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

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Market Awareness and Profitability

A case study of mango farmers in Kolar district of Karnataka analyses the determinants of profitability and constraints faced by the horticulture industry in India in general. The mango value chain is explored in-depth to understand the market choices of farmers and the role of market intermediaries. The study is based on data collected from a primary survey of 131 farmers and uses an instrumental variable approach to model the profitability of farmers as a function of market awareness, distance from markets, farming practices, and control variables. It finds that in addition to age and education, distance to markets and farming practices are significant factors influencing the profitability of mango cultivators.

‘Get Back to Life’

From the nationalistic “Hum Do, Hamare Do” (we two, our two) family planning advertising campaign, to the tantalising consumer-focused Kama Sutra condom advertisements, Indian media images have been instrumental in understanding the nation’s anxieties around sex, gender, population control measures and citizens’ reproductive lives. Drawing on this critically rich site of analysis, the tensions made visible in the advertising campaign for one particular emergency contraceptive—i-pill—are analysed by looking at three key elements: the photographic image, the tag line, and the health-related information text. It is posited that messages in contraceptive pharmaceutical advertisements are contradictory in their avowed message and intended aim.

Delivering Essential Nutrition

In India, despite provisions for tribal development, 32% of tribal women are chronically undernourished, as opposed to 23% among those not belonging to tribal households.Large-scale surveys and routine monitoring are currently deficient in measuring the nutrition status of women, especially tribal women. This study was undertaken to analyse the reach of various health-related schemes for tribal women in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha. In the light of its findings, it is recommended that all national schemes should be reviewed through a tribal lens, as tribes remain outside the ambit of most nutrition safety nets. Proven measures like strengthening tribal development nodal agencies, motivational incentives to fieldworkers and organised community involvement, need to be scaled up.

Retelling an Epic through a Modern Ballad

The paper seeks to examine the circumstances under which Michael Madhusudan Dutta, the 19th-century Renaissance poet of Bengal chose the slaying of Ravana’s son, Meghnad, as the subject for his magnum opus, with many of its facets being etched indelibly on the Bengali psyche in supersession of other prominent Ramayans. Was Michael trying to show the parallels between the Indian and European mythologies? Was it because of nationalistic fervour that Michael sought to show the Rakshas as defending their nation against invaders? Was he influenced by the glamourised Ravana and Lanka of the Tamil or the Telugu Ramayans?

Financing the Micro and Small Enterprises in India

A close look at the data on flow of bank credit to the micro and small enterprise sector in India since the 1970s reveals that the strategic intent of reorienting the industrial policy in the mid-2000s by carving out a new category called the micro, small and medium enterprises has not served any useful purpose in terms of making institutional credit available to the mses. It is also observed that the pro-market financial inclusion rhetoric of the second half of the current decade has not helped the msmes, especially those engaged in manufacturing activities, to enhance access to bank credit. The much-publicised Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency scheme, at the same time, appears as a mere window dressing as it has not infused any new funds into the system.

Changing Task Content of Jobs in India

In India, between 1983 and 2011, non-routine cognitive analytical task intensity jobs increased, as did non-routine cognitive interactive task intensity jobs, in line with the global trend. Manual task intensities declined, but the routine cognitive task content did not decline. Technology is likely a major factor behind this evolution of non-routine cognitive task intensities, whereas structural changes and changes in the supply of labour have shaped the manual task contents. The changing task content of jobs underlines the growing importance of cognitive skills. There is, therefore, a call for upgrading the Indian education system.

Climate Change and Rural Poverty Levels in India

Although there is wide recognition of the adverse impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on poverty, there is hardly any empirical evidence to substantiate this. The trends and the role of agricultural growth and other factors on rural poverty in India—which has the largest concentration of the poor in the world—have been analysed, and the likely changes in rural poverty levels in India under alternative climate scenarios have been assessed. Evidence presented here suggests that rural poverty trends in India, which witnessed a significant decline during the post-reform period beginning from 1991, may get reversed and may increase due to the likely adverse impacts of climate change on Indian agriculture, and other drivers of poverty. Not only will the proportion of poor population likely rise, but also the depth and severity of rural poverty measured through the poverty gap index and squared poverty gap index may aggravate sharply in response to warming temperatures and other climatic changes.

Taking Down Cyber Violence

Through the proliferation of rape videos, morphed images, etc, the internet is witnessing increasing instances of violence against women. As websites sometimes claim to be intermediaries which cannot be always held responsible for the nature of content uploaded online, the issue of intermediary liability needs to be addressed urgently. The precedent set by the Supreme Court in this regard in certain cases merits critical examination, in order to pave the way forward for developing an alternate intermediate liability regime, which can walk the tightrope between censorship and the protection of the dignity of women and children in cyberspace.

Burden of Child Malnutrition in India

In India, monitoring and surveillance of health and well-being indicators have been focused primarily on the state and district levels. Analysing population data at the level of parliamentary constituencies has the potential to bring political accountability to the data-driven policy discourse that is currently based on district-level estimates. Using data from the fourth National Family Health Survey 2016, two geographic information systems methodologies have been developed and applied to provide estimates of four child malnutrition indicators (stunting, underweight, wasting, and anemia) for the 543 parliamentary constituencies in India. The results indicate that several constituencies experience a multiple burden of child malnutrition that must be addressed concurrently and as a priority.

Speaking of Abuse

In India, most women who experience domestic violence do not share their experience with anybody or seek help. Among those who do, a “pyramid of reporting” exists. Informal sources (natal family and friends) are favoured; very few report violence via institutional routes (non-governmental organisations and police). The conditions under which incidents of domestic violence are reported, and/or help is sought through different routes—along with the reasons why such conditions often do not occur—are highlighted using large-scale secondary survey data and primary ethnographic data. The findings have implications for mitigating domestic violence through institutional routes.

Social Compliance Audits in Garment Factories

The violent clashes between workers and employers in India during the recent decade are testimony to a new terrain of labour struggle unleashed by the neo-liberal economic system. These clashes speak of the demise of the workers’ freedom of association and consequent waning of collective bargaining in the context of the phenomenal growth of private regulation of labour. Various private voluntary regulations introduced in the name of corporate social responsibility, potentially to protect workers from capitalist exploitation, have actually yielded contrary outcomes. By examining the example of social compliance audits, this paper brings out the trade-off between capital and labour in the global supply chains, and the corroborating demise of workers’ rights, which CSR initiatives do not mitigate.

Traders’ Participation in Commodity Futures Markets in Kerala

Traders’ participation and barriers to participation in the commodity futures markets of rubber and pepper in Kerala are explored in the context of increasing debate over the use and benefits of commodity futures markets in India. Rubber and pepper traders depend highly on the futures markets price signals to trade in the spot markets and relate it to spot market prices. Factors like education, income, trading experiences in futures markets and in other financial markets influence traders’ participation in futures market. Lack of networking, risks, difficulty in managing spot and futures markets, lack of adequate technological knowledge and skills are the major constraints faced by the traders in futures markets participation.

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