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

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Policy and Regulatory Changes in Teacher Education in India: Concerns, Debates and Contestations

The article reviews and discusses policy and regulatory changes or reforms in teacher education in India that have taken place in the last one decade, arguing that it is a highly contested arena in India that is closely tied with the way the academic networks and coalitions operate in the field.

The Political Future of Childhood Studies

Childhoods in India: Traditions, Trends and Transformationsby T S Saraswathi,Shailaja Menon and Ankur Madan, London: Routledge, 2018; pp 450, ₹1,395.

‘Surgical Strikes’ on Policies of Liberalisation

A response to Amit Bhaduri’s article titled “Danger Zones of High Economic Growth” (EPW, 22 October 2016). Important questions of policy and economic understanding are raised.

Migrant Crisis in Kerala

The Kerala government is under pressure to enforce action to deal with the rising migrant population in the state after the arrest of a migrant labourer as the suspect of rape and murder of Jisha, a Dalit law student. Keeping track of the migrant population in the absence of an identification database would violate the constitutional provisions of the right to work. By launching an insurance scheme to incentivise migrants to voluntarily register themselves, the government is planning to track migrant workers. Profiling by the state, even under the garb of welfare schemes, will further justify the existing middle-class ire against domestic and regional migrant labour.

School Education

The proposed National Policy on Education 2016 has important implications with respect to school education in India. While acknowledging some of its positive features, attention must be focused on objectives of education as espoused in the policy: key amendments suggested in the Right to Education Act, 2009; position and importance of Early Childhood Care and Education and reforms proposed in the curriculum and assessment practices in schools.

A Half-baked Attempt at Revamping Environmental Law

The Environment Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 is a major policy attempt to make structural changes in environmental governance. But the bill fails in bringing any change to the institutional mechanism for enforcement of the law. Moreover, the bill attempts to introduce a monetary penalty for environmental damages, which is not in consonance with the well-established polluter pays principle.

Evolution of Institutions for Climate Policy in India

The growing focus on climate policy in India is not matched by an equivalent level of attention to institutions . Effective institutions are also needed for the design, coordination and implementation of policy. This paper examines the functioning of institutions, organised around three periods: pre-2007; 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to mid-2014. Several key themes emerge: First, the formation of climate institutions has often been ad hoc and is inadequately geared to India's co-benefits based approach to climate policy. Second, there is a lack of continuity in institutions, once established. Third, coordination across government has been uneven and episodic. Fourth, while various efforts at knowledge generation have been attempted, they do not add up to a mechanism for sustained and consistent strategic thinking on climate change. Fifth, the overall capacity within government remains limited. Sixth, capacity shortfalls are exacerbated by closed structures of governance that only partially draw on external expertise.

Social Science Policy in the New Millennium

A recent policy workshop on social sciences in India drew attention to the need to formulate a comprehensive social science policy - one that would not only create a holistic interdisciplinary paradigm for social science research, but also encourage research in regional languages and create a relevant database.

General Agreement on Trade in Services

Concerns have been voiced about the WTO's encroachment into social service sectors such as health, education, and environment under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and how this may undermine national sovereignty and autonomy in social policy-making. However, most of these concerns stem from misunderstandings and lack of information about the liberalisation process under the GATS. This paper tries to dispel such unwarranted fears by highlighting the GATS' commitment structure and framework and explaining how countries can retain their autonomy in social policy-making under the GATS. However, it also points out some problem areas in this regard, tracing their source to various ambiguities and weaknesses in the GATS framework. The paper highlights the need to use the ongoing GATS 2000 negotiations effectively so as to strengthen the GATS framework and address these problematic issues.

Taxation of Charitable Trusts

Given the large need for services in social development and social welfare areas, which the state is unable to meet in sufficient measure, and the need to encourage and support non-profit organisations promoting cultural activities as well those 'civil society' organisations defending civil liberties, promoting the welfare of women and children, etc, the state should spare from tax income that does not accrue to any individuals or juridical persons for private benefit. The acceptance of the recommendations of the Advisory Group on Tax Policy and Tax Administration for the Tenth Plan on tax treatment of charitable organisations would do grave damage to the work of the voluntary agencies which form one of the heart-warming and bright aspects of our society.

Oil Deregulation: Losing Sight of Goals?

Rhetoric and even platitudes are necessary notes of any official policy statement. But usually the notes are the overtones of a song/symphony – not though in the government’s draft science policy statement. Drafted by a group of eminent scientists/science administrators and bureaucrats the policy, the third such statement to be issued since independence, is content to construct fetching word pictures without spelling out the processes which can reverse the steadily decreasing interest in science in the country. Even the implementation strategy document that accompanies the policy statement – an innovation, to be sure – fails to grapple with the real issues.

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