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

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Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme

This paper is part of the author's PhD work submitted to the Centre for Studies in Science Policy Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The author would like to thank the reviewers for their comments, Rohan D’Souza, Saradindu Bhaduri and Ambuj Sagar as also the Centre for Social Markets, Coffee Board of India, Karnataka Growers’ Federation, Hassan District Planters’ Association, United Planters’ Association of Southern India and Karnataka Planters’ Association for their help in the field.

Figure of the Halalkhore

Cow protection groups have been reported to engage in acts of public violence against Dalit and Muslim caste labourers. In the context of these occurrences, this article explores the relationship between caste identity and performing “stigmatised” labour—sanitation, removing refuse, and collecting urban waste—in colonial Bombay. The idea of dirt as a cultural category is not new; it is part of a hereditary system that imprints physical and moral impurity on its actors. The attacks on select castes today are part of a Hindutva ideal to purify India and remake it as a caste Hindu nation.

Are Technology-enabled Cash Transfers Really ‘Direct’?

In an era increasingly dominated by the digital, technology-enabled solutions have come to be viewed as a one-stop solution to the age-old administrative woes of corruption and inefficiency. Evidence from a detailed case study of payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in a region of Telangana shows that technological solutions in the domain of government-to-citizen cash transfers are far from perfect. The mechanisms of techno-utopianism suffer from many of the same flaws as the ones they replaced and, in some cases, they have introduced new flaws.

Is Drug Development in India Responsive to the Disease Burden?

Although the Indian pharmaceutical industry has played an important role in the development of generic medicines, it is not clear whether drug development, which is dominated by the private sector, is informed of the disease burden and public health priorities. An attempt is made to address this question by juxtaposing the therapeutic focus of the drugs approved for marketing and the new chemical entities in the pipeline with the disease burden across age groups.

The Making of ‘Local Health Traditions’ in India

The Indian government’s attention to the mainstreaming of traditional systems of medicine and the revitalisation of community-based local health traditions needs to be viewed as a part of its overall mandate of strengthening traditional systems of medicine. An analysis of existing policy documents and reviews reveals that LHTs have an eclectic policy history in India, marked by several decades of neglect by the state, with sporadic attention to the LHT practitioners as community health workers, to an upsurge of seemingly explicit, and yet somehow obtuse interest in revitalisation. Tracing the evolution (and dissolution) of these trajectories chronologically reveals that there is ambiguity and inconsistency around the rationales for the revitalisation of LHTs, potentially leading to fragmented medical pluralism.

Ghettoisation of Economic Choices in a Global City

The “rise” of India on the global economic landscape has been accompanied by the revival of debates regarding the role played by social institutions such as caste, religion and gender in shaping an individual’s life chances. This paper engages with this debate by looking at a micro-level case study of the occupational choices of Muslim ex-millworkers in Mumbai city. Religion as a social institution combined with negative emotions and a lack of political patronage creates barriers for Muslims in the labour market, compelling them to seek livelihood opportunities in a ghettoised economy.

Sandwiched Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru’s tryst with secularism and communal politics may be enumerated through a critical rereading of the religious apprehensions expressed by the Christian community over the question of their right to propagation. Was Indian secularism an effective ideological substitute to communal politics or merely a tactical tool for achieving political gains during Nehru’s times? Nehru’s vision of secularism, in having to negotiate the politics of Hindu fundamentalism as well as Congress majoritarianism, was forced to accommodate the flavours of a majoritarian cultural climate with some preferential treatment to Hindu rights.

Mapping the Power of Major Media Companies in India

There are 12 major producers of news content in India; eight business houses have significant presence in multiple sectors, and dominate specific market segments. The emerging oligopolistic nature of the Indian media sector is examined. Using ownership patterns as a proxy for control over the media and the information it disseminates, the control that prominent media companies exercise across various markets in which they operate is mapped. Detailed information has been collected across 11 internationally accepted content and carriage media industry sectors. Standard economic indices for each media sector have been used for arriving at the extent of concentration in the media industry.

Social Choice and Political Economy of Health

The National Health Policy, 2017 can be credited for an alternative vision towards the development of the health sector in India, but it falls short of expectations on certain counts. The core idea of strategic purchasing from the private sector is relevant, but can be incompatible with the existence of a robust public sector, particularly when reforms for enhancing the competitiveness of the public sector are undermined. Thus, the NHP essentially reopens the fundamental debate regarding the role of social choice mechanisms while deciding upon policy instruments and desirable outcomes. This has profound implications for the political economy of the health sector and can unintentionally catapult health as a salient feature in electoral politics.

‘Cultural Misrecognition’ and the Sustenance of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal

The assembly elections in West Bengal in 2016 were historic not only because the Trinamool Congress was given a second chance with a massive mandate, but also because, for the first time in decades, a single political party managed to win the election. Moreover, the TMC secured victory in most of the traditional left bastions, making the Left Front virtually insignificant in state politics. While populist and direct-benefit schemes are most prominently seen as the reasons behind the party’s success, there also exist the hitherto unaddressed alternatives to the Left Front government’s systematic development of “party society.” The promotion of traditional cultural expressions conceptualised as “cultural misrecognition” helped the TMC sustain its control and also attracted votes of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of the state who traditionally constituted the support base of the left.

Is the Ghost of Fascism Haunting Political Thought?

The spectre of fascism has continued to haunt political thinking even though original fascism was decisively defeated within a decade. Given the very specific historical conditions in which fascism arose in Europe, whether the term “fascism” significantly applies to more recent forms of authoritarian rule is questionable. Facile reference to the handy historical precedence of European fascism inhibits a genuine understanding of the material conditions that cause authoritarian regimes in the neo-liberal era. More disturbingly, the impressionistic mention of fascism might divert attention from the real issues of resistance to neo-liberalism.

Indian Official Statistics

Official statistics is a public good that informs, supports, and sustains democracy and advances socio-economic development. The Indian statistical system is analysed and methods for modernising it are suggested by using information and communications technology to improve the quality, credibility, coherence, and timeliness of data. An integrated, decentralised information system populated with granular data will enable data to be carried flexibly wherever required, queried, and analysed in business contexts at all levels of governance for a deeper insight. Such a system will help the government to inform stakeholders about the economy and honour our commitments to the United Nations resolution of 2014.

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