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

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Brazil's 'Fome Zero' Strategy: Can India Implement Cash Transfers?

Brazil has the largest cash transfer scheme in the world and it has had a measure of success in fighting poverty. Its experience shows that cash transfers, when implemented properly, are at best a necessary condition for poverty alleviation. Supply side constraints have to be removed if the increased purchasing power is not to lead to unbridled inflation that will hurt the poor badly. While a case can be made for a cash transfer system in India, in the existing situation of an incomplete transition to a multi-level structure of government, with insufficient clarity on intergovernmental relations, and an overarching set of civil services fighting for turf at the union and state levels, it will be difficult for India to design suitable programmes.

Foreign Direct Investment Concepts: Implications for Negotiations

Free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties make privileges for and treatment of foreign direct investors legally binding. However, apart from the concerns of being able to capture the "real" fi nancial and economic contribution of foreign direct investment infl ows, developing country governments promoting such investment need to be aware that FDI defi nitions are also about protecting the "rights" of the so-defi ned investors in the host country. Keeping this in mind, the article analyses India's current FDI policy.

Scheduled Tribes and the Census: A Sociological Inquiry

The Constitution has offi cially designated all the tribal societies as scheduled tribes. While the census information has been benefi cial for administrative and developmental purposes, it suffers from several limitations, one of them being the use of fl awed defi nitions. Moreover, the offi cial term ST does not take into account the fact that the tribal societies are distinct and different from each other in many respects. The census, by applying the umbrella term ST for the purpose of enumeration, fails to capture the realities of the social worlds inhabited by these societies, and hence cannot provide correct information on the actual status of the STs.

Reaching a Climate Agreement: Beyond the Copenhagen Accord

This article synthesises the pledges made by both industrialised and developing countries, following the Copenhagen Accord, and their implications for stabilising the earth's climate as well as for the future course of the negotiations. This discussion briefly mentions the issues involved in different greenhouse gases and their measurement, and focuses on the important objective of the need to have an agreement without contradictions. This remains a major omission in the debate on climate change.

Days and Nights in the Maoist Heartland

Who are these Maoists who, according to the government, constitute the "single biggest threat" to India's internal security? What is their politics? Why and how do they justify violence? How do they perceive their "people's war," their political goals and themselves? How did the Maoists establish themselves in the Dandakaranya region of central India? How do they now live and operate in the "base area" they have constructed? How does their "Jantanam Sarkar" function in the guerrilla zone of Bastar? First-hand reports of the functioning of the CPI (Maoist) in central India have been rare. Based on a two-week long visit to the Maoist heartland, this article attempts to answer some of these questions.

Railway Budget 2010-11: Towards Vision 2020?

The railway budget for 2 010-11 begins with an attempt to incorporate a long-term vision. However, a serious reading of the document does not refl ect this, since short-term gains are sought to be achieved with very little effort to reform the system in terms of tariff rebalancing, especially on the passenger front, and prioritisation of projects.

India's Mobility Merchants

As western auto markets shrink due to environmental concerns coupled with financial tightening and long-term worries about fuel supply, India has witnessed a decade-long steep sales growth rates in all categories of vehicles. The promise of a rapidly growing automobile market has brought every global auto manufacturer of significance to India. The result has been a pattern of consumption of the means to mobility which discourages discussion of its impacts, just as surely as it subdues debate about alternatives. Moreover, the State is powerfully rearranging the landscape with a hugely expensive programme to build a nationwide expressway network that will encourage individual consumption of mobility at the cost of public alternatives.

Drought by Design: The Man-made Calamity in Bundelkhand

Despite its rich resources like forests and minerals, Bundelkhand is a region of distress and crisis. A study fi nds that the distress of the region simply cannot be explained by the absence or irregularity of rainfall. There are long-term structural problems which have had a cumulative effect over the years. Reasons for the present unviability of agriculture should be sought in the historically determined social relations of production, the intimate correlation of caste and landownership in the region as well as the neglect of traditional water management systems and the push towards cultivation of water-intensive commercial crops.

Telangana: Righting Historical Wrongs or Getting the Future Right?

The Telangana movement centred on a cultural identity may indeed succeed in winning statehood. Yet, identifying and redressing the grievances of Telangana is a twofold challenge: countering crisis-ridden state cultures of neoliberal populism and harnessing the global city region of Hyderabad towards more equitable development. Historicist narratives of grievance and injury obscure the more recent roots of the Telangana movement, to be found in the anger against the dystopia of competitive populist politics in post-reform Andhra Pradesh, which has also produced new geographies of accumulation, injustice and exclusion in the last 20 years. This remains to be acknowledged.

Imagining Citizenship: Being Muslim, Becoming Citizens in Ahmedabad

Against the background of the experience of extreme and brutal violence against the Muslim community in 2002, and the rapid process of ghettoisation along religious divides in Ahmedabad, this study, based on the fieldwork in selected schools in the Muslim-dominated areas, focuses on understanding how secondary schools run by Muslim trusts seek to recover and establish identities of being Muslim through their pursuit of citizenship ideals.

Reimagining Citizenship: Debating India's Unique Identification Scheme

The unique identification scheme opens up several possibilities for both governance issues and market logic. Despite enabling the identification of a person and pinpointing that X is X, the UID scheme can nevertheless bring about sharp, though problematic, shifts as well. Notably, the apparatuses of state within the premise of the UID scheme are not expected to be posed as a radical contrast to the market but rather as a node point bearing citizen data and therefore capable of operating as a facilitator and mediator of market information. At the technical level as well, the debate over the UID is far from over.

NREGA Wage Payments: Can We Bank on the Banks?

The government of India has shifted from cash payment of wages under the renamed Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Scheme to settlement through bank accounts. This has been done in order to prevent defrauding of workers and to give them greater control over their wages. Has this been achieved after the switch? Based on a survey in December 2008 in one block each in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) and Ranchi (Jharkhand) districts, this article probes questions related to payment of wages through banks.

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