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

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Maharashtra Cabinets

The politics of Maharashtra has long been characterised by the domination of the Maratha community. A few studies have tried to quantify this domination by mapping the social and caste profi le of the members of the state legislative assembly. This article analyses the composition of selected state cabinets from 1960 to argue that while Maratha dominance has remained intact, it has acquired a sharp regional profi le, with power being increasingly concentrated in the hands of Maratha political leaders from western Maharashtra.

Keeping Women Safe?

Verbal abuse faced by women online can range from sexist comments to rape threats and is a growing issue both nationally and globally. Asking as to what extent the law can provide recourse to these forms of abuse, this article raises various questions around the ways in which the Indian legal system as a whole, and the Information Technology Act in particular, constructs and responds to women's rights.

An Unholy Festival

In a number of Indian festivals, the rituals and practices alienate different sections of society and even exploit them. Such is the case with the Holi elebrations in Charthari village in Uttar Pradesh where the dalits and women bear the brunt of the hard work that goes into observing the occasion but are not permitted to participate in the "enjoyment". This raises questions about interpretations of Holi as the carnivalesque churning of social hierarchies.

Land Flight in Sindh

Land fl ight from the fl ood-prone Sindh countryside in Pakistan is becoming increasingly widespread, driven by a feudal agrarian regime which has millions of land-poor peasants bound in debt and servitude and by rising population pressure on agrarian resources. Together these make sharecropping and rural labour extremely unviable sources of livelihood. This article looks at the agrarian crisis and the proletarianisation of the peasantry stuck halfway between the countryside and the city.

India's External Sector

The deterioration in India's current account has led to a series of debates in the policy arena relating to sustainability, the importance of exchange rates in infl uencing the trade balance, and the role of high and rising inflation. Against this background, this article takes a step back and analyses the performance of the external sector in India since 1990. It estimates the sustainable current defi cit to GDP ratio to be 2.3%. Importantly, even to sustain a 2.3% CAD, India would need net capital infl ows of the order of at least $50-70 billion annually over the next fi ve years. Given the uncertainty around both the push factors (e g, rising global risk aversion) as well as the pull factors (slower growth in India) that determine capital fl ows, attracting such magnitudes of fl ows could very well be an uphill task.

The Forgotten Carnage of Bhagalpur

Twenty three years ago Bhagalpur district witnessed one of the worst communal riots in post-independent India. The victims - mainly Muslims - are still struggling, socially and fi nancially. This essay lays out the main fi ndings of the official commissions of inquiry set up to investigate the carnage and interweaves the context of a research study by the Centre for Equity Studies documenting the experiences of victims/survivors in Bhagalpur on justice and reparations, and makes policy recommendations on the framework for reparations for the victims.

Pharma Policy 2012 and Its Discontents

The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Policy 2012 has a new method for determining the price ceiling, called a market-based pricing mechanism. This is problematic, to say the least. It can create the illusion of regulating prices without actually doing so, and will have no impact on other members of the same therapeutic class outside the National List of Essential Medicines or on existing fixed dose combinations, rational and irrational. It will reduce the prices of certain top brands, but not close potential escape routes for good. It will also leave a lot of useful life-saving drugs used in tertiary care outside the price control basket.

AnRak Aluminium

A bauxite/aluminium project very similar to the Vedanta project in Odisha is coming up in Visakhapatnam istrict of Andhra Pradesh. AnRak Aluminium, a company of the government of Ras al-Khaimah of the United Arab Emirates and Penna Cement of AP has secured approval for both an aluminium complex and the bauxite ines, but the fi nal forest clearance for the mines is awaited. The AnRak project has replicated the Vedanta odel of fi rst building the refi nery and then setting up the mine. The mine is to be operated by the state government to circumvent the ban on non-tribal landownership. In fact, the state government has disregarded the huge environmental and social impact and popular protests against mining bauxite in the Jerrela Hills, inhabited almost exclusively by adivasi tribes who will be displaced, to safeguard private gain.

This Chāy Is Bitter

The global structure of "rewards" in the tea industry is so severely skewed in favour of the multinational retailers and blenders that, after the plantations, processing units and the buying agents get their shares, the tea-picking workers' lot is one of pittance. This article speaks of across-the-board violations of the rights of workers, mostly women tea-pickers, in the tea gardens in India in the age of globalisation.

Nude Worship in Karnataka

The article revisits the debate around bettaleseve or nude worship at Chandragutti, central Karnataka that occurred in the mid-1980s. Bettaleseve is a form of worship rendered to goddess Renukamba at Chandragutti. It ran into major controversy in 1986 when the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, some women's groups and non-governmental organisations protested against the "nudity" of dalit-bahujan women who comprise the majority of worshippers. The article examines the subject produced in the protest discourse and proposes another reading of the subject through a return to the Renukamba myth that underpins and is played out during bettaleseve. It explores whether the myth can be read as a body of knowledge-practice that provides an alternate basis to articulate the dalit woman's standpoint.

Abduction of the District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh

The kidnapping of the Sukma district collector in April 2012 and the issues that came up in the CPI (Maoist) party's statements had much to do with a model of development that is surrendering rich natural resources to corporates and multinationals for a pittance in the name of growth. This article, written by one of the two mediators who negotiated with both the Chhattisgarh government's nominees and CPI (Maoist) representatives to secure the collector's release, describes the twists and turns the talks took and points to a few salutary lessons that Indian democracy would do well to pay heed to.

Corporate Boards in India

An examination of the caste diversity of Indian corporate boards of a thousand top Indian companies - accounting for four-fi fths of market capitalisation of all companies listed in the major stock indices in India - measured by the Blau index shows that their median score for 2010 is zero, indicating that there is no diversity at all. Indian corporate boards continue to remain "old boys clubs" based on caste affi liation rather than on other considerations (like merit or experience).

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