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

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Marx and the Politics of Emancipation

In the first part of the 1860s, Karl Marx’s journalistic and scholarly interest in diplomacy and international politics drove him to focus his attention towards two prominent historical events. The first was the outbreak of the American Civil War, when seven slaveholding states declared their secession from the United States. The second was the uprising of the ­Polish people against Russian occupation. Marx’s analysis of these historic episodes also influenced his political efforts through the International Working Men’s Association. How Marx’s studies of both these events were relevant for his theoretical development and his political engagement is examined.

Doubling India’s Farm Incomes

The Government of India aims to double farm incomes by 2022. A mechanism of payment for ecosystem services, which would compensate farmers for the value of the non-market agroecosystem services they produce, would address the issues of farm income and the deep ecological crisis in agriculture. This strategy would be within the fiscal ability of the government and would only use the existing allocation for agriculture. The institutional framework required to implement PES already exists. If properly implemented, PES could persuade Indian farmers to adopt ecologically sensitive agricultural practices which, in turn, could double farm income.

The Politics of Farm Loan Waivers

Loan waiver policies are ostensibly political decisions, but surprisingly there have been no political analyses of the policy. The paper presents a political study on the policy through a descriptive analysis of a comprehensive primary data set that comprises all loan waiver announcements in India over the last three decades. The findings bring into light the political, economic and environmental factors that have had a bearing on the politicians’ choice to introduce waivers. Further, it highlights that politicians choose from a variety of waiver policy designs, and this choice has substantive implications for the size of the waiver programme.

Research Scholars’ Epistemological Predicament

What is the position of research scholars in the knowledge food chain? Are they merely consumers of knowledge or can they also produce it? The University Grants Commission Regulations, 2009 and 2016 enforced two important rules: mandatory coursework on research methods and theory for MPhil and PhD programmes, and publication of at least one research paper in a peer-reviewed journal to be eligible to submit a doctoral thesis. An analysis of these regulations through the lens of research scholars offers an insight into the complexity of relationships between academic institutions, journals, and research scholars in the process of knowledge production.

Small Farmers’ Suicide in Odisha

The changes in Odisha’s agriculture made paddy production a losing proposition, especially for the small farmers who leased in land. Substantial decline in farm income caused by exploitative land lease arrangements, denial of access to a regulated market, crop failures, increased cost of cultivation, and indebtedness pushed these farmers into severe economic hardship and an inhospitable social environment, which ultimately led to their suicides.

Value Added Tax Efficiency across Indian States

In India, states may be induced to mobilise revenue through alternative channels by the growing demand for public expenditure, limitations in expanding fiscal space, and the limited scope to deviate from the common harmonised tax system, the goods and services tax regime. An assessment of existing tax efficiency and strengthening the tax administration could be one such alternative. The efficiency of tax administration varies across states. Given tax capacity, measuring tax efficiency is important to identify states where enhancing tax efficiency is likely to raise revenue gains considerably.

Kerala’s Persistent Fiscal Stress

Since the mid-1980s, Kerala has been battling fiscal stress, despite the state’s economy growing faster than the national economy. Moreover, this stress is only getting aggravated, even though Kerala’s tax effort has been recognised as above average. Studying available data with an alternative approach points to the failure of public resource mobilisation as the primary cause of this fiscal stress. The inability to harness the state’s fiscal potential, an incorrect perception about the state’s fiscal situation, and a lack of political will to address the situation have exacerbated the crisis.

Factors Contributing to Income Inequalities among Agricultural Households in India

Inequality in agricultural households in 20 major states is estimated and its factors analysed. In most states, farming and livestock contribute over half the total income. Income inequalities, irrespective of farm size, are large, though these have not widened much over time; major sources are non-farm income, land, and farm assets. The relationship between growth in household income and land size is positive; it does not augur well for the government’s professed objective of promoting inclusive development. To bridge income gaps, mechanisms need to be developed to ensure the viability of increasingly small and fragmented landholdings.

Towards a Caste-less Community

The concept of communitas as against caste is discussed. Information from recent historical research on indentured labour in the colonial period is analysed. Contemporary critical theory that foregrounds experience as a prerequisite to emancipatory sociopolitical thought is discussed. By studying conversion as a movement, this paper concludes that displaced subjects, say Dalits, who are perennially positioned out-of-space (outcaste), search and move towards an imagined home continuously. However violent the displacement and/or disembodiment may be, they conceive a movement towards a caste-less community.

Work Conditions and Employment for Women in Slums

Women residing in slums and slum-like settlements of Bhuj are majorly employed in traditional activities such as bandhani, embroidery, fall beading, etc, and only to a much lesser extent in emerging opportunities, including non-farm casual labour and jobs in the private and public sectors. Women’s preference is overwhelmingly tilted towards the former employment opportunities as compared to the latter, due to flexibility of work and possibility of working from home, given certain sociocultural constraints and poor working conditions in other sectors. Moreover, limited access to capital for women’s own enterprises ensures that the chances for expansion and formalisation of their small enterprises are minimal.

Household Expenditure on Higher Education

Data from the two recent National Sample Survey Office surveys are analysed to provide estimates of higher education expenditure and loans. Households that participate in higher education spend 15.3% of their total expenditure on average in rural areas; in urban areas, they spend 18.4%. This share is larger in southern states, where individuals are more likely to be pursuing technical education in private, unaided institutions and are more likely to have outstanding borrowings for education. At the all-India level, poorer households are less likely to borrow for higher education, possibly because they are risk-averse and uncertain about future returns.

Amaravati: The Making of a Disaster Capital in Andhra Pradesh?

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has procured land for the construction of the state’s new capital city, Amaravati, through a land pooling scheme that it presented as a viable alternative to the forceful takeover of private land through the use of eminent domain. Drawing on five months of ethnographic fieldwork, the strategies of coercion and co-optation employed by the state government to persuade local landowners to part with their land and the socio-economic effects of dispossession and unemployment in Dalit communities are investigated. The urbanisation scheme can be characterised as a disaster in the making, with civil society unable to resist as the state government follows a high-modernist ideology of simplifying nature and society, implementing its plans through coercive power.

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