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

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Legitimising Tax Avoidance

The Vodafone tax case in which the Supreme Court overturned a Bombay High Court ruling on the validity of the income tax department claim on capital gains incurred in the sale transaction between Hutch and Vodafone has been hailed as a boost for corporate investment. However, what the ruling does is favour tax avoidance strategies. Indeed, it goes against the Supreme Court's own ruling in 1986 in opposition to such strategies.

The Continuing Food Crisis

The recent food price crisis has exposed the fragility of the global food system. There has been much progress in international policies and practices on food and agricultural development, but some of the underlying causes of the crisis have yet to be addressed. The focus continues to be on increasing production with little regard for demand-side aspects (biofuels, meat-based diets, etc) and inequality in consumption. Developing country governments will be central to bringing about such changes. They need the policy space to pursue their own solutions and they need the support of the international community to demand deeper reform in developed country policies.

Nanotechnology: 'Risk Governance' in India

This article analyses the potential consequences of the application of nanotechnology in the Indian context and studies the institutional arrangements for "risk governance" of nanotechnology in other countries. It is argued that nanotechnology governance in India requires a separate agency - similar to the one established for biotechnology - to develop human resources, infrastructure, and research and to monitor issues and concerns in the field.

The Idea of Happiness

The idea of happiness has changed. It has emerged as a measurable, autonomous, manageable, psychological variable in the global middle-class culture. The self-conscious, determined search for happiness has gradually transformed the idea of happiness from a mental state to an objectified quality of life that can be attained the way an athlete after training under specialists and going through a strict regimen of exercises and diet wins a medal in a track meet. Might it be that the sense of well-being of a mentally healthy person shows its robustness by being able to live with some amount of unhappiness and what is commonly seen as ill-health?

Un-archived Histories: The 'Mad' and the 'Trifling'

Traditional historians hold that there can be no history without an archive. But how is one to write a history of prejudice where the evidence that identifies or signifies its everyday forms and discriminatory behaviour is scrappy and ambiguous? The common sense of polarised race, caste, class or gender relations is articulated in rarely archived, historically unpretty and unacknowledged actions. Out of what archive is the history of these practices, which are not events, not datable or even nameable, to be written?

Revolving Doors: Affiliations, Policy Space and Ethics

A recent study found that a significant number of academic economists had held positions in both government and international institutions. This same pattern holds for economists in developing countries. The policy space has been restricted by this revolving door between national and international roles, because it forces a homogenisation of economic perspectives. There is need for a professional code of ethics providing guidelines for disclosure, but such codes may not be sufficient to address many questions, which may be best dealt with through a professional field of ethics in economics.

Contemporary Globalisation and the Politics of Space

Since place is the arena where social structure and social relations interact, all praxis are grounded in specific places, giving rise to relations of power, domination and resistance. Underlying the spatialities one finds the material framework of social relations, power structure and discursive methodologies of the common people. A look at the dynamics of "space" and "spatiality" as reflected in the research in globalisation studies.

Hegemony in Contemporary Culture and Media and the Need for a Counter Initiative

Gramscian hegemony, more than overt imperialism, characterises contemporary mass culture and media. A paradigm shift in the way we understand, represent and experience the world subserves a new and aggressive corporate teleology. Technological convergence and digitisation, which held an initial promise of and potential for democratisation, collapse into vertical integration and monopolisation. In the process, cultural sovereignty is abstracted into a homogenised, make-believe, global marketplace, which reduces every individual to a consumer and excludes the real and abiding concerns of vast swathes of humanity. An intellectual resurgence must counter the counterfeit revolution of the information era.

The Republic in Dire Straits: How to Put It Back on the Rails

The Indian polity is in dire straits. Time-serving post-poll alliances lacking ideological compatibility and devoid of commitment to firm policies and programmes are the root causes of the malady. The sovereign remedy for the perils confronting the Republic is a new political configuration based on a compatible ideology. That ideology should be an unflinching faith in secularism and social justice which together constitute the basic structure of the Constitution. The bedrock of the new broad-based United Front could be a firm and principled alliance of a thoroughly reformed Congress and the CPM and the CPI. Advocating the formation of such a United Front, this article lists a few essential steps that should be taken to stem the rot.

The Poverty Line: Getting It Wrong Again

There has been an upsurge of public discussion on a number of inter-related issues revolving around official assessments of poverty, the linking of welfare entitlements to poverty status, the reasonableness of officially stipulated money-metric poverty lines, the relative virtues of universalisation and targeting of welfare benefits, and the fiscal sustainability of increased public spending in the cause of poverty redress. The present essay offers a very brief evaluation of the methodology of poverty identification advanced by an Expert Group of the Planning Commission in 1993, and undertakes more elaborately what is essentially a critical assessment of the 2009 Tendulkar Committee's approach to specification of the poverty line.

The Human Rights Movement in India: In Search of a Realistic Approach

Frameworks of human rights - cast largely in terms of the individual's relationship with the state - are facing an unprecedented challenge today. After tracing the evolution of the civil rights movement in India in the age of colonialism and its trajectory towards maturity in the post-Independence period, the author emphasises the need to focus particularly on economic, social and cultural rights in a third world context such as India's, and more so in the present age of globalisation, arguing that this will in turn pave the way for the achievement of civil and political rights.

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