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

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Education in 2008-09 Union Budget

The allocations to the education sector in the union budget for 2008-09 are substantially more than in 2007-08, but the hike is not as large as in previous years. The budget marks a shift in priorities in a number of areas. One, higher priority to secondary, technical and higher education, and less to elementary education. Two, a preference for expansion of elite over mass-based system. And, three, a preference for funding from cesses over allocations from the general budget.

Bank Payments: End of Corruption in NREGA?

The payment of wages into bank accounts for work carried out under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has been suggested as a way to prevent embezzlement of funds. The practice has already begun in a few districts. Is this a foolproof system to control corruption? The early experience from a few blocks in Orissa suggests that this process is not free from its own problems.

Reviewing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme

This article presents results on the participation of rural workers in the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme based on a pilot survey of three villages in Udaipur district in Rajasthan. Its focus is on participation in the nreg programme of different socio-economic groups and the determinants of the participation of these groups. It is found that the mean participation was 59 days and that targeting was satisfactory. The performance of the programme has been far from dismal.

Two Years of NREGA: The Road Ahead

It is not possible to realise the massive potential of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act if we deploy the same ossified structure of implementation that has deeply institutionalised corruption, inefficiency and non-accountability into the very fabric of Indian democracy. On the other hand, if the reforms suggested in this paper are put into place, NREGA holds out the prospect of transforming the livelihoods of the poorest and heralding a revolution in rural governance in India.

Inconvenient Truths Produce Hard Realities: Notes from Bali

In the compromise road map for future climate change negotiations that was drawn up at Bali, the urgency suggested by science was lost. There are yet positives in that the US remains in the negotiating process and the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" of the developing countries has been maintained. India needs to now ask itself if it should hold on to a defensive national stance on climate or if the time is right to develop and implement creative national policies, and then articulate an international negotiating position around these policies.

Rehabilitation of the Indira Sagar Pariyojana Displaced

This article, based on a survey of families displaced by the Indira Sagar Pariyojana dam in Madhya Pradesh, assesses the rehabilitation outcomes. The living standards of people have deteriorated as incomes of most families have fallen by more than half as compared to the pre-displacement years. The main cause of the devastation is the poor design and implementation of the rehabilitation and resettlement programme. An appendix providing survey information is also posted on the web site; the appendix was not reviewed, edited and published in the print edition.

Impact of Technological Lock-in: Case of ooxml in India

Users of software for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations could find themselves experiencing technological lock-in if the Office Open Extensible Markup Language is adopted as another open standard. Some of the detrimental effects of such a lock-in are increased costs of technology access, dependency on a single vendor and restricted user choices.

Central Banks and Speculative Froth

It has been the pattern over the past two decades, after every major bust, for the US Federal Reserve and other central banks to cut interest rates and liquefy credit markets. Such decisions have softened the blows to the global economy but they have also created speculative bubbles. Financial institutions and speculators have thus learnt to put pressure on central banks to bail them out, most recently from the housing bust in the US. But at some point the rescue measures will not work and the result will be major global economic and geo-political problems.

The Limits of Justice: An Indian Human Rights Story

Through an examination of the Sadashiva panel report, court papers submitted to the panel, media exposes, and interviews with NGO activists and the victims themselves, this article aims to shed light on a tale of suffering and struggle largely ignored by the Indian media during the decade-long hunt for Veerappan.

Peasant Resistance in West Bengal a Decade before Singur and Nandigram

Land acquisition in the name of building industry in Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal has seen popular opposition from various political entities and intellectuals. However, such opposition was lacking in earlier cases of acquisition of fertile land ostensibly for industrial development of the state. Despite the lack of such support from civil society and the polity, the people affected still protested to ensure compensation.

US Lying about Halabja: Justifying the Invasion of Iraq

The central reason for the justification of the war on Iraq by the US administration was not so much the presence of weapons of mass destruction as the 1988 poison gas attack on Kurd civilians in Halabja by the Saddam Hussein regime. However, close scrutiny reveals that the accusations made by the US that the incident was a predetermined military experiment on the Kurds are false and fabricated, deliberately made to meet US policy objectives.

Emerging Issues in the Indian Gas Sector: A Critical Review

India's gas sector is in the midst of a major controversy with potential consumers exercised about what they see as an arbitrary and non-transparent pricing policy on production from recent discoveries. This article explores all the relevant issues arising from discovery, production and pricing of gas from contracts awarded in the New Exploration and Licensing Policy regime. It calls for policies to be drafted in a transparent and inclusive manner, giving due consideration to issues such as the most efficient use of gas, the subsidy burden, the market structure and the country's energy security.

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