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

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The Four Parts of Privacy in India

Privacy enjoys an abundance of meanings. It is claimed in diverse situations every day by everyone against other people, society and the state. Traditionally traced to classical liberalism's public-private divide, there are now several theoretical conceptions of privacy that collaborate and sometimes contend. Indian privacy law is evolving in response to four types of privacy claims: against the press, against state surveillance, for decisional autonomy and in relation to personal information. The Supreme Court has selectively borrowed competing foreign privacy norms, primarily American, to create an unconvincing pastiche of privacy law in India. These developments are undermined by a lack of theoretical clarity and the continuing tension between individual freedoms and communitarian values.

Public Health Facilities in North India

Following the introduction of universal access to free medicines and diagnostics at public health facilities in Rajasthan during 2011-13, we revisited the facilities surveyed by Banerjee et al (2004), and present the changes over the last decade. We find substantial improvement in infrastructure and the patient utilisation rate, but abysmally low utilisation of facilities primarily due to high absenteeism. We also present findings from fieldwork in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to bring out striking contrasts among these four northern states.

Cheap Oil, Climate Change Mitigation and India

The oil crash of 2014 is expected to have a moderate impact on the global economy with oil importers seeing a boost in growth. The long-term impacts on climate change are difficult to predict but it is very likely that these might even be beneficial to the process of decarbonising the global energy economy. Most countries, including India, could use the opportunity to reduce fossil fuel subsidies and invest in renewable energy instead.

The Indelible Class Identity

How regular schooling unfolds for children should be an important concern in the light of the Right to Education Act, 2009 that makes schooling not just free, but also compulsory. While getting children to school is a central pillar of the state's mandate of promoting social justice and enabling improved opportunities and life-chances for all, the empirical data presented in this article shows how children, identified by their social milieu and even humiliated on that count, can be constrained within the processes and the ethos of learning.

Understanding Leakages in the Public Distribution System

This article attempts to resolve the puzzle of public distribution system leakages using the latest available data. Leakages remain high, but there is clear evidence of improvement in recent years, especially in states -- including Bihar -- that have undertaken bold PDS reforms. The main source of leakages is the "above the poverty line" quota, which is due to be phased out under the National Food Security Act.

Understanding the Lima

What happened at the Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima in December 2014 is a prelude to the bigger battles that can be expected in the three or four meetings scheduled for this year in order to negotiate an entirely new climate agreement in Paris in December. If it took two whole weeks to reach consensus on a simple text in Lima, how much more contentious and difficult the negotiations will be for a new agreement?

Improving Healthcare Services at Reduced Prices

The key to improving the quality of healthcare services in India and reducing costs at the same time can be found by enacting legislation which lays down minimum standards of patient care. In the absence of such standards and the reluctance of health insurance companies to standardise either price or quality, healthcare services continue to be expensive and of doubtful quality. Developing standards of patient care by legislative mandate and a change in the attitude of health insurers can change the equation in favour of the patient who is now at the mercy of the hospital.

Improving Healthcare Services at Reduced Prices

The key to improving the quality of healthcare services in India and reducing costs at the same time can be found by enacting legislation which lays down minimum standards of patient care. In the absence of such standards and the reluctance of health insurance companies to standardise either price or quality, healthcare services continue to be expensive and of doubtful quality. Developing standards of patient care by legislative mandate and a change in the attitude of health insurers can change the equation in favour of the patient who is now at the mercy of the hospital.

Moving Home

Global warming and changing rainfall patterns have resulted in shifts or extensions in species' range in every terrain, region and ecosystem in India. If it is indicative of a wider unfolding process related to climate change, it would suggest that a staggering number of species in India are moving home. This would adversely affect human habitat as well.

Polyester Prince Revisited

The polyester wars of the mid-1980s that pitted one industry group against another are back with us. On the basis of an investigation begun by the United Progressive Alliance government, the National Democratic Alliance government has imposed an anti-dumping duty on purifi ed terephthalic acid, an important input for production of many polyester products. The user companies argue that there is no evidence of dumping of imports and allege that the duty has been imposed to benefit domestic producers of PTA, of which there are only three and of whom the public sector producer has not complained of dumping.

Battery Rickshaws in New Delhi and the Regulation Conundrum

Battery rickshaws have become a common sight on the streets of New Delhi in the past few years. They play an important role in the urban transport system and are a significant provider of employment. However, despite their proliferation, they remain unregulated and this has become the subject of loud and often antagonistic debate in the media and considerable confusion amongst the judiciary, transport department and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. This article attempts to explain the conundrum behind this regulatory confusion and discusses the attitudes of battery rickshaw drivers to regulation.

Rangarajan Committee Report

This is a critical assessment of the Rangarajan Expert Committee on poverty measurement. While much of the media coverage has focused on the poverty lines recommended by the Committee, this article evaluates the methodology adopted and discusses some wider issues that were flagged in the terms of reference set for this Committee. It argues that the Committee missed an opportunity to mark a significant departure from previous approaches (especially in widening the measure of poverty) and provides illustrative empirical evidence in support of this assertion.

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