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

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Pandemic, Protests, and Workers: India and Sri Lanka Considered

The climate of protest currently characterising India and Sri Lanka continues to receive staccato scholarly attention with barely any attempt to peak into either contemporary history or significant workers’ participation by way of explanation. Both regimes have pushed the pandemic as the proximate reason for the economic downturn in their countries even though the individual national trajectories have been vastly different. Our attempt is to evaluate the recent spate of public protests in both locations as continuities in public response to the larger injustices of policy that have characterised these contexts. While we do not do an explicit comparison, the presence of a few factors that offer some similarities in understanding the contemporary scenario in both locations have been mobilised in this effort. In doing so, we take a longer view of workers who have also been part of the protesting public but have rarely been acknowledged as such.

The 2020 Recession

The global economy experienced one of the worst recessions in 2020, and there is a growing concern that another recession is impending. While it is widely understood that the 2020 recession was caused by a random external shock, this article argues that the recession was due, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was structural and endogenous to the system. The underlying weakness of the global economy was built over the years, making it vulnerable to any shock to trigger a downturn. It had also reached the tipping point from the cyclical point of view, with the passing of 11 years since the previous 2007−09 global recession.

Tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Public Action in Kerala’s Exemplarity

Kerala’s fight against the coronavirus disease 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be a public action making it an exemplar to not only the rest of the states in India but also the world as a whole. Its public action-oriented containment of the pandemic has been the outcome of multiple factors specific to the state. Despite the grave challenges confronted by the state, its experience offers new opportunities for setting a new public culture. However, the emerging opportunities and their realisation in the post- COVID-19 phase depend on an effective and visionary leadership that can translate them for the potential development of the state.

COVID-19 Scarring and Sustainable Recovery Challenges

The scarring effect of the pandemic is estimated by grouping the industries into four subsectors based on energy and labour intensities. A comparison of model output and the projected growth from a hybrid data set revealed the least impact on green industries. However, the intertwining of green and brown industries and the consequent short-run transitional cost necessitates calibrated policy intervention for sustainable growth.

Memorialising the Torrid Times

Migrants on the Move: Precarity in Times of the Pandemic edited by Pushpendra, Amit Ranjan and Shashank Chaturvedi, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2022; pp 398, `1,250 (hardcover).

Making Higher Education Digital

EdTech Inc: Selling, Automating and Globalizing Higher Education in the Digital Age by Tanner Mirrlees and Shahid Alvi, New York: Routledge, 2020; pp 175, £36.99  GBP (E-book).

Gender-Restricted Emigration and Pandemic Repercussions: The Case of Nurse Emigration from India to The Gulf Countries During COVID-19

Introduction The consequences of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the international migration and mobility of workers have been profound. Border closures, quarantine and stay-at-home measures, and the downturn in international travel have all caused disruption to labour migration flows and increased immobility (Martin and Bergmann 2020). For India, this poses a significant concern when we consider the level of it’s internal migration, international migrant remittances, the rate of emigration for India’s workers (skilled and less skilled), and the increasing...

An Indian She-cession: Disproportionate Job and Earnings Loss for Young Women in the Labour Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences for the Indian labour market. However, its effects have been experienced differently across ages and genders. Using emerging longitudinal data, we examined who were hit the hardest? We found that young people (versus older adults) and women (versus men) experienced the highest losses in jobs and earnings. Young women, disadvantaged both on account of their age and their gender, suffered the most as compared to all other categories of workers analysed (young men, older men, and older women). These findings have important implications. India is at a demographic juncture, which means it is experiencing a “youth bulge” and has one of the youngest populations in the world. Further, the female labour force participation in India was low and declining even before the pandemic. Enabling young women to engage with the labour market is key to both youth and gender empowerment, and policy needs to urgently focus on pathways that provide meaningful opportunities for post-pandemic recovery.

Does a Man’s Hardship Matter More Than a Woman’s?

COVID-19 led to increased economic distress, which is usually associated with an increased justification of domestic violence. Through causal methods of survey experiments, the reasons for justification of domestic violence are evaluated. The hypotheses are tested using a survey experiment set in Ahmedabad, Gujarat with 500 participants (men and women) around the time of the first wave of the pandemic. The results show that hardships from the COVID-19-related lockdown were associated with increased support for domestic violence across genders. We also find that women justified domestic violence more than men.

Discourse and Its Pitfalls

What World Is This? A Pandemic Phenomenology by Judith Butler, New York: Columbia University Press, 2022; pp 134, $17.95.

Characterising Economic Activity in Near Real-time Using High-frequency Indicators in Haryana

There exists almost no information on the dynamics of the economy on a quarterly or monthly basis at the state level. The use of high-frequency indicators opens the door for nowcasting the state economy and would also help to calibrate policy changes in the very short run. This is a pioneering attempt for Haryana, where the HFIs were observed and compared with the gross state domestic product and tax revenue performances and were found to be in sync with each other.

Role of International Financial Institutions in Pandemic Treaty

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the global economy into a multisectoral crisis. The situation demanded that nation states respond swiftly by formulating funding mechanisms. However, most economies lacked adequate funds for the pandemic response, which led to the international financial institutions’ involvement in the response and recovery operations. This article delves into the various measures taken by the IFIs during the pandemic by inspecting them through a theoretical lens of liberal institutionalism, which emphasises collective and coordinated action.

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