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

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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.

The Making of a High Profile Rape Trial

The Shakti Mills trial of Mumbai, as the court cases relating to the two gang rapes in 2013 came to be known, led to the accused being sentenced to death. This is an account by the members of a survivor support project who supported the two young women at the centre of these cases. It offers insights into the prosecution's strategy, the police investigations and the grit and spirit of the two young women and their respective mothers, and how the survivor's socio-economic profile often dictates not only how she is treated but even the outcome of the case.

India Needs a National Policy to Control Tuberculosis

There is no policy in India for tuberculosis control and the centrally-run Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme has neither mandate nor agenda for TB control. There are short, medium and long term remedies for the maladies of the revised programme which are detailed in this article. TB is both a biomedical and a social, cultural and economic problem. Citizens must demand a national policy for TB control.

RTE Grievance Redress in Karnataka

Scholarly debates on the right to education in India have primarily focused on examining the content of the right while paying little attention to the institutions enforcing it. A study of the rules under the Right to Education Act in Karnataka shows that there are a multitude of authorities which perform grievance redress functions with overlapping jurisdictions. The rules create a parallel, informal grievance redress system that primarily comprises officials against whom grievances may arise.

Natural Cities

Cities should be able to manage themselves and be self-sustaining, with a single energy input. This article presents the idea of natural cities.

Caste Publications

Modern political culture has given viable incentive for various castes to develop their respective subcultures to consolidate their power in a competitive social world. Print media becomes the basis of these subcultures as it provides a viable option both for the consolidation of a shared identity as well as its communication. This article tries to illustrate the role played by print culture in materialising upper caste subcultures and their respective organisational politics through an empirical study of various registered upper caste publications in Uttar Pradesh.

Growth in the Time of UPA

This article challenges the prevailing view that the diminished electoral prospects of the United Progressive Alliance government is the result of neglecting growth to launch populist welfare schemes. It looks at a wide range of economic indicators to argue that compared to the National Democratic Alliance regime, the UPA period has been characterised by faster growth, higher savings and investment, growing foreign trade and capital infl ows, and increased infrastructure spending in partnership with private capital. The UPA's political troubles arise not from policies that hurt growth but from an inability to tackle the consequences of accelerated economic growth - increased conflict over land, rent seeking and corruption in the booming infrastructure and natural resource sectors, inability of public education to keep up with increased demand and rising aspirations, and poor delivery of welfare schemes made possible by growing revenues.

Minting Pure Reason

Bitcoins for the first time provide a practical electronic alternative to currency. While there can be no guarantee that bitcoins will continue to have a positive value, the decentralised nature of the Bitcoin network makes it a strong competitor to established online payment systems.

The National Food Security Act vis-à-vis the WTO Agreement on Agriculture

This article analyses the implications of the National Food Security Act for India's commitments under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture in the context of widespread concern that they might be mutually incompatible. An analysis of support to rice and wheat for the period 1995-2012 suggests that it is possible to leverage existing provisions in the Agreement to accommodate the current levels of operation. While India should negotiate to retain the flexibility afforded in the Agreement and argue on specific provisions, it might not be necessary to seek special protection to enable the Act.

Neglect of Sewage Workers

The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 does not give the same rights to those who manually clean drains and septic tanks in urban areas. This is also manual labour and involves the use of hands in cleaning excreta. Workers have to enter manholes to physically clean blockages. Government bodies have brazenly ignored court orders on mechanisation and bans on manual cleaning of sewage pipes. Unfortunately, the much-awaited new law also ignores the plight of sewage workers.

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