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

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An Imbalanced Ecosystem

The rapid development of various institutions supporting company creation in India has the potential to generate economic growth, innovation, and economic development. However, this article shows that the start-up ecosystem has unevenly developed across cities and economic sectors, and has failed to empower the overall population, so far. Using a comprehensive database on start-ups retrieved from Tracxn, a business data and analytics company, the authors find that venture capital concentrates amongst graduates stemming from a handful of prestigious education institutes in India and abroad. The article analyses the role of entrepreneurship policies and argues for a shift of focus and resources towards the building of a more inclusive start-up ecosystem.

Theatrical Aesthetics in Televised Political Productions

The notion of theatrical aesthetics in political communication and the televised flow of theatre politics are examined. The analysis of verbal and non-verbal communication codes looks beyond the performance that is limited to speech analysis and examines the semiotics of proximity systems, imitation, gestures, symbols, and scene settings. The theatrical techniques used by the two main Greek political parties (New Democracy and Panhellenic Socialist Party) from 2000 to 2009 in televised political campaign presentations are explored.

How Real Is the Crime Decline in India?

Since 1991 in India, the crime rates of both property-related crimes and violent crimes, except crimes against women, have fallen significantly. While the decreasing trend is undisputed in Western nations, the perception in India is that the crime data has been manipulated by the police. The examination of constituent units composed of a diverse selection of districts in India suggests that the trends are generally similar across the country and are not an outcome of deliberate police practices. Police practices do not present any evidence of geographical bias in the registration of crime.

Land as Collateral in India

Although land is regarded as an ideal collateral for both borrowers and lenders, it is not used as one in developing countries like India for a variety of reasons. This use of land as collateral for borrowings by Indian households is mapped using data from the All India Debt and Investment Survey of 2012–13. The extent and patterns of the use of land as collateral are documented, supplemented with insights from a field survey in select talukas of Maharashtra that examine borrower perceptions of such use.

The Curious Case of Cocktails, Weedicides, and Tonics

This study uses primary survey data collected from Vidarbha, Maharashtra, to analyse pest attacks and pest management practices among cotton farmers who are at the risk of long-term exposure to toxic pesticides. We find that despite a reduction in bollworm infestations, secondary pest pressure is high. Farmers use pesticides indiscriminately and there is widespread practice of using “pesticide cocktails.” Farmers also mix pesticides with fertilisers. The use of weedicides and “tonics” is also widely prevalent. Farmers who perceive pesticides as yield-enhancing input spent more per acre on them. These findings raise concerns about the role of agricultural input dealers in filling up the agricultural information void for pest management.

Subaltern Historiography, the Working Class, and Social Theory for the Global South

The Indian Freedom Movement (1857–1947) was a significant period which had a politically important impact on the Indian state’s subsequent formation. The historiography of the movement was until recently much more monochromatic than the movement itself, highlighting the contributions of “great men.” The Subaltern Studies Collective (1980s–present) rejected this approach, taking a broader and more productive approach to telling the story of the movement via the bottom-up contributions to Indian history. Surprisingly, however, what became known as Subaltern Studies has downplayed the empirical role of the working class. One reason for this underemphasis is a specific and culturally essentialist mode of appropriating the work of E P Thompson, Carlo Ginzburg, and Hayden White, who are declared influences on Subaltern Studies. Why that was so remains an important question.

Pushing Back Delhi’s ‘Day Zero’

To prevent a water crisis in New Delhi, city dwellers are being asked to take up the socially responsible act of catching rain where it falls, known as rainwater harvesting. Just how viable, however, are individual and household efforts for addressing the water challenges on the horizon? Drawing from a selection of documents and interviews, it contends that several disincentives deter people from acting on the clarion call of household-level rainwater harvesting. The observations shift the onus of responsibility back onto the centralised water system and the municipal agencies charged with water management.

Are You Talking about ‘Jungle Patta’?

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 attempts to empower forest-dwellers for their own governance. This article examines the validity of conservationists’ apprehension of “land loot” after 10 years of implementation of the act. It shows, with empirical evidence from West Bengal, that actual land recognition is far less compared to what has been stated in the act. In effect, recording of land rights became a contraction of legal access to existing forest resources, which might lead to conflicts in future. The state used this act for political benefits, reducing it to a mere “beneficiary scheme” of panchayat-level governance, with the whole implementation becoming a patta -giving exercise to forest-dwellers.

Muslims, Affirmative Action and Secularism

Religion-based preferential treatment in the services of the state is generally argued to be in contradiction with secularism. As a result, the Indian state has relied on a non-preference, non-discrimination framework to address the issues of backwardness and under-representation of Muslims. This article attempts to partially reconcile the contradiction between religion-based preferential treatment and secularism, and it is argued that the determination of welfare policies for religious minorities, particularly Muslims within the non-preference, non-determination framework, either has to be justified in the public philosophy of the state or social justice has to be given a relative preference to secularism, especially when the policies formulated within the non-preference, non-discrimination framework have not proven to be effective in targeting the relative backwardness of Muslims.

Medical Negligence and Law

India has adopted the Bolam rule from the United Kingdom and has been using it to adjudicate cases of medical negligence. The evolution of the Bolam rule in the UK as well as the way the rule is applied in India by the Supreme Court reflects a balance between judicial intervention and deference to medical expertise. Although it is settled that it is the courts and not medical experts who must finally decide on whether the conduct of a doctor is negligent, the standards to be used when evaluating expert evidence and the extent to which such cases must be deferred to are evolving. The Supreme Court has not clearly stated the judicial standard against which it will test these differing opinions of medical experts and has not been consistent in its willingness to do so. Therefore, the application of the Bolam rule in India has been inconsistent and this is likely to have an impact on the decisions made by medical practitioners.

What Is the Effective Delivery Mechanism of Food Support in India?

The public distribution system is the cornerstone of anti-poverty initiatives in India to address the issue of hunger and malnutrition, but is plagued with leakages and corruption. Though several possible reasons account for these problems, one factor that is generally overlooked is the lack of assessment of the preference of the beneficiaries in terms of product portfolio, selection, and delivery mechanisms. Through a mixed methods analysis across Bihar, Odisha and (eastern) Uttar Pradesh, this paper assesses the factors explaining the diversity in the preference for the delivery mechanism. What would be a straightforward choice problem among delivery mechanisms turns out to be far more intricate when mediated by contextual heterogeneity and unequal power relations at different levels. The results highlight the centrality of demand and build a case for demand assessment in improving the effectiveness of the system.

Reflections on Moving Agricultural Research from Laboratory to Farm

The experiences of researchers at the Industrial Technology Institute, and the Centre for Poverty Analysis, Colombo, Sri Lanka, are drawn on to provide reflections on moving agricultural technologies from laboratory trials to farms in the global South. The challenges and potentials for a hexanal-based Enhanced Freshness Formulation spray and a wrap made from banana fibre (using waste products) are discussed, demonstrating that in generating innovative technologies for sustainable agricultural development, agricultural researchers must think beyond laboratory viability and successful field testing to adaptability in the real world for a range of agriculture stakeholders, and be open to considering the potentials of unexpected, spin-off technologies.

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