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

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Climate Change and Rural Poverty Levels in India

Although there is wide recognition of the adverse impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on poverty, there is hardly any empirical evidence to substantiate this. The trends and the role of agricultural growth and other factors on rural poverty in India—which has the largest concentration of the poor in the world—have been analysed, and the likely changes in rural poverty levels in India under alternative climate scenarios have been assessed. Evidence presented here suggests that rural poverty trends in India, which witnessed a significant decline during the post-reform period beginning from 1991, may get reversed and may increase due to the likely adverse impacts of climate change on Indian agriculture, and other drivers of poverty. Not only will the proportion of poor population likely rise, but also the depth and severity of rural poverty measured through the poverty gap index and squared poverty gap index may aggravate sharply in response to warming temperatures and other climatic changes.

Taking Down Cyber Violence

Through the proliferation of rape videos, morphed images, etc, the internet is witnessing increasing instances of violence against women. As websites sometimes claim to be intermediaries which cannot be always held responsible for the nature of content uploaded online, the issue of intermediary liability needs to be addressed urgently. The precedent set by the Supreme Court in this regard in certain cases merits critical examination, in order to pave the way forward for developing an alternate intermediate liability regime, which can walk the tightrope between censorship and the protection of the dignity of women and children in cyberspace.

Burden of Child Malnutrition in India

In India, monitoring and surveillance of health and well-being indicators have been focused primarily on the state and district levels. Analysing population data at the level of parliamentary constituencies has the potential to bring political accountability to the data-driven policy discourse that is currently based on district-level estimates. Using data from the fourth National Family Health Survey 2016, two geographic information systems methodologies have been developed and applied to provide estimates of four child malnutrition indicators (stunting, underweight, wasting, and anemia) for the 543 parliamentary constituencies in India. The results indicate that several constituencies experience a multiple burden of child malnutrition that must be addressed concurrently and as a priority.

Speaking of Abuse

In India, most women who experience domestic violence do not share their experience with anybody or seek help. Among those who do, a “pyramid of reporting” exists. Informal sources (natal family and friends) are favoured; very few report violence via institutional routes (non-governmental organisations and police). The conditions under which incidents of domestic violence are reported, and/or help is sought through different routes—along with the reasons why such conditions often do not occur—are highlighted using large-scale secondary survey data and primary ethnographic data. The findings have implications for mitigating domestic violence through institutional routes.

Social Compliance Audits in Garment Factories

The violent clashes between workers and employers in India during the recent decade are testimony to a new terrain of labour struggle unleashed by the neo-liberal economic system. These clashes speak of the demise of the workers’ freedom of association and consequent waning of collective bargaining in the context of the phenomenal growth of private regulation of labour. Various private voluntary regulations introduced in the name of corporate social responsibility, potentially to protect workers from capitalist exploitation, have actually yielded contrary outcomes. By examining the example of social compliance audits, this paper brings out the trade-off between capital and labour in the global supply chains, and the corroborating demise of workers’ rights, which CSR initiatives do not mitigate.

Traders’ Participation in Commodity Futures Markets in Kerala

Traders’ participation and barriers to participation in the commodity futures markets of rubber and pepper in Kerala are explored in the context of increasing debate over the use and benefits of commodity futures markets in India. Rubber and pepper traders depend highly on the futures markets price signals to trade in the spot markets and relate it to spot market prices. Factors like education, income, trading experiences in futures markets and in other financial markets influence traders’ participation in futures market. Lack of networking, risks, difficulty in managing spot and futures markets, lack of adequate technological knowledge and skills are the major constraints faced by the traders in futures markets participation.

Subsidy and Efficiency of Groundwater Use and Power Consumption in Haryana

High power subsidy, along with assured minimum support price and procurement by public agencies, has changed the cropping pattern in favour of water-intensive crops, especially paddy, in Haryana and Punjab. This has placed groundwater resources under severe stress and also increased the demand for energy for extraction of water. The continuation of high levels of power subsidy is not allowing crop diversification programmes to take off. It is argued that there is a need for redesigning this subsidy in such a way so as to encourage a sustainable cropping pattern suited to the agroclimatic conditions in the region, and save both water and energy.

Socio-spatial Stigma and Segregation

Caste-based spatial segregation, largely assumed to be a characteristic of rural societies, is reproduced in urban spaces as well, and a large population of Dalits continue to inhabit segregated settlements in the metropolitan cities of the country. Fieldwork conducted in one such segregated neighbourhood of Balmikis in central Delhi is drawn upon to explore how they perceive the urban space and how they think they are perceived by others.

Re-examining Vertical Sharing and Horizontal Distribution of Fiscal Resources in India

Previous efforts to decompose intergovernmental transfers made by the Twelfth and Thirteenth Finance Commissions into vertical and horizontal components estimate the extent of horizontal fiscal equalisation achieved through transfers at around 90%. But other channels of central transfers and spending, mostly bypassing state budgets, also have implications for regional welfare and horizontal fiscal equalisation. A comprehensive view is preferable for all central transfers and spendings having implications for regional welfare in examining vertical sharing and horizontal fiscal equalisation in India. Some methodological concerns over the decomposition of central transfers into vertical and horizontal components are addressed.

Child Undernutrition in India

Analysing the latest National Family Health Survey-4 (2015–16) data, an assessment of the prevalence and decline in child undernutrition in India between 2005–06 and 2015–16 is undertaken. Despite a moderate decline in child undernutrition during this period, more than one-third of children under five years are stunted and underweight. A large, graded socio-economic disparity in child undernutrition continues. Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Mizoram emerge as better performers in reducing child undernutrition. While north-eastern states have done well in reducing underweight prevalence, Tripura, Punjab, and Chhattisgarh have performed better in reducing stunting. About 80% of high stunting prevalence (above 40%) districts belong to eight states, that also house 90% of high underweight prevalence districts.

Waste Pickers and the ‘Right to Waste’ in an Indian City

Waste belongs to households and then to the municipality once it enters the public collection/disposal system. What does this mean for informal waste pickers? Despite their numbers and importance, they lack a “right to waste” and are vulnerable to processes of accumulation. This paper presents the counter-narrative of Solid Waste Collection and Handling, India’s first wholly self-owned cooperative of waste pickers, which has been contracted by the Pune Municipal Corporation for door-to-door waste collection. The initiative legitimises a “right to waste” for waste pickers by allowing them direct access to waste from households, and has reconceptualised waste and work for waste pickers, while altering their engagement with other stakeholders.

Evaluating Institutional Disruption

In India, from the late 1960s to the early 2000s, a consortium of three premier financial institutions gave projects long-term loans based on tangible assets. The consortium was abandoned in 2001. A transition away from the institutional logics of consortium financing is associated with a rise in the research and development activity of pharmaceutical firms. Changes in financial sector rules impacted Indian firms’ capability transformation. Management research needs to consider institutional logics changes in assessing the influence of financial factors on firms’ capabilities creation.

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