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

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Underestimation of the COVID-19 Burden

The number infected with SARS-CoV-2 in early May in India is estimated by a method utilising the unequivocal number available, namely deaths due to COVID-19. The estimated numbers are far in excess of reported numbers and indicate the systemic flaws in reporting deaths in India, augmenting the extent of underestimation. Additionally, there is the overestimation of the doubling time of infection. A realistic picture of the epidemic at the community level is presented, which informs us about the level of preparedness required to deal effectively with the epidemic.

Asymmetrical Federalism and the 100% Reservation Judgment

The judgment of Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao v State of Andhra Pradesh disregards the idea of asymmetrical federalism and considerably weakens the Fifth Schedule. The Supreme Court has not only overlooked the constitutional scheme of the Fifth Schedule but also failed to understand the ground reality of schools located in Scheduled Areas.

Not Just a Thappad

The phenomenon of domestic violence is discussed through the film Thappad , which addresses the issue sensitively. Domestic violence across different social classes and the internalised patriarchy when it comes to navigating measures like divorce are explored. The depiction of violence in Bollywood is elaborated on and the need for more films like Thappad is emphasised.

Kuttanad and Covid-19

Aided by the Government of Kerala, the farmers in Kuttanad are continuing to show resistance through cooperation and resilience.

Locked Down, Trapped and Abandoned Migrant Workers in Pune City

A survey of workers in Pune city who were waiting to go back home after the national lockdown was first announced shows their plight and living conditions. Its findings provide valuable insights on what migrant workers need and what the policy decisions regarding them should consider.

Social Security for Migrant Workers during COVID-19

The unprecedented public health crisis due to COVID-19 has thrown the vulnerability of migrant construction workers into sharp relief. Most of them are not enrolled in any social protection scheme, and those who are, have been only provided with contingencies. These measures are inadequate to address the multidimensional deprivations and fundamental causes of vulnerability arising due to globalisation and a changing labour market, which has been exacerbated by the current crisis.

Essential before the Pandemic

As thousands of migrant labourers struggle to return to their homes, government officials have sought to keep them in place with promises of safety and support, and through brute force. Beyond containing the spread of the virus, preventing migrants from returning is based on the need to maintain the availability of labour for the economy once it reopens. Using the example of the upcoming harvest and planting season in Punjab, both the demand and disregard for the category “labourer” through the politics of identity, capitalism and colonial rule is traced. What this pandemic reveals, therefore, is not only the importance of the hitherto unimportant, but the ideology embedded within the language of everyday life.

COVID-19 and Dwindling Indian Federalism

One of the many effects of COVID-19 pandemic disaster is also visible on legislative, executive and financial federalism in India. The constitutional mandate for functioning of centre on behalf of states has been missed and recourse to disaster has been taken to undertake unified but unconsented measures.

Remembering A Vaidyanathan (1931–2020)

A Vaidyanathan was a stalwart among social scientists. He has made distinguished contributions to several branches of economics. These include agriculture and irrigation, water management, data analysis and development policy. He has contributed to policymaking as an academic and an interlocutor. Decentralisation and participatory governance were his principal interests. He also played an important role as a mentor who encouraged and promoted young talent.

Neo-liberal Restoration at the Barrel of a Gun

Some characteristics of the contemporary phase of global neo-liberalism in light of the recent coup organised by the extreme right-wing forces in Bolivia against the leftist President Evo Morales in 2019 are examined. Despite having minuscule popular support, the backing of the armed forces and United States imperialism emboldened the post-coup government to aggressively restore neo-liberal policies in an unabashedly dictatorial fashion. The coup in Bolivia becomes a paradigmatic case that highlights how neo-liberalism as a political–economic doctrine continues to articulate with racism and religious fundamentalism to establish and maintain its dominance.

The Overseer of the Plague

A critical reading of the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex with a focus on the protagonist as a ruler overseeing a city under a plague, is illuminating for our times. The role and responsibility displayed by Oedipus can be compared and contrasted with the performance of the major political leaders of our own contemporary world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Civic duty and the sovereign’s responsibility towards their people during the crisis are examined.

Towards More Inclusive Water Management

As much as it is a domestic, agricultural and industrial necessity, water is also a basic human right and should be managed as a public good. However, policy and practice related to water management have failed to create inclusive solutions due to blinkered disciplinary thinking about a resource that plays multiple sociocultural, environmental, economic and ecological roles. It is crucial for decision-makers to engage with interdisciplinary approaches to create truly democratic water systems.

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