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

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Rethinking India’s Employment Data Architecture

Following the recommendations of the task force set up to revamp the employment data architecture, India’s employment statistics are undergoing significant revision. The effort is largely directed at producing real-time high-frequency data in the formal sector. However, given that employment is dominated by low-wage and low-productivity jobs in the unorganised sector, this exercise will serve little purpose and only deflect attention from the enormity of the employment challenge.

India’s Cities without Ownership

The 74th Constitution Amendment Act envisaged urban local bodies as “institutions of self-government” with empowered mayors; however, this is scarcely followed. The lack of a single point of authority with clear ownership is derailing our cities as this institutional arrangement does not allow for a single point of accountability. The challenges around creating empowered and legitimate city leaders in India are examined and a way forward is charted out.

Supreme Court Judgment against Section 377

The Supreme Court’s judgment on Section 377 is an important reminder of the task that lies ahead for the queer movement. How would homonormativity take shape in this nation, as another form of upper-caste male hegemony? Now that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and queer persons are formally being called into full-fledged sexual citizenship, how does the queer movement articulate an intersectional politics of hope that insists on forms of emancipation that do not exclude those who are on the wrong side of caste, religion and ethnicity?

We Need to Talk about ‘Language’

The pro-Kannada, anti-Hindi protests witnessed in Karnataka in 2017 once again drew attention to the perpetual tussle for power among languages in India. A personal anecdote reflects on these power dynamics, as well as the politicisation of language in different contexts, and reveals language to be a mere plot device in the greater conflicts fought over the markers of Indian identity.

Ethnicity, Religion, and Identity Politics among Tribes in Jharkhand

The underlying causes for the ethnic, religious, and political divides among the tribals of Jharkhand have been examined. Tribal leaders have failed in uniting the tribal society of Jharkhand, leading to divisive and fragmented politics among them. The tribal leaders of today need to realise and understand that any further divide will weaken their collective voice and identity.

Constitutional Rights of Atheists and Non-believers

Though atheism has been socially prevalent in India, it has remained a grey area in the legal context. There are no specific laws catering to atheists and they are considered as belonging to the religion of their birth. The Constitution provides for “freedom of conscience” under Article 25 since 1950, but constitutional rights of “non-believers” were never substantiated by courts until recently.

The Emergence of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 is more fully understood in the context of three key developments: the political and legal challenges to Aadhaar, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, and the “tech-lash” against the dominance of some of the largest United States-based tech companies at the expense of the domestic industry. In the bill, the interplay between these distinct pieces of context explains why there is work to be done to improve this bill in its journey to becoming a law.

Role of Dams in Kerala’s Flood Disaster

During the July–August 2018 floods in Kerala, basic norms were violated in the management of dams, which, if operated prudently, could have alleviated the magnitude of the disaster. In this context, a strategy for the management of dams to mitigate similar disasters has been outlined.

Somnath Chatterjee (1929–2018)

Somnath Chatterjee’s demise on 13 August 2018 saw politicians across party lines unanimously grieving the loss of this stalwart parliamentarian who had inherited the ideology of liberal democracy and nurtured it all through his long and eventful political career.

AYUSH and Health Services

Maharashtra’s policies for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) professionals are discriminatory, allowing them to engage in “mixed practice” and recruiting them either as paramedics or as administrators in the general health services system, without ensuring equal status with their allopathic counterparts. It is in this context that the nature of engagement of AYUSH professionals with the state health system is examined.

Redefining the Purpose and Rules of Shelters

There are no easy short-term solutions to the abysmal functioning of shelter homes for women and children in India. But regular social audits are a vital starting point and should be part of every state’s monitoring and awareness raising mechanism. The information now available on the number, location, who can access shelters and what facilities exist at each one, should be available in one place to facilitate action. Also, the purpose behind setting up these shelter homes should be examined and redefined.

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