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

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CONTENTS

 Universities as Institutions An institution is not simply a social arrangement, but one which has a certain meaning for its members such that they acknowledge its moral claims on them and are willing to submit to its demands, at least some of the time, even when they find those demands to be contrary to their individual interests. By this test can universities in India today be called functioning institutions? 563 Participatory Rural Appraisal The popularity of techniques of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) in rural research and project planning comes in large part from their ability to generate information at the community level directly with members of the community. Such information is held to be more reliable, more efficiently obtained and more relevant to community interests than that generated by conventional social research methods. But while techniques of PRA offer new opportunities for the articulation of local knowledge, including perspectives of women and other subordinate sections of communities, they may also expose projects to new risks by creating public contexts and a new idiom in which dominant interests can gain legitimacy. The greatest danger, howsoever, is the promotion of PRA as a "quick' methodology of participation, rather than as a set of techniques or tools to be used in the context of project-specific strategies for participatory planning. 569 VAT for India A comprehensive value added tax (VAT) with consumption base, tax credit method and destination principle to determine VAT on international and inter-state trade flows can form an ideal commodity tax system for India. In a federal set-up it may be ideal to have state and central VATs substituting the current state and central taxes on goods and services. A VAT with one or two rates has to be supplemented by special excises and subsidies to deal with the problem of equity, environment and social preferences. 579 Dollar in Disarray In the wake of the recent panic, foreign exchange markets are looking for some beacon of hope and stability. But none is on the agenda and the universe of finance capital will continue to be one of chronic instability, fear, bankruptcies and massive job liquidations. The empire of the dollar and the financial galaxy in which it orbits are a ticking time-bomb. 554 Research on Research An aspect of 'methodology' researchers rarely report on are the processes and procedures they have to use while conducting research and disseminating its results. The many hazards of conducting an unconventional but worthwhile research study. 556 In the Dock The findings of the review report on the Sardar Sarovar project and the MP government's decision to call a halt to the construction of the dam give credence to the arguments of the anti-dam movement. 542 Amusing Times While Zhirinovsky's visit was an amusing international event, providing some relief in the dismal times we live in, courtesy our new economic policies, amusement in our public life is not confined to the doings of a Zhirinovsky or a Seshan. 541 Communalism in Kerala By aligning with small splinter communal parties, the major political parties which could have played an important role in secularising the political process have become participants in communal processes in Kerala. 544 India and Social Summit The three core themes of the international summit on social development hosted by the UN in its 50th year were alleviation and reduction of poverty, generation of productive employment and enhancement of social integration. An Indian perspective on these aspects of social development. 548 Founder-Editor: Sachin Chaudhuri Cynical Prescriptions 531 Maharashtra: Non-Congress, Non-Maratha

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