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

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Harvard’s Trolley Problem

The most troublesome of questions, the relationship between intellectuals, truth and truthfulness is discussed. The site for the investigation is Harvard University, whose motto is Veritas (truth), and the case discussed is Harvard’s long association with the disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, convicted for paedophilia but whose relationship with Harvard continued long after the conviction. Using the details described in the report of the internal committee, it is argued that a huge gulf exists between the intellectual’s ideal of “speaking truth to power,” the illusion, and the practice of complicity, falsehood and co-option by power, the reality. The analytical method advocated is the “trolley problem,” which is used to highlight the difficulty of moral choices.

The Popular Aesthetics of Social Mobility

Reflecting on the aesthetic trajectory of the idea of social mobility in Hindi cinema and situating such film texts within the long history of the optical relation between cinema and the city, this article argues that the film Gully Boy ’s (2019) quest is anchored within neo-liberal freedoms, albeit topped with a laudable linguistic experiment. In comparison with the social mobility films of the last three decades, the film is marked by certain key departures and new blind spots, which occasion a rethinking of popular culture, particularly due to its increasing over-reliance on the attention economy of social media.

Caste and Class in Higher Education Enrolments

The National Sample Survey 2014 data is used to explore the character of class inequality, over and beyond that of caste. The caste break-up of various social classes suggests that caste inequalities are greater amongst the more educated classes. Enrolments in higher education show greater social inequalities than in elementary education. The differences amongst various classes suggest that while caste is a strong factor in educational inequality, it is not a sufficient one. There is much less caste variation within the lower classes than the higher classes. Caste and class need to be seen as generative processes, and sub-jati networks are to be conceptualised and empirically examined to understand the actual roles of caste and class in educational and social inequality.

Adivasis and Land

This paper is part of a research project, “Development in Post-colonial India: Practices and Experiences of a ‘Tribal’ Region,” sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Delhi. A previous version of this paper was presented at the “Anthropological Histories and Tribal Worlds in India” conference (27–29 March 2017) at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.

Analysing Disparities in Access to Urban Basic Services under Decentralised Governance

Given West Bengal’s fairly elaborate and unique arrangements for urban decentralisation, this paper, using primary data, examines the availability and quality of three urban basic services—water supply, drainage facilities and garbage collection facilities—in the state. The study finds that a large proportion of respondents has inadequate or almost no access to these services in the surveyed municipalities. Inequality in access to all the three services existed both among and within the municipalities. The lack of voice and capacity of the councillors belonging to the marginalised groups has reduced their influence in local governance matters, which is reflected in the comparatively lower coverage of urban services in their respective wards.

Growth and Structural Change in the Indian Economy

Historically, an economy would undergo structural changes when growing: agriculture’s contribution to the gross domestic product would decline steadily, industry’s contribution would rise steadily and compensate, and later, the services sector would follow. Contrary to this historical pattern, the services sector has bypassed the industrial sector in India, and it dominates the economy. An empirical analysis of the nature and causes of structural change in the Indian economy shows that the industry and the economy are driven by the services sector, and the sector’s growth and dominance is influenced by external factors, such as foreign direct investment.

Farmer Suicides in Maharashtra, 2001–2018

Farmer suicides are an unfortunate result of the agrarian distress plaguing the rural economy of many states of the country. Marathwada and Vidarbha regions in Maharashtra have recorded very high numbers of farmer suicides, and an attempt to calculate the number of suicides and the suicide mortality rate is the first step towards gaining an in-depth understanding of the prevalence and seriousness of the issue. An analysis of the data reveals the relationship between farmer suicides and issues such as monsoon failure, water shortage, drought, absence of social security, robust crop procurement mechanisms and increasing debt burdens.

Decoding Ayushman Bharat

The challenges before the components of Ayushman Bharat, the (ir)rationality behind raising the insurance coverage manifold are highlighted, a political economy narrative of the changing health financing scenario is drawn, and how the design of Ayushman Bharat will feed into executing the proposed public–private partnership model in public facilities and facilitate the strategic purchasing agenda of the National Health Policy is examined. Ayushman Bharat is a step towards creating a system that would facilitate in relinquishing public funds and public institutions to already dominant private players, which will have serious implications for the healthcare delivery system in India.

Impact of the Negative Interest Rate Policy on Emerging Asian Markets

In the last few years, several central banks have implemented negative interest rate policies to boost the domestic economy. However, such policies may have some unintended consequences for the emerging Asian markets. The analysis provides an assessment of the domestic and global implications of negative interest rate policy and how it differs from that of quantitative easing. It shows that the impact of nirp is heterogeneous, with differential impacts for big Asian economies (India and Indonesia) and small trade-dependent economies (Hong Kong, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand). Quantitative easing, on the other hand, has no significant impact on inflation but nominal gdp growth declines in eams. The currency appreciates and exports decline. The impact is much more severe in big emerging economies.

Divergent Responses to the Forest Rights Act in Nagarahole

The Adivasi communities of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka have engaged with the implementation of the Forest Rights Act and have primarily responded in two divergent ways: disengagement from the fra and claiming rights over ancestral lands as a mechanism of redressal and/or assertion. These two cases are examined against the background of a long history of evictions from the forests of Nagarahole and the infrastructural and sociopolitical conditions present inside and outside the settlements, including the presence of various non-governmental organisations. The fra’s success has been limited (and even negative), as its generic, centralised framing and implementation have been unable to fully take into account specific histories, socio-economic conditions, and political discourses, especially those of conservation advocates and Adivasi rights activists.

PM-KISAN and the Adoption of Modern Agricultural Technologies

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme aims to provide income support to farmers for easing their liquidity needs to facilitate timely access to inputs. This study, based on 1,406 farmers of Uttar Pradesh, uses a binary choice model to examine the targeting accuracy and correlates of the spending pattern of farmers. Triple difference with matching estimators is used to identify the differential impact of the scheme on the Krishi Vigyan Kendra beneficiaries. Results show that the scheme reached one-third farmers in the first three months of its implementation, and has significantly helped those who are relatively more dependent on agriculture and have poor access to credit. Moreover, the scheme has significantly stimulated the Krishi Vigyan Kendra's impact on the adoption of modern cultivars.

Use of Algorithmic Techniques for Law Enforcement

The state has often sought to regulate the use of social media to prevent law and order issues or suspected criminal activities. In the light of the possibility of such state regulation and surveillance, the proposed use of the technique of sentiment analysis of social media data to guide actions of law enforcement agencies merits close scrutiny. What needs urgent attention is the existing legal standard that must govern the actions by these agencies, and how, if at all, may this standard be applied when the law enforcement action comes to be informed by the use of such techniques.

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