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

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Women, Leverage and Peasant Revolutionary Organisations

Vast scholarship has found women in revolutionary organisations lacking in bargaining potential, being accorded subordinate positions, and facing sexual violence. This paper refutes such claims of homogeneity in women’s experiences, instead showing, under several structural conditions, that women’s groups exercised power, becoming central to guerrilla movement resilience. Using the case of the Maoists in two districts in Telangana, the author finds that the presence of relatively autonomous women’s groups in the villages generated a collective structural leverage—where women could steer movement actions, bargain for their demands to be met, and influence movement trajectory. Women have become essential to the guerrillas in delivering meaningful social change in the villages and creating robust support systems that can sustain an armed movement, while at the same time generating bargaining power for women.

Determinants and Efficiency of Stamp Duty Revenue Collection

The determinants of stamp duty revenue collection (income, tax rate) in West Bengal are studied using a unique panel data set of the state’s 19 districts from 2002–03 to 2010–11. The role of efficiency-improving conditions imposed on stamp duty revenue collection under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is studied. A Laffer Curve relation is found for stamp duty revenue collection. Though revenue collection fell due to the rate cut, there was an efficiency gain because avoidance in the housing market dropped, valuation software was implemented, and the circulation of fake stamp papers was prevented.

Urdu Newspapers in India

The declining fortunes of Urdu newspapers seem to be reversing as major media houses are beginning to invest in Urdu media. Largely catering to the Muslim population in the country, its impact in terms of representing Muslim interests and shaping Muslim opinion is enormous. Domestically, almost all Urdu media outlets regularly highlight the theme of Muslim victimhood at the hands of the Indian state. Internationally, these outlets are consistently critical of Israel, the United States and the West for their propaganda vis-à-vis international Islamic terrorism and adverse foreign policy towards Muslim nations.

Misuse of the Prevention of Atrocities Act

The Supreme Court in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v State of Maharashtra (2018) has toned down the effectiveness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 based on incorrect facts and faulty logic. The Court has made the filing of first information reports and arrest of the accused impossible in cases of caste atrocities while simultaneously providing no remedy to members of the SCs/STs against caste discrimination and violence. The Supreme Court judgment may unwittingly turn out to be a licence for upper-caste culprits to violate the law with impunity.

Prices of Patented Medicines in India

Medicines with valid patents generally enjoy exemption from price regulation in most countries. In India, the Drugs (Prices Control) Order lays down the rules for regulation of prices of medicines through a National List of Essential Medicines, inserted as Schedule-I of theDPCO. While any medicine that is included in Schedule-I automatically qualifies for price regulation, theDPCO exempts patented medicines that have been developed indigenously from price control for a period of five years.Can patented molecules for emerging as well as infectious diseases be brought under price regulation in India?

Cattle, Milk and Women’s Labour

A study on market-driven agriculture in the dry lands in Gujarat, especially households which embarked on dairying through the acquisition of loan-buffaloes, reveals that dairying is shot through with the politics of economic value involving dairies and milk producers. Commercial milk-production is interrupted by economic value encountering other values and affective relations of milk producers. The paper identifies limits to capitalist expansion located in people’s affective capacities and lifeworlds that emphasise becomings other than as “market producers,” in the state regarded as the most “entrepreneurial” in the country.

Spatio-temporal Variations of Crop Diversification

Crop diversification has been found to augment farmer’s income and employment, and to reduce poverty. An analysis of the nature and extent of crop diversification with spatio-temporal variations in the Damodar Valley Corporation command area in West Bengal is presented and the factors affecting crop diversification are identified. The spatial effect has been captured by segregating the DVC canal water course into three segments—head-reach, middle-reach and tail-end—according to the location of the area with respect to the water course. Uncertainty in respect of canal water availability in the tail-end area induces farmers to resort to higher crop diversification. The number of rural markets, distance of cultivated land from farmer’s home, and the number of adult family members engaged in agriculture significantly influence the nature of crop diversification.

Making Ash Disappear

The Indian government has been pushing for a target of 1.5 billion tonnes of coal production annually by 2020, most of which will be used in the electricity sector. In this context, current issues—status, policies, regulations, and bottlenecks—regarding the disposal of fly ash generated by thermal power plants are examined. Scenarios of ash generation and utilisation are presented. Blending fly ash in cement is the most environmentally sustainable and financially attractive method of its utilisation. Finally, key technical, regulatory, pricing, logistical, and behavioural issues that need to be urgently addressed to reach complete fly ash utilisation are discussed.

Does India Need a Caste-based Quota in Cricket?

In India’s 85-year-long Test history, only four of the 289 male Test cricketers have reportedly been Dalits. While concrete steps have been taken to address a similar under-representation of non-white players in South Africa, Dalit under-representation in Indian cricket has received scant attention. There is a need to understand this as a function of systemic barriers arising from corporate patronage post-independence and the urban stranglehold of the game, instead of attributing it to choice, inherent inability or upper caste “tastes.” The grass-roots development approach of Cricket South Africa can serve as an example to address this anomaly.

Rohtang Tunnel and Its Consequences in Lahaul and Spiti

Lahaul and Spiti, a remote district in the north-western Himalayas, is on the brink of a major socio-economic transformation due to the construction of the Rohtang tunnel. While this tunnel is highly significant for the influx of people, ideas and technology that it will usher in, it has serious consequences for life in the valley, altering both the society and the environment in notable ways and raising several issues that need to be addressed urgently.

Price Deficiency Payments and Minimum Support Prices

There is an ongoing debate on whether minimum support prices for various agricultural commodities can be replaced by a system of price deficiency payments to farmers. The main objective of the intended policy shift is the improvement in farmers’ incomes as well as a reduction in farm subsidies. An analysis of this system suggests that price deficiency payments might be a better option for both farmers and the government. However, it should be properly designed so that it can improve farm incomes, national food security, fiscal prudence and sustainability of agriculture. Unlike the Price Loss Coverage programme in the United States, covering almost all crops, and the MSP in India covering as many as 23 crops, it should be limited to a few specific commodities.

Infrastructure and Fiscal Management

In India, fiscal consolidation is rule-based and focuses on deficits and debt. Macroeconomic concerns are not integrated with fiscal targets, which have been achieved at the cost of infrastructure investment. States have to use their revenues more effectively to spend on health and education, and borrow more to fund infrastructure. The centre must incentivise states to use their fiscal space effectively. A strategy for infrastructure investment by the central and state governments is discussed, especially in the context of the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission.

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