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

AutonomySubscribe to Autonomy

Reorganisation of J&K and Anxiety in Jammu

The response of the people of the Jammu region to the abrupt changes made in Jammu and Kashmir, both related to revocation of the special constitutional status of the state and its reorganisation, is explored. Historically tracing the response of the region towards Article 370 and locating it in its relationship with Kashmir, the anxieties being felt in the region after the changes in August 2019 are discussed.

Academic Administration and Academic Freedom

Programmatic freedom of faculty and researchers is fundamental to creation of knowledge, as everything has to be open to question and scepticism. The universities and academic institutions are established as autonomous institutions to ensure academic freedom. However, it is observed that the autonomy of academic institutions tends to result in centralisation of power in the hands of institutional heads, and is misappropriated to curtail programmatic autonomy of individual academics. The recent penal measures taken against some faculty members of the Kerala Agricultural University are analysed against this backdrop.

A Decade of Decay

Between 2010 and 2019, the Supreme Court of India has suffered a credibility crisis not seen since the 1970s, with its reputation for independence and institutional strength lying in tatters. Deep systemic failings have come to the fore as the Court enters a new decade in the midst of an existential battle for relevance.

Are Public Universities and the State Destined to be at Odds?

In light of the recent protests at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, we explore the EPW Archives to gain a better understanding of the public university as an institution and its relationship with the state.

‘Jal, Jangal aur Jameen:’ the Pathalgadi Movement and Adivasi Rights

The Pathalgadi movement questions who benefits from inclusion in the normative modern nation-state, and instead calls for autonomy to protect tribal interests.

Downgrading the Status of Chief Information Commissioner

The right to information, much like the right to vote, is rooted in the same fundamental right, with the offices of the chief information commissioner and the chief election commissioner, respectively, operating at the same level of autonomy, towards the enforcement of these rights. The proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act, which reportedly seek to downgrade the status of the chief information commissioner and information commissioners, reduce the autonomy of this constitutional institution and are, consequently, an assault on the right to information and democracy.

Academic Freedom and Indian Universities

Academic freedom is increasingly under assault from authoritarian governments worldwide, supported by right-wing student groups who act as provocateurs within. In India, recent assaults on academic freedom have ranged from curbs on academic and extracurricular events to brutal assaults on students. However, the concept of academic freedom is complex and needs to be placed in a wider institutional context. While academic freedom was critical to earlier visions of the Indian university, as shown by various commissions on higher education, it is now increasingly devalued in favour of administrative centralisation and standardisation. Privatisation and the increase in precarious employment also contribute to the shrinking of academic freedom.

'Autonomy' for Universities: Government's Move To Privatise is Exclusionary

While the government claims that autonomy gives greater academic freedom and allows universities to innovate, students and teachers argue that the Graded Autonomy Regulation ensures disproportionate financial and managerial powers to managing trusts and university administrations to cut costs, raise student fees, and start courses in the self-financing mode. This NITI Aayog-prompted policy is a decisive move towards the privatisation of higher education, and will mean the exclusion of economically and socially disadvantaged sections.

General Agreement on Trade in Services

Concerns have been voiced about the WTO's encroachment into social service sectors such as health, education, and environment under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and how this may undermine national sovereignty and autonomy in social policy-making. However, most of these concerns stem from misunderstandings and lack of information about the liberalisation process under the GATS. This paper tries to dispel such unwarranted fears by highlighting the GATS' commitment structure and framework and explaining how countries can retain their autonomy in social policy-making under the GATS. However, it also points out some problem areas in this regard, tracing their source to various ambiguities and weaknesses in the GATS framework. The paper highlights the need to use the ongoing GATS 2000 negotiations effectively so as to strengthen the GATS framework and address these problematic issues.

Iconisation of Chandrababu

The dawn of liberalisation in the early 1990s saw the gradual emergence of a federal market economy, with decision-making powers shared between the centre and states. A measure of economic sovereignty and decentralisation has now placed the onus on state chief ministers to effect economic growth in their respective states. Not only do they need to negotiate a path that avoids undue capitulation to populist pressures; to invite private investment, they must work in consonance with the centre's new role as a regulator and fiscal disciplinarian and deal with the hard-budget constraints demanded by the faceless, international credit-rating agencies.
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