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

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Challenges in Regulating Water Pollution in India

With rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, the problem of water pollution in India has escalated dramatically over the last few decades. The regulatory apparatus, has, however, lagged behind. Major gaps in standard setting, including lack of standards for ambient water quality, poor monitoring and weak enforcement by the pollution control boards are the major proximate causes. Controlling water pollution will require a concerted effort to address these regulatory failures.

 

Agro-food Systems and Public Policy for Food and Agricultural Markets

This transcription of a presentation, commentary and a discussion at IIM Banglore in 2020 has three parts. In Part 1, contested definitions of food, urgent food questions and concepts of food systems are clarified before considering the ways agricultural markets are integrated in food systems, the contradictory principles at work in policies for their regulation, and the ways such policy practices are imagined. Sixteen multidisciplinary depictions of global food systems, agricultural markets and food policies are analysed, concluding that their conceptual fracturing results from a disregard of theory. New models of the Indian food system will need to give rigorous attention to institutions for policy.

Part 2 problematises the empirical granularity needed to understand market behaviour that policymakers ignore as they shift agriculture from being the driver of industrialisation to being a residualised welfare sector. By continuing to ignore and misunderstand existing physical markets, regulatory reforms like the new central laws assume that the deregulation would somehow automatically bypass the vast number of private intermediaries necessary for distribution whose relatively easy-to-enter, small-scale activity undercuts the transaction costs of corporate agribusiness. In doing so, they lose sight of the original purpose and need for public regulation in primary agricultural markets in the first place.

Part 3 discusses the need for consultative policy processes for policy and the implications for small scales and informality in agriculture and its markets of the close integration of self-employment in the rural non-farm economy.

Regional Variations in Multidimensional Poverty

Regional variations in multidimensional poverty and inequality are analysed for the two different administrative regions of Tripura—village committees under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council and gram panchayats under the panchayati raj institutions—using a primary survey. Special emphasis is laid on the deprivations of households with regard to health, education, and the standard of living across these two administrative regions as well as the rural development blocks. The level of multidimensional poverty and incidence appears to be higher in village committees than gram panchayats even though the average deprivation among the poor is around 40% for both the areas with robust between-group inequality.

Labour Force and Employment Growth in India

This study analyses the changing structure of the labour force and employment in India using the Employment and Unemployment Survey (2011–12) and the Periodic Labour Force Surveys I and II (2017–18 and 2018–19). The estimates indicate that there was a mere improvement in employment from 2017–18 to 2018–19; however, as this was accompanied by a decline in the size of the workforce between 2011–12 and 2017–18, this does not indicate recovery. The unemployment rate, especially that of youth, remains at a historic high. A remarkable decline in the share of agriculture in the workforce without a corresponding increase in the non-agricultural sector indicates a somewhat distorted structural transformation. A sizeable portion of the female population has been withdrawn from the labour and workforces. 

Impending Water Crisis in India

Emerging Water Insecurity in India: Lessons from an Agriculturally Advanced State by Ranjit Singh Ghuman and Rajeev Sharma, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018; pp xxvi + 298, price not indicated.

The Plight of Street Vendors in India

Street vendors constitute the most significant and deprived segment of the country’s unorganised sector. Among vendors, the condition of Dalit, women, and child vendors is the most horrific, depressed, and necessitous. Other than being a source of self-employment for the poor, vending is vital to provide convenient, affordable services to the urban populace. It is ironic that the current laws, schemes, and policies are awfully unsympathetic, hostile, and unreceptive towards the ordeals of this section of the urban population. This paper attempts to explore and expose the vulnerability, fragility, and marginalisation of this section under faulty urban governance and development practices by tracking their lives, pains, and plight as vendors.

 

New Initiatives for Democratic Decentralisation in Haryana

The 73rd amendment to the Constitution has given a new lease of life to panchayati raj institutions in terms of the continuity of regular elections and certainty for their permanent existence. But the strength of these institutions has been left to the apathy of the state government. The political leaders and bureaucracy did not allow the institutions of self-governance to grow by granting them the desired functions, finance and functionaries. However, the present government in power in the state has delegated several schemes to strengthen these institutions.

 

RBI’s Efforts towards ‘Pandexit’ Go beyond Policy Measures

In a proactive move, the Reserve Bank of India rescued the economy with its innovative—blended conventional and unconventional—monetary policy measures. Low-interest rates, aligning targeted liquidity, and granting moratorium coupled with forbearance to enable banks to restructure loans, mandated the Kamath panel to work out modalities to restructure corporate sector loans. After affirming stability and orderliness of the financial sector throughout the crisis period, it rightly signalled descent towards normalisation paving for pandexit manoeuvring the tool of variable reverse repo rate.

The Pandemic and Its Discontents in India

India and the Pandemic: The First Year, Essays from The India Forum by The India Forum, 2021; Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan; pp xvii + 335, `695.

 

Ways to Tackle Hunger during COVID-19

COVID-19 has not only caused deaths but has also exacerbated hunger and starvation due to nationwide lockdowns in the country that have led to a massive breakdown in the supply chain networks. These tough times are no less than a “wake-up call” for India to devise a permanent supply chain solution that ensures an uninterrupted supply of food and nutrition as well as timely healthcare and employment for its population.

 

Deconstructing India’s Negotiating Dexterity

Does India Negotiate? by Karthik Nachiappan, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2019; pp 238, `1,295 (hardcover).

 

Reliability of PLFS 2019–20 Data

The April–June (2020) quarterly data for the urban sector showed a massive decline in the workforce participation rate and a huge increase in the unemployment rate. Still, the annual average work participation rate rose sharply in 2019–20 compared to the earlier two rounds of the Periodic Labour Force Survey estimates, and the average unemployment rate declined somewhat. Given these patterns, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data set, despite its own problems, seems to be casting a more realistic picture.

 

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