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

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The Aftermath of Farmer Suicides in Survivor Families of Maharashtra

How do survivors cope in the aftermath of a farmer suicide in their family? Detailed interviews with around 30 families in various villages of Nanded district, Maharashtra reveal that surviving family members battle with themselves and society to overcome impediments of all sorts for their basic existence. What emerges is a pressing need for a policy framework that focuses on these individuals by supporting them through alternative livelihood, education, and nutrition programmes. Pravin

Need to Rationalise Rising Interest Burden on Central Government Public Debt

Interest payments are a significant component of expenditure of the central government. A substantial amount, nearly one-fifth to one-third of tax collection of the Government of India, is accounted for by interest payments. In 2014–15, interest payments were 3.3% of the gross domestic product. In 2015–16, net interest payments (difference between the interest payments and interest receipts) pre-empted over 34% of the revenue receipts. High interest payments can shelf other developmental activities due to non-availability of funds. It is, therefore, imperative to examine measures to reduce interest payments. This paper explores two approaches to reduce interest expenditure incurred by the central government inflation indexed bonds and restructuring of existing debt.

Ambedkar’s Lessons, Ambedkar’s Challenges

R Ambedkar’s methodological and substantive insights on the nature of Hinduism, caste and Indian history anticipated much contemporary scholarship on the subject. Even so, from his writings there is much to learn about the energetic rigour required in the attunement of political will and scholastic analysis. His powerful and persuasive argument has been at variance not only with those of figures such as Lokmanya Tilak and S Radhakrishnan but also with what has become the larger common sense on these issues, a common sense that informs political as much as jurisprudential discourse. This paper raises questions on the relationship between conceptualisations of the constituent bases of the nation and history in India as much as the means for and the stakes involved in negotiating collective pasts and collective futures.

Global Financial Crisis and India’s Private Corporate Sector

The global financial crisis that hit the world economy in 2007–08 has had the most intense and widespread impact in the history of the modern economy. Although India stayed relatively insulated from this crisis for the most part, growth has faltered nonetheless. While a lot has been said about the impact of the crisis on macroeconomic indicators like gross domestic product growth, inflation, etc, this study examines the same specific to the Indian private corporate sector. We find that there are three channels—debt servicing costs, foreign inflows, liquidity crunch—through which the economic recession played out to create significant challenges for the corporate sector and its profitability.

The Evolution of the Election Commission of India

This paper traces the evolution of the Election Commission of India through five phases since its formation. Its effectiveness is studied across four parameters—inclusiveness, rule of law, efficiency, and accountability of the election process. Within the changing sociopolitical and legal context, the institutional characteristics of the ECI (role, powers, independence, structure, and functioning) have allowed it to ensure free and fair elections with varying success. Variations in the ECI’s success during the five phases offer clues as to how it can address more complex problems, and the direction to take in structuring and supporting other apex oversight institutions.

Spatial Reproduction of Urban Poverty in Global City

The study explores the impact of displacement and resettlement on slum dwellers evicted from two slums in Bengaluru to facilitate the construction of the metro rail in the city. The study documents the changes that have occurred in the socio-economic profile, livelihood status, and mobility of the slum dwellers, especially women, after the implementation of the rehabilitation package by Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation. Findings from this study clearly show that relocation to new areas has seriously affected the occupational and economic mobility, particularly of uneducated and elderly women. As a result, women’s contribution to the family’s income has drastically reduced, thereby exacerbating spatial reproduction of urban poverty.

Consumer Culture and Shopping Decisions

Based on an empirical study, this article addresses critical concerns surrounding shopping decisions of the middle class in Delhi and the National Capital Region. Using exploratory factor analysis, four factors that influence shopping decisions are extracted, namely peer pressure, money matters, shopping site, and brand value. These factors are examined at both aggregated and disaggregated levels according to income, age, and sex. The article reflects on how shopping decisions, consumption profiles, and aspirations are negotiated in reshaping social life. It projects that far from being materialistic, hedonistic, and self-centred, the middle-class shopper is cautious, price-sensitive, and seeks value for money.

Candidate Quality in Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis of Maharashtra

A study on candidate quality of contestants in the zilla parishad and panchayat samiti elections of Maharashtra finds that a majority of the candidates are not highly educated, lack relevant grass-roots experience, are hand-picked by political parties based on non-meritorious criteria, and belong to political families with money power. An analysis of "winnability" of candidates suggests that those from politically connected families, high financial standing and party affiliations stand a higher chance of winning elections.

Explicit Prejudice

A representative phone survey to study explicit prejudice against women and Dalits in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan reveals widespread prejudice in several domains and discusses the consequences for women and Dalits, and society as a whole. The results suggest the need for a more robust public discourse and active approach to measuring and challenging prejudice and discrimination.

An Analysis of Educational Loans

Educational loans are a relatively new phenomenon when it comes to funding higher education in India. There has been a significant rise in the volume of outstanding educational loans with an annual growth rate of 12% since March 2008. Banks are concerned about increasing non-performing assets with respect to educational loans. This paper argues for a statutory framework that addresses all aspects of funding higher education through loans and scholarships.

Empowering People to Power the Public Distribution System

Despite comparatively high growth rates, India has struggled to dampen the scourge of food and nutrition insecurity facing its population. The public distribution system, at the heart of India’s food security initiatives, has been plagued by problems ranging from ineffective targeting of beneficiaries, to corruption and pilferage of foodgrains. A six-state institutional process-mapping exercise is analysed to capture the movement of foodgrains from farms to beneficiaries, and evaluate changes brought in by the reforms, including expanding coverage, employing technology, and decentralising procurement.

Defining Backwardness

Various communities across the country have been demanding reservation on the basis of their social backwardness. The notion of “backwardness” seems to have attached itself to a given caste’s “position” or “status” in the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy. This is inevitable since the Constitution talks of social backwardness, in addition to educational backwardness. But as this paper argues in the debates over “backwardness” in the Marathi-speaking areas of the Bombay Presidency in the colonial period it was educational backwardness that was regarded as the primary criterion to determine whether a caste was backward or not, while in the early years of Maharashtra in the post-1947 period the criterion was primarily economic. Social backwardness was not regarded as a defining criterion, and thus can be considered as a recent entrant into the entire debate of defining the “backward.” Also, discussions on whether a community would cease to be backward if it fulfils certain conditions are practically missing in the present time.

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