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

CommentarySubscribe to Commentary

Public Health during Pandemics and Beyond

The rapid spread of COVID -19 in India brings into sharp focus home the important role of public health services. It is high time to strengthen public health services so that they can serve India’s population well beyond the pandemic. While active state intervention in ensuring universal and comprehensive healthcare is the need of the hour, the government should also invest in the broader determinants of health by improving access to food and income as a collective responsibility to secure the health of the populations

COVID-19 Relief Package

Informal workers, migrants in cities, farmers and small businesses are worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Although the central government has announced a relief package, the effective implementation of the welfare measures pose a big challenge. In this context, the role of construction welfare boards is assessed, and questions are raised over the proper distribution of direct benefit transfers to construction workers through CWBs.

Post-harvest Management and Farm Outcomes

An evaluation study across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Odisha, finds that post-harvest management of crops plays a crucial role in both value generation as well as value distribution along crop value chains, by mitigating post-harvest losses, in the main. However, while post-harvest loss is an undeniable constraint to farm income in India, the role of post-harvest management is more complex, and its implications go well beyond merely arresting post-harvest losses.

Skewed Urbanisation and the Contagion

Alongside the dearth of healthcare infrastructure, unplanned and market-driven urbanisation further challenges the containment of the outbreak of infections like Covid-19, in India. In this context, the prospects of an inclusive urban land use plan are also focused on.

COVID-19 and the Public Health System in Bihar

Bihar’s public healthcare system is not equipped to deal with the challenge of COVID-19. The density of testing centres is the worst for Bihar in the country, with one testing centre for a population of 110 million. Besides, it lacks in both infrastructure and human resources in the health arena and, thus, is unprepared to deal with and properly respond to the health crisis.

Debt, Wealth and Climate

Based on the German Currency Reform of 1948 and the “Modern Debt Jubilee” of Steve Keen, a globally coordinated orderly debt deleveraging mechanism is proposed to address the global debt overhang problem is proposed. Since the global debt overhang and lack of sufficient climate finance flows are interconnected, Climate Authorities are added to the mechanism to discuss how this may help to improve the situation is discussed.

Deepening Divides

Changes in the incidence of vegetarianism across time are sought to be analysed by identifying the specific trends at the level of region,caste and class. Divergence in the attitude towards vegetarianism across these axes points towards deepening divides linked to socioeconomic status and cultural-political power inequalities.

Ideologies and Their Impact on Higher Education

As universities across the country face tumultuous times, it is pertinent to take note of a new rhetoric around these driven by ideology. Public universities of a good standing and long history are increasingly being targeted as spaces harbouring “seditious activities.” Privatisation in higher education is making new inroads, and exacerbating coercive inequality among the youth of the country. It is to be examined if this is a manifestation of the dominant right-wing ideology.

Covid-19 and Macroeconomic Uncertainty

The macroeconomic uncertainty created by COVID-19 is hard to measure. The situation demands simultaneous policy intervention in terms of public health infrastructure and livelihood. Along with the global community, India too has announced its initial dose of fiscal and monetary policy responses. However, more fiscal–monetary policy coordination is required to scale up the policy response to the emerging crisis. Innovative sources of financing the deficit, including money financing of fiscal programmes, a variant of “helicopter money,” need to be explored.

India’s Food System in the Time of COVID-19

India’s complete lockdown has caused unnecessary disruptions in the food supply chain, with the scarcity of labour making it even worse. A sharp decline in demand is imminent with the financial sector being in a freeze and incomes having shrunk for everyone, except for the small salaried class. Consumer sentiment and business outlook on recovery are bleak. While ensuring the free movement of essential goods and availability and safety of labour can mitigate the immediate disruptions in the supply chain, unclogging the financial sector and restoring optimism in the market will take time and heroic efforts from the government.

The Idea of a University in India

In colonial times, universities were established in India to produce graduates who would serve the interests of a colonial ruling elite. Fast-forwarding to the present times, India is witnessing a massification of higher education, with the establishment of more universities and an increase in enrolment. Under such circumstances, what merits examination is whether universities are producing knowledge for knowledge’s sake, or training individuals to fall in line with a neo-liberal nationalist agenda of economic development.

Politics of Scheduled Tribe Status in Assam

The trajectory of six communities of Assam in demanding a Scheduled Tribe status is traced. The history of these tribes is elaborated upon and the struggles they have faced in claiming the ST status are adescribed along with detailing the operations of the various government committees that were formed to look into the matter.

Pages

Back to Top