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

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Mine Closures and the Issue of Livelihood

Mining communities are the worst affected by mine closures since they derive their livelihood directly or indirectly from the industry. In order to analyse the shift in the livelihoods of people during and after mining operations, different stakeholders of Hindustan Zinc Limited in Sargipali, Odisha across 24 mining villages were interviewed, and additional evidence was taken from documents and reports. A grim picture emerges, owing to the lack of a sustainable mine closure plan or transparency between the planners and the villagers.

Pension Tension

The Jharkhand government has made Aadhaar mandatory for social security pensions. It is claimed that this has resulted in the deletion of three lakh “fake” pensioners in 2016–17. A recent household survey in Khunti town, however, reveals that fakes and duplicates make up only a fraction of the deleted pensioners, and a very small proportion of all pensions. Instead, many genuine pensioners have been excluded in the process.

Mainstreaming Climate Smart Strategies in the Sanitation Sector in Asian Cities

There is a high correlation between urbanisation and the emission of greenhouse gases. Landfills and sewers in cities generate 15% of methane emissions; this sector offers immense possibilities for the mitigation of methane emissions in Asian megacities. Capturing methane by efficiency improvements in the working of both sewage treatment plants and sanitary landfills has co-benefits in terms of both public health as well as mitigating climate change. The linking of climate change strategies with improvements in the sanitation sector, particularly in the megacities of South and South East Asia, is analysed.

Rule of the ‘Lawless Law’

The arbitrary and indiscriminate use of the Public Safety Act, 1978 to stifle political dissent in the Kashmir Valley shows a blatant disregard for the Constitution and the right to personal liberty enshrined therein. An examination of 100 cases in which Kashmiri youth were detained under the draconian PSA following the death of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani reveals that both the state executive and the judiciary are complicit in perpetuating this “lawless law.”

The Numbers Game

India has built a regular school-based decentralised data collection system investing much time and resources. However, all the data has not helped in determining how far the country has progressed on the goal of “Education for All” given the varied and often contradictory evidence. The quality of the data collected is highly suspect, as different sources provide vastly different estimates and the processes of verification and validation, are not in use. It would appear then that despite the fact that the coverage and scope of data collection has increased enormously with many more indicators added, and technology has enabled better management of data, some nagging questions remain about the quality, utility and purpose of the data, with obvious implications for planning and policymaking.

Mannequins at Work

Displaying mannequins in showrooms is a business strategy adopted by all kinds of textile retailers for the promotion of their business. In the modern competitive world, women workers employed as salesgirls in retail textile showrooms are also functioning like living automatons. The fundamental rights and labour rights violations faced by salesgirls employed in the textile retail sector in Kerala are examined, and the genesis of sitting strikes (right to sit) that erupted in Kerala is mapped.

Prisons without Bars

Rajasthan has had a history of open prisons, which however have not been emulated elsewhere in the country. This article is based on a report on such an alternative prison system written by the author as directed by the Supreme Court. It makes a series of suggestions about the various issues that need to be tackled to allow the open prison system to fulfil its potential for prisoner reform.

Stigmatisation and Exclusion of Tribal ‘Kumari Matas’ in Yavatmal

The issue of Kumari Matas (tribal unwed mothers) in Yavatmal testifies to the sexual exploitation of tribal women by non-tribal men and subsequent stigmatisation and exclusion within village society and tribal community. The Government of Maharashtra, which has only lately acknowledged the issue and is unable to move beyond the paradigm of patriarchal morality, lags far behind Kerala in adopting a serious, sensitive and pragmatic approach to adopting preventive and rehabilitative measures for Kumari Matas.

Struggles of Pensioners in Jharkhand

Pension plays a crucial role in the lives of the elderly and widows. A study that was conducted in Ranchi district in Jharkhand among old-age and widow pension benefi ciaries identifi es how the transition to a centralised payment system using the Aadhaar platform has created new hardships for the pensioners who are frail, often illiterate and unaware of these new intimations by the government.

Transparency in Appointing the CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General is essential in overseeing government finances and ensuring public accountability. Post-independence, public expenditure has increased hundredfold, with no clear accountability structure in place. New regulatory bodies have been created, and a good number of government transactions have been computerised. These developments pose new challenges for public audits, which require the CAG to reinvent itself. This entails more professionalism in its working, wider power delegation, and fundamental reforms in its structural organisation. Our government should not be afraid of such reforms, since conditions have fundamentally changed from when the Constitution came into effect, in 1950.

Writing Technology-neutral Law

The regulation of “biotechnology” seems to present legislative diffi culties of another kind. The Government of India proposes to institute a biotechnology regulatory authority—the Human DNA Profi ling Bill 2015—for the purpose of collating the DNA information of citizens so as to strengthen the criminal justice process and system. However, the regulation of such technology needs to be technologically neutral and requires safeguards against any information abuse and exploitation on the part of the “experts” and “specialists” appointed to the new regulatory institution governing biotechnology.

Pricing of Cardiac Stents

The pricing of cardiac stents in India has been mired in controversy and allegations of profiteering at the cost of vulnerable patients. This article looks at the stances of various stakeholders around the issue leading up to the government slashing the prices of stents by a huge percentage.

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