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

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Status of Denotified Tribes

A study on the socio-economic and educational status of denotified tribes reveals that members of these tribes are plagued by chronic poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, health complications, and substandard living conditions, apart from the label of ex-criminals. They face an identity crisis in the absence of statutory documents and therefore, need special policies for their welfare and upliftment.

Social Responsibility of the Historian

Recent conflicts in India over what constitutes historical facts or "truths" have forced historians out of their ivory towers and into the public arena, adding urgency to reflections on the historian's social responsibility. Is it the historian's responsibility to expose manipulations of the historical past, point to social dysfunctions, and identify remedies? Or should the citizen historian nourish public debate on sensitive topics without taking a clear-cut position on them? This paper explains how the French journal, the Annales d'Histoire Economique et Sociale, established in 1929, has interpreted these questions, attempting to deal with problems of contemporary concern, but without making the shift from debate to polemics. Annales has been in favour of a non-emotional history, inviting historians to work with data, and reminding them that their primary role is to strengthen the citizen's understanding of the social mechanisms of change, not to take ideological positions themselves.

The Derozio Affair

Hindu College was set up in Calcutta in 1817 as a pioneering institution to impart Western learning to its students. In 1831, its most outstanding teacher, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, then only 22 years old, was compelled to resign. A look at the circumstances that forced his resignation attempts to reconstruct Derozio's ideas and his teaching methods. The episode offers a glimpse of the intellectual ambience of early 19th-century Calcutta.

Neo-liberal Political Economy and Social Tensions

August 2017 marks a year of the Una agitations. The informal neo-liberal political economy of Gujarat has seemingly given a new lease of life to primordial identity politics by promoting social capital for social security. A revival of traditional cultural ethos legitimises and reinforces caste bonds, perpetuating social tension among the competing castes. The growth of education and urban middle class among Dalits is not tolerated by the non-Dalits who still hold them in contempt whilst struggling to seek opportunities for maintaining their status. The

Futures Markets

The National Agricultural Policy announced in 2000 recognised “the role of the futures markets as one that would contribute to price discovery and would help in risk management by reducing volatility in the prices.” The rationale for futures markets is that they reduce uncertainty, but with the online trading system replacing the open outcry method, there has been a large flow of investment capital. On the one hand, liquidity is required for efficient functioning of the market and on the other, it may lead to excessive speculation, therefore defeating the objectives of price discovery and reduction in uncertainty. The analysis of futures markets begs the question with respect to agricultural commodity markets: are prices determined by real supply and demand or are they affected by financialisation and presence of speculators?

Distortions in Land Markets and Their Implications for Credit Generation in India

Data shows that land is collateral in a large proportion of loans in India. Yet, the several structural, regulatory, and information-driven distortions that afflict Indian land markets force lenders to adopt conservative policies ex ante, affecting both the availability of credit and the collateralisation of land. The paper examines some of these distortions and highlights their significance to the current debate on reforming bankruptcy framework in India. The first part of the paper discusses structural, regulatory, and informational gaps that limit lenders’ ability to lend against land as well as recovery after default. In the second part, some opportunistic and structural reforms in the land markets that could effectively monetise land in credit markets have been proposed.

Trade Liberalisation and Women’s Employment Intensity

Whether trade can be used as an instrument for generating greater employment opportunities for women is an important question for policymakers in developing countries. This paper analyses the role of various trade-related factors in determining female employment intensity in a panel of India’s manufacturing industries during 1998–2011. Import tariff rate is found to exert a negative effect on female employment intensity, supporting the hypothesis that firms, when exposed to international competition, tend to reduce costs by substituting male with female workers. Further, the relative demand for female workers increases to the extent that trade liberalisation leads to resource reallocation in favour of unskilled labour-intensive industries. By contrast, greater use of new technology biases the gender composition of workforce against females. Liberalisation has not led to large growth of female employment in India because the resource reallocation effect has not been strong enough to offset the negative technology effect.

The Western Ghats Imbroglio in Kerala

The bitter opposition in Kerala to the Gadgil and Kasturirangan reports on the conservation of the Western Ghats was a result of information asymmetries, engendered by ignorance of the reports’ contents, attendant disinformation campaigns and rumour-mongering abetted by and favouring the Church, ruling and opposition political parties, and other interest groups to mislead settler–farmers and create a panic situation. The exclusive focus on “ecologically sensitive areas” and efforts to exclude certain areas from it failed to address the larger debate on sustainable development.

‘Designed to Fail’

By taking the case of sewage infrastructure in the city of Gurgaon, the paper makes two observations. First, it argues that the dismal state of infrastructure in most parts of Gurgaon is linked to a culture of uncertainty around the roles and responsibilities of different governmental bodies and...

Preparing to Teach

District Institutes of Education and Training were the Indian state’s first and only significant institutional investment in elementary teacher education, ushering in a new phase of elementary schoolteacher preparation nationwide. This worm’s-eye view of one such institute in a backward district of Maharashtra suggests that, far from being “dysfunctional,” the pre-service teacher education at these places is engaged and responsive to local needs. The problems encountered by student–teachers and teacher–educators have more to do with the neglect and arbitrary nature of the system than the negligence and dereliction of duty of actors and agents within the institution. The proposal by the ministry to do away with teacher education at these institutes demonstrates that policymaking is often based on assumption rather than reality, borne out by research.

Colonial ‘Shock’ and Global Inequalities

Recent literature in New Institutional Economics has sought to study the link between colonialism and global inequalities. This strand of analysis has received substantial attention in academic and policymaking circles. But despite making an important contribution to development theory and deepening our understanding of North–South development differentials, this strand of analysis is not without its own set of problems and contradictions. Taking a critical view of NIE literature on colonialism, it is argued that by taking the nation state as the basic unit of analysis and by ignoring global power asymmetries, the NIE approach absolves the role of capitalist imperialism in creating global inequalities, and instead produces an internalist and Eurocentric theory of development.

Abductive Reasoning in Macroeconomics

Macroeconomic analytical frameworks change with events they are unable to explain. The process is closer to abductive reasoning that is based on both events and analysis, unlike induction which is data-based and deduction where analysis dominates. Abduction reasons backwards from the outcome to deduce the framework with which it is compatible. Therefore, it is useful to study how macroeconomic conceptual frameworks evolve after anomalous outcomes such as crises. The post-crisis churning is assessed from this perspective using criteria such as greater generality, systemic feedback, and structural aspects. Abductive reasoning is also used to extract the structure of aggregate demand and supply consistent with the observed negative correlation inflation and growth in India. If prolonged growth slowdowns do not reduce inflation, it suggests underlying aggregate supply is elastic but volatile, so that supply-side issues, not excess demand, are primary inflation drivers. Monetary and fiscal policy need to focus on elements that reduce costs, while avoiding sharp cuts in aggregate demand.

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