archival material, especially from the archives of Soviet institutions, this article discusses Mahalanobis’s desire for Indo–Soviet ties, especially in the economic realm, as well as the Soviet response to such alliances.

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