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

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Impact of Natural Background Radiation on Health

High natural background radiation is a constant presence in the lives of those inhabiting some coastal regions of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. While there is agreement about the existence of radiation, some studies claim that it has no impact on the health of the population, while others disagree. There is a need to examine these findings critically, because of implications for public health, and to understand some of the technical reasons for why some papers appear to find no support for evidence (lack of statistical significance) of impact on health due to high levels of background radiation.

Critiquing the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019

The Industrial Relations Code, one of the four labour codes codified from the erstwhile central labour laws, aims to promote the ease of doing business and spur investment by encouraging labour flexibility. A critical examination of the code suggests that it will fail to create a conducive and efficient industrial relations environment, and will neither promote the ease of doing business nor serve workers’ welfare.

Migrant Workers and the Politics of Mental Health

The roping in of tertiary care mental health institutes by the government in providing individualised (tele) counselling services to migrant workers needs to be viewed with caution. Instead of acting as a catalyst in upholding the dignity and human rights of migrant daily wage workers who were left high and dry, mental health practice, shaped by political and institutional influences, provided “counselling” to lakhs of people who bore the brunt of governmental apathy during the pandemic crisis.

The Making of Girlhood

A significant divergence characterises girls’ socialisation at home and at school, on the one hand, and their intellectual development through education, on the other. Although both home and school are agencies of socialisation, the two do not converge in the case of girls. This article analyses data from several different domains of girls’ lives ranging in ages from five to 18 years.

Information Technology and Welfare

The use of information technology in public administration is seen as a significant tool for improving efficiency, transparency and accountability in governance. We study the use of various forms of IT, such as computerisation, public management information systems, digital ID and biometrics in the social security pension programme in Andhra Pradesh. IT interventions need to be unbundled in their evaluations since our analysis concludes that there is no automatic link between the use of IT and enhanced transparency or accountability, and the use of IT may reinforce existing power imbalances.

Regenerating Forests in India

On the basis of an independent study, measures are suggested to check the rapid degradation of forests and develop quality forests based on scientific lines. Recommendations have been made to extend the benefits of the revival of forests to the tribals by the generation of livelihood options, and to facilitate the formulation of a comprehensive forest law that could interweave the interests of the tribal communities with the maintenance of ecological balance.

Labour Law Changes

The changes in labour laws announced during the lockdown period in several states reflect a lack of concern for the highest levels of unemployment seen in the past 45 years and the large number of workers leaving industrial pockets and returning back to an economy ravaged by agrarian distress. The events of the last few months suggest that distinctions amongst the working class in terms of organised/unorganised, formal/informal, and migrant/local are being narrowed. Labour must consolidate across the board taking anchorage in the commonalities of experience that various divisions face today.

How Far Is India’s Nominal Exchange Rate from Equilibrium?

The swings in the Indian nominal exchange rates, associated with global events, are driven more by surges in global capital. No evidences of systemic overvaluation are revealed. In fact, the Indian equilibrium nominal exchange rate has depreciated since 2012, despite real appreciation, but the range of ₹ 68–₹ 71 per dollar was close to the equilibrium in 2018.

Undertrial Prisoners in Bihar

Following the liquor ban in Bihar in 2016, many people from Dalit and Adivasi backgrounds were arrested under the prohibition law. A majority of them were behind bars under exaggerated charges or because of procedural lapses by visiting legal aid lawyers. Most of the undertrials are unable to get released on bail due to their inability to produce suitable sureties or pay the bail amount. There is an urgent need for sociolegal intervention with undertrial prisoners towards ensuring their legal rights.

Public Funding of Universities

The ongoing protests by the students against the fee hike in Jawaharlal Nehru University have brought to the fore the contentious issue of adequacy of public funding of universities. Assessing the pros and cons of different sources of funding, focusing on the issue of the fee hike, it is argued that public funding of the universities should remain the most preferred source in a country like India to not only mitigate the possible trade-offs among the three objectives of efficiency, equity, and excellence, but also foster publicness of higher education.

Gram Kachahary in Rural Bihar

Bihar has an innovative system of rural local governance through judicial institutions led by the people. Each gram panchayat has a gram kachahary . How these institutions work, the challenges they face, while settling disputes, and the ways these challenges could be met are examined.

From Jobless to Job-loss Growth

The unprecedented decline in the absolute number of workers in the Indian economy in recent times has been a subject of debate and a matter of public concern. A closer look at the data for the period 2011–12 and 2017–18 shows that it is the net result of a dynamic process of job creation and destruction. Those who have lost jobs are all with low education, that is, less than secondary level of education. From a gender perspective, rural women workers are the net losers. From a social point of view, the net losers belong to two groups: Muslims and Hindu Other Backward Classes. These are clear signs of rural India in distress with strong gender and social dimensions.

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