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

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Reading Parijat and B P Koirala

This article suggests a feminist reading of borders and nation in investigating the poetics of transborder humanism scattered in the popular genre of Nepali fiction and poetry. While border-crossing is predominantly associated with suffering and despair as well as hope and relief, it may also allude to opportunism and betrayal. My argument is that borders are not only corporeal and political, but also introspective and personal. I reflect on the works of Parijat and B P Koirala whose lives criss-crossed the Nepal–India border on more than one level. I argue that the conundrum of their political and personal engagements might have triggered a new poetic discourse on an individual’s relationship with society, state and the world. This genre of writing speaks to an earlier South Asian discourse dating back to Tagore but more recently, revisited in its psychoanalytic interpretations by Ashis Nandy which interpret borders and nationalism more flexibly to offer an alternative that is different from its more mainstream, Westphalian theorisations.

Relative Intimacies

Described here are stories of families within the borderlands of India and Bangladesh who have kin relations on the other side of the border. They are about the continued making and maintenance of kinship ties across transnational family networks over the changing practices of border control. Officers and constables in the Indian Border Security Force, tasked with preventing all cross-border movements, recognised with sympathy the existence and emotional power of cross-border family ties. This article attempts to answer questions like what normative and emotive ideas about kin obligations and morality prevail upon individuals and families as they decide whether or not to continue investment in relations across borders. How do these sit within the larger political economy of the border itself?

Of Tulips and Daffodils

This article examines the emergence of the concept of Kashmir jannat nazir as a literary and political imaginary in the Mughal court. It represented a distinct imagination about the region and emerged as a literary imaginary in the late 16th century and over the early part of the 17th century, entering into the imperial chronicles. By the mid-17th century, the concept had become a part of the political discourse and the language of Mughal sovereignty. The literary and political imaginary of Kashmir in the Mughal court drew upon older textual traditions like the literature and histories from Kashmir, corpora of Arab and Persian geographies compiled from the ninth century onwards, travel accounts, wonder tales and the chronicles of the Ghaznavid and Timurid courts.

Once More on the ‘Humbug of Finance’

While an expansionary monetary policy acts by respecting private rationality, an expansionary fiscal policy, involving larger government expenditure financed by a fiscal deficit or taxes on capitalists, implicitly highlights the limitations of private rationality. Finance capital not surprisingly opposes the latter, even though the proffered arguments for “fiscal responsibility” have no theoretical validity. Given the current world economic crisis, a spate of beggar-my-neighbour policies are on the horizon.

Erroneous Understanding of Macroeconomic Challenges

The government chose not to adequately expand budgetary expenditure to stimulate aggregate demand due to an erroneous understanding of India’s macroeconomic challenges. It relies heavily on imagined fiscal gains from demonetisation and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax regime. The Union Budget 2017–18 was a missed opportunity for the government and our economy.

Emerging Issues in Union–State Fiscal Relations

The restructuring of non-Finance Commission Grants is an improvement when it comes to scheme-related transfers. However, when 10 schemes constitute 90% of core grants, there is further scope for rationalisation of these schemes. The implications of following a sustainable debt path under the new Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management framework in the budget indicate a larger fi scal correction at the state level vis-à-vis the union government.

Business as Usual

The global situation is tense, marked with protectionism. The domestic environment is constrained by the twin balance sheet crisis. The dull investment climate was further jeopardised by the note ban. The budget has failed to create a policy environment to kick-start a virtuous investment cycle. It has failed to address critical issue of accelerating employment.

Not for Growth

Sticking to the firm commitment to contain fiscal deficits, the reduced thrust on government spending does not seek to be countercyclical given that economic growth is falling. There is vast scope to step up collection of corporate taxes by widening the tax base through greater compliance.

What Does the Rural Economy Need?

The agricultural sector has performed worse than the other sectors over the years. The shares of non-agricultural employment and output have increased, while70% of agricultural householdscannot meet their low consumptionneeds even after diversification of sources of income. An analysis of budgetary provisions for the rural economy suggests that the government has not done enough to address some of these well-documented problems, and does not have the required vision to substantially increase rural employment opportunities.

An Examination of Revenue Generation

The revenue side of the budget is scrutinised to understand if the government is being realistic about revenue generation in 2017–18. Clearly, there is over-optimism, given that economic growth will be slow. Too much is expected from voluntary disclosure and penalties, while incentives are not in place. It would make sense to allow some slippage in the deficit targets in order to revive the economy. In addition, the increasing problem of cesses is discussed with reference to the Krishi Kalyan Cess to assess whether cesses serve the purpose for which they are introduced.

Demographic Dynamism of Punjab, 1971–2011

Three aspects of population—vital rates, population growth, and population composition—have played a key role in the demographic dynamism of Punjab since 1971. Population mobility shows a distinct pattern: outmigration and emigration from the state, and a simultaneous inflow of labour, chiefly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, leading to notable rise in Scheduled Caste population, and also a moderate increase in the share of Hindu and Muslim population.

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