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

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Financing of Indian Microfinance

The pattern of funds fl ow during 2006-10 to self-help groups and microfi nance institutions - the two competing institutional arrangements of microfi nance delivery in India - reveals that the commercial banking system had steadily shifted its patronage to large MFIs from the mid-2000s. Increased access to equity capital helped these MFIs improve their capital adequacy, which, in turn, helped them leverage the domestic debt market. They also resorted to newer ways of raising capital through product structuring and introduction of innovative debt instruments. MFIs thus played a signifi cant role in linking the processes of neo-liberal restructuring and fi nancialisation with the daily lives of local communities.

TRAI Recommendations

Commotion and confusion prevails over the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on spectrum pricing and refarming. The industry is split over the suggestions relating to valuation and allocation of electro-magnetic spectrum which follow the 2 February order of the Supreme Court cancelling the 122 licences that were issued in an illegal manner from 2007-08 onwards. The government is under pressure from lobbies to dilute TRAI's recommendations and the regulatory body too has complicated matters. In the end, will the consumer end up as the biggest loser?

In the Jungle of Law

This article examines the implementation of the Forest Rights Act of 2006 in the historical context of Wayanad's adivasi land struggles. The left-wing Government of Kerala (2006-11) aimed to interpret the FRA as a legal opportunity to obtain forest (department) land and to fulfi l decade-old promises to redistribute land to landless adivasis. However, the provisions of the Act were not the right means to bring them redistributive justice. The well-intentioned FRA failed to make an impact in the specifi c historical and legal environment of the region.

Delhi Water Supply Reforms: Public-Private Partnerships or Privatisation?

The manner of implementation of water supply reforms in three areas of Delhi based on the public-private partnership model has been a quiet and secret affair without proactive consultations with the people of the project areas. This account of the Delhi reforms examines the documents of one of the three PPPs and asks questions about the manner in which the projects are unfolding, the roles of the Delhi Jal Board and private entities as envisaged in the PPPs, as well as the overall implications for the right to water.

Rise and Fall of Calcutta's Group Theatre

There is good reason to believe that there were telltale signs in West Bengal even in the late 1970s, at the moment of the left's greatest triumph, that there was something intrinsically wrong in the process through which the left had come to power and retained it. This article attempts to establish this through a brief examination of Calcutta's Group Theatre movement, which since its inception was largely driven by left-democratic ideals. A strong movement in the 1960s, by the 1980s it had begun to fade away. It is possible to see the crisis in the Group Theatre movement as a fallout of the much bigger crisis in the constitutional left movement of the country.

Redefining Development and Quality of Life

For those who believe that we are not necessarily condemned to the gloomy status quo and that societies can do things differently, what is happening in Ecuador provides inspiration and even guidance. Ecuador could be one of the most exciting places on earth at present, in terms of new thinking about and actively working towards an alternative development paradigm based on new relationships between economy, society and nature. This article gives an account of Ecuador which is particularly important because it shows how much can be achieved if there is sufficient political will and popular support, even by a small country operating under numerous constraints in uncertain economic times.

Land Acquisition and Dispossession

This article presents an investigation into strategies employed by privately-owned companies to gain access to land for resource extraction in Jharkhand where much of the land being put under the shovel is inalienable adivasi or tribal land and deedless commons. It concludes that although policy reforms are welcome, cosmetic changes in mineral governance laws are inadequate to protect the interests of the poor. It suggests an alternative vision, a complete overhaul of mineral ownership to allow the poor to share the revenue benefits.

Imperialism for a Cash-strapped Era

President Barack Obama's new defence strategy for the United States involving cuts and drawdowns of its military requirements and presence the world over reflects the superpower's current economic priorities. Yet on close observation, it sets the stage for a new form of preparations for asymmetric defence and hegemonic designs vis-à-vis west Asia, central Asia and the Asia-Pacific. Despite its ambitions to formulate a new cold war in these regions, particularly targeted at China, the economic interrelationship with that country would necessitate only a half-cold war or thereabouts.

A 'Normal' Anomaly: Displacement due to Communal Violence in Gujarat

The fleeing of lakhs of Muslims from their homes in Gujarat during the 2002 violence and their subsequent relocation in "resettlement colonies" or in places of Muslim concentration has been termed migration by the state and displacement by human rights organisations. This article revisits the events of that year to examine the displacement/migration question. Taking a cue from Hannah Arendt it argues that displacement raises the larger question of guaranteeing the rights of minorities against majoritarian impulses and examines the proposed Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011 in this light.

Aarogyasri Healthcare Model: Advantage Private Sector

Andhra Pradesh's Aarogyasri programme has placed health on the political map in the state and is popular with the masses. However, corporate hospitals handle the biggest share of the cases and there is no provision for outpatient treatment of everyday illnesses that affect the working capacity of the patient. The focus on tertiary healthcare to the exclusion of all other forms of medical assistance leads to an inefficient medical care model with a low level of real impact on meeting the needs of healthcare and the health of the population. There is need for a debate on the healthcare and techno-commercial performance of the programme, especially if it is going to be copied by other states and even by the centre in introducing some form of universal healthcare.

The Limits of Safety Analysis: Severe Nuclear Acciden Possibilities at the PFBR

The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor that is being built in Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu has the potential to undergo severe accidents that involve the disassembly of the reactor core. Such accidents could release sufficient energy to fracture the protective barriers around the core, including the containment building, and release large fractions of the radioactive material in the reactor into the surroundings. The designers of the PFBR have made choices aimed at making the reactor cheaper rather than safer. The safety assessment of the PFBR points to some fundamental problems with how nuclear technology is regulated.

Gender Equality in Local Governance in Kerala

Women's entry into governance through reservations is expected to be part of a long-term process of fostering gender equality. In this context, it is imperative to explore the issue of the accountability of male representatives. This article offers an analysis of a workshop held in Thiruvananthapuram, exclusively for newly elected male representatives. It shows that gender-just outcomes would require much more than a minimal transfer of resources to women or opposition to offences against women.

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