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

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Delhi’s Urban Villages

Properties of Rent: Community, Capital and Politics in Globalising Delhi by Sushmita Pati, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2022; pp xxvi + 295, `1,050.

Delhi’s Conundrum and the Need for Collaborative Federalism

India’s federal structure is distinguished by differentiated and weighted equality. However, when we begin to discuss the union territory paradigm in Indian federalism, federal design takes a substantial turn. Governance of the megacity of Delhi maintains and coordinates intricate intergovernmental relations. In lieu of a conflict between Parliament’s legislative supremacy and Delhi’s executive supremacy, it would be preferable to strengthen the consultative mechanism between the union government and the Government of Delhi.

Embracing 'Refugee-istan': A Look at Delhi's Refugee History and Why It Must Continue

This article draws on the critical role of partition refugees in Delhi's cultural and economic history to assert that assimilating refugees contributes to state-building economically and culturally. It begins by reviewing the Relief and Rehabilitation Policy of 1948 in the capital, its push to make refugees "self-sufficient," and the enterprising refugees' economic contributions to the city. The commentary touches on the material and social "refugee resources" and "state-building" argument as postulated by Jacobsen and her contemporaries to conclude that if there is anything to be learnt from Delhi's history and scholarship, it is that investing in refugees flourishes the cities they reside in.

‘No Formalities Please!’ Broker Practices in the Municipal Governance of New Delhi

This paper analyses the ways in which informal mediation channels facilitate service delivery in the Citizen Service Bureaus at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and give rise to an interplay between formal and informal institutions. In particular, the personal backgrounds of brokers as informal mediators and how they ensure their acceptance amongst service seekers are explored. Further, the motivations of the service seekers to solicit help from these mediators as well as institutional responses from the municipal administration along with other relevant actors like the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi are examined.

 

Regional Lockdown Policies and COVID-19 Transmission in India

Do lockdowns and mobility restrictions contain the spread of COVID-19? Data was collected on district-level non-pharmaceutical interventions, using government notifications and news reports, in six major Indian states to assess the impact of NPIs on COVID-19 transmission and fatality in 2020. Findings suggest that NPIs slowed COVID-19 death rates in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Interventions that were most associated with slowing fatalities were temple closures, retail closures, and curfews. Even with incomplete compliance, limiting mass gatherings in face of incipient viral waves may save lives.

 

Evaluation of Land Pooling Policy in Delhi

Institutional innovations in land development and planning like public–private partnerships, negotiable developer obligations, and flexible zoning regulations have taken centre stage in policy discussions. Given this, an unprecedented large-scale land pooling policy has been enacted in Delhi to facilitate planning and development by making landowners partners in development. The policy is proposed to be implemented in land pooling zones by sector-based planning. Although the policy proposes a paradigm shift in its approach by empowering private sector and landowners, rigidity in land use distribution and development control regulations at the sector level make implementation difficult. The development of city-level commercial and public/semi-public facilities is difficult in the sector sizes proposed by the Delhi Development Authority. Alternatives would be the optimisation of “developable area” in sectors and making land use regulations and development control norms open to negotiations with private developers or landowners.

 

Mushairah as Public Sphere and an Archive

Poetry of Belonging: Muslim Imaginings of India 1850–1950 by Ali Khan Mahmudabad, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2020; pp xviii + 325, 1,595.

 

COVID-19 and the Women at Work

Delhi has witnessed a massive disruption of livelihood and economic activities due to COVID-19. With a historical context of an abandoned mine housing refugee families at the contours of the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in Chhatarpur, Sanjay Colony is a slum that is far removed from the everyday hustle of the city. This paper explores the ways in which initiatives by women during the COVID-19 pandemic changed the neighbourhood character and opened up the possibilities of reimagining place-making with the objective of establishing sustainable economic engagement. It focuses on the shift that has taken place from daily wage employment at nearby construction sites to self-employment by women. With initiatives like mobilising for relief work by the Bhatti Mahila Evam Bal Vikas Mandal to spearheading the renovation of the crematorium grounds, engaging in road construction, and even working towards organising a market led by women producers and sellers, the slum created opportunities to rethink street livelihood amidst the pandemic. This paper brings forth an ethnographic account of how women propelled the reimagination of the neighbourhood through their nano-enterpreneurship.

 

(Un)truth Technologies to Subvert Justice

The Truth Machines: Policing, Violence, and Scientific Interrogations in India by Jinee Lokaneeta, Orient BlackSwan, 2020; pp xiii + 250, price not indicated. 

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