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

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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.

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.


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