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

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Handloom Weavers and Lockdown in Sualkuchi Cluster of Assam

After demonetisation in 2016, followed by imposition of the goods and services tax in the subsequent year, the COVID-19 lockdown has turned out to be a final nail in the coffin for the handloom sector in Assam. It has special importance in the informal economy of Assam since it is next to agriculture in creating employment opportunities. An examination of the Sualkuchi weaving cluster in Assam shows the many challenges the weavers, most of them women, face.

The Pandemic, a Cyclone

In the feminist context, the politicisation of the private has been popular. With the pandemic at play, the households have resurfaced in quotidian conversations. Their political identity is no more limited to the battle of ownership. This space has now garnered a novel identity by featuring in the governmental political rhetoric. The article discusses if and how households are compelled to state their traditional identities, allow encroachment on and defiling of their existence and as a result evaluate the formation of the new recognition of this emerging (pseudo) safe spaces after it sheds the fetters of politics.

Covid-19 Progression

Countries across the world are relying on trial-and-error interventions to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic. But, even as health systems are close to breaking down and economies are flailing while underprivileged citizens are battling unprecedented social and financial catastrophes, most governments are failing to provide appropriate social security and relief.

China-bashing and Post-COVID-19 Narrative

The disruption of supply chains caused by COVID-19 has led to predictions that international firms will relocate production away from China, benefiting other emerging economies, including India. However, China’s integration with the global economy in terms of international finance, investment, construction and as a low-cost location for global production is now so deep that such changes will neither be quick nor painless. In fact, China’s innovations might allow it to even reinforce its position in the global economy.

Infrastructuring Floods in the Brahmaputra River Basin

The effects of infrastructural projects in Assam that lead to floods in the Brahmaputra river are discussed. These projects play a prominent role in “engineering” floods, thereby creating hazardscapes and precarious conditions for the riverine communities. A people-centric approach involving these communities in the decision-making process is needed to curb the recurrent floods and their aftermath.

Unearthing Conflict

What remains behind the repetition of brazen violence is the continuous and calibrated deployment of different techniques of power that involve the recycling of violence in various forms and continuous yet ad hoc negotiations by the state and the mining company with the affected communities that seek to contain the communities and limit the forms of resistance available to them on a day-to-day basis.

Why It Makes Sense to Leave and Stay Gone

India experienced a mass exodus of informal sector workers who were heading out of cities, bound homewards. Given the paucity of transport infrastructure, this is translating into one of the greatest mass tragedies of post-independence India. This has been rationalised as a combination of people moving out because of a lockdown-induced loss of earnings and irrational fears stoked by the pandemonium. This exodus is, in fact, a perfectly rational response to the rapid spread of the virus in informal housing localities. Three different policies are outlined whose combination could have, and can still, reduce, if not entirely stop, the exodus.

Thinking of Gandhi Today

Learning to think without being hindered by fear or temptation will, among other things, help those who want to emulate M K Gandhi deal with the gravest challenge that they face. That challenge is posed by those who, behind their deviously articulated public lip-service to him, are tirelessly engaged in realising that vision of India which is diametrically opposed to Gandhi’s humane vision.

Policy Complementarities in Achieving Universal Immunisation Coverage in India

The role of two policy pillars in achieving immunisation coverage of essential vaccines in India is examined by assessing the funds disbursed by the centre to the state governments under the Universal Immunisation Programme and the available physical health infrastructure in the states. It is found that funds by themselves are ineffective in improving vaccination coverage but are effective in conjunction with the available infrastructure. This finding has important implications for achieving full immunisation coverage, which stems from the sharing of responsibilities between the central and state governments under India’s federalised system of government.

US Elections and India

The implications of the United States presidential elections for India and the positions of the candidates in fray are often viewed through the lens of narrow interests of the ruling classes masquerading as national interest. The implications for India’s national interests cannot be delinked from the possible impacts of the results of the presidential contest for the values such as democracy, equality and peace.

Emerging Governmentality and Biopolitics of COVID-19 in India

Measures like disciplining and quarantining are associated with the governments’ extraordinary powers during unprecedented times. In this context, the biopolitics of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is discussed. When the steps taken by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus are failing, we need new imageries to tackle the challenges that lie ahead of us.

Learning from Maharashtra’s Semi-English Government-aided Schools

The semi-English schools in Maharashtra that are aided by the government have much to teach the other states in terms of ease of English learning. These schools have ensured that the regional language and that spoken at the student’s home are not neglected whilst teaching English. However, as far as Maharashtra’s ashramshalas in tribal areas are concerned, there is a need to respect and foster the tribal languages spoken by the students.

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