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

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Restoring Basilica of Bom Jesus, and the Role of Archaeological Survey of India

The Archaeological Survey of India's role in the protection of the 16th century Basilica of Bom Jesus monument in old Goa has come under attack. The rector of the basilica, in an open letter recently, has accused the ASI of “utter apathy” in restoring the structure. This has prompted the Goan government to swing into action by appointing a committee to overlook the restoration of the monument. What is of importance in this case is that the monument is still used as a church by the local community. Religious heritage buildings that are still in use by the community call for a different kind of restoration measures. The ASI needs to take the local stakeholders into confidence, and allow their participation in the protection of monuments.

Mormugao Port Modernisation

The proposed modernisation and expansion of the Mormugao Port in Goa has drawn widespread criticism for its failure to seriously assess its environmental impact and lack of thought to sustainability and social costs, while raising questions on the ownership claim over the project area itself. A three-day environmental public hearing recorded the concerns and grievances of the numerous stakeholders and civil society members who stand affected by the proposed project.

Goa’s Shifting Greens and Its Long History of Environmentalism

Moving the National Green Tribunal from Pune to New Delhi, for Goa, would have had severe implications for reshaping the reality of who could seek redressal over environmental concerns in Goa, at what cost, and how frequently.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national! Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism, Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the BJP has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national! Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive. Therefore, the coming times would be less about electoral victories and more about the onward march of this hegemony in the realm of popular imagination; about how democracy shapes up in Modi’s new India.

Intergenerational Equity Case Study

The public trust doctrine makes natural resources a part of the commons, owned equally by all, and legally owned by the state. The resources and opportunities that the present generation have inherited must be available to future generations in perpetuity. In the Goa mining case, the Supreme Court wanted to implement intergenerational equity on the grounds of the exhaustion of the iron-ore reserves as well as the widespread damage to the Goan environment and social fabric.

Aggrandiser Government and Local Governance

'Aggrandiser government', in most states, continues to hold on to most powers, even as they have been formally devolved to local government through conformity legislations. Deficiencies in facilitating the potential of panchayati raj persist at three levels - state, panchayati raj institutions and societal levels. Big government at the state level with a patrimonial perception of self and aggrandiser instincts has pushed the 'self-governance participatory model' of the panchayats to the periphery, both at the level of discourse and praxis. This coupled with conceptual inadequacies, epistemic and operational constraints, poor finances, and political interference have posed a serious challenge to the realisation of the potential role envisaged for panchayats in the 73rd Amendment. If panchayati raj has to fulfil its foundational tenets of empowering the community there is need to recognise the primacy of societal good over individual or political goals. PRIs have to transform themselves into community institutions fulfilling a social contract with an all inclusive participatory planning and associationalism as essential methodologies.

Anti-Defection Law: Welcome Reforms

The recent decision of the union cabinet to amend the Anti-Defection Act, by scrapping the clause that permits defection if it constitutes a split, that is, makes up one-third of legislative party strength, is a welcome step.

Goa : Perils of Knowing

The state's Right to Information Act, 1997 has given rise to a number of applications for information from a wide-ranging section of the population. Their experience, although uneven, has probably had some impact on the functioning of the government which now can, at any time, come under direct scrutiny by the people.
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