Thursday, August 8, 2019

Abrogation of Article 370: End of Kashmir’s Autonomy

Sourav Baksi
‘Sitam sikhlaayega rasm-e wafa aise nahin hota
Sanam dikhlaaenge raah-e khuda aise nahin hota’-1
Faiz Ahmed Faiz

The quote needs to find a place in today’s world which means ‘Tyranny giving lessons in the fidelity of love’.

The so called ‘bold and historic’ movement of 5 August 2019 requires a deeper analysis and understanding on its impact without elaborating upon its legal terms as that has been decoded in several enriching articles. What is the meaning of this lightning strike on a time honoured constitutional settlement?

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Union Budget 2019-20: Increasing Desperation for a Long-Awaited Miracle?

Surajit Mazumdar
The final Union Budget for 2019-20 placed before Parliament on 5 July 2019 (hereafter the Budget) was remarkable in the extent to which it seemed to adopt an ostrich-like approach, premising itself on a denial of known facts about the Indian economy and the contemporary global scenario. Many of these facts were simply ignored while others were misrepresented or deliberately concealed, as a ‘vision’ of an economy mid-way through a glorious journey to a 5 trillion-dollar size was laid out through the Budget and the speech accompanying it. This ‘vision’ completely discounted in any substantive sense the fact that the Indian economy is currently facing a major slowdown of demand growth. It simply refused to acknowledge the evidence of nearly a decade that ‘fiscal consolidation’ and improving the ‘ease of doing business’ have simply failed to revive ‘animal spirits’ and generate a private investment led process of economic expansion. If the speech were to be believed, the agrarian crisis and the mounting problem of joblessness have been almost solved in the last five years and therefore aren’t even worth mentioning. The Budgetary exercise also seemed to be completely unmindful of the fact that the world experienced a global crisis over a decade ago whose consequences are still being experienced, including through an unravelling of the international ‘consensus’ on globalization which is generating ever increasing uncertainty about the future of the world economy. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Lofty vision, narrow practice: The case of Draft NEP 2019

Saqib Khan
The recent furore over the three-language formula has seen an intense scrutiny of the recently released Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 [1]. The NEP remains an important action-plan for education and it provides a direction to the development of education in India [2]. This article is a modest attempt to highlight some of the key aspects and concerns from the Draft. In some ways, the Draft NEP 2019 takes the agenda of the 2016 Draft forward, while making a departure from it in few other aspects [3]. While it suggests some important changes in the school education system, it is in the higher education system that the ideological and political moorings of the Draft are clearly visible. The article argues that the restructuring of the higher education system as recommended seems to be a push towards centralization and further privatization, and the Draft assigns larger role of private activity in overall funding of education than public investment. While the Draft has a grand vision to transform Indian education system in an equitable way, its recommendations seem to go in an altogether different trajectory and there seems to be a mismatch between the two. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why free public transport for women is a move in the right direction?

Arpita Biswas

Ever since Delhi Chief Minister announced his Party’s decision to make public transport free for women, there has started a great deal of debates around it. While AAP is projecting safety and security of women as the primary aim of this policy proposal, many are objecting to it on the grounds that it would impose huge costs on Delhi government’s fiscal health and overcrowd the metro, along with being administratively tedious. Also doing the rounds is the criticism that it is a pre-election gimmick by Mr. Kejriwal, especially in light of AAP’s poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Though it is not advisable to disregard the immediate political backdrop, can we afford to analyze the proposal and its suitability against just that? Do the potential demerits and implementation hurdles imply it is a botched-up scheme unworthy of sincere attention and attempts?

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Why is the proposal of fare-free public transport for women in Delhi a welcome move?

Ashmita Sharma

The recent proposal of the Delhi government to provide free access to women in state-run public transport has created furore on social media. Well, if you ask me, I think it is an excellent idea because it will have far-reaching implications for women! At the outset, the very conception of 'free access' to public transport shows how the government is ‘encouraging’ the use of state-sponsored services free of cost. Even if it is only for women, it is the first step ahead. And I don’t understand why is there such hue and cry on the 'hows' and 'whys' of it? Free public transport is not new and the move is already gaining a lot of support worldwide. Luxembourg is set to become the first country to make all its public transport free by 2020. Whereas, cities like Dunkirk in France, Hasselt in Belgium, and Tallinn in Estonia are already providing free commuting. Even in Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden, public transport is highly subsidised. Now people will say, but those are small countries/cities with less population and a more developed economy unlike India. Yes, agreed, but knowing that the economy is in crisis, unemployment highest at 6% in the last 45 years, there is increase in jobless growth, this very section of the population still chose to vote Modi to power for the second term; but when the Delhi government shows a progressive attitude to public transport, their nerves wreck?