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

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School Choice in Rural India

Indian parents are faced with more choices of schools, but with less information on schools and schooling. The study across four states in rural India suggests that perceptions of teaching–learning, discipline, and safety of children in schools determine school choice among parents. Expenses are a critical consideration for parents who send children to public schools, while the English medium is important for parents of children going to private schools. However, parental choices of low-fee private schools are often not based on accurate information, and parents emphasise many educationally unimportant but aspirational factors. The marketing efforts of schools and cultural aspirations of parents reinforce each other, allowing for a situation in which actual educational outcomes can be subordinated, or worse, undermined.

Micro-level Price Setting Behaviour in India

In the contemporary literature of macroeconomics, the mainstream frameworks for policy evaluation have recognised the significance of price rigidities, emerging from the micro-level pricing behaviour of firms, to explain the short- and medium-run effects of monetary policy interventions. The stickiness in price adjustment is evaluated in the context of the Indian economy by using the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers data. The findings suggest that the monthly frequency of price changes is greater for the food group compared to the non-food group, and evidences are also found of exogenous versus menu cost-driven pricing behaviour in India.

Jati, Local Public Goods and Village Governance

Whether voting along narrow parochial lines in socially and ethnically fragmented societies has measurable gains is explored. Using data from rural India, it is established that identity-based voting, driven by membership in social and informal networks, will lead to enhanced participation in welfare programmes, which in turn leads to increased consumption growth. Further, reducing agency costs does not necessarily remove the need for identity-based voting, and such voting behaviour is a means for engaging in the capture of public and private benefits by these groups.

ICDS Striving for Holistic Development

As a national flagship programme, the Integrated Child Development Services is well-conceived. However, more attention has been paid to increasing its coverage than to improving the quality of service delivery, and to distributing food rather than changing existingfamily-based food habits and caregiving. This inertia has resulted in poor outcomes. Past studies have reiterated Uttar Pradesh’s status as an incorrigible offender. Drawing on findings from field surveys administered in nine districts in UP and data from 90 anganwadis, the constraints to the effective functioning of the ICDS are revealed.

Literacy Achievement in India

The progress in literacy among the Indian states is evaluated here from an age cohort perspective. The primary observation relates to literacy deprivation being different across the age cohorts. Interstate comparison reveals that lower levels of aggregate literacy for a state do not mean lower levels of literacy for all age cohorts. Group disparity in literacy is highest among the oldest age cohort and lowest for the youngest age cohort. With an appreciation of the concept of proximate literacy, the literacy pattern is verified in a household perspective. The observations would be helpful to guide policymakers in targeting households for adult literacy programmes.

Towards ‘Slow’ and ‘Moderated’ Urbanism

The city-building process in the global South is characterised by both the state and corporate-led production of “fast” cities. It is interesting to note that while many cities in the global North are moving towards alternative development regimes under the “slow city” movement, urban production in traditional societies of the global South is being enslaved to “speed.” The analysis of the changes being brought about in these cities reveals how alternative forms of development and social organisation—termed as slow cities, akin to slow food—can lead to more sustainable cities and “eurhythmia” in urban life.

Aggregators, Driver-partners and the State

Based on the interviews of metered taximen and aggregator drivers, news reports, and a review of aggregators’ operations in different countries, the many violations by the aggregator companies are brought forth. By reviewing the ground realities with regard to the companies’ blogs, their promises, and six different policy drafts aimed at regulating Uber and Ola, the need to see beyond and question the discourse of scientific rationality that frames their operations is highlighted.

Impact of Climate Change on the Productivity of Rice and Wheat Crops in Punjab

The seasonal trends in climate variables and their impact on rice and wheat yields in Punjab are assessed using daily data of temperature and rainfall by district from 1986 to 2015. A significant rise in mean temperature is observed in both the rice- and wheat-growing periods. Rainfall during the rice-growing period has decreased 7% annually over the past 30 years. Significant climate change will lower the rice yield by 8.10% by 2080 and wheat by 6.51%. To mitigate the effects of climate change, it is necessary to adopt climate-resilient crop choices and irrigation practices and technologies.

Non-communicable Diseases, Affluence, and Gender

Whether the burden of non-communicable diseases has shifted to older men and women, and whether it varies by marital status and affluence of the household has been examined. The analysis is based on the 60th and 71st rounds of the National Sample Survey for 2004 and 2014. Even though comparisons of prevalence and shares between men and women are relied on in the analysis, some glaring disparities emerge. The growing menace of NCDs in the context of a rapidly increasing older population calls for bold policy initiatives, which are currently either underfunded or limited in coverage and uncoordinated. A drastic overhaul of the health system and behavioural changes are thus emphasised.

In Search of a New Balance

Notwithstanding thefact that the BJP has spread into all regions of the state, there are structural limitations to its emergence as a broad-based dominant party on the lines of the Congress Party earlier. For the SP and the BSP which are well-established parties with strong social bases can pose an effective challenge, and for another, the rigid caste polarisation will prevent the BJP from gaining the support of the dalits and the backwards.

Electoral Politics in the Time of Change

The popular reading of the last decade of electoral politics is of a rapid decline and impending collapse of Indian democracy. This essay attempts to contest this all too familiar view from above without yielding to the temptation of building its mirror-immage. The changing outcome of the electoral game in this decade is seen here as the reflection of a fundamental transformation in the terrain of politics which in turn is anchored in the process of social change. The voters choose differently in this decade, for, the structure of choice inherent in elections has undergone a change. Yet the choice often turns out to be far from the act of sovereignty that the fiction of liberal democracy makes it out to be.

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