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

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Professionalising Election Campaigns

The 2014 and 2019 general elections in India were referred to as “WhatsApp elections,” which had IT cells, bots, and political consultants strategically using data mining tools to build resonant narratives to tell voters what they wanted to hear. By the 2014 national election, the industry was reported to be worth $40–$47 million. Between 2014 and 2018, industry specialists approximated that the number of firms in this market had at least doubled. These unprecedented tools of technological campaigning come with new forms of identifying, targeting, and defining issues of political importance. This article suggests that such developments are turning electoral politics into a thriving business being data-driven, technologically oriented, and having far-reaching implications for democratic processes.

New Initiatives for Democratic Decentralisation in Haryana

The 73rd amendment to the Constitution has given a new lease of life to panchayati raj institutions in terms of the continuity of regular elections and certainty for their permanent existence. But the strength of these institutions has been left to the apathy of the state government. The political leaders and bureaucracy did not allow the institutions of self-governance to grow by granting them the desired functions, finance and functionaries. However, the present government in power in the state has delegated several schemes to strengthen these institutions.

The Pandemic and Its Discontents in India

India and the Pandemic: The First Year, Essays from The India Forum by The India Forum, 2021; Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan; pp xvii + 335, ` 695.

An Assessment of Mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility Expenditure

The response of firms towards the corporate social responsibility guidelines and its impact on the funding of Sustainable Development Goals is investigated.

Reservations, Efficiency, and the Making of Indian Constitution

The notion that reservation is contrary to efficiency and merit has been invoked consistently. Even the Supreme Court of India seems to have agreed withthis proposition in some judgments, as it held that Article 16(4), which provides for reservation in services, would be limited by Article 335, which mentions the term “efficiency of administration” in the Constitution. This paper explores the Constituent Assembly Debates to show that the Constitution framers did not subject reservations to the test of efficiency or merit. In addition, “efficiency of administration” mentioned under Article 335 cannot be treated as an exclusionary construct, as it was done in pre-independence era.

Induce Spirit of Privatisation in Public Sector Banks

This article analyses why the progressive reforms in the public sector banks and the banking sector under the watchful eyes of the government could not bring the desired change in the working culture and governance of the PSBs. It highlights the reasons why PSBs lag behind and identifies future strategies that may help bring them back on the desired track.

Raising the 'Labour Question' in a Deliberative Democracy

Today, in India, “deliberative democracy” is failing to translate into social, economic and political justice for its citizens, especially the 450 million workers in the unorganised sector. This is because of the growing gap between the elected representatives and the electors themselves, particularly a deep disconnect between the policies and politics of the state and the needs and demands of the working Indian masses (Yadav 2010). This deep disconnect has come to the fore more vividly amidst the pandemic. The question is: What option do the millions of excluded, overlooked and invisibilised Indian labourers have? Do they quietly accept their sad destiny because it has been served to them by their chosen representatives?

Developing Electronic Peoples’ Biodiversity Registers

Wide participation at the grassroots is an important prerequisite for effective documentation, management and monitoring of biological resources. India has long recognised the need for the documentation of biodiversity and associated knowledge. Yet, the progress made through peoples’ biodiversity...

Where Is All Our Health Data Going?

Multiple initiatives going on in India regarding the collection of digital personal health data are analysed, and the question of how the data is being used is examined. While such data could facilitate healthcare and referral services, a strong and sensitive governance structure is needed to be in place to enable its optimal use and to ensure that the data is not used to further the agendas of surveillance and control.

Doing Business Rankings: Reforms Must Focus on On-Ground Realities for Trade Facilitation

The latest Doing Business (DB) 2020 report places India 63rd among 190 countries, 14 places ahead of its position the previous year. While reforms in the areas of enterprise promotion and reducing red tape are always necessary, reform measures exclusively to attain a higher rank might jeopardise the priorities of that sector. The real success of a higher rank in DB could be in the form of hard infrastructure and last-mile connectivity rather than reducing a few certifications and office visits, making DB reforms go beyond just serving a higher rank.

How Real Is the Crime Decline in India?

Since 1991 in India, the crime rates of both property-related crimes and violent crimes, except crimes against women, have fallen significantly. While the decreasing trend is undisputed in Western nations, the perception in India is that the crime data has been manipulated by the police. The examination of constituent units composed of a diverse selection of districts in India suggests that the trends are generally similar across the country and are not an outcome of deliberate police practices. Police practices do not present any evidence of geographical bias in the registration of crime.

India’s Slowdown

Investments in industry have slowed down considerably in the recent years, as has agricultural growth. Falling levels of capacity utilisation, building up of food stocks and the state of liquidity in the economy sufficiently prove that the problem today is the lack of demand. Rural distress, rising inequality and falling real wages are driving down demand. The government’s response to the slowdown has been woefully inadequate. The biggest impediment to policymaking is not the lack of ideas, but the blinkered vision of economics.

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