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

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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.

Instability in the US: It Is Not Debt but the Lack of It

Financial crises and their lessons are quickly forgotten; this time is no exception. The true problems of the US economy, to which the rating agencies have turned a blind eye, persist to this day. Now Standard & Poor's states that a very large government debt poses a systemic risk and calls for more stringent fiscal austerity. S&P has got the numbers and the rationale wrong. The systemic risk resides on a public debt that is too small for what is required to climb out of the Great Recession.

The Missing Link in the Domestic Violence Act

Five years after the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 came into force there is no sign of any budgetary provision by the central government to help the states implement it. A number of crucial components that have been laid down in the Act remain neglected due to paucity of funds. What are the budgetary practices adopted by the states to implement the legislation? Based on the data collected from all the states (except J&K) under the Right to Information, this article suggests a few mechanisms to address the resource gaps.

Pakistan's Army: Divided It Stands

Super-charged and locally bred religious militants in Pakistan have fiercely turned upon their former tutors. The military is now haemorrhaging from these unrelenting attacks. As violence grows, pessimism and despondency have permeated the intelligentsia, prompting a flight out of the country. Pakistan must realise that it is in deep peril because of its past policies. It needs to overcome its unrelenting hatred of India, leave Kashmir as a problem to be solved by the Kashmiris, concentrate upon improving governance and deal politically with the Baluchistan situation. India, through its confrontational policies with Pakistan, shares some responsibility for the present tragic state of affairs. It is therefore incumbent upon India to help Pakistan overcome its difficulties or, at any rate, to refrain from adding to them; this is in India's self-interest.

'Medicines for All', the Pharma Industry and the Indian State

When we consider that expenditure on medicines in India accounts for 50% to 80% of treatment costs, India's pharmaceutical success has clearly not translated into availability or affordability of medicines for all. As part of Universal Access to Healthcare, good quality healthcare should be accessible, affordable, and available to all in need. Providing quality medicines to all - free at the point of service - in all our public facilities is an achievable task. This article estimates the cost of providing free and quality medicines at all levels of public healthcare and offers suggestions on how this can be done.

Gandhi's Twin Fasts and the Possibility of Non-violence

Gandhi died a sorrowful man, following his discovery that the freedom struggle led by him was not non-violent. It was passive resistance, which is always "a preparation for active armed resistance". The violence which had lain repressed had erupted on the eve of Independence. Gandhi's insight seems to have left academic wisdom and popular memory unaffected. This study of two "twin" fasts by Gandhi is part of a larger attempt to use that insight to make sense of his 30-odd years in India and of his undying faith in non-violence. It asks: Can non-violence be more than an impossible possibility?

Godhra: The Verdict Analysed

A judgment has branded the Muslims of Godhra "Hindu killers" by tradition. The 27 February 2002 train fi re, it declares, was a conspiracy to kill karsevaks. Ignoring the plain record that the source of the fi re was inside the train even before it suddenly stopped after leaving Godhra station, the judgment holds that the train was stalled by Muslims to break into a coach brimming with belligerent karsevaks, pour petrol, and start a fi re, and to do so all unnoticed. The half-truths of forensics and the machinations of the police have succeeded in the trial, and 31 men, unfairly made to bear the burden of proof and denied vital witnesses, have been sentenced either to death or life imprisonment.

Indebtedness and Suicides: Field Notes on Agricultural Labourers of Punjab

As tragic and devastating as those among the farmers, suicides among agricultural labourers in the cotton belt of south Punjab have not received the same kind of attention or concern. The author made a fi eld trip in May-June last year to around 20 villages in Sangrur, Bathinda, Barnala and Mansa districts to explore the condition of the landless labourers in the midst of the agrarian crisis, how the economic crisis has unleashed a social calamity, how the widows are faring in the struggle to survive and how the children/ orphans are coping.

Fenced Indians Pay for 'Security'

Since 1986, India's borders with Bangladesh are being fenced disrupting the lives of citizens residing in those tracts. The unnatural division of people has created a human tragedy of which the organs of the state refuse to take cognisance of. Excluded by mainstream discourses of security, the lives and livelihoods of these fenced Indians bear the costs of fencing.

Srikrishna Committee on Telangana: Recommendations at Variance with the Analysis

The Srikrishna Committee's analysis suggests that a separate Telangana can be a viable state and that a larger majority of the people in the region favour statehood. If a separate state is yet not the most preferred option then this has been on account of the vehement opposition from the Seemandhra region and the committee's own fears about more demands for smaller states cropping up as well as Telangana becoming a stronghold of Maoism and religious fundamentalism. Above all, the Srikrishna Committee's preference shows that in our system, opting for radical change by moving away from the status quo is not easy.

The Great Indian Tiger Show

Thirty-seven years since the Project Tiger, the decline in numbers is shocking - 1,827 tigers in 1972, only 1,411 today. Forest rights implementation has been sluggish with rampant violations and large-scale denial of rights, mostly by the forest bureaucracy, the revenue and tribal departments. An analysis of the legal provisions under various Acts reveals that none of the 39 notified Critical Tiger Habitats have obtained the consent of the forest dwellers and the gram sabhas, and are thus illegal. An elitist conservation policy, which has so far targeted only the tribals, has resulted in illegal encroachment and activities in the tiger reserves by the State.


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