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

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Household Expenditure on Higher Education

Data from the two recent National Sample Survey Office surveys are analysed to provide estimates of higher education expenditure and loans. Households that participate in higher education spend 15.3% of their total expenditure on average in rural areas; in urban areas, they spend 18.4%. This share is larger in southern states, where individuals are more likely to be pursuing technical education in private, unaided institutions and are more likely to have outstanding borrowings for education. At the all-India level, poorer households are less likely to borrow for higher education, possibly because they are risk-averse and uncertain about future returns.

Amaravati: The Making of a Disaster Capital in Andhra Pradesh?

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has procured land for the construction of the state’s new capital city, Amaravati, through a land pooling scheme that it presented as a viable alternative to the forceful takeover of private land through the use of eminent domain. Drawing on five months of ethnographic fieldwork, the strategies of coercion and co-optation employed by the state government to persuade local landowners to part with their land and the socio-economic effects of dispossession and unemployment in Dalit communities are investigated. The urbanisation scheme can be characterised as a disaster in the making, with civil society unable to resist as the state government follows a high-modernist ideology of simplifying nature and society, implementing its plans through coercive power.

Migrant Labour in Maharashtra’s Sugar Industry

This article summarises the scenario of migration of sugar cane harvesting workers from Beed, a drought-prone district from Marathwada region, Maharashtra. Seasonal and distressed migration of the sugar cane harvesting workers, which happens to be the most vulnerable section of the sugar industry in Maharashtra, remains a largely overlooked arena in scholarly discussions as well as policy circles. Hence this article, based on a study conducted by the Unique Foundation, Pune, seeks to unravel this phenomenon by looking into the socio-economic profile of the migrants, causal factors behind migration and ramifications of the same.

Waste Management and Extended Producer Responsibility

The E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, and Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 are reviewed critically with respect to the principle of “extended producer responsibility,” comparing them with the first-ever EPR-based rules in India, the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001. The failure of the recent rules to recognise the role of the huge informal sector in collection and recycling of solid waste, one of the major reasons for the failure of BMHR, undermines their effectiveness. To overcome this drawback, an EPR mechanism integrating the informal collection system with formal recycling along with elimination of informal recycling units has been suggested.

An Inquiry into the Theoretical Structure Underlying the Labour Market Flexibility Argument in India

The theory underlying the labour market flexibility argument in India is identified and critically examined. A review of the empirical studies reveals that this argument is based on rigid real wages, in turn, explained by hiring and firing costs. Such explanations are provided by the insider–outsider theory of employment and unemployment due to Lindbeck and Snower (1988). A scrutiny of the I–O theory reveals that it could not even explain the existence of involuntary unemployment under reasonable assumptions. Further, it is shown that its policy recommendation necessarily assumes Say’s law. Thus, it is concluded the theoretical foundation underlying the LMF is unsound.

Access to Facilities for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence

In India, 29% of women aged 15–49 have experienced marital violence. Although crisis centres, known as helplines, exist to support those who experience violence, little is known about the experiences of women who use these services. Two rounds of surveys of 200 women who approached the government-sponsored helplines, conducted about four months apart, reveal that physical and sexual violence perpetrated by husbands and/or family members fell significantly in the inter-survey period. Women were also less likely to report suicidal thoughts and many reported a sense of economic security, happiness, self-confidence, and peace of mind. These findings underscore the importance of facilities offering women a haven in which they may learn about their options, have access to empathetic advocates, and secure support for addressing the violence they face at home.

‘Criminal Tribes’ and the Mechanism of Power

While there is general consensus about the fact that “criminal tribe” was a stereotypical category created by the British, it has also been argued that this categorisation has its basis in India’s ancient past. A close examination of ancient Indian scriptures and colonial archival texts reveals how both had very different views about the so-called “criminal tribes,” which in turn affected the ways in which power hierarchies were constructed and maintained. Nevertheless, these marginalised groups put forth their own counter-discourse, which becomes evident through the analysis of two photographs from colonial archives.

Neo-liberal Conservation

Carbon forestry projects such as REDD+, A/R CDM and the Green India Mission are based on the neo-liberal principles of privatisation, commoditisation, and marketisation. These market-oriented tools abstract forests from their sociocultural and ecological contexts and reduce their value for carbon forestry. These projects promote plantations of fast-growing species and undermine local knowledge and institutions. The available empirical evidence on the carbon forestry projects indicates that these have an impact on the rights and livelihoods of forest-dependent communities adversely. Hence, it is imperative to critically analyse them before scaling them up.

Prevalence of Undernourishment in Indian States

Prevalence of undernourishment, a measure developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization, is a key indicator for global hunger and food insecurity targets. The FAO has developed a sound conceptual model for estimating the prevalence of dietary energy deficiency. However, the estimation methodology of the prevalence of undernourishment has been a subject of much debate. Important modifications are suggested in the estimation of the distribution of average calorie intake and average minimum dietary energy requirements. Using the latest available data and the revised methodology, it is shown that about 472 million people in India, a staggering 39% of the population, were undernourished in 2011–12.

Medical Devices Manufacturing Industry

Not much is widely known about the market size and dynamics of the Indian medical devices industry. The size of the market for medical devices and equipment in India and its dependence on import is estimated. The market size of medical devices and equipment has been estimated for the period from 2010–11 to 2013–14, which was found to have accelerated from $2.7 billion to $4 billion, while imports served 70% of the total domestic needs in 2013–14. The share of medical devices-based diagnosis in households’ out-of-pocket expenditure on health has increased from 2.2% in 1993–94 to 7.6% in 2011–12. Regulatory mechanisms must be put in place to bring all key medical equipment under price control in order to drive down prices.

Institutional Exclusion of the Hill Tribes in Manipur

Ever since the colonial government brought the hill areas by annexation into the fold of Manipur, which was then only the Imphal Valley, the hill tribes and the valley community have been “living together separately,” with certain separate administrative arrangements. The problems of present-day Manipur are the consequences of this forced integration of two different entities. After India’s independence, the hill tribes in the North East were protected under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, but the Manipur hill tribes were left out. This denial of the extension of the Sixth Schedule to Manipur is a process of institutional exclusion, which has led to the demand for greater autonomy.

Sustainability of Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Dryland Areas

The attainment of financial, environmental and social sustainability of urban service provision has become problematic nowadays. Within urban services, the supply of water and its disposal after use have become very important because water has to be brought from distant sources and the waste water needs to be treated before being discharged into natural waterbodies, both of which are very costly propositions. In dryland areas, which are physically water scarce and constitute some 70% of the country, the problem becomes even more acute. The water supply and sanitation services in the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh are critically reviewed, and suggestions are made for alternative measures for a more equitable and sustainable water management system.

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