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

Special ArticlesSubscribe to Special Articles

Rapid Growth of Private Universities

Over the last two decades India has witnessed a rapid rise in the number of private universities. Various state governments have encouraged and justified this growth in order to increase enrolment in higher education, and private capital has welcomed this state encouragement. However, the implications of this move on access to higher education and the variety of other challenges that it presents are debated. Based on higher education enrolment data from the All India Survey on Higher Education, this paper attempts to study the social and academic character of universities to understand the consequences of the rapid growth of private universities for the university space as a whole.

Lives and Livelihood

A road map for resuming limited economic activities with necessary precautions in certain industries that can lessen economic pain, given the prevailing situation, has been drawn up in this paper. It identifies industries and districts that can start functioning in a limited manner, informed by geographical, occupational, and other industry-specific data.

Doctoral Journeys

The ways in which three doctoral scholars engaged in ethnographic research in differing social worlds are explored here. Accounting for the ethical–political dilemmas engendered by “fieldwork” and the ways in which we grappled with them, this paper reflects upon methodology and questions of power pertaining to disciplinary boundaries, social identities, and researcher–practitioner binaries that have marked key debates within scholarship on the Indian social. This reflection draws from our vantage point as doctoral students, particularly addressing our preparedness for the messiness of field participation and converting field notes into authorial accounts. The arguments in the paper feed into larger conversations around representation in the social sciences. By foregrounding our ethical–moral positions and the institutional spaces (or the lack thereof) to act upon such imperatives, the paper raises important questions about the dilemmas of authoring social worlds.

Revisiting Open Defecation

Since October 2014, the Government of India has worked towards the goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019 through the Swachh Bharat Mission. In June 2014, the results of a survey of rural sanitation behaviour in North India were first reported. The results from a late 2018 survey that revisited households from the 2014 survey in four states—Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh—are presented. Although rural latrine ownership increased considerably over this period, open defecation remains very common in these four states. There is substantial heterogeneity across states in what the sbm did and how. These outcomes suggest the need for a transparent, fact-based public dialogue about the sbm, its costs and benefits, and its accomplishments and means.

Access to Credit in Eastern India

The impact of access to credit on the economic well-being of agricultural households in eastern India is empirically evaluated. Using a large, farm-level data set from eastern Indian states and a multinomial endogenous switching regression model, the findings reveal that access to credit increases economic well-being, and farmers availing credit from formal sources are better off than those availing credit from informal sources. Finally, access to credit affects recipients heterogeneously, implying that credit policies should be adaptable to different agricultural household groups.

Developing India’s Mobile Phone Manufacturing Industry

In the absence of any major domestic mobile phone manufacturers, increased imports of mobile phones have contributed to a widening of India’s trade deficit. An analysis of the policy instruments put in place to incentivise the domestic manufacturing of mobile phones reveals a spike in domestic manufacturing, leading to significant reductions in the imports of mobile phones. However, domestically manufactured phones are dependent on imports of parts. This high import dependence itself is an outcome of the weak innovation capability in the domestic industry.

Child Marriages in Haryana

Child marriage continues to prevail in Haryana despite preventive laws. The state government’s policy of conditional cash transfers aimed at eliminating child marriage has failed in incentivising parents to not get their daughters married off before they turn 18. The role of child marriage protection officers who have been given the power to prevent and prosecute solemnisation of child marriages, and create awareness on the issue is examined. In order to draft a macro-level policy pertaining to child marriages, it is important to understand the gaps in the implementation of the existing policies along with grassroots realities and the challenges of implementing them.

‘Piloting’ Gender in the Indian Railways

Women loco-pilots in the Indian Railways, although few in number, face unique challenges as they negotiate with masculine forms of labour and technology in a male-dominated work environment. While, theoretically, they are treated at par with their male counterparts, new hierarchies are created on the job when they are expected to aspire to “masculine” standards of performance and discouraged from taking up the full range of tasks designated for loco-pilots. Thus, the entry of women in loco-piloting seems to reinforce its appearance as a masculine profession, and neither is the gendered nature of the system questioned, nor is it actively challenged.

Implementation of Community Forest Rights

The Vidarbha region of Maharashtra presents a unique case in the implementation of community forest rights where much of the region’s potential community forest rights claims have been recognised in the name of gram sabhas under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The key factors like the collective action of gram sabhas , the role of non-governmental organisations, grassroots organisations, and state implementing agencies, and their collaboration in advancing the implementation of cfr are explained here. There is need to support the upscaling of cfr across India, and to analyse the broader implications for forest resource governance at a national scale.

Small Businesses, Big Reform

This paper draws evidences from field surveys to bring out the impact of the goods and services tax on the micro, small and medium enterprises by exploring issues of coverage, rate, selection and exemption of taxation, and subsequently, its effect on the competitiveness and viability of these businesses. The coping mechanisms the units undertook to tide over the crisis they faced as well as the GST Council responses are also discussed.

Health Insurance in Private Hospitals

Private hospitals are expected to play a key role in the implementation of government-sponsored health insurance schemes in India. Examining the availability and spread of private hospitals in the country and an analysis of their empanelment in government-sponsored health insurance schemes reveal that in low-income states of the country, empanelment of private hospitals by insurance companies is low and concentrated in a few pockets. This may indicate differences in entry conditions or low willingness of private hospitals to participate in these schemes, which has implications for the access to healthcare and insurance for the poor.

Land Acquisition in Punjab

Analysing a case of development-induced displacement through a survey of land dispossession in Punjab reveals how displacement for development projects adversely affects farmers economically, socially and culturally. Fertile land acquired for a thermal power plant remains unused, depriving villagers of their livelihoods as well as the benefits that could have accrued had the project materialised. Large-scale land acquisition for the establishment of thermal power plants causes irreversible changes in the lives of local communities that are deprived of their source of livelihood by land acquisition and also gives rise to other social, economic, political and ecological changes. To avert the crisis resulting from the acquisition of agricultural land for developmental purposes, “long-term livelihood opportunities” for dispossessed farmers should be rebuilt, as compensation acts as wealth, and not income, for agrarian societies.

Pages

Back to Top