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

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A Donkey’s Wisdom

The recent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley has unleashed a new wave of anti-China sentiment and violent rhetoric in India. Can literature help us respond to the China–India border clash more ethically. Krishan Chander’s 1964 novel Ek Gadha Nefa Mein (A Donkey in NEFA), based on the 1962 China–India border conflict, offers a way of denouncing the destruction of war without leaving unquestioned the inherently violent task of drawing and defending national borders. The satirical novel tells the story of its protagonist, a talking donkey, caught in the front-lines of Tawang, and bearing witness to the atrocities of war. Through his witty and wise donkey, Chander challenges us to shift the terms of our outrage beyond national categories and to stand instead on the side of a humanism that knows no national borders.

National Education Policy, 2020

The National Education Policy, approved by the union cabinet on 29 July 2020, is the third education policy document of the country, coming after a gap of 34 years since the last one. This article is a brief commentary on some of the relevant concerns around the question of provisioning for good quality universal education, equitable access to education, and the increasing push to wards privatisation.

Some Methodological Issues in India’s SDG Index Report 2019

The second edition (2019) of the Sustainable Development Goals Index India Report released by the NITI Aayog is an enhanced version that builds on the baseline report of 2018. However, the second edition could not address the methodological issues sufficiently. The justifications and coverage on several aspects, such as proxy indicator identification, target setting, state categorisation, imputation of indicators, data gaps are found to be weak. This commentary highlights some of the problems identified in the report and suggests possible solutions, which can bring more credibility and statistical acceptance to the future SDG index reports.

Reverse Migration of Labourers amidst COVID-19

Migrant workers returning to native places in COVID-19 times were the host for urban to rural transmission of cases as the migrant-receiving states witnessed over five times increase in the number of districts having a more significant concentration of COVID-19 cases from 1 May to 31 May 2020. There is an urgent need for the skill mapping of the migrant workforce and creating social security schemes to protect them under any socio-economic or health emergency.

Intrusions and Violation of LAC in India–China Border

The lack of a clearly defined borderline and a mutually accepted actual line of control is the major reason for continuous tension and clashes between India and China. The political leadership of both the countries should see the present crisis as an opportunity to find an everlasting resolution to the border question.

Indian Public Health Associations on COVID-19

Leading Indian professional associations of public health have released a second joint statement on 25 May 2020, on the COVID-19 pandemic and its management in the country. The central issue they raise is the ignoring of technical advice of the country’s leading experts and institutions in decision-making about strategies for handling the pandemic. The larger politics of knowledge in public health and its interdisciplinary requirements are discussed.

Need for a Strong and Reliable Statistical System in India

The evolution and organisation of the Indian statistical system is reviewed with particular emphasis on social sector statistics. In the light of recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, some evident lacunae in the system of collecting, synchronising, and disseminating data from diverse sources are discussed. The critical need for better financing of the statistical agencies, facilitating homogeneous integration between different agencies, and promoting transparency, accountability, and autonomy of the statistical system are highlighted as key priorities.

Why Bihar’s Record in Handling COVID-19 Is Dismal

Among the states, Bihar faces the greatest challenge, particularly in terms of the reverse migration occurring from the lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the poor state of its health services infrastructure, the state government should have taken urgent and appropriate measures to screen, test and quarantine the returning migrant workers. This article takes a look at the trajectory of the government’s response to the health crisis.

Intellectual Property as Collateral

The scope of using intellectual property as collateral is discussed. Through examples, it is shown here that, owing to its volatile and dynamic nature, IP is not a reliable collateral. There is a pressing need for proper methods of valuation and registration so that confidence in IP as collateral is enhanced.

Social Distancing and Sex Workers in India

The deplorable condition of sex workers in India amidst the COVID-19 lockdown is discussed. Prostitution, now called sex work, has been a historical reality with cultural connotations. However, a significant amount of shame and stigma is attached to the profession wherein it is not even seen as work. Social distancing and the lockdown have left sex workers across the country in poverty and hunger. There is a need to address the issues of this section of the society from a human rights’ perspective.

COVID-19: Mental Healthcare without Social Justice?

Mental health is not just about absence of mental illness. It is critical that the government takes long-term economic and mental health policy measures to ensure employment, basic amenities and public health, without which mental healthcare cannot address the debilitating effects of ongoing structural violence on a majority of citizens.

Our Essential Workers Need Essential Care

Through personal interviews of healthcare workers in India, the state of front-line workers in dealing with Covid-19 in the country is discussed. Lack of personal protective equipment and beds as well as the caste system that operates when it comes to doing cleaning work in the hospitals aggravates the already debilitating condition of healthcare personnel. Despite being the most important stakeholders of health in rural areas, the accredited social health activists are leading a life full of struggles.

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