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

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Violence against Women in India: Is Empowerment a Protective Factor?

This study examines three issues related to domestic violence in India on the basis of data from the third National Family Health Survey. It shows that a significant proportion of women, regardless of their socioeconomic background, accept power differentials based on sex and that men have a right to discipline them. It also reveals that men from violent homes are significantly more likely to use violence against their wives. Most women do not seek help for the violence suffered, and the few who do, tend to steer clear of social service organisations and the authorities.

Reflections on Wealth Quintile Distribution and Health Outcomes

This study focuses on the method the National Family Health Survey-3 adopts to compute national wealth quintiles using the wealth index score of households as a basis. It argues that the survey's national wealth quintile classification does not account for interstate variations in wealth possession as well as rural-urban differences within states, which could lead to biased outcomes when applied to health indicators. It suggests that working out state-specific wealth quintiles that allow for the differentials would be more appropriate.

Sibling-Linked Data in the Demographic and Health Surveys

This paper highlights one aspect of the enormous but little-exploited potential of the Demographic and Health Surveys programme, namely, the use of data on siblings. Such data can be used to control for familylevel unobserved heterogeneity that might confound the relationship of interest, and to study correlations in sibling outcomes. It also discusses potential problems associated with the sibling data being derived from the retrospective fertility histories of mothers.

Premarital Sex in India: Issues of Class and Gender

This study is aimed at understanding premarital sexual activity in India using data from the third round of the National Family Health Survey. At the national level, reported premarital sex is still fairly low among women and somewhat higher among men. The data show that ever married women are more likely to report premarital sex compared to currently unmarried women. Among unmarried women and men who report premarital sexual activity, the distributions vary by place of residence, occupational status, level of education, and level of household wealth. Unmarried women who are aware of hiv/aids and sexually transmitted diseases are less likely to have had premarital sex. Notably, there is a significant gender dimension in reporting of premarital sexual activity, pointing the way for further research.

Household Deprivation and Its Linkages with Reproductive Health Utilisation

The household deprivation scores, based on the availability of some basic amenities to a household and the presence of a literate adult member, have been applied to data sets of the three National Family Health Surveys to study the trends in deprivation levels over 1992-2006 and the correlates of selected reproductive and child heath parameters with household deprivation levels. It is found that the proportion of households classified as "deprived" on the basis of the hds has recorded a secular declining trend over this period and that the quantum of decline in the proportions of the deprived is strongly associated with improvements in reproductive and child health parameters. Analysis of the data on malnourishment of children reveals that the availability of some basic amenities at the household level makes a significant contribution to children's growth and prevention of malnutrition.

The Kosi and the Embankment Story

The Kosi afflux bundh breached in Kusaha in Nepal on 18 August 2008. This was the eighth incident of its kind and the first time did a breach occur upstream of the Kosi Barrage. The ones in 1968 and 1984 were no less disastrous but this year's breach has generated the most concern and its international dimension has added an edge. In an effective life of 45 years, the embankments have remained intact for 37 years. What happens to the people who have suffered the wrath of the river nearly five times more than those in the areas protected by the embankments?

Management of Floods in Bihar

A combination of short- and long-term measures that gives importance to both structural (traditional) means and non-structural techniques is required to solve the perennial flood problem in north Bihar.

Kosi: Rising Waters, Dynamic Channels and Human Disasters

The recent Kosi floods have proved once again that inadequate control measures have been responsible for the recurring disasters. Typically flood control and riverine studies focus on hydrological information, whereas a much more integrated approach that pays attention to specific morphological factors is required. Since Kosi is a dynamic river with a unique morphology and because it is a river which has always carried high sediment loads, flood management strategies must be attuned to such specific parameters of the river, besides being much more than mere "river control" through embankments.

Floods, Himalayan Rivers, Nepal: Some Heresies

The strategy of building embankments to constrain river flow and to prevent floods in north Bihar has proven to be questionable and flawed. Reliance on a dam-and-reservoir system for that purpose only offers limited protection and even greater risks of flooding in case of damage. Learning to cope with floods and managing a transition to a system that does not rely upon the embankments any more seems to be the rational course of action.

Reforming the Banking Sector

The committee on financial sector reforms highlights several concerns on the Indian banking sector - about financial deepening, inadequate competition, lack of scale, high spreads banking, the low usage of new technologies, the decline in market share of public sector banks, etc. These concerns are either valid only up to a point or are misplaced when viewed against the totality of the Indian banking situation. Concern is also expressed about social obligations, delinking the government from banks and greater freedom to private banks - these too are not valid concerns. Indian banking is in a reasonably healthy state and is evolving in the right direction. It needs incremental, not sweeping, changes.

Committee on Financial Sector Reforms: A Critique

This article discusses the Raghuram Rajan Committee's draft report on reforms for the Indian financial sector with reference to the committee's philosophy on financial reforms, and its macroeconomic and regulatory frameworks.

Beyond Melting the Pot: On the Financial Sector Blueprint

The draft report of the Committee on Financial Sector Reforms has proposed a financial sector blueprint for creation of a level playing field, introduction of missing markets, greater participation of foreign investors and consolidation of regulation of trading under one roof. While many of the recommendations have merit, the broad approach to reduce regulatory costs, overlaps, silos and gaps appears to be characterised by "melting the pot" to create a homogeneous financial system. This runs the risk of putting financial stability to strain, as also of enhancing institutional and market inefficiencies. The quest for creating more efficient and liquid markets needs to focus beyond melting the pot to addressing the core aspects of liquidity, efficiency and stability, while retaining heterogeneity.

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