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

CommentarySubscribe to Commentary

Acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart

The recent acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart will accelerate the process of transforming the retail sector in two important ways. It will bring in the know-how and capital of a retail giant, and will give a boost to online retail. While this helps transform the retail sector in India with clear long-run benefits, definite job losses in informal retail and probable rises in food prices in rural markets due to sourcing by big retailers are the short-run problems. If the government ignores the short-run problems, the transformation may become politically infeasible.

Role of Government in Funded Health Insurance Schemes

State-funded health insurance schemes do not target the truly needy or completely miss them, while the government is unable to regulate the private sector. These aspects were not taken into account when the government announced the National Health Protection Scheme. The scheme will turn out to be just another means for the growth of the private sector in the secondary and tertiary care segments.

Gender and Indian Literary Awards

The distribution of Sahitya Akademi awards shows the fairly predictable pattern of gender gaps. Starting from 1955, and across two dozen languages, less than one-tenth of all awards have gone to women. However, since the 1990s, there has been an overall increase in the awards given to women writers.

Has the IAS Failed the Nation?

The decision to recruit experts from the open market in certain departments at the level of joint secretaries is not enough to radically professionalise the civil service. Internal specialisation must be promoted by insisting on stable tenure in the states so that there is incentive for the Indian Administrative Service officers to acquire expertise in their chosen sectors. Also, the IAS officers should take the entry of the outsiders as a challenge, because if they do not improve their performance, there could be repetition of such recruitment every year.

A House of Cards

The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, which apply to all public servants in the country, date from colonial times and are reflective of a colonial mindset. Civil servants no longer want to be treated as unruly kids ignorant of their roles and responsibilities. These dated rules must be consigned to the dustbin of history and replaced by a new code of ethics based on self-regulation, accountability, and transparency.

The Pre-decided Maruti Suzuki Case

The Peoples Union for Democratic Rights report on the Maruti Suzuki case judgment says that it is illustrative of the anti-worker bias entrenched in the law and order machinery. The prosecution’s brief in the case involving the violence at the Manesar plant in July 2012 was riddled with discrepancies, but 31 workers were convicted—13 of them sentenced to life imprisonment—based on the testimonies of the management personnel, says the report.

The End of Democracy or a New Resurgence in Pakistan?

Pakistan’s general elections are scheduled to be held in July 2018. Contrary to the popular argument that the Pakistani military has revived complete dominance and hegemony over civilian and electoral politics, fewer people are now buying into the opinion in Pakistan that the military is somehow “better” than democracy. Unlike 1958, 1977, or 1999, when an outright military coup was welcomed and embraced, the options for the military are fewer and limited in 2018.

Maharashtra’s War on Plastic

A brief investigation into the effects of the plastic ban in Maharashtra reveals that such regulations are riddled with arbitrariness and the absence of any accurate assessment of the scale of the problem of plastic waste. Further, such bans have the unintended consequence of creating a downturn in the plastic recycling sector, a sector which—in the absence of municipal support—handles much of the plastic waste of urban centres like Mumbai.

Publicly Financed Health Insurance Schemes

The announcement of the National Health Protection Scheme provides us with an opportunity to see how its predecessor Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and other publicly funded health insurance schemes have fared so far. The experiences of PFHIS indicate that targeted health insurance coupled with a healthcare delivery system dominated by “for profit” private providers failed to address the issues of access and financial risk protection. They possibly displace resources that can be utilised for strengthening a public health system.

Universal Electricity Access

The National Democratic Alliance government has targeted to electrify all villages by the end of 2018. But simply establishing electric connections does not translate into adequate, affordable and good quality supply. This article examines the possibility of setting up rural electric cooperatives and assesses the successful examples in some other countries.

An Expanded Perspective of Doing Philosophy

Satya Pal Gautam was a scholar in philosophy but his wide-ranging interests in literature, poetry and music made him a wonderful conversationalist and teacher. He played a key role in building up teachers’ organisations in the Panjab University.

Pages

Back to Top