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

Articles By India

How COVID-19 Deepened the Gender Fault Lines in India's Labour Markets

India has witnessed low levels of women’s labour force participation over the last four decades, with gaps of nearly 40 percentage points between the proportion of men and women in the labour force. Recent high-frequency data shows that COVID-19-induced lockdowns have had a disproportionate impact on women’s employment. Women bore the immediate impact of lockdowns, with 37.1% losing jobs (versus 27.7% men) in April 2020 and forming 73% of job losses in April 2021. Employment recovery has been slower for women. Prevailing sociocultural factors such as the increased burden of unpaid domestic work, gender digital divides, mobility restrictions, and the lack of institutional support at workplaces are discouraging women’s return to work. Even in January 2022, women’s labour force is 9.4% lower than January 2020 versus 1.6% for men. In this scenario, governments can support through gender-sensitive job-creation plans to expand women’s employment in the public and micro, small and medium enterprise sectors, and incentivise women’s entrepreneurship.

India has a Responsibility towards Myanmar Refugees in India

Since the military takeover of power in Myanmar at the beginning of last year, widespread violence, internal displacement, chaos, and human misery has set off a catastrophic refugee crisis in South Asia. As the military crackdown on protesting civilian shows no signs of abating, thousands of Myanmar citizens have left their homes without any hope of returning soon. Of those who fled Myanmar, many sought asylums in India. However, while India condemned the coup and the ongoing violence, it has shown scant regard to the protection of the rights of asylum-seekers. Even after a year since the coup, India refuses to accept those who crossed the border out of fear of persecution at the hands of the military as refugees. This article focuses on India’s obligations towards the refugees staying in the country. It argues that despite India being a non-signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, India’s constitutional principles, refugee-related judicial pronouncements, and the various international conventions it has adopted obligate it to protect the refugees on its soil.
 

The Gracious Sovereign – Queen-Anon?

History’s movements are unevenly paced, sometimes slow like a funeral march and sometimes frisky like the current rates of inflation. They are, however, always recursively ironic. It seems like a lifetime but it was only two months ago on September 8, 2022, that the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of England ended. It was of course, in the nature of things, her first and only death. Now we have another first that has taken over the news: the appointment of a ‘person of Indian origin’ as the British Prime Minister. But before it is lost to public memory, this article seeks to present a contemporaneous account of the elaborate ceremonies that marked the passing of Britain’s first postcolonial monarch - and their possible import. It analyzes the imagery of a ‘Gracious Sovereign’, as opposed to Foucault’s putative idea of a ‘Grotesque Sovereign’, that recently animated our fast-paced, visually dominated, conspiracy theory-laden world in an age of grave political turbulence and psychological ambivalence.

India’s Turn to Save the World from the Next Crisis

A silent wave of financial stress is running through the world financial markets. India, the incoming G20 President, must provide the leadership necessary to save the world from an emerging market debt crisis. The proximate cause of the crisis is the combination of COVID-19 debt and a jump in the US dollar. Fighting the dollar’s appreciation with higher interest rates on debt will push the world into recession. Faced with a rich-country commercial bank debt crisis in 2008, the G7 announced that they would use all the available tools and take all necessary steps to save the banks. We need to do the same today for countries. India should press the IMF to immediately increase access to its unconditional rapid fi nancing facilities and temporarily suspend interest rate surcharges. Avinash

COVID-19 as an Opportunity to Engage with Urban Malnutrition Challenge: Preliminary Insights from India

As the world is urbanising fast, a growing body of literature highlights malnutrition as an imminent urban challenge, further compounded by the outbreak of COVID-19. The nutrition policy discourse, however, is yet to accommodate this shift. In fact, it continues to exhibit a rural bias. This itself has partly been reinforced by the absence of authoritative evidence on urban malnutrition. Based on preliminary analysis of Indian data, this paper examines whether there is urbanisation of child malnutrition. The paper finds that urban India is witnessing a decline in nutrition advantage. While for less urbanised states, urban child stunting is relatively higher, in more urbanised states, urban child wasting is a challenge. Given that wasting is an indicator of acute malnutrition, it is partly attributable to lack of adequate food. Though it might be early to connect this to a looming hunger crisis, growing child wasting questions the claims of food security in urban India. Seeing this further in context of implications of COVID-19 provides a potential basis for broadening of the nutrition policy agenda.