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

InfrastructureSubscribe to Infrastructure

Numbing Machines

What forms does manual scavenging take after its legal abolition? Analysing the recent deaths in Bengaluru’s sewage treatment plants and underground drainage systems, the understandings of manual scavenging as an “archaic” practice and opposed to the “rule of law” are rejected. The contractualisation of sewer maintenance instrumentalises “untouchable” bodies, making the calibration of caste power coincidental with the calibration of urban sewerage. Urban manual scavenging is shown to be an emergent application of caste power that resolves ecological impasses in contemporary sewerage. The objectification of caste power in urban infrastructures nevertheless opens up new locations for politicising normative caste embodiment.

Troubles with Cash Food Subsidy

A pilot project of cash food subsidy to replace the public distribution system in Nagri block of Ranchi district in Jharkhand is analysed to highlight the problems experienced by Jharkhand in implementation of cash food subsidy through the direct benefit transfer system in the PDS. Further, the limitations of cash transfer as a means to replace the PDS are highlighted as also the infrastructural and institutional constraints to impose digitalisation in rural Indian conditions.

Mission Impossible

In the wake of the global enthusiasm for smart cities, the central government launched the ambitious Smart Cities Mission in 2015. Based on a detailed analysis of proposals of the top 60 cities, the mission is located within the larger urban reform process initiated in the 1990s. An attempt has been made to define smart cities to understand how they envisage questions of urban transformations, inclusion and democracy. The proposals reveal an excessive reliance on consultants, lack of effective participation, a common set of interventions that are accepted as “smart solutions,” and a shift towards greater control of urban local bodies by state governments.

Public Sector Banks Are Adrift

With credit and deposit growth slowing in key sectors and only retail credit growing, low capital adequacy ratios of banks, senior management changes in the offi ng, and bank mergers, the National Democratic Alliance government needs to ask itself what it envisages for public sector banks, and indeed for the Indian economy.

The Increasing Incidence of PPP Project Cancellations in India

A spurt in the cancellation of public-private partnership projects in recent times can be attributted to macroeconomic crises, inherent problems in the water sector projects, and foreign sponsorship of these projects. Since giving the renegotiation relief to many of these projects seems to be problematic, cancellation is probably the only way for the government to elicit more realistic bidding from the private sector.

Governance Performance of Indian States

Building on a methodology developed in an earlier paper, the results of an exercise in ranking Indian states based on five sets of criteria--infrastructure, social services, fiscal performance, justice, law and order, and quality of the legislature--are presented to show how states have fared relative to each other between 2001-02 and 2011-12. What emerges is that five of the six best-performing states of 2001 were also the best performers in 2011. Similarly, four of the six worst performers of 2001 were also among the worst performers of 2011. A consequence of such stickiness of rankings at the top and the bottom is growing regional disparity between the more- and less-developed states.

Understanding What Has Gone Wrong in Pakistan

Rentier Capitalism: Disorganised Development and Social Injustice in Pakistan by Shahid Ahmed, UK: Palgrave Macmillan UK, March 2016; pp 248, $120(hardcover).

What Causes Agglomeration— Policy or Infrastructure?

How significant are industrial dispersal policy incentives for agglomeration of organised manufacturing in India? Using plant-level data for 1997-98, the locational choices of 66 manufacturing industries in 21 Indian states are investigated. First, the degree of agglomeration (Ellison-Glaeser index) is calculated in each of these industries to ascertain in which states they are clustered, followed by an econometric investigation of industrial dispersal policy after controlling for different factors that affect agglomeration. The analysis yields that the dispersal policy has not been successful in most specifications. Factors like presence of infrastructure, coastlines, and labour market pooling determine agglomeration. The results also indicate that the nature of the product, high electricity tariff, and per capita energy gap have induced several industries to disperse.

Himachal Pradesh : Critical Issues in Primary Education

Primary education has made impressive strides in Himachal Pradesh. These have been due to investments made in the sector, the relatively less iniquitous social structure in rural areas and greater opportunities available to women. However, the increased attraction of private schools offers new challenges to government-run schools, where processes directed at improving the quality of education are yet to take root.

Can Singapore Be a Hong Kong to India?

Can Singapore with its spare investible resources and expertise in building infrastructure act as a window of investment to eastern India as Hong Kong has been to southern China, making the latter a hub of great industrial activity? Much depends on the political leadership in India, at the centre and in the concerned states.

Pages

Back to Top