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

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Rags to Riches? Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in India

The paper examines intergenerational occupational mobility in India among males. This analysis differs from previous work in three important respects. First, a finer-grained categorisation that takes into account differences in skill levels across occupations as well as India’s social hierarchy of labour is used. Second, both large and moderate ascents and descents are examined. Third, the situation in India with mobility patterns at other times and in other countries is compared. The results show vast differences in the upward and downward mobility prospects of urban and rural residents and upper-caste Hindus versus Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The findings also reveal that downward mobility risks loom large in India and that mobility patterns in India and China appear remarkably similar.

Why India’s Foreign Investments in Africa’s Hydrocarbons Are Not a Good Bet

India has stepped up trade and investment in hydrocarbons in Africa, with nearly 17% of its total crude oil imports coming from Africa by 2016. This petroleum-related foreign direct investment and trade can be mutually beneficial in the short term, providing African exporters with a foreign market and helping India meet its energy needs. Such deals may become less effective economically over the medium and long term, however, given the increasing availability and cost-competitiveness of renewable energies, an array of restrictions and taxes on carbon emissions, and diminishing returns in the ratio of energy production to energy output.

Livelihoods, Conservation and the Forest Rights Act in a National Park

National parks have been instituted in India to take care of ecosystems rich in biodiversity, and to protect them from human intervention. This has led to many conflicts between the local communities and the state. To address these issues, the state has enacted laws such as the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in favour of local communities. However, the purpose of national parks and the FRA seems to be in contradiction. We analyse existing acts and regulations being implemented by the state in Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha and try to understand their relevance when compared with the ground reality, based on our villagelevel investigations in the Bhitarkanika ecosystem.

The Long Road to Transformation of Agricultural Markets in India

This paper examines Karnataka’s pioneering agricultural output marketing reforms with the twin goals of assessing the state and challenges of implementation and to glean lessons from Karnataka’s experience for India’s e-National Agriculture Market. Through a field study of 10 mandis across the state, we find that while Karnataka has been consistently pushing through with reforms, in the context of deeply entrenched relationships between farmers, traders and commission agents, there remain significant challenges. We argue, based on Karnataka’s experience, that agricultural market reform in India rests on three pillars— institutions that establish the rules of the game, incentives for agents to participate actively in the market, and infrastructure to support the modernised trading platform. Unless reforms address all these three issues simultaneously, they are unlikely to succeed.

State and the IT Industry in India

Using a historical comparative perspective, this paper assesses the role of state (both national and subnational) in the growth of the information technology industry. An attempt has been made to identify the key constraints facing the information technology sector in a highly competitive global market scenario. There have been, however, serious lapses in government policy that never prepared the sector to engage in hardware manufacturing, and India still stands at the low end of the value chain. An interesting development in the sector has been the distinctive role played by a few proactive subnational governments that have recognised the emerging opportunities this sector can provide through participation in both the global as well as growing domestic markets.

Dialogue as Pedagogy

Most Asians live in several different centuries simultaneously in an intriguing mosaic. Such an existence entails possibilities for complementarities and exchange, but also real dangers of misunderstanding and conflict. This calls for a threefold dialogue—with the poor, with cultures, and with religions—that must be defined in terms of a liberating, enriching, and transformational promise. Such a dialogue must be both inclusively Asian and open to the world, and universally global and concretely local. This pedagogic process must address the Asian situation characterised by poverty, cultural diversity and popular religiosity.

How Users Configure Producer Identities

The challenges in dealing with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye affecting little children, are multiple and interrelated, involving medical, technological, economic and social factors. This article explores their interrelatedness, through a narrative anchored around the work and experience of two tertiary eye care hospitals in India. It seeks to illustrate that users not only influence care-providers, they can play a key role in forging producer identities. The girl child who comes to the clinic with the tumour is representative of many users. In responding to different complexities, the clinician emerges as an entity with multiple identities— as a “clinician–scientist–social activist.”

Bodies in Poverty

How and when did family planning become a blanket term for population control as well as poverty alleviation in India? How did contraception emerge as an economic virtue in family planning discourse, instead of a corporeal one? This paper interrogates whether poverty was the reigning theme in family planning, or the body, as the state—especially during the Emergency—moved from indirect interventions on the bodies of the poor through sterilisation programmes, incentives and disincentives, to the elimination of the poor themselves by demolishing their homes. When material poverty flowed into bodily poverty and transformed into an identity, Garibi Hatao became Garib Hatao.

The Transfer of Jodhpur Railways, 1947–48

The process of partition between India and Pakistan, that is, dividing up material assets, remains an under-written subject, barring its border-building aspects. While the old scholarship offered an adversarial account of this exercise, the recent attempts revise this narrative by stressing upon the cooperation evinced by the two sides. Where the former found antagonism, the latter has sought to locate some mutually agreed method in the madness. Focusing on Jodhpur, a princely state, which has not found a place in this matrix, this paper brings together a slice of history from the integration of the princely states with the history of partition, a connection not usually made. Delineating a facet of early interdominion relations on the division of asset of a princely state, it questions the “two peas in a pod” seeking-consensus approach to early India–Pakistan relations that puts two unequal entities together on an equal plane.

Where to Invest to Accelerate Agricultural Growth and Poverty Reduction

This study aims to understand the drivers that helped India achieve the challenging targets of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty before 2015. Have increased public investments or farm subsidies contributed to reducing rural poverty, directly through various public spending schemes or indirectly through increased agricultural land productivity? Utilising a structural equation to answer this question for the period 1981–82 to 2013–14, it was found that education and agricultural research and development produced the highest marginal returns for promoting agricultural income, while investments in rural infrastructure development and health provisions are the most effective in reducing rural poverty.

Explaining Falling Female Employment during a High Growth Period

What explains the decline of the already low female labour force participation rate in India, particularly during a period of rapid economic growth? Women’s economic participation is influenced by interrelated factors, each important unto itself. Increased attendance in educational institutions, declining child labour, higher household income levels, structural shift away from agricultural employment, and increased mechanisation of agriculture were some of the factors found to be driving female employment trends. Additionally, it was found that in rural areas the decline in animal husbandry, and in urban areas a fall in international demand for products of labour-intensive industries, have also contributed to the decline as women were the main employees in these sectors. Policy must create an enabling environment for women’s economic participation in India.

Mobilisation in Vidarbha

The present dormancy on issues of agrarian distress in the farmer suicide-prone region of Vidarbha is perplexing. A comparison of the social, cultural and political conditions in Vidarbha and Telangana reveals that the relatively greater presence of traditionally exploitative social relations in Vidarbha; narrow agrarian and rural social base of the distress therein; marginalisation of the rural in mainstream media; and greater importance of urban votes in the politics of Maharashtra have hampered the growth of sociopolitical mobilisation in Vidarbha, in contrast to Telangana. This has consequently led to the receding demand for a separate state of Vidarbha.

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