Thursday, September 13, 2018

Discipline, Dissent and ‘Urban Naxals’


Satyaki Roy
One of the major features of the current regime is that it insinuates a concerted process of criminalization, assassination and intimidation as an evolving architecture of punishment not being backed by any judicial probe. Gauri Lankesh, MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare died not because they were sentenced to death in the court of law, rather murdered by terrorists who are affiliated to the rightwing outfit Sanatan Sanstha. Since 2015 seventy-seven people mostly belonging to the minority Muslims were lynched to death either by cow vigilantes or by mob who take pride in killing human beings in the name of defending India’s tradition, culture and what not and can easily get away since the current regime believes in promoting a particular ‘way of life’, hence, see nothing wrong in executing faith through extra-judicial power. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018: An Efficacious Legislation or a Toothless Political Gimmick?


Mohit Gupta 
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 (hereafter referred to as FEO Bill, 2018) was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 12th March 2018. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19th July 2018 and by the Rajya Sabha on 25th July 2018 (PRS Legislative Brief, 2018).  It has also received assent from the President on 5th August 2018 and is now a law in force in the territory of India (Press Trust of India, 2018). The law replaces the Fugitive Economic Offenders ordinance that was promulgated on 21st April 2018. The objective of the FEO Bill, 2018 is to deal with offenders that have fled the Indian jurisdiction and became fugitive after committing fraud, money laundering, tax evasion etc. In this regard a list of around 30 people was identified that were involved in financial irregularities that have either fled the jurisdiction, living abroad or are expected to have turned fugitive (Lok Sabha, 2018). The said ordinance and the FEO Bill, 2018 that replaces the ordinance were put in place to deal with these people. The media reports that followed, after the FEO Bill, 2018 receiving a nod from both the houses of parliament, portrayed it as some sort of a panacea to deal with fugitives or a credible threat, to say the least, for all fugitive economic offenders (Unnikrishnan, 2018; Nair, 2018 etc.). However, before accepting such propositions, there is a need to closely assess the provisions of this bill to find out whether it is effective in dealing with the problem of fugitives.   

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Employment-Unemployment Statistics in India: An Urgent Need To Reinstate The Surveys And Release The Data


Sona Mitra
In a recent interview with the Swarajya magazine, the Prime Minister of India apparently said, ‘more than a lack of jobs, the issue is a lack of data on jobs’[1]. For those of us who have been using the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data on employment and unemployment for decades now, such a statement made by the government, come as a surprise. As a researcher I have been using the NSSO data extensively for the purpose of determining the employment-unemployment situation of the country for over a decade and have informed most of my research on women’s work in India based on these data provided by the NSSO employment-unemployment surveys (EUS).

The other sources of data on employment and unemployment available from the Economic census (establishment surveys), Census of India, Annual Survey of Industries, the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGET) suffer from limited coverage and therefore are not representative. The Census although provides the estimates of workers under the broad categories of rural-urban, male-female, main-marginal and a few others, once in a decade, it does not provide detailed information like the household surveys.

Unfortunately, in a recent move by the government, the NSSO-EUS has been officially discontinued since the last available figures for the 68th Round (2011-12). It is thus a fact that post 2011-12 we do not have any extensive information on the labour market situation. If we consider the six rounds of Annual Employment-unemployment Surveys conducted by the Labour Bureau under the aegis of the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) since 2010-11, which have been somewhat similar in size and methodology to the NSSO-EUSfrom its third round (2013-14), even those have not been continued after 2015-16.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

‘Son of the Soil’ Politics and the Spectacle of NRC in Assam


Taposik Banerjee

As the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) gets published in Assam we see an unprecedented humanitarian crisis slowly getting unfolded in the state as well as in the country. More than four million people have discovered themselves in a situation of statelessness overnight. While the fates of these people are yet to be decided one may wonder why such a massive exercise is being carried out. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

On High Oil Price and Government Policy


Surajit Das

Petrol and diesel prices have reached almost Rs. 80 and Rs. 70 per litre respectively in the country today, which is definitely a cause of concern. Since oil enters into the production and transportation of almost all commodities and services, directly or indirectly, the overall price rise is expected with rise in domestic price of oil. Total consumption of petroleum products in India is around 200 MMT (million metric ton) and crude oil production in India is around 36 MMT per annum – the rest we import. Gross import is around 250 MMT plus LNG import was around 6 MMT in 2016-17 and export was around 65 MMT. The domestic price increased mainly because of sharp rise in the international price of oil from US40$ (in the second quarter of 2016) to almost US 80$ per barrel (in May 2018) as well as because of rise in the tax rate on oil from 37.5% (as on 1st September, 2012) to more than 50% (on 19th June, 2018) for petrol and from 20% to almost 40% for diesel, on an average, in India.