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

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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.

Access to Bank Credit

The earlier policy of social and development banking has given way to one of financial inclusion, albeit without compromising commercial opportunities. Rural households are thus turning to more burdensome informal credit channels, with dalit rural households facing greater marginalisation due to financial exclusion from the formal credit system.

Case for a Global Pension and Youth Grant

Given that global population projections indicate a manifold increase in the ageing population and that this is a group where poverty is highly concentrated, there is a case for setting up a global pension fund. Financial help should also be extended to another disadvantaged cohort - young people. How can such a fund be set up?

Microfinance Bill: Missing the Forest for the Trees

The Microfinancial Sector (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2007, which has attracted criticism on many counts, aims to ensure that NGOs use their social mediation skills to ensure financial intermediation. However, the bill's ambit is narrow and it fails to take major aspects of microfinance delivery into account

Capital Account Convertibility: A Neglected Consideration

In the debate on capital account convertibility, financial and macroeconomic objectives and constraints have been paramount, with much less discussion on the growth and development dimensions of CAC. This article focuses on one hitherto neglected aspect of first-order importance for long-run growth: the level of the real exchange rate or what might be called the objective of avoiding overvaluation.

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