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

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Deteriorating Primary Education

The Maharashtra government's decision to institute a new public examination at the end of the fourth year of primary education, which will be compulsory for students of all government-aided schools, cannot be expected to make any difference to the admittedly deplorable standards of primary education in the state when the government has no plans to meet the woeful shortages of trained teachers and essential school facilities.

Dams and Development

The dialogue principally aims at opening up the question of how decisions on dams, especially large dams, can be arrived at through an open, professional and innovative exchange among the diverse stakeholders and viewpoints. The dialogue also aims to address the social and environmental debate concerning large water projects.

Recasting Indo-African Development Cooperation

A dominant regional power like India should be playing a more proactive role in wooing other developing countries, especially in Africa through networks of development cooperation. In recasting its ties with Africa, India needs to be sensitive to ground realities in African nations many of which are transitioning towards democratic forms of governance and actively taking on the challenge of development. Such a network of ties will also contribute to the building of effective coalitions in international fora.

India's Energy R and D Landscape

Energy research and development (ER and D) has received little attention in the flurry of energy policy shifts and reforms over the past decade, continuing with a historical trend where government attention on ER and D policy has been, at best, sporadic. Appropriate policies for technology development and dissemination, though, can yield significant economic, environmental and social benefits, and need to be considered as part of a diversified portfolio of strategies to meet the country's pressing energy goals. Attention needs to be paid to the development of appropriate ER and D policies and a portfolio that is consistent with the needs of various sections of the country's citizenry and economy. What all of this requires, above all, is a focus on revamping the process of ER and D planning and implementation.

Information Technology for Development

Andhra Pradesh has rolled out major facilitating measures to boost investment in information technology in the state, including infrastructure, training, incentives and amendments to labour laws. It has thus become the potential role model for other states as India attempts to harness the use of IT in the evolution of knowledge state.

Social Sciences in South India

This survey of social science resources and status of higher learning and research undertaken to understand the current sense of crisis faced by social science institutions at the regional as well as at the all-India levels throws up several critical issues. The main concern here is how to strengthen social science higher learning and research in south India by preserving and expanding the existing resource base for social sciences, strengthening the available institutional structures, and ensuring quality of teaching and research output. A mapping of the institutional resources available for social science higher learning and research in south India is followed by two case studies of the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, and the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.

Participatory Growth and Poverty Reduction

India: Development and Participation by Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2002; pp XXVIII + 512, Rs 395.

Calcutta Diary

Between the two World Wars, literature buffs were wont to spend an enormous amount of energy and talent to discuss the pros and cons of art for art's sake in creative pursuits. We appear to have run into a similar situation with the controversy on the role of foreign exchange holdings in accelerating national development. A theology is threatening to take over: foreign exchange holdings are for the sake of holding foreign exchange and we better desist from exploring other facades of the phenomenon.

A New Development Paradigm

At the beginning of the 21st century there is the need for a new development paradigm that recognises that 'government failure' is a much more important problem than 'market failure'. 'Privatisation' of government services by its employees and government's monopoly of power are the real problems today. The new paradigm must be based on a clear and non-ideological recognition of the strengths and the weakness of the state and the people. A democratic society has enormous potential for entrepreneurship, innovation and creative development. The people, their diverse forms of activity and association such as companies, cooperatives, societies, trusts and other NGOs must be allowed and encouraged to play their due role. The state must focus on what only it can do best and shed all activities that the people can do as well or better. The heavy hand of government in the form of incentive-distorting laws, rules, regulations, procedures and red tape have also corrupted industry and business and other organised interest groups. These must be removed so as to release the energy of the people. The state should confine itself to managing the economy so as to accelerate employment and income growth in a self-sustaining manner, ensure that all citizens receive their basic entitlements of basic public goods and services and empower the poor so that they have equal rights (and responsibilities) with the better off citizens.

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