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

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Coal : Deep in Trouble

Reforms in the coal sector seem once again to be heading nowhere. The bill to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, which was to be tabled in the ongoing winter session of parliament, has been deferred on the recommendation of the group of ministers. If the move was aimed at heading off the planned three-day strike called by the unions of state-owned coal companies, it did not succeed. The non-INTUC trade unions struck work at the mines of Coal India (CIL) and its seven subsidiaries nationwide, causing widespread disruption of production and dispatch. In addition to registering their opposition to the bill, the strike was also in protest against the non-payment of arrears as per the sixth national coal wage agreement. The unions are now reportedly planning to launch an indefinite agitation to press their demands. Considering that Eastern Coalfields (EIL) and Central Coalfields (CCL), two of CIL’s three loss-making subsidiaries, are believed to have suffered an estimated daily loss of Rs 50 crore and Rs 90 crore respectively during the strike, the unions’ move will deliver another blow to the struggling coal behemoth.

Goodbye to Non-Alignment and All That

The national interest, if defined narrowly, does not make for very good foreign policy. It might make sense, here and now, to try to enlist America on the Indian side of the dispute over Kashmir and to celebrate the turn of events in Afghanistan as a vindication of India's own support for the 'Northern Alliance'. In the long term, however, it demonstrates a shocking combination of strategic myopia and cynicism.

Management of India's International Borders

It is imperative that the challenges facing the coutnry in the management of its international borders are properly understood and widely debated so that pressure is brought on all political parties not to take actions which would compromise national security.

Anti-dumping Probe:A Case Study in Steel

Countries across the world are resorting to dumping of steel, reflecting the malaise gripping the industry. This has resulted in a spate of anti-dumping investigations and imposition of dumping duties. India is not an exception to this phenomenon. While the country has set up investigations into allegations of dumping, especially by the CIS nations, Indian steel itself is the subject of probes and dumping duties by several countries. Here we discuss one such investigation conducted by India.

Meeting of Opposites

Health, Medicine and Empire: Perspectives on Colonial India edited by Biswamoy Pati and Mark Harrison; Orient Longman, Delhi, 2001; pp x + 410, Rs 600 (hardbound).

Basic Environmental Economics

Environmental Economics: An Indian Perspective edited by Rabindra N Bhattacharya; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001; pp 291+xiv, Rs 550.

Great Endeavours

 The Great Hedge of India by Roy Moxham; Constable, London, 2001; The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India Was Mapped and Everest Named by John Keay; Harper Collins, 2001;

Indian Software Industry Development

Export-led growth has been the mainstay of the spectacular performance of the Indian software industry. However, continued growth at the blistering pace set in the 1990s faces significant challenges in the form of growing scarcity of talent, rising wage costs and emerging competition. Besides, the recent slowdown in the US has lowered growth estimates for the infotech industry. The Indian software industry cannot afford to be complacent if it wants to maintain its position as a premier purveyor of software services. The industry will need to consolidate its strengths and move up the value chain if it is to maintain its head start on the competition. Most importantly, it will have to invest substantially in R and D and create linkages to encourage career prospects for researchers in engineering.

Textile Exports: No Time to Lose

Alarmed by the announcement of preferential trade concessions to Pakistan by the European Union, and apprehensive that a similar package may soon be unveiled by the US, India is likely to ask the US for a higher textile export quota during prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit to Washington this month. The government and industry are fearful that the move by the major markets for India’s textiles and garments will deal a further blow to already grim export prospects. During AprilAugust 2001 overall exports fell by 2.3 per cent from their yearago levels; textile exports, however, collapsed by a huge 17.3 per cent during the same period. With the global economy already lurching towards recession and additional strains caused by the terror attacks in the US and the subsequent strikes against Afghanistan, India may find it increasingly difficult to meet the government’s export growth target of 12 per cent for the current fiscal year, since textiles account for over 30 per cent of the country’s total export earnings.

India, Kashmir and War against Terrorism

India's positions and postures in the post-September 11 period have neither promoted the national interest nor raised the country's moral and political stature in the world.

How to Wire Rural India

Digital development affords a new perspective from which to imagine the future directions of India's political economy. Rather than remaining locked in the paradigm of an eternally developing it now seems possible to aspire to becoming acknowledge society. This article critically examines the problems and possibilities of digital development in order to reveal the larger impact that information and communication technologies could have on rural economies and societies.

Calcutta Diary

In the fiftieth year since the commencement of the republican Constitution, India is safely re-established as an impeccable feudal realm. The Gwalior funeral merely confirmed the reality of Indian democracy doubling up as a feudal oligarchy.


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