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

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COVID-19 Economic Stimulus and State-level Performance of Power Distribution Companies

As part of the COVID-19 economic stimulus package, the Government of India increased the borrowing limit of the states from 3% to 5% of the gross state domestic product. The power sector reform at the state level is one of the criteria to avail this extra borrowing. The efficiency parameters of the power sector are analysed here, and it is observed that there are statewise differentials in the financial and operational parameters. The average aggregate technical and commercial losses that should have been 15% by 2018–19, presently, on average, stand at 26.15%. The average cost of supply–average revenue realised has also widened. The operational parameters indicate widening inefficiencies across states in the power infrastructure.

Insanity and Colonial Knowledge

Britain saw a significant establishment of asylums and perceptions about insanity at the end of the 18th century. Michel Foucault traced the historiography of institutional confinement and postulated that the history of madness shows the “great confinement.” Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (1973) begins by describing the exclusion and confinement of lepers in the large leper houses scattered at the periphery of European cities. The new cultural content after the renaissance changed radically, from reason and madness in the classical era, to sanity and insanity. Foucault was not telling the story of scientific progress. He instead moved towards social increment, isolation, and confinement in the madhouses during the age of reason.

Preparing the Script for Privatisation

The privatisation of Air India marks the gradual erosion of the public sector and inclusive employment.

Coal Woes: Are They Touch and Go?

To combat the coal shortage and prevent its recurrence, meticulous and efficient planning holds the key.

Gender Budgeting for Sustainable Development in India

The fifth Sustainable Development Goal mandates that India close its gender gap by 2030. An evaluation of gender budgeting as a whole and a diverse range of gender-sensitive interventions under the same (2005–06 to 2020–21) reveals severe shortcomings. First, a low and declining trend has been found in the shares of gender budgeting to total government expenditure, and women-specific schemes to total funds for gender budgeting. Second, the allocation of total funds for various schemes is either stagnating or declining, with some having received no funds over the last two consecutive years. Problems of design too persist, all contributing to a significant gender gap for Indian women vis-à-vis their male counterparts.

Waste Management and Cleanliness in Cities

The paper compares solid waste management revenue expenditure of 27 cities with the performance outcomes on cleanliness as measured by the Swachh Survekshan survey. Nineteen out of 27 cities spend more than the benchmark, yet none have an expected perfect score. While spending has a significantly positive impact on cleanliness, it explains only 23% of the variation.

Writing Histories of Regions in Premodern India

The Making of Regions in Indian History: Society, State and Identity in Premodern Odisha by Bhairabi Prasad Sahu, Delhi: Primus Books, 2020; pp xvi + 274, ₹ 1,095.

Territory as Political Technology

Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir marks an important moment to reflect on how imagined territories determine everyday life as well as shape political realities.

Export-induced Loss in Employment and Earnings during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented exogenous shock in the world economy unlike the global financial crisis in 2008, which was endogenously determined in the structure of capitalist financial market. Given the fact that Indian export sector significantly contributes to the Indian economy in general and employment in particular, it is worth examining how the Indian gross domestic product and exports changed in comparison with the world GDP and world exports respectively, in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–21 vis-à-vis the GFC in 2008. Which industries are affected the most, in terms of export loss, during this COVID-19 crisis? What have been the consequences of these falling export on employment and earnings in the Indian export sector? This study estimates that in the COVID-19 year 2020–21, Indian exports have fallen by `3.74 lakh crore, with a plausible loss of direct employment by 5.06 lakh and an estimated loss of earnings around `12.4 thousand crore across 85 commodities.

Is Contraceptive Prevalence Declining in India?

This study investigates the quality of the National Family Health Survey-4 data on contraceptive use by estimating investigator-induced bias. An outlier-bound approach was used to detect investigator bias, and contraceptive use was re-estimated adjusting for the bias in six study states. The findings suggest investigator bias at two levels: over-reporting of women as “never users” of contraception and a tendency to report sterilised women as current non-users and as cases of hysterectomy. Re-estimation of contraceptive use confirmed a declining trend in contraceptive prevalence in four study states. While the effect of the bias was moderate at the state level, it can potentially distort district-level estimates to a great extent.

Finding Economics in Small Things

The Economics of Small Things by Sudipta Sarangi, Penguin Random House India, 2020; pp 296, ₹ 225 .


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